The kitchen was quiet, with only the shuffling of feet filling the silence. Two small girls with dark brown hair, smooth tawny skin and gauzy dresses weaved between the women, giggling in excitement. I looked over at a friend, a recent convert to Judaism, standing next to me and thought about how, two years ago, I would have never imagined being part of a Turkish Henna Night ceremony.
When we were first married and new parents, we made a conscious decision to embrace the Jewish practice of tikkun olam with its focus on action and justice. We believed it was important to model our faith for our children through our actions, and teach them the responsibility of tikkun olam, which, translated literally from Hebrew, means "repairing the world."
In America, approximately 89 percent of people identify with a religion. Faith traditions affect the way people interact with each other and with those not of their religion.
I'm a Christian. More accurately, I'm a Christian deeply formed by what many would call evangelical and Pentecostal sensibilities. I grew up in a rural Missionary Baptist Church, joined a large urban United Methodist Church in my teens, and cultivated my call to ministry in a nondenominational charismatic storefront prior to graduating from high school.
At the end of September, I took my vacation in Batesville. Unbeknownst to many--including the majority of Mississippians, I imagine--Batesville is the home to the Magnolia Grove Buddhist Monastery and mindfulness meditation practice center. For five days, 850 participants shared living quarters, meals and the teachings--dharma talks--of Vietnamese Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh. The subject was cultivating the mind of love.
How much of the information we exchange is worth communicating?
In June 2007, I took a once-in-a-lifetime 12-day trip to Turkey. During our stay, our group visited multiple historic and religious sites. What made this trip different from a typical tourist agenda was that we also visited schools, hospitals and businesses, and met with students, teachers, doctors and entrepreneurs.
DeeDee didn't attend church much, but he was a man who believed in a day of judgment.
He somehow got the impression that spirituality and issues of human justice are somehow mutually exclusive.
Valentine's Day was originally conceived as a way to express gratitude for our beloved companions with small tokens of affection—so it's also completely appropriate to reserve the day to take care of, and show love for, the most important person in your life: you. What better way to honor thy self than with a DIY at-home spa retreat filled with rest, contemplation, indulgent spa treatments and heart-centered activities?
We use the word "blessing" a lot during the December holidays. We count our blessings, we send greeting cards with wishes for blessings, we receive blessings after religious services, instead of "goodbye" we say, "Have a blessed day," and we ask the blessing. We use this little word in many contexts without ever considering what it really means. After all, a blessing is just words, right?
Natalie A. Collier
Much of who I am can be attributed to not only my family but to the people at the church I grew up in. While there is a strange one or two among the group, much of my spiritual foundation was laid within the oak-lined walls of the small church with the cranberry red carpet that sits just a few blocks away from the campus of MSU's entrance: First Church of Christ (Holiness).
When children are born, human parents experience something spiritual just by being in the child's presence—their fingers and toes and eyelashes, the smell of their skin, and the way their eyes fix on people and objects.
I went for a walk through Belhaven with a friend one afternoon a few weeks ago. We passed people walking their dogs and some joggers. And suddenly, it was dark at 5:30 p.m.
Recently, my life went completely down the flusher. My wife, with whom I was blissfully in love, texted me to say she wanted a divorce.