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Archive for Saturday, March 19, 2011

Faith Forum: Does the Zodiac Have any Relevance in the Faith World?

March 19, 2011

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The Rev. Josh Longbottom, associate pastor, Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt.:

The faith journey is about deep reflection on the experience of life: love, death, friendship, family, faith, work and whatever else makes up our existence. I find astrology an interesting part of that reflection.

I don’t know if the “science of astrology” is any good. I’m not the kind of person to assess it very adequately. I also don’t take it very seriously, i.e. I have never ended a relationship or pursued a friendship because our signs matched or didn’t.

The question “what is your sign,” on the other hand, sure has been an easy way to start conversations and build new friendships. Discussing if a reading is true or false can be a conversation full of learning and good times. I just don’t know how it could really be a bad thing.

My father has been the senior pastor at several large churches. When they are hiring, they all use the newest, most in vogue, personality assessments. To be honest, when I have read the conclusions of their personality tests, I rarely find them to be any more informative than an astrological reading.

I will say that there is a definitive prohibition against divination in the Torah, especially with regards to knowing the future. But there are also a number of Biblical characters casting lots to make choices and divine the future. Proverbs even goes so far to say “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”

In the end, it is important to remember that people can change and that there are no simple explanations of who we are. There are no one-page, 10-page or 100-page descriptions of us that are adequate. So have all the fun you want with your newest astrological text but don't let its descriptions define you.

— Send e-mail to Josh Longbottom at joshlongbottom@sunflower.com.

The Rev. Shannah M. McAleer, senior minister, Unity Church of Lawrence, 900 Madeline Lane:

When I recently heard about suggested changes in the Zodiac and use of horoscope signs as guides in our lives, I immediately checked it out and found I would no longer be a Cancer but a Gemini.

My response? Well I still seem like a Cancer.

But it is much more complex than that and astrology has been a spiritual path since ancient times.

Although it is not a path I use, it is a serious life-long spiritual journey and study for many. Since time began people have looked to the stars for answers. I believe in what we say here at Unity of Lawrence, “There are many paths but one God”. Whatever tools an individual uses to help them on their spiritual journey is fine with me as long as it is one of love and compassion.

We do not use it in New Thought ministries, of which Unity is one, but for those individuals who study astrology and feel it helps them on their path I believe it is indeed relevant to their own personal faith journey. If it helps a person move deeper into their spiritual selves than it is relevant to them. I would invite them to add the experience of spiritual community to their practice as well.

My role is to teach Unity and metaphysical principles honor and support other faith traditions and be part of a beautiful and loving spiritual community that matches their hearts and feels like home — not tell an individual that their studies and practice of astrology are not relevant. Who am I to say what is spiritually relevant to another?

— Send e-mail to Shannah McAleer at rev.shannah@unityoflawrence.org.

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