Spirituality in the News

October 8, 2015
Jennifer Preyss for Religion News Service

Diana Butler BassFour mornings a week, in the tranquil, blushing hours of morning, Diana Butler Bass drives to a familiar walking trail along the Potomac River and embarks on a two-mile stroll.

Creeping sunlight peppers the wooded scene. And the babble of active water silences the jangle of daily life.

Some days she finds a comfortable bench along the river where she can journal. Other days, she observes creation.

For Bass, a learned nature connoisseur, ardent gardener and noted religion academic, God does not merely exist inside reverent, adorned church spaces.

God also lives in the soil and exists in the elements.

“I have learned to love the dirt,” said Bass, a Christian progressive and author of nine books on American religion. “The dirt is a miniature universe. When I scoop up dirt in my hand I immediately think that I’m holding a universe. And then you can look up in the sky and there’s that universe above us.”

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September 24, 2015
By Beth Green for the Huffington Post

Beth GreenWhen people think of spirituality, we often have images of angels singing, wise men in rapture, saintly women with modest demeanor, monks in meditation, masters benignly guiding us and God or some kind of greater spirit above us, leading us unerringly with total wisdom, certainty and compassion. This could not be further from the truth, which should be obvious from a cursory glance around our universe. The "heavens" are full of turmoil, as we can only conclude from the expression: As above, so below. All of creation is in constant flux and evolution, and we and the heavens are One in that tumultuous process.

Why do we cling to the notion that the heavens are perfect and harmonious? Because we want them to be. Seeking safety from the world and its trials is our life-time pursuit. We try to save enough money, marry into a "good" family, choose a partner with substantial income, amass power and/or join clubs, communities, gangs or other groups to protect us in an uncertain world.

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August 13, 2015
Andre Mitchell for ChristianToday.com

A woman holds the hand of her mother who is dying from cancer during her final hours at a palliative care hospital in Winnipeg, Canada (Reuters)With the advances in science and medicine, more effective ways to fight the scourge of cancer are now available, although the cost of treatment remains sky-high.

A recent study, however, showed that there is another way to combat cancer that doesn't come with a price tag: faith in God.

Researchers analysed previous studies involving 44,000 cancer patients and their spirituality, and found out that patients who are more religious and spiritual tend to experience fewer physical symptoms of cancer.

Religion and spirituality were also associated with better health, according to the study.

Patients who believe in a higher being also showed better physical function, and more responsiveness to cancer treatment, according to the study.

The research also established a link between intrinsic religious belief and better physical function.

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August 17, 2015
Carol Kuruvilla, Associate Religion Editor for the Huffington Post

We Asked Our Readers To Define God In One Word. Here's What They Told Us.

What is God in one word?The answer is pretty beautiful.

Earlier this year, HuffPost Religion decided to conduct a little experiment.

We asked our readers to do something humans have been trying to do for centuries -- to define God. The catch? They had to encapsulate all of God in just one word.

It was a challenge, to be sure, but they rose to the task like champions, sending us more than 2,200 responses on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

We've been combing through these answers for the most popular words, and came up with a list that represents a few different perspectives -- everything from God is "fiction" to God is "faith."

Despite their diverse religious backgrounds, it was pretty clear what word came to mind most often when our readers thought about God:
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August 3, 2015
Oprah Winfrey's Super Soul Sunday
Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor Video

How you wake up can set the tone for your entire day. That's why Episcopal priest and best-selling spiritual author Barbara Brown Taylor begins each morning with a three-step ritual in which each part plays an essential role.

"It seems really important to get up one hour early," she says. "It used to be to read for about 20 minutes—something nourishing—and then to sit quietly for about 20 minutes and do some quiet...I call it meditation. But the reading fills and the meditation empties."

Now, though, Barbara has adjusted that routine to add a third crucial element to her mornings. Watch as she explains what it is, and see why it sparks a major aha! moment for Oprah, who plans to revise her morning routine to include it as well.
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July 8, 2015
By Rory McEntee and Adam Bucko
The Interspiritual Revolution

Multispiritual Revolution


“We must all achieve our identity on the basis of a radical authenticity… [for] it is only in the real world of the person – neither singular nor plural – that the crucial factors influencing the course of the universe are at work.”
– Raimundo Panikkar, “The Silence of God,” Introduction p. xviii

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July 10, 2015
Carl McColman

I know: summer reading is supposed to light, fun, escapist. Murder mysteries and steamy romances. Call me weird, but I'm the kind of person who likes to read thoughtful or even challenging literature, even when I'm lounging around on the beach.

And I suspect I'm not alone.

If you are like me -- if you're not particularly holding your breath for the long lost novel by Harper Lee, and could care less about E. L. James, then you might enjoy one or more of these faith-based books that are on my summer reading list. A word of warning: each one will make you think.

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May 29, 2015
Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman for the Huffington Post
Rabbi Geoffrey A. MitelmanMy 19-month-old daughter loves watching for school buses. She camps out on our couch, eyes eagerly scanning for any sign of yellow, and when one goes by, she squeals "Bus!!!!"

Her natural awe, curiosity and excitement simply amaze me -- I wish I got even remotely as excited about anything as she does about buses! But if you spend any time with children, you'll notice that they just seem to have an innate sense of what we might call "spirituality."

So how do we cultivate that sense of spirituality? And are there additional benefits that can accrue by giving our children spiritual language?

One person who explores the role and power of spirituality in children is Dr. Lisa Miller. Dr. Miller is a Professor and Director of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University's Teacher's College, as well as the Director of the Spirituality & Mind Body Institute. She is also the author of the new book The Spiritual Child: The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving.

I had an opportunity to ask her some questions about her work and her new book, and she was kind enough to respond.

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May 8, 2015
Franciscan Sister Monessa Overby, Special to The Desert Sun

Desert Blooms (from www.morguelife.com)The California drought is on the news every day and each of us is confronted with doing what we can about it. Perhaps thinking of it as a closer meeting with our environment, the created world on which and in which we live, is a positive way of thinking about the drought.

All of creation reveals something of God; all of creation reveals God. You may remember from elementary school memorizing “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer. The last lines read, “Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.” Thomas Berry, who called himself a geotheologian, said, “We need to move from a spirituality of alienation from the natural world to a spirituality of intimacy with the natural world.”

This drought can be a reminder to listen to our “Mother the Earth” to hear the sacred presence. Mother Earth is both groaning and glorifying. The Jesuit paleontologist, Teilhard de Chardin, said, “At the heart of matter is the heart of God.”

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May 4, 2015
Rebecca Mckown
Rebecca MckownIs Spirituality a religion?

I was asked recently what it means to be Spiritual. I stopped and thought. My answer was simple, it means to "feel." Spirituality to me is not religion. Religion is based on set beliefs determined by past doctrines adopted by groups as a way to live.

Religion has set rules and standards to live by. There are deities to worship, commandments to follow and rituals to adhere to. Religion works. It gives people something solid and comforting to live on. It is a Rock, hard, solid, and rarely changing. It offers community and safety in numbers.

Spirituality on the other hand is a feeling. It exists without thoughts, without order, without rules, without buildings. Spirituality resides within a body. It can lay dormant never being unearthed or it can vibrate through you throughout the day.

Spirituality is spirit, singular. Each being has a spirit and is therefore capable of experiencing spirituality. Spirituality is felt. It must be felt. It existed before any doctrines, before any deities. It just is. Spirituality is your connection with life, with energy, with death, with the unknown. Spirituality is unmalleable. It just is.

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