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:
There is only one presence and one powerful God and God is good.
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.
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).
There is amazing power in affirmative prayer and meditation.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com.