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We're All Vulnerable

You, me, the President of the United States, and every other creature under the sun: all of us are fragile and exposed to the scary things of the world.

Yet we prefer the illusion of invulnerability, don't we? "I'm fine," we often reply when asked how we're doing. Most people I know would rather think of themselves as safe & protected than accept mortality as a constant companion. (I know which option I prefer!)

Meanwhile, the great religious and spiritual traditions of the world teach the wisdom of embracing our vulnerability. Ecclesiastes, a text sacred to Jews as well as Christians, says "the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same: They all have the same breath, ...and all turn to dust again."

The Buddha repeatedly emphasized the impermanence of all things. He said we miss a vital aspect of reality if we do not see that everything, including our own lives, can (and eventually will) be blown out like a candle flame.

A not-so-welcome gift of the coronavirus pandemic is the invitation to fully awaken to our shared vulnerability. There is wisdom in recognizing what we have in common with animals. plants, and the earth itself: we're all frail, and life is fleeting.

From there, it's not such a big leap to conclude that, fundamentally, we belong to each other. From such a vantage point, it's easier to recognize that supporting and encouraging one another is better than giving in to suspicion, fear, and mistrust. If we're all vulnerable, we all need each other. 

At Center for Spiritual Wisdom, we envision a world in which mutual support and encouragement are more common. In this edition of our e-news, you'll discover how you can be part of this vital work. I am personally asking for your support, and hope you will consider a gift to help us keep our doors open in the coming months.

-Rob Field, Director

photo credit: Erika Fletcher on Unsplash


Will You Help Us Make It Across?

Center for Spiritual Wisdom has been negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic — which is true for most small non-profits we know of. Program-generated revenues have dropped significantly since March, and the generosity of donors is the only way we've been able to keep our doors open since then.

We're determined not to be a casualty of this period of unprecedented uncertainty, but we will need your help to make it to the other side. We are asking friends of CSW to join one of our Giving Circles: $1,000 or more per year (Founder's Circle); $50 or more per month (Circle of Fifty); or $100 to $500 per year (Circle of Friends). It's easy to donate by sending a check payable to "CSW" or donating online using a credit card at THIS PAGE.

Gifts of any amount are welcome, and deeply appreciated. No one can single-handedly carry us across the river. But we believe we can get there together, and enjoy Vibrant Spiritual Life along the way. 


 

Register Now for 'Wisdom of World Religions' — Begins Online Oct. 11


Some Spaces Remain for 6-week Learning Series

Sundays from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Oct. 11 - Nov. 15


The great spiritual traditions of the world have given the rest of us a priceless gift: their wisdom. And it's available for us to learn and enjoy, right now.

Join CSW Director Rob Field for a 6-week online learning series: The Wisdom of World Religions. The series will be held on Sundays beginning Oct. 11 and ending Nov. 15. Participants will come together using Zoom video conferencing, and each session will be held on Sundays from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Eastern.

The series will focus on the spiritual teachings in Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Taoism. Each of these 6 traditions will have its own focus week during the series.

Participants will benefit from concise reading material, audio-visual supplements, live presentations, and group interactions. Cost of the series is $229 per person, and registrations are being accepted now. Registration will close on Oct. 9.

Read more about the series HERECLICK HERE to register or CONTACT Rob for further information. 

CSW's Reel Spirit Movie Project features John Lewis: Good Trouble in October

 

Our selection for October is the acclaimed documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble. Center for Spiritual Wisdom will host an online community discussion of this important and timely film Thursday, Oct. 15 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Eastern. We will welcome to our discussion co-producer Katy Barksdale, our special guest for the evening.

John Lewis: Good Trouble offers an intimate account of legendary U.S. Representative John Lewis’ life, legacy, and more than 60 years of extraordinary activism—from the bold teenager on the front lines of the Civil Rights movement to the legislative powerhouse he was throughout his career. For more information about the film see https://www.johnlewisgoodtrouble.com.


The event is free and open to the first 20 registrants, and donations to CSW will be gratefully accepted. Participants are asked to view John Lewis: Good Trouble on their own before the evening of Oct. 15th. Facilitator for the evening will be Tony Gillman, CSW board member and head of the Reel Spirit Movie Project.

Learn more about the event HERE. To register or receive additional information, please email Cindy Decker at communications@centersw.org. To donate to the Center, click HERE.

FINAL CALL for SOULS SEEKING JUSTICE
-a group for conversation, reflection, & discernment-

Center for Spiritual Wisdom is forming a new group called "Souls Seeking Justice." In response to the challenges of our time, many spiritually-minded people are asking, "What am I called to do to advance the cause of justice?" This can be a difficult question to answer without conversation or companionship. That's the reason for Souls Seeking Justice: to reflect, discuss, and discern in the company of others. There is no charge to be part of the group, and donations will be gratefully accepted from participants. The group will meet weekly until after the General Election in November, and then twice a month. The meeting day and time will be Thursdays from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern. Learn more about this project HERE. Contact Rob Field at director@centersw.org by Oct. 12 to inquire.
 

You Will Have Mail!

 
Center for Spiritual Wisdom is sending letters to our friends as part of our end-of-year funding appeal. As a young non-profit organization, we rely on donors to help sustain us, especially in the midst of the pandemic-generated downturn. Please look for a letter from us next week, either in your mailbox or via email. If you're not sure we have your mailing address and would prefer to receive a hard-copy version of the mailing, please send it to us using our contact form. We'll be happy to send you an old-fashioned letter. THANK YOU in advance for considering our need and, if you're able, making a generous gift. CSW is a 501 (c) (3) organization, and all donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
 


'Making COVID Lemonade'
Reflections on the Advent of the Reel Spirit Movie Project

Center for Spiritual Wisdom’s “Reel Spirit Movie Project” recent inaugural film discussion was a success by most any measurement. Fourteen people attended by Zoom to discuss “Dead Men Walking” on August 27. The discussion offered both depth and breadth, touching on all intended themes envisioned by the project: a celebration of the art of filmmaking and the exploration of social, religious, intra-personal, and spiritual dimensions. As of now, the project has a monthly slate of films queued up through February 2021, with John Lewis: Good Trouble coming October 15. And yet, for a brief time, such success seemed unlikely.

The original vision of the project was much different. Aligning with the success of Phillip Henry’s Pisgah Film House, the Reel Spirit Movie Project had assumed in-person viewing followed by discussion. Questions abounded. How much for licensing fees and space to rent? Should we charge admission? Should we rely on gracious donations? What type of movies? Then, entering stage left, right, everywhere! came COVID-19.  A question—the question—came to the project committee in early March: Do we even do this?

Of course, we did, after rethinking the delivery and discussion model. Instead of in-person viewing and discussion, participants would view on their own and then meet electronically to discuss. And while it seemed we were forced into making accommodations to outside forces beyond our control, by remaining open to the promise of the project we may have found a cost-effective, geography-busting model that outlives the pandemic. Open hearts and open ears lead to opportunity, not abandonment.

(Read the rest of Terry's reflection at CSW web site HERE.)

Terry Decker

Terry is a member of the Center's Reel Spirit Movie Project task force
 
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