Oct 7, 2018 Service about Compassion

 Love and compassion is necessary for human survival.  That statement is true, of course, because we are a cooperative species.  We survive because we have a society and culture that allows us to act in concert with one another.  But it is also true of individual humans.  Those humans among us who lack love and compassion, will live shorter lives (and much more unhappy lives.)   Part of our identity as humans is defined by who we love and who loves us.

But we rarely stop to examine compassion.  Justice we think about often, but compassion... not so much.  With that in mind, today we had a long discussion about the ideas of Joan Halifax, director of the Project on Being and Dying.

What is compassion?
-the ability to see into the nature of suffering
-the aspiration to be able to make a difference in alleviating suffering
-the capacity to not be attached to the outcome.

Fear, pity, moral outrage are all the enemies of compassion.  Compassion seems to be innate in every human.  We all feel compassion for somebody... or for our dogs if nothing else.  But, compassion has to be nurtured.  If you do not nurture your compassion, it diminishes.

Why don't we train people to be compassionate?
Why do we not vote for a country that is more compassionate?

One notable thing about the person most recently added to the Supreme Court of the United States here in 2018 was that he gave long speeches all of which lacked compassion.  He demonstrated pity, and moral outrage.  He even used fear when he told the senators who opposed his confirmation that "what goes around comes around."  He did not show compassion.  His previous rulings in the lower courts do not contain mercy.  Mercy, said Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice, "is an attribute to God himself."  Shakespeare added, then, that a person who possesses the power to dispense justice is most like God, when mercy seasons justice.

We had a very lively discussion today about compassion.  If you think you would like to have a place to go to talk with other people about thoughtful topics like this, then I invite you to come by and meet us.  We are a spiritual community that is open and does not have a creed which dictates to you what your spiritual beliefs will be.  We even count atheists among our numbers.  So come and visit, or come back and visit if you have been here before.  We welcome new ideas in our discussions.

Peace,

Rick

Heaven goes by favor; if it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.-Mark Twain

Sep 30, 2018 Service about Sustainability

Today, guest speaker Russell Adams came to talk about Sustainability.  Unfortunately, I wasn't there.  So, I will have to find someone who took notes.  More interesting discussions lined up for next week though.  Come join us.  If you have visited before, and are embarrassed that its been several months, don't worry, We just like having people stop in and contribute a little bit to the general sharing of ideas that inevitably comes after each Sunday service.  Come participate... also coffee and a snack.

Peace,

Rick

Sep 23, 2018 Clean Celebration

Today we had a day dedicated to cleaning.  Cleanliness is next to Godliness they say.  We are an open minded, open hearted spiritual community helping people to lead lives of love, learning, hope and social justice.  We meet together to give support and friendship to one another.  And today, we spent time fixing the place up.

Peace,

Rick

Sep 16, 2018 Service about Christian Peace Keepers

Today we discussed the work of the Christian PeaceMaker Teams who help defend the poor and dispossessed in Columbia.  In 2017 about 300 human rights activists were murdered around the world.  Of those, 121 were killed in Columbia.  

The news in the U.S. does not keep us up to date on the horrible situations in many central and south American countries.  In Columbia last year, the 30 year guerilla war between the government and the FARC was declared to be over.  But now the big oil companies and palm oil companies are trying to intimidate the poor people in isolated communities into leaving and giving up their rights to the land they live on.  If they abandon it, then the oil companies can claim it to be theirs.

The PeaceKeeper teams help the poor rural people in Columbia.  Sometimes they help just by being present.  With an American on sight as witness, the oil companies will not murder the peasants.  Without an outside witness, however, the oil companies can kill people and tell the government that they were armed agitators advocating communism and they had to be killed.

One of the Peacekeepers came to talk to us today.  It was interesting and yet terrible to know.  There are other groups doing similar work.  Witness for peace can be found here.  Peace Brigades can be found here.  We generally have pretty interesting discussions, so please come join us some Sunday.  We seek a spiritual refuge in our Sunday morning gatherings... and we are interested in our world community's arc toward justice.  We consider many things... even theology sometimes.  Come listen when you want to, and stay away if the Sunday service doesnt appeal to you.  But give us a try.

Peace,

Rick

We are living 'neath the great big dipper

We are washed by the very same rain

We are swimming in this stream together

Some in power, and some in pain

We can worship this ground we walk on

Cherishing the beings that we live beside

Loving spirits will live forever

We're all swimming to the other side.