Sunday, November 25, 2012

Adult Spirituality Group notes, 11/25/12

Besides the regular folk, Charles' daughter, Charlotte Shafer Cressey participated.

Today, we had unanswered questions about the last three introductions to the commandments of character that will be explored in the book.  We'll need to dive into the details of the related chapters to understand how we should take these in.
8.  PRACTICE SELF-CONTROL - "Just about every other person with a bad temper could control himself when motivated to do so."
9.  EXERCISE COMMON SENSE - "People generally regard common sense as a pragmatic, not a moral, trait....In truth, a lack of common sense frequently results in immoral or hurtful behavior, both on the individual and the national level."
10.  ADMIT WHEN YOU HAVE DONE WRONG, SEEK FORGIVENESS, AND DON'T RATIONALIZE BAD BEHAVIOR - "People of character, knowing that they possess free will, acknowledge when they have done something wrong.  It is this acknowledgement that motivates them to seek out those whom they have hurt, ask forgiveness, and devote themselves to doing better in the future."
For Charlotte, the college paper that has had the most influence was an analysis of #10 above.   It was entitled, "People: Do they basically come Good, Evil, or a Mix?"

Next week, we'll discuss Chapter 1, entitled "Family" (pp. 43 - 84).

A sunny possibility!  Please check out the Seattle PI article webpage -> Book Review: God Light: Sunlight Sonlight by Robert Lloyd Russell.  I'm curious to read it next.  What do you think?

The book received the following 2011 Awards ~
Book-of-the-Year - Religion: Eastern/Western - Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award
Runner-up - Religion: Christianity - International Book Awards
Winner - Book: Biblical Studies - The Word Guild
Finalist - Religion: Christianity - The USA "Best Books 2011" Awards
Gold Award -(1 of 3 across all book categories) - World Book Awards

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Adult Spirituality Group notes, 11/18/2012

Today, the nine attendees discussed the book, The Ten Commandments of Character (Points 6 & 7, in the first chapter, pp. 35-37):

How does one "be honest"?  The author writes, "What matters most to God, and therefore what should matter most to us, is not issues of faith or ritual observance, but honesty in our dealings with others......People must be able to rely on your honesty in many different areas:  Can they trust you in money matters?  Can they trust you to be truthful?  And when, if ever, is it moral to be untruthful?"

The group went around the circle to brainstorm aspects of truthfulness that are most important to God.  God could evaluate our honesty and integrity with these sets of questions:  
  • Did you live to your potential?  Did you always do the right thing?
  • How much did you live for your ideals, versus, how much were you practical and compromised to suit the complexities of life?  When were you able to stick up for your ideals and put them into the world?  After all, we're here on Earth also to interact, not just be alone.
  • How honest were you from your vantage?  How did your perspective about good & bad, right & wrong expand and mature over your lifetime? 
It's important to have a regular practice!  
  • Thea Ward has a regular prayer of gratitude/thanks to God, e.g., that she has hot water, gets to see beautiful fall leaf colors.
  • Rose Bailey works with her students on assertive communication, since acknowledging things is also important to problem solve and work things out.  
  • Day Murti summarized his ice cream eating wisdom gained over time.  Adults know that the present is eternal, not merely the present moment.  Often kids gobble up their ice cream.  Adults learn to pace themselves.

For next week:  We'll focus on Commandments 8, 9, and 10, discussed on p. 37-41.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Adult Spirituality Group notes, 11/11/2012

It's a great time to join our Sunday morning group of Yoda sage enquirers as we weave self, society, universe, and God!  We've just begun reading the introduction of our group's superb new book, The Ten Commandments of Character - Essential Advice for Living an Honorable, Ethical, Honest Life (2003), by "Everyday Ethics" columnist & Jewish Rabbi Joseph Telushkin.

On the back cover is written,
"Here is a wealth of astute and warmhearted counsel on life's most difficult ethical dilemmas.  Joseph Telushkin outlines his ten commandments of character, explaining why each one is so vital, and then addresses perplexing issues that crop up in our lives more often than we would anticipate, relating to family, friends, work, community, medicine, and money, such as:
  • Should a brother give up part of his inheritance if his sister has children and considerable expenses and he doesn't?
  • Is it wrong to get a kidney transplant from a prisoner executed in China?
  • Should a dying woman reveal to her husband that his son is not really his?
Many of us find it increasingly hard to tread the fine line between right and wrong.  In The Ten Commandments of Character, Telushkin faces these issues squarely and shows us how to live a life of true integrity."
For example, we'll discuss:
How can we clearly discern our personal values and tendencies and take a stand on issues in today's complex world in order to become ethically/morally a clarion for others?
When is it more important to remain humble and open to learn why and how others have their perspectives and values?

FOR NEXT WEEK:  Please continue to read about "The 10 Commandments of Character".  We plan to lance and joust about Point 6, "Be Honest". 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Adult Spirituality Group notes, 6/24/2012

We're trying something we've never done before --> reading an intense and vivid novel, The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant.  On the back cover is synopsized:

     "Her name is Dinah.  In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the move familiar chapters of her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons in the Book of Genesis.
     "Told in Dinah's voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoil of ancient womanhood--the world of the red tent.  It begins with the story of her mothers--Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah--the four wives of Jacob.  They love Dinah and give her gifts that are to sustain her through a hard-working youth, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land.  Dinah's story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate, immediate connection.
     "Deeply afffecting, The Red Tent combines rich storytelling with a valuable achievement in modern fiction: a new view of biblical women's society."

For June 31, please read to discuss:
  1. Bible:  Genesis 34 1:31
  2. Red Tent:  Chapters 5 & 6, pp 147-179

Friday, March 16, 2012

Adult Spirituality Group notes, 3/16/2012

I'm making a note that I've taken a sabbatical from the Adult Spirituality Group while you folks read the current book. Please let me know when you finish and what books you plan to read next.

Just as I have found taking notes of and reflecting upon our group discussions of great help to remember and consolidate the scintillating gems into my life, I can recommend the process for others.