Tag Archives: spirituality

Weekly Linkage: Art, Science, and Spirituality

It’s been a hot minute since I posted any links. Apparently this is also the Elf Sternberg addition, since three of his posts appear here. Good stuff.

  • Lands of Dream Donation Drive – Jonas is doing one of the coolest donation drive ideas I’ve seen. Donate, and receive a detailed description and beautiful picture from the Lands of Dream. What in the hell is the Lands of Dream? Go play The Book of Living Magic. Took me about an hour (I read every description!), and everything about it is gorgeous: the art, the writing, and the music. Then take a look at some of the art/writing that Verena and Jonas are producing as part of their drive.

    Then donate. (Mine is in the queue, and I’m so excited to see what I get!)

  • Embracing pain | dooce® – “What this therapy enabled me to do as well was hold that blight in my bare hands and cover it with tears. Because the Heather who had mounted all those excuses would have acknowledged it, tipped her hat, and moved right along. Too much to get done to dwell on such things.”
  • Elf M. Sternberg – On picking up Stoicism… – My own struggle with Buddhism separation from other people led me to examine the idea of the Bodhisattva, but that feels… arrogant. Elitist. Dragging people to enlightenment. I don’t like it when skeptics who are assholes do it, so why would I want to join the party?

    I’ve become too much of a people person to want to detach and be a pure observer. I’m not sure that Stoicism is a good fit for me, but after reading Elf’s account, my curiosity is piqued. Continue reading Weekly Linkage: Art, Science, and Spirituality

Missing: spiritual discourse

A visit to my favorite local UU church this past weekend led to the realization that I probably won’t be getting my spiritual fulfillment from a church any time soon.

The two things that draw me to church are:

  1. the peaceful environment;
  2. the people — my friends and their parents and the various children; and
  3. the promise of some spiritual tidbit being intellectually examined in a way that leaves me enriched in some way when it’s over. I don’t think I can get that from a standard sermon.

The last really requires discussion, not a lecture/sermon, and optimally a discussion with some of those people I’m there to be with.

The sermon I heard this weekend really drove this point home. It was argued that UU religious education is failing because, even though the ideas of skepticism and worldly knowledge are instilled in the children, the children don’t strongly associate those things with being UUs.

As if that education is all for naught if the grown child doesn’t automatically answer that they’re a UU when asked.

As if, you know, it’s all about trading one type of label-loving indoctrination for another.

I didn’t want to sit and passively take that in. I wanted to argue and get at the real heart of the issue, which might be that UU church is having trouble getting and retaining youthful adults (18 – 30 year olds). That’s not due to a lack of indoctrination, that’s due to a lack of relevant and deep discussions.

In talking with folks afterwards, it was proposed that the dinners that used to be held at Michael and Nathan‘s house fulfilled some of that purpose. Six to ten of us would get together, share in cooking and chat.

The problem with groups, of course, is that the larger the group, the more superficial the conversation. But if you shrink the group and give it a purpose — to discuss spiritual things — you run into the artificiality issue that arises with any group coming together to do something out of the context of the rest of their lives. It will very easily feel unnatural and forced.

“Well, Bob, what should we talk about next week?”

“Hmm, I don’t know, Jayne. Let’s try life after death this time. How about that?”

“Oh, boy, Bob, I think that’ll be great fun. Okay, everyone, do some thinking about life after death for next week. Maybe each of us can get creative and draw up some diagrams!”

That’s not worth anyone’s time. The best, most revealing discussions happen fairly naturally among people who are already thoughtful about the issues at hand. I can cherry pick those people, but I can’t easily force that natural conversation except through proximity.

Which puts me back at the dinners that aren’t happening anymore. I don’t have the facilities right now to hold gatherings like that, and by the time I do, many of the people I’d like to have them with will be gone to grad school or far away jobs.

Maybe the best I can do is to work on my proximity to some of those thoughtful people on a more individual basis.