Chodron, Pema

I was raised a catholic and believe that once a catholic, always a catholic. But I have learned a great deal about staying "present" or "awake" in the world from the works of Pema Chodron, an American Buddhist nun.  Her books are remarkable, I think, for their clarity and common sense.  A must for anyone who wants to bring relief to suffering in a world that suffers.

Chodron, P. (1991).
The Wisdom of No Escape And The Path of Loving-Kindness .  Boston: Shambhala.

Chodron, P. (1994). 
Start Where You Are: A Guide To Compassionate Living. Boston: Shambhala.

Chodron, P. (1997).
When things fall apart: Heart advice for difficult times.  Boston: Shambhala.

Chodron, P. (2001).
The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times. Boston: Shambhala

Chodron, P. (2002).
Comfortable with uncertainty: 108 teachings. Boston: Shambhala.

Pema Chodron's books are available in many bookstores (usually in the Eastern Philosophy/Tibetan Buddhism section). You can also find a complete listing at Shambhala Publications.

Linn, Dennis, Sheila and Matthew

"In every aspect of our lives, we become like the God we adore. For example, in a time when we have the capacity to annihilate one another with nuclear weapons, many churches have issued pastoral letters on peace. Our church's pastoral letter says that we can never use nuclear weapons against our enemies.  However, if my God can send God's enemies to a hell inferno, then I can send a nuclear inferno on my enemies.  But if my God doesn't treat people, I can't either.  We find that a key to personal and social healing is healing our image of God."

So goes a paragraph from the Linn's book,
Good Goats: Healing Our Image of God, a "refreshing and needed correction to the 'hell and brimstone' preaching which has frequently turned the good news of the Gospel into bad news for men and women" (from the back cover remarks of John R. Sachs, Western School of Theology). I really like this book, given to me by a participant at one of my workshops (Kent, Washington, February, 2003).  Wherever you are, thank you!

Linn, D., Fabricant Linn, S. & Linn, M. (1994).
Good goats: Healing our image of God.  Mawah, NY: Paulist Press.

Available through the Paulist Press.  Also Available in video cassette.

National Organization on Disability

From Mouth Magazine]:  Religious organizations may be exempt from some sections of the ADA, but they must answer to a higher power.  Making that case to congregations is the life work of Ginny Thornburgh and Lorraine Thal at the National Organization on Disability.  They do so persuasively, with love, in a positive and ecumenical spirit.

[Mouth Magazine]  recommends their remarkable publications, "Loving Justice," "From Barriers to Bridges," and "That All May Worship."  Derived from the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, the Torah, and from everyday sense and sensibility -- one example of that:
What do you say when you meet a person with a disability? How about 'hello?' -- the books offer a sample floor plan for an accessible sanctuary, an audit of barriers to worship, conference planning and resource listings to help get any congregation on board.  The books are also available on audiocassette.

Connect with the accessible congregations campaign at www.nod.org or by writing to NOD at 910 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20006. Phone 202-293-5960 TDD 202-293-5968

Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy

The Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy addresses the nation's need for a fuller, balanced assessment of the emerging role of faith-based organizations in the American social welfare system. Check out the web site for recent additions.

O'Donohue, John

In his book
Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections On Our Yearning To Belong, John O'Donohue, a Catholic Scholar, writes beautifully of our "most basic of human desires -- the need to belong, a desire that constantly draws us to new possibilities of self-discovery, friendship, and creativity."  Thanks to Cheryl H. for the recommendation.

O'Donohue, J. (1999).
Eternal echoes: Celtic reflections on our yearning to belong. New York: Haper Collins Publishers.

Available in local bookstores and also from one of the online outlets such as  Amazon.com or Powells.com or Half.com

Simmons, Philip

Philip Simmons' book, Learning To Fall: The Blessings Of An Imperfect Life is a new favorite.  Simmons discovered, at the age of 35, that he had Lou Gehrig's disease.  Told that he had less than five years to live, Simmons "chronicles his search for peace and his deepening relationship with the mystery of everyday life" (book jacket).  I love this book.

Simmons, P. (2002).
Learning to fall: The blessings of an imperfect life. New York: Bantam Books.

Available in local bookstores and through the Learning to Fall web site.  Also available from one of the online outlets such as  Amazon.com or Powells.com or Half.com

Weiss, Andrew

"Knowing that most people do not stop their lives to engage in spiritual practice, Buddhist teacher Andrew Weiss has always taught the direct application of practice to daily life...
Beginning Mindfulness...blends the traditions of [Buddhism] into an easy and humorous program of learning...mindfulness" (from the book jacket).

Weiss, A. (2004).
Beginning mindfulness: Learning the way of awareness (a ten-week course). Novato, CA: New World Library.

Available in local bookstores (Bantam Books) and through the New World Library website.  Also available from one of the online outlets such as  Amazon.com or Powells.com or Half.com

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© David Pitonyak