Spring is officially here! Is the extra sunlight helping you with your first Spiritual Exercise? Ready for more?
Each month, in our Spirit in Practice (SiP) Circles, we invite all of us to put our spiritual lives and our inner voices at the forefront of our days. There are many, many things that compete for our attention. But the soul, as Quaker Parker Palmer describes it, is like a wild animal. It is only when you stop and find a stillness that the soul emerges. Our monthly spiritual exercise reminds us to stop, find a stillness, and listen to the still, small voice within.
Engage our spiritual exercises this month as we explore the theme of Citizens.
Each week we will post a spiritual exercise. In each exercise, we are using a new version of the word “good.” Good meaning not solely selfish and not solely unselfish. Good meaning that I am for myself and I am for others. Will we engage in acts that benefit our goodness as well as the larger good?
Exercise: Being a “Good” Steward
Make your pledge card a spiritual act. Seriously.
In March UCS members and friends make financial promises to the congregation that enable UCS to fulfill our mission for the upcoming year.
- Reflect on the definition of stewardship.
In our congregation, we define stewardship as: “Stewardship is about taking care of what we value and helping it to grow. In defining what is important to us and making a place in our lives for contributing our time, talent, and treasure towards this, we are empowered to make significant change and to lead more meaningful, spiritually satisfying lives.”
2. Take a moment to reflect and journal:
- If our congregation vanished tomorrow, what would you miss?
- If our congregation vanished tomorrow from our community, what do you think others would miss?
- In what ways are you a consumer of our congregation’s mission & programs?
- In what ways are you a steward of our congregation’s mission & programs?
- What in our congregation have you inherited? What do you want to leave behind for others?
Note: If the answers to these questions leave you unsettled, do not worry. This is an invitation to come closer. Take time to talk with someone in your congregations about your feelings!
3. Read the article: “The Mirrors of Your Checkbook”
- What does your “checkbook” mirror back? What do you value? And if you had a magic wand, what would you change? What would you keep?
Deeper Dive Resources: The Deeper Dive is a way for you to reflect and connect. Listen within for which quote and question hooks you. Or draws you in. Then, consider meeting up with a few friends or joining a SiP Circle to sit with the questions and head others’ responses.
Think about how being a citizen means talking with people about what matters most with this speech by Sister Simone Campbell.
- Question: When was the last time you asked someone – a friend or a stranger in a grocery line – about a controversial topic in the life of our country?
“What about the contacts your mum had?” his dad asked.
“I rang and spoke to four very polite computers who gave me all these options and then cut out on me. Then I tried the post office, because they were advertising, and I spoke to another computer. Very rude, that one. Don’t think it recognized ‘Are you shitting me?’ as an option.”
“You know why that is?”
“Why is that, Dominic?” Tom had asked drolly, because he knew he was going to be told why.
“Because we don’t live in a society anymore, Tom. We live in an economy. We’re not citizens. We’re customers. That’s what this government’s done to us.”
~ Melina Marchetta, The Piper’s Son
- Question: How do we live in an economy and not a country? Where is our democracy ALIVE today?
“…pointed out that the corporation enjoys the same rights as a living person under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. This concept was upheld in 1886 by the Supreme Court in ‘Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company’ and has been a fact of law ever since. I emphasized to those executives that the corporation should also be required to accept the same responsibilities as those expected of a person; it too should be a good citizen, an honorable, ethical member of the community. In the case of international corporations, that community has to be defined as the world.”
~ John Perkins, The Secret History of the American Empire
- Question: How do you think we, as citizens, can seek good for ourselves and for others? How do you think we, as consumers, can seek good for ourselves and for others? Are the two at cross-purposes?
Like to learn more about Spirit in Practice? Contact Kimberly Rossiter, our Membership Coordinator: email@example.com.