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Spirituality

The two sides of renewable spiritual energy

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I remember a quarrel with one of my wealthier parishioners at First Congregational Church, in Riverhead, N.Y. She wanted to put a carillon (an arrangement of chromatically tuned bells) in the steeple. I, on the other hand, wanted her to fund the homeless shelter in the building that housed 150 plus people a night. She refused, and eventually, the carillon went in, at a cost of $10,000. 

Catechism, yoga, Zen cannot open people's hearts to God, pope says

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Courses in yoga, Zen meditation, even extensive studies in church teaching and spirituality can never free people enough to open their hearts to God and his love, Pope Francis said in a morning homily.

Only the Holy Spirit can "move the heart" and make it "docile to the Lord, docile to the freedom of love," the pope said Friday at Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

The pope looked at how Jesus' disciples could fail to recognize and be open to the Lord's miracles, like his walking on water, the multiplication of the loaves and encountering him on the road to Emmaus.

Celtic retreat centers on rebirth, compassion

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John Philip Newell, the Celtic spirituality scholar and interspirituality disciple, served up a pre-Thanksgiving spiritual banquet in mid-November here at First Community Church.

Newell, author of 15 books including Praying with the Earth and his latest The Rebirthing of God: Dreaming the Way Forward, was the latest presenter in this local United Church of Christ congregation’s 25-year-old ongoing Spiritual Searcher series. The program seeks to “unite mind, heart and body in the spiritual quest.”

A revised top 10 list

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I'm still haunted by a late 1960s survey of American Catholics. Participants were asked just one question: What's the more important law -- love your neighbor, or give up meat on Friday? More than 50 percent responded, "Give up meat on Friday." When meatless Fridays trump love of neighbor, we Catholics are in deep trouble.

David Letterman didn't invent the top 10 list. In one form or another, such inventories have been around for a long time -- even during the biblical period.

What do Americans pray for? Themselves. And maybe a sports team

When Americans aren't busy praying for themselves or their own needs -- and most of them are -- many are seeking divine intervention on behalf of a favorite sports team or the golden ticket in the lottery, according to a new survey.

About 13 percent of Americans who pray say they pray for sports teams, compared with about one in five (21 percent) who say they have prayed to win the lottery, the new survey from LifeWay Research suggests. 

What kind of prayer is appropriate at official meetings?

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Carroll County is a small, rural county in northern Maryland. Its local board of commissioners has become news because of its insistence on starting board meetings with prayers to Jesus.

After a federal judge ordered the board to stick with nonsectarian prayers, some council members refused. The judge's order was twice defied in prayers uttered at the beginning of subsequent board meetings.

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