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In The Midst of the Ordinary

Excerpted from The Promise of the Second Wind: It's Never Too Late to Pursue God's Best By Bill Butterworth, Dean Merrill "Okay, guys, let's spend a little time looking at Philippians 2," says the brown-haired man with the glasses at the end of the table, pushing back his coffee mug to make room for his Bible. That's the signal of Charlie Spicer, moderator of our Friday morning men's group, that we need to transition from casual jokes and football talk to some spiritual

Busy Mind

Excerpted from Just Listen: A Guide to Finding Your Own True Voice By Nancy O'Hara Throughout the Quiet Corner process we will be studying our mind. We will see how it controls us and learn to what extent we have control over it. Being human, most of us have very active minds. Generally, we just accept this as normal and may not even realize that much of our stress and anxiety comes from our busy minds. Have you ever paid attention to what your mind actually contains? W

The Effectiveness of Clutter Clearing

Excerpted from Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui By Karen Kingston You and Your Home The reason why clutter clearing is so effective is that while you are putting your external world in order there are corresponding changes going on internally too. Everything around you, especially your home environment, mirrors your inner self. So by changing your home you also change the possibilities in your own life. Removing the obstacles to the harmonious

The Hands That Work on Us - How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow

Excerpted from Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow By Elizabeth Lesser I settled down pretty young for a girl of my times. I met my first husband when I was nineteen, was married a few years later, and had a baby at twenty-three. Although I was a proud child of the sixties, and a card-carrying hippie, there is a chance that in my twenties I was one of the most morally minded members of the entire baby boomer generation. In 1975 my husband and I moved from

Working with the Koan

Excerpted from Bring Me the Rhinoceros: And Other Zen Koans That Will Save Your Life By John Tarrant Zhaozhou was a minimalist. He must have expected his one-word reply to be enough to open the gates of the heart. "The thought that he knew what he was doing," I reasoned, "is more interesting than the opposite." So, what to do with this one word? It is said that once, when Robert Creeley gave a reading as part of a class he was teaching, one of the students asked, "Is th

Feng Shui Chic; Change Your Life With Spirit and Style

Excerpted from Feng Shui Chic; Change Your Life With Spirit and Style By Carole Meltzer, David Andrusia Good Chi, Good Chi! But what does chi have to do with Feng Shui Chic? Almost everything, as it turns out. Just as placement and position have everything to do with achieving the best flow of chi in our physical environments, so too does our physical countenance. How we dress and wear makeup, and even the food we eat, have a direct result on ou

Miracles and the Presence of God in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Excerpted from The Book of Miracles: The Meaning of the Miracle Stories in Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam By Kenneth L. Woodward Imagine, if you will, a time when human beings lived in intimacy with God, and so with all other living beings and with one another. Imagine, then, that humankind emerged and separated itself from God, and from intimacy with other living beings. Imagine further that in their separateness, individuals imagined themselves as

K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple Science - The G.O.D. Experiments

Excerpted from The G.O.D. Experiments: How Science Is Discovering God In Everything, Including Us By Gary E. Schwartz, Ph.D., William L. Simon We are going to shift gears and move from the parapsychology laboratory to the kitchen and your personal computer. Some of the experiments about which you will read may make you laugh. A few are admittedly far out, but I assure you they all address the existence of a larger spiritual reality-a G.O.D., or Guiding-Organizing - Desi

Psychology and Kabbalah: The Spiritual Revolution

Excerpted from Connecting to God By Rabbi Abner Weiss, Ph.D. Remarkably, the paradigm shift in Judaism took place at almost the same time. Kabbalah, the Jewish mystic tradition, began to enter the Jewish religious mainstream. More and more books on Kabbalah were published, while lectures and workshops on the subject attracted large audiences. The much-publicized statements of Hollywood icons about the spiritual fulfillment they had experienced through their study of the

The Desert Pilgrim; En Route to Mysticism and Miracles

Excerpted from The Desert Pilgrim; En Route to Mysticism and Miracles By Mary Swander The Rio Grande flows south through Albuquerque, winding past the Isleta Pueblo and casino. The stark white walls of St. Augustine's, the mission church built around 1629, stand in contrast to the flashing neon casino signs advertising blackjack and slot machines. The river pushes beyond Albuquerque's sprawl into the open countryside, where the sky and desert slice the horizon into two

Virgins of Venice; Broken Vows and Cloistered Lives in the Renaissance Convent

Excerpted from Virgins of Venice; Broken Vows and Cloistered Lives in the Renaissance Convent By Mary Laven The door stands open and the sunshine floods in. It lights a scene of gaiety: an elegant and airy room peopled with well-dressed nobles, and with servants carrying great platters of cakes and other delicacies-one waiter is poised with a live bird. From the wigs and costumes, it is not hard to guess that this is an eighteenth-century scene. The mood is relaxed and

How Fasting and Prayer are Linked

Excerpted from The Power of Prayer and Fasting: 21 Days That Can Change Your Life By Marilyn Hickey Most Christians agree that prayer is powerful. In fact, nobody I know-Christian or unbeliever-is willing to say that prayer is unproductive or of no importance. Even those who say they don't particularly "believe" in prayer want a believing person to pray if they become sick or experience a great need or tragedy in their lives! People around the world, in every culture an

