Asceticism is the practice of denying various comforts to oneself and even inflicting upon oneself various occasions of discomfort. Most religions endorse ascetic discipline in the belief that physical and mental hardship is a sure path to spiritual maturity.
A friend who's an Episcopalian priest (and a surfing buddy) showed me a comic last week, which she keeps on her fridge. In it, the sea has split, Moses is holding up his staff, and a dude is standing next to Moses, carrying a surfboard.
Can someone explain to me why the Bible is not rated NC-17? In chapter 20 we hear about the penalties for breaking these rules. It involves a lot of blood and death. It's ugly, but once we start reading, it's hard to stop.
I have seen examples of people ending a marriage only to realize later that they hadn't been so bad off after all. In the Church, discernment, listening to our hearts, and deep prayer and meditation, are all called for before entering into or ending such a union.
Despite our good intentions, Christianity in the United States still has a long way to go. Instead of seeking to heal the wounds of slavery and institutionalized racial discrimination, many denominations are seeking out fresh ways of shaming and condemning their LGBTQ members.
Perhaps most importantly, Barbara Mahany lives what she writes. This woman is the real deal, reaching out to the wounded world with enlightened care and compassion. A former pediatric oncology nurse she is both wise and experienced in the mysteries of interrupted cycles of life.
Transformation takes place in God's Presence and inspires us to great things, just as the stained-glass artist and my father expressed their love of God in their artwork, which in turn lifts my soul and inspires me to glorify Him even more.
In a nondescript hotel room in Texas, surrounded by rabbis who are black and white, old and young, straight and gay, women and men, layers of hidden, accumulated spiritual scar tissue burst apart and revealed my own wounded heart.
Placing her reflections on "peace-building" in dialogue with the Bible, I am carrying forward a long-standing conversation with a beloved conversation partner of long standing about a text and a topic that are both dear to my heart.
The prophet Isaiah is on my mind and in my heart more and more. His voice rings in Yom Kippur's Haftarah with messages I fear we've forgotten. With messages I believe we must begin to remember, even if they hurt our hearts. Especially because they hurt our hearts so deeply.
How fitting that we recount Genesis and the story of creation on Rosh Hashanah. How fitting that we study the original story of all stories. For it is a holiday all about stories and the potential that we have to create and refine them.
We must love our fellow Jews as brothers and sisters in a historic, unique collective family, and we must treat the non-Jew with the same dignity that we would wish and envision for ourselves. This is the real meaning of what it means to be "holy" in the "Holy Land" today.
Throughout my study in The Holy Land, I have come to the simple realization that "holiness" is everywhere; the question is whether one can approach eye level with their neighbors and finally see the truth that lies beneath the surface.
Holiness is meant to pervade all of daily behavior, not to inhabit the high points of experience only. Love means reaching out toward neighbors and the world with the same care, regard and generosity we normally reserve for ourselves and those closest to us.
It is a simple yet profound challenge -- be holy, imitate God in our own lives. It is the fundamental lesson that for Jewish civilization, the ultimate goal of life is not "happiness," it is "holiness."
The most common traditional translations of hod are "majesty" and "splendor." While those definitions are significant, clearly something gets lost in translation. Without context they are just words and will probably not be enough to glean a relatable meaning.
Consider creating an interior file in your soul called Pajama Day, and when things get crazed, out of nowhere, declare any blessed day you feel like stopping and hanging out in your own holy wholeness.
"Hot flashes start with an aura followed by a feeling of discomfort in the abdominal area." I don't know about my "aura" when I hot flash but I do know about the "discomfort" -- I feel like a worn out piece of rigatoni.