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Archive for Saturday, September 3, 2011

Faith Forum: How does your faith affect your daily life?

September 3, 2011

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The Rev. Shannah McAleer, pastor, Unity Church of Lawrence, 900 Madeline Lane:

My faith is present in me in every aspect of my day. I believe the way this demonstrates is through prayer. In Unity, we have very little theological rules so to speak. We do have five basic principles:

  1. There is only one presence and one powerful God and God is good.

  2. We are all spiritual beings. The spirit of God is within us and we are inherently good. We carry with us a spark or flame of the Divine.

  3. We create our life experiences through our way of thinking (sometimes referred to as the Law of Mind Action, thoughts held in mind produce after their kind).

  4. There is amazing power in affirmative prayer and meditation.

  5. It is not enough simply to know these principles; we must live them every day — take action. Serve in your spiritual community and the broader world community. Prayer is central to Unity teachings, and in the teachings of most major faith traditions.

The Christian Bible says: “Pay without ceasing.” The Bhagavad-Gita says: “Fix your mind on me, bow down to me, pray unceasingly to me and thus disciplined you will fully know Me.” The Dalai Lama says: “We should never lose our compassion for others, when life shows us difficulties, pray without ceasing.”

There are many paths of prayer. It doesn’t really matter how we pray or where we pray as much as it does THAT we pray. Consider that your faith is a constant prayer and your faith will be demonstrated daily.

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

David Berkowitz, past president and current communications chair, The Lawrence Jewish Community Congregation, 917 Highland Drive:

First of all, I am not an overly religious man. I attend Sabbath services on an infrequent basis, rarely pray in private, and do not keep all the 613 commandments found in the Torah. Nevertheless, the religious teachings of Judaism as well as the customs and practices of the Jewish people, developed over several thousand years, do greatly affect my life.

Judaism is a this-world religion. It teaches how to live in the present existence and does not focus much on life after death or the world to come. It teaches that we should act toward our fellow human beings with honesty, consideration and concern. Most of all, it preaches the doctrine of Tikun Olam, which translates into “repair of the world,” or doing social justice.

Jews are constantly reminded in our prayers and our Bible to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and to be kind to strangers since we were once strangers in the land of Egypt. Tikun Olam is more than just giving charity, although the giving of charity or Tzedakkah is an important element therein. It also requires us to support a safety net for and be active in programs that will help the less fortunate, such as LINK and Family Promise. I would like to be able to say that I have been totally successful in living according to these principles and teachings but alas, I have not. I have fallen short in many ways. I do not always maintain the high standards required of me as a Jew. Still, my faith does greatly affect my everyday life. It is the guidelines that I refer to in making decisions about other people, issues, and perhaps most of all, politics.

— Send email to David Berkowitz at bwlaw@sunflower.com.

Comments

SuzMF 2 years, 7 months ago

No doubt, everyone falls short in understanding and reflecting the wisdom in the Holy Bible’s truth. Jesus spoke not of religion but of God and he’s our way shower; as earth is a learning ground. In earth’s present reality, as we live it, if we strive to live each day in expressing our understanding of the Bible than that’s what’s important. While life is about change, understanding is steadfast, when based on the knowledge the Scriptures impart to us. Have faith in God. It keeps our footsteps on the straight and narrow path, which grows in a closer individual relationship with our heavenly Father, and who I am in him.

Suzanne McMillen-Fallon, Published Author 2011 “On Wings of Love” http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/Mommy’sWritings.html (currently not active) The Mommy’s Writings Series Mommy, would you like a sandwich? Book 1

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Bob Forer 2 years, 7 months ago

I pray to the flying spaghetti monster every god damned day.

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Liberty275 2 years, 7 months ago

I make sure I have my flying spaghetti monster detector with me all the time just in case the lord god shows himself in my proximity. I guess the biggest effect it has on my life is building up my leg and glute muscles. I have a real nice... ummm, nevermind.

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 7 months ago

I was not born Jewish, but I do make an effort to maintain the ethical principles of (Reform) Judaism, upon which all of the Abrahamic faiths are based. And, that's a daily thing, every day.

Every once in a while, I begin the studies required for conversion, but I've never completely finished the requirements. Rabbi Karol and Rabbi Stiel are probably quite frustrated with me, since I'm such an on and off attendee at shabbot services or any study classes.

But they have always been very polite, and I think they must feel that they are wasting their time with me. But, as I understand it, it is a mitzvah to help anyone who is sincerely interested.

And I suppose I must be, since in my daily life I adhere quite closely to the dietary laws, within practical limits. I was rather surprised to learn that I adhere to them much more closely than the rabbi does.

And so, every time I eat, I am reminded of my place in the universe by the restrictions placed upon my diet. Since 1993, I've more or less maintained a kosher diet. But for a few years after that, I still mixed meat and dairy products.

But now I read food labels very carefully, and take care to never mix meat products with dairy products.

So that is a several times a day thing, every time I eat, I am reminded of the ancient principles that are placed upon those of us who choose to accept the yoke of the commandments.

But it is so difficult for me to learn Lashon Hakodesh. I know a few of the letters, but that's it. And it seems I will never learn the vowels, even in the transliterations.

As for memorizing the prayers, it seems that is beyond me. At my age, it seems I have lost the ability to learn a new language. But I should really be putting much more effort into it, I am aware of that. I'm still working on memorizing Yis'ra'eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.

And I rarely celebrate the holidays, mostly because it is so difficult to do that when you know very few Jews.

But I am sure HaShem is fine with all of that, He is forgiving and knows I'm trying to at least be ethical.

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