Thursday, February 24, 2011

Gathering Images

The Swedenborg Church bases its teachings on the Bible as illuminated by the works of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). Swedenborg was a scientist, inventor, theologian and was well respected in the Swedish Parliament. He claims to have spoken to angels and spirits in the afterlife for over 26 years and wrote 22 vols. The most popular are: "Divine Love and Wisdom", "Heaven and Hell" and two vols. on "True Christian Religion".

He believed that everything in the created world was a mirror to the spiritual world. This was known as "Correspondences". "Images of Knowing" is a stunning visual poem exploring the meaning of these images and our place in the universe based on Swedenborg's writings. His timeless and universal insights underscore the importance of love, of the mind's awakening, and of useful engagement in the world.

The DVD is narrated by Academy Award-winner Anne Baxter. Led by Dick Marine, we will view the DVD and then discuss our responses to it. As Swedenborg taught that nature was a mirror to the spiritual world, our offering will be designated for The Nature Conservancy. And don't forget about our on-going collection of canned and boxed food for Project Dignidad. Our potluck theme is "food that soothes the soul," otherwise known as comfort food. Please remember, we always have more than plenty for everyone - so bring yourself and enjoy!

Sunday, 27 February, 5:30 pm
618 Locust

Friday, February 18, 2011

Turn the Other Cheek

We've all heard - and maybe said - "turn the other cheek." But what does that mean - really? Is it a call to be passive in the face of conflict and abuse? And, of course, we all know what "love your enemies" means, right? And "pray for those who persecute you." We've all heard these things - and have heard we should be able to do these things if we're "REALLY" a Christian, or if we're "REALLY" a person seeking to live a life of spirituality.

The good news is that it's not so simple. Maybe, just maybe, this injunction found in the Christian gospel of Matthew 5 is more complicated than it seems. We'll explore this text and the complexities of living a life grounded in Spirit this Sunday night.

A clue to where the evening will take us is our offering designee: Neighbors in Need. Neighbors in Need (NIN) is a special mission offering of the United Church of Christ that supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. One-third of NIN funds support the Council for American Indian Ministry. Two-thirds of the offering is used by the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects.

Our potluck theme is regular: anything you'd like to share with your Gathering neighbors will be great!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Film Night!

Sunday, February 13, 2011,
5:30 pm, 618 Locust Street

We know spiritual transformation and healing, while worth the pursuit, aren't easy under the best of circumstances - and certainly challenging in a maximum-security prison. The movie "The Dhamma Brothers" is a testament to the challenges, possibilities, and satisfactions of deep inner healing. "This compelling documentary follows a group of prisoners at a maximum-security Alabama penitentiary as they embark on a transformative odyssey by immersing themselves in a grueling 10-day meditative retreat rooted in Buddhist teachings. During the wrenching course of self-examination and self-discipline, the inmates are forced to confront their crimes, inner demons and dark memories - which ultimately puts them on a path to deep-seated healing."

Neil Snipes will lead the discussion. For the pot-luck, bring anything "movie-watching" friendly and/or red in honor of Valentine's Day. Our offering will go to Buddhist Peace Fellowship. Please join us!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gathering to Celebrate Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is the most important festival in Chinese culture, and this year, the Year of the Rabbit, begins today, 3 February 2011. The festival begins on the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese calendar and ends with Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day. The origin of Chinese New Year is centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Ancient Chinese New Year is a reflection on how the people behaved and what they believed in the most.

We will explore the myths, beliefs and subsequent behaviors that create Chinese New Year this Sunday night when we gather for worship. Because this is also Super Bowl Sunday, we will combine some Chinese and American traditions for our offering and pot-luck dinner. Our offering is two-fold: we'll collect cans of soup for Project Dignidad and also participate financially in the Souper Bowl of Caring.

For our meal, Dick suggests we have Chinese soup in super-size bowls; also feel free to bring anything Chinese and/or anything super - in or out of a bowl.

Sunday, 6 February,
5:30 pm, 618 Locust Street