Archive for the ‘Connection’ Category

Seven Billion With Me

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

“When I meet someone,” the Dalai Lama said, returning to what was becoming an important theme, “I always try to relate to the person on the basic human level. On that level, I know that, just like me, he or she wishes to find happiness, to have fewer problems and less difficulty in their life. Whether I am speaking with one person, or whether I am giving a talk to a large group of people, I always see myself first and foremost as just another fellow human. That way, there is in fact no need for introduction.

“If, on the other hand, I relate to others from the perspective of myself as someone different — a Buddhist, a Tibetan, and so on — I will then create walls to keep me apart from others. And if I relate to others, thinking that I am the Dalai Lama, I will create the basis for my own separation and loneliness. After all, there is only one Dalai Lama in the entire world. In contrast, if I see myself primarily in terms of myself as a fellow human, I will then have more than seven billion people who I can feel deep connection with. And this is wonderful, isn’t it? What do you need to fear or worry about when you have seven billion other people who are with you?”

— Douglas Abrams, The Book of Joy, p. 100

A Gift

Saturday, September 17th, 2016

Being attracted to someone lets us know that we have a gift for them. Often, when we are attracted to somebody, we think they are supposed to give us something, but our joy comes in realizing that if we give the gift, a creative project comes to both of us as a result of that connection. If we are willing to give our gifts with integrity, we enjoy a creative connection with many, many joyful people.

Today, as you recognize yourself being attracted to someone ask yourself, “What is the gift I am to give them that would really move them forward?” It might only be a blessing or a feeling of support, but whatever it is give it without any expectation of receiving anything in return. Give your gift with integrity and love, and enjoy this creative connection you now have with them.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 182

Bringing People Together

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Belief exists inside a person. As such, it has the power and the tendency to separate a person from his neighbors who believe differently. But authentic religion connects people rather than separates them into the elect and the misguided, the saved and those who walk in darkness. The primary function of religion, as Durkheim discovered and taught and as every congregational clergyman of any denomination has discovered for himself or herself, is to bring people together rather than to separate them, thereby increasing their joy and diluting their sorrows. For that to happen, one’s theology has to escape from the prison of the self and translate into sacred deeds shared with others, deeds sanctified by having the fingerprints of God all over them.

— Harold S. Kushner, Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life, p. 117.

We Need Each Other.

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

I’m not exactly sure how all this works, but I think, ultimately, it means I can’t be a Christian on my own. Like it or not, following Jesus is a group activity, something we’re supposed to do together. We might not always do it within the walls of church or even in an organized religion, but if we are to go about making disciples, confessing our sins, breaking bread, paying attention, and preaching the Word, we’re going to need one another. We’re going to need each other’s help.

— Rachel Held Evans, Searching for Sunday, p. 255

Grace

Monday, April 18th, 2016

But if the world is watching, we might as well tell the truth. And the truth is, the church doesn’t offer a cure. It doesn’t offer a quick fix. The church offers death and resurrection. The church offers the messy, inconvenient, gut-wrenching, never-ending work of healing and reconciliation. The church offers grace.

— Rachel Held Evans, Searching for Sunday, p. 209

Community

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

It may well be the case that the word “religion” is related to the word “ligament,” from the Latin ligare, “to connect.” One might argue that the word refers to beliefs that connect a person to God, but I am inclined to side with Durkheim that the role of religion is to bind us to other people in order to evoke together the sense that God is in our midst. We don’t go to church or synagogue to find God; God may indeed be more accessible in nature on a sunny day. We go to church or synagogue to find other worshippers who are looking for what we are looking for, and together we find it. We become something greater than our solitary selves.

— Harold S. Kushner, Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life, p. 112

A Connected Life

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Living a connected life ultimately is about setting boundaries, spending less time and energy hustling and winning over people who don’t matter, and seeing the value of working on cultivating connection with family and close friends.

Before I undertook this research, my question was “What’s the quickest way to make these feelings go away?” Today my question is “What are these feelings and where did they come from?” Invariably, the answers are that I’m not feeling connected enough to Steve or the kids, and that this comes from (take your pick) not sleeping enough, not playing enough, working too much, or trying to run from vulnerability. What has changed for me is that I know now that I can address these answers.

— Brené Brown, Daring Greatly, p. 146

Healing Shame

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive. Self-compassion is also critically important, but because shame is a social concept — it happens between people — it also heals best between people. A social wound needs a social balm, and empathy is that balm. Self-compassion is key because when we’re able to be gentle with ourselves in the midst of shame, we’re more likely to reach out, connect, and experience empathy.

— Brené Brown, Daring Greatly, p. 75

Moving With Others

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

I know who I am. I am a Christian. I love my heritage and thank God for it. But my identity as a Christian can never be a barrier, a wall, a reason for apartheid. Rather, my identity as a follower of Christ requires me first to move toward the other in friendship, and then to move with the other in service to those in need. In so doing, both the other and I are transformed from counterparts to partners. This is good news for both the haves and the have-nots. The haves suffer dehumanization — a loss of human-kindness — when they hold themselves aloof from their fellow humans, just as the have-nots suffer when the haves hoard wealth and opportunity at the have-nots’ expense. The gospel calls both to discover salvation in encounter with the other, in the love of God.

— Brian D. McLaren, Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?, p. 249

Celebrating God’s Reflections

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

The interesting thing is that when you can forgive people for not being God then you can celebrate that they are a reflection of God. You can say, “Since you are not God, I love you because you have such beautiful gifts of God’s love.” You don’t have everything of God, but what you have to offer is worth celebrating. By celebrate, I mean to lift up, affirm, confirm, to rejoice in another person’s gifts. You can say you are a reflection of that unlimited love.

— Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Only Necessary Thing, p. 150-151