Things are pretty quiet around the community these days. Most of us who work full time had only two or three days of ministry during the weeks of Christmas and New Year's. It's a good time to catch up on anything you need to catch up on.
So, for your New Year's thoughts here's one of the good articles I found while catching up on my browsing through magazines that I've neglected recently.
It's a list of a dozen or so basic life/spirituality questions and answers from Rabbi Rami Shapiro. Here are a couple to whet your appetite:
What is religion, and how do I know which one is right for me? Think of a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Each piece is unique--no two pieces are the same--yet unless each piece joins with all the others, it has no meaning or purpose. Life is like this puzzle, and you are one piece within it. Religion's task is to help you take your place, to help you recognize and live out your connection with and responsibility toward all life. A religion is right for you when it helps you find and take your place in the puzzle. A religion is wrong for you if it forces you into a shape that isn't you at all. If your religion celebrates who you are even as it helps you become more than you are, it is probably a good fit.
What happens when I die? Place an ice cube in a tub of warm water. Where does the cube go when it melts? You are the cube; God is the water. For a while you seem separate from the water, but eventually you melt--you die--and discover that you, too, are water. Have fun being a cube; just don't forget that all cubes are water, and everything is God.
Which is true: science or religion? Which is true: basketball or soccer? In basketball you dribble the ball, but you can't kick it. In soccer you kick it, but you can't dribble. Each is a way of moving a ball from one end of a rectangle to another. If you play soccer, you have to play by soccer's rules. If you play basketball, you have to play by basketball's rules. The same is true of science and religion. They are two games people play to understand life. Each has rules, and both are true, according to those rules. Learn to play both games; the more you play, the more fascinating and meaningful life becomes.
These are from the magazine Spirituality and Health. It is available online, but not till mid-January when the next issue comes out. Right now it's only in the magazine. But here's the link in case you circle back and want to see it later. The column is: "Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler" by Rabbi Rami Shapiro, November-December 2008 issue.
Seven-mile creek as it ran through our property this weekend in the midst of the first big winter thaw. All the melting snow from 4-5 miles south of Lake Erie flowed down into the lake via the many creeks that line the shore. Many of them overflowed or nearly so. Ours doesn't, but it certainly gets high. For those who aren't familiar with its "normal" look, let's just say you can normally see rocks and shale sticking out of it all along the way.