Spiritual Exploration in Tough Times
by Paul Chaffee
Squeezing in a prayer on a comfortable day in a self-satisfied life is more difficult than turning to the Spirit (however that happens on your path) in times that seem bleak, broken, and hopeless. So as natural disasters keep bumping into each other and onto our screens, as violent madness snuffs out the lives of beloved family members, and as refugees venture one step after another without a clue about when the steps will end, TIO is offering a few hours for your inward imagination, a few stories about providing light in dark times.
No one seriously suggests that spiritual exploration banishes the tough parts of life. But in all our traditions the wisdom writers have pointed to the kind of riches that can be achieved through spiritual exploration in spite of life’s toughness. Without banishing the dark side, spiritual exploration can transform troubles and rekindle our hopes for a better world, for a kinder and more caring humankind. Spiritual practice is a key to personal peace and can become a source of social peace. It is not an escape route, rather it provides the musculature for ethical, loving living. It can banish the fear of ‘the other’ and dissolve the shyness, the sense of aloneness that sometimes becomes a trap.
Goodness and caring seem so much more fragile, vulnerable than the powers of evil (however we define those words). But spiritual explorers in all our different traditions suggest that goodness will prevail after everything else is past.
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Convergence-on-Campus Launches this Month as TIO Supporting Partner
On October 1, Convergence-on-Campus, a new interfaith organization, was launched along with its website, www.convergenceoncampus.org. The goal of Convergence is to support campus professionals, specifically higher-education administrators and religious-life professionals, to enhance college and university campus environments for religious, secular, and spiritual identities through policy and practice.
To date these professionals work with few collaborative opportunities or a common language for shared issues. Convergence will provide enhanced skills, internal networking, and an opportunity to create strategic plans to improve and/or capitalize on existing policies and practices. To this end, it will utilize a newsletter, webinars, blogs, podcasts, and on-site trainings aimed at engendering campus environments that are accessible, safe, and positively impactful for students of all beliefs.
Convergence’s founder and executive director is Rev. J. Cody Nielsen, recently appointed Methodist chaplain at Harvard University and Protestant chaplain at MIT.
From its inception, Convergence has made a commitment to be a TIO Supporting Partner. Highlights from its program will show up on TIO’s homepage each month, and it will work to increase TIO’s readership. All of us at TIO welcome Convergence-on-Campus into the burgeoning interfaith swirl that is a source of hope for peace-loving people everywhere.
Header Photo: Wikipedia