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Talk to Us: January/February 2018

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Fine Print Commandments

I really love Paul Sutherland’s Fine Print Commandments. Those big 10 are delicious treats for the spiritual soul. I have one request: remove the word will from each one and feel the shift in power that happens. A much deeper message and affirmation. The brain interprets will as something that hasn’t arrived, is not in the present and may never get here. As a spiritual professional practitioner, I teach by practicing in this way. 

— Jerry Lynch, wayofchampions.com

Overall, I think you did an excellent job on the Commandments, and I know you are trying to work within the Christian culture as it is expressed in Uganda. 

  • Commandment 1: I prefer divine to holy
  • Commandment 6: I am part of God, as is all else, so I have a problem with “I know I am not God.”
  • Commandment 10: “sloth and gluttony.” How about laziness and overindulgence instead? Perhaps it would be best to use words like intoxication or drunkenness or excessive use of alcohol and recreational drugs/intoxicants rather than just “alcohol, intoxicants.”
  • Finally, remove [God] and replace with Divine and Divinity?

My two cents, since you asked.

— A.C. [Tony] Orvidas

Rabbi Rami replies to Rev. Lee-Clark

Your points are well taken, and I’m writing for some clarification. As my essay explained, the “problems” portion comes from Prof. Stephen Prothero’s book God Is Not One. Prothero’s point is that there is no theological common ground among religions (he rejects the notion of universal mysticism and Perennial Wisdom), and that unless and until we accept the uniqueness of each religion’s theology we cannot understand the teachings of that religion. My own sense of the matter is that we each suffer from all these problems, including sin, and can hence learn from all these religions.

I am certainly aware that there are alternative views of Christianity (as there are of Judaism and other religions). If you are suggesting that Original Blessing is in fact replacing Original Sin at the heart of Christian teaching, I confess that this has not been my experience. Personally, I would add Original Blessing to Original Sin as a more honest understanding of the human experience

Your essay “If You Came to My Church” was quite moving. Second Congregational seems like a very loving and welcoming place. Your understanding of Jesus as a “Human Being fully alive” speaks to me, as does the notion of replacing “periods” with “commas.” I’m curious as to how far this goes theologically. … Anyway, I would love to meet you and visit Second Congregational Church sometime. 

— Rabbi Rami

Entrepreneurs of Civilization

Doesn’t true spirituality point in the direction that one sincerely questions an opposing point of view? Do you think it is incompatible to support Trump and yet still be a wise person? I’d bet $100 that YOU, Mr. Steve, KNOW you are right and all the others who support Trump are wrong. How sad. I spent 28 years teaching in an inner-city school and did my best to make it a positive, nurturing, experience for all my students. So don’t write me off in your condescending smug comments you sprinkle in your pieces in the magazine.

— Mike Feldman

To Fear the Falls?

From my humble experience, sometimes fear is our friend, yes? I so admire the “feel your fear and do it anyway” thinking and behavior—except when fear is really an intuitive nudge to pay attention!, to think again. … Right now, the Adirondack chair calls me. With my issue in hand, I could easily settle in and forget almost everything. Except how tempting the kayak would be. Peaceful moments gliding around a lake. And how Grandma Aggie deserves that check. 

— Diana Kurlak

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