The Creator of All That Is

Excerpted from 101 Most Powerful Verses in the Bible By Steve Rabey, Lois Rabey In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. - Genesis 1:1 These familiar opening words of the Bible proclaim the most amazing of God's many powers. He is the Creator of all that exists. And he created it out of nothing. I find that truth difficult to comprehend. My own life is full of incomplete tasks that are evidence of my inabi

Turning Grief into Gladness

Excerpted from The Power to Prevail; Turning Your Adversities into Advantages By David Foster For most people, driving is about getting from one place to the next. But for me, twenty dollars' worth of gas can be worth two thousand dollars' worth of therapy. Nearly all my "eureka moments" have come after a few hours of solitude behind the wheel. I find it amazing how the subconscious can untie mental knots and smooth out emotional kinks during a

Chasing the Demons

Excerpted from How Do We Know When It's God?: A Spiritual Memoir By Dan Wakefield What am I doing in a church basement on a Friday night, eating a New England boiled dinner with a bunch of suburbanite Bible students? Man, has my life changed in the last four years! That's how long it's been since I went to that seemingly innocent "candlelight service with carols" on Christmas Eve of 1980 and it led to a new way of life, including new friends, habits, routines, and outlo

A Helping Hand - Christmas Miracles

Excerpted from A Treasury of Christmas Miracles: True Stories of Gods Presence Today By Karen Kingsbury Adam Armstrong received the call just after nine on Christmas Day while on patrol with the sheriff's department in Akron, Ohio. A woman was weeping loudly in a corner booth at a truck stop on the highway outside of town. Several patrons had grown concerned and contacted the sheriff's department. Armstrong sighed and turned his patrol car in th

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Advent

Excerpted from Sermons to the People : Advent, Christmas, New Year, Epiphany By Saint Augustine of Hippo Fools Confound Philosophers "It had to be easier for those who lived in the time of Christ; they could believe that He was born of a woman," the Heretical Hecklers could object, "but how about us? Who'd believe us if we make the same claim?" "That's easy," I'd respond. "You can find it in the Gospel Christ preached it

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Tips on How to Throw an Unforgettable Holiday Party

Excerpted from An Idiot Girl's Christmas : True Tales from the Top of the Naughty List I was walking by the TV last week when an episode of a local lifestyle show caught my eye. The featured guests, two police officers, were explaining how several factors were essential to make your holiday party a successful one, and that's when I eagerly pulled up a chair to watch uninterrupted. Oh, good, I thought, they're going to fork over the recipe for J

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kamurj in Religion and Spirituality

What is Religion?

Excerpted from Religion By Martin Forward The answer to the question 'What is a religion?' seems obvious. A religion is: Hinduism, Buddhism or Jainism; Judaism, Christianity or Islam; Confucianism or Shinto; one of the primal, original faiths of humankind, still found in Africa, North America and elsewhere; or one among other self-contained systems of faith. If, however, we remove the indefinite article and ask 'What is

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Embracing the Infidel; Stories of Muslim Migrants on the Journey West

Excerpted from Embracing the Infidel; Stories of Muslim Migrants on the Journey West By Behzad Yaghmaian, Ph.D. The border guard at the train station knew just enough English to demand a bribe. If I wanted to get back on the train and cross the border from Turkey into Greece, it was going to cost me. I could not believe what I was hearing. "Five hundred dollars!" The man at the desk didn't take his eyes off the book he w

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Religious Tolerance - A Brief History of a First-Rate Place

Excerpted from How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain By MarĂ­a Rosa Menocal The momentous events of eighth-century Europe were first set in train by the death of Muhammad, the Prophet who bore the Revelation of submission to God that is Islam. The story of Muhammad's transformation, from ordinary citizen of Mecca to charismatic military leader and radical founder of a religious and civil order, played itself out in a corner of

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The Priest - Exorcist as Hero

Excerpted from American Exorcism: Expelling Demons in the Land of Plenty By Michael W. Cuneo, Ph.D. While fascinating in its own right, evangelical and charismatic deliverance ministry never really succeeded during the 1980s in capturing the imagination of the broader American public. Deliverance inspired no blockbuster movies or bestselling books; there was no William Peter Blatty or Malachi Martin waiting in the wings to convert it into a full-fledged cultural icon. I

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Inner Darkness - How I Lost the Mormons

Excerpted from Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith By Martha Beck, Ph.D. I hear a rustling sound from the coat closet, and for a moment I stop breathing. My mind produces a quick succession of catastrophic images: Miranda wrestling boredom, claustrophobia, and cramped muscles until she can no longer stand it, then bursting out of her hiding place, gasping for air and space. My father startled into a fatal heart attack. An all-Mormon jury convic

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What Does the Pope Do? Religious Leader

Excerpted from Conclave: The Politics, Personalities, and Process of the Next Papal Election By John L. Allen, Jr. While religion is still a powerful force in shaping culture, it no longer controls the culture in the West. The dominant realities of the modem period are secularization and pluralism. Institutions such as the media, education, social services, and the courts operate independently of ecclesiastical control. Governments no longer compel membership in a parti

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Living a Year of Kaddish - Fall

Excerpted from Living a Year of Kaddish: A Memoir By Ari L. Goldman Sometimes I think of my whole life as a search for my father. After my mother left him, my father was a distant presence, physically and in some ways emotionally. For the occasional weekends and Jewish holidays my brothers and I spent with him, Dad would drive in from Hartford in his old Chevy and pick us up at my mother's house in Queens, not lingering for a minute more than absolutely necessary. Those

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