Another year is edging into the waning months, and I was reviewing the performance of this blog and looking at which themes, blogs and days were most popular. I found that 1 blog post moved from position #6 last year to the top position (#1) this year.
The blog was titled, Jesus: the great example.
I wrote it in 2015 as I wrestled with some divergent perspectives on giving inside the New Thought (specifically CSL) movement. I was pretty fired up about some things at that time and wrote a few different articles on the topic, including one that cites Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
I still feel strongly that a spiritual organization that claims to be built on philosophies that include the teachings of Jesus cannot then teach that giving to need is anathema. Any serious scholar of the Christian tradition knows that – flowery biblical language aside – Jesus taught giving and love as he also demonstrated the workings of Universal spiritual law.
And yet, in Christian and metaphysical organizations this concept of giving can become unnecessarily complex. I’ve stepped back from believing that the measure of 10% is a requirement for demonstrating abundance, and believe that the character of our heart toward giving is more important than the decimal point on our checks.
I’ve seen too many circumstances where the focus on handing over 10% supersedes cultivating a giving spirit and it’s a zero sum game. Spiritual wisdom across cultures and time have highlighted the importance of a developing a giving nature in ourselves, which takes place at all times – not just when the offering basket passes by.
Some of the more business-minded center/church folks will tell you that this is the modern world; how can you budget without some idea of what to expect? And yet this flies in the face of what is being taught: that we are provided, always.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? [Matthew 6:25-26]
Organized religion in the United States is undergoing tremendous change and metaphysical organizations are not immune to the societal pressures facing our family, friends and colleagues in the traditional religious sector. One of the defining issues in this great change is authenticity. People are no longer willing to swallow hook-line-sinker what the minister says. They look at actions; they read, think for themselves and ask hard questions. And this is nothing but GOOD for religion and spirituality.
After the very public and painful displays of disrespect and ignorance that we have witnessed for the past 2 years, this nation and indeed the world is ready for a shift. And spiritual people can lead this shift if we remember core principles of the teachings that so many traditions have been built on, and practiced.
In a word, it all comes back to love.
17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. [1 John 3:17-18]
We’ll soon be celebrating the holiday season, and in many metaphysical centers and churches, this means that prosperity programs are right around the corner. What if we start the shift this country needs with a focus on giving to our communities instead of tabulating what our members are demonstrating and adding up the tithes? Let’s know that we are provided, individually and as organizations, and lead the way back to love.
Community organizations that serve the most vulnerable populations are grateful for the holiday spirit that brings in record-level donations, but the needs they serve are year-round. Smaller centers and churches can pick a single recipient and tailor the giving to youth and adults. Larger centers and churches may find joy in identifying different recipient organizations for youth and adults to support.
I have often seen new people wander into a center or send an email and ask: “Who are you? What do you teach – what do you believe?”
How awesome it would be if people knew us by the Good we did in our community – Good so impactful that people want to be a part of it because they can feel the love; they can see the consistent demonstration of a giving attitude or spirit.
And so as we plan ahead for another new year, let us not love in word or talk – but in deed and in truth.
And so it is.
(C) 2017 Practitioner's Path