Course Meets World Commentary
On this page, I will post short commentaries relating A Course in Miracles to a topic "in the news." Here's how it works: I will present material drawn from the world's media—a newspaper article, a blog, an Internet discussion, etc. (with a link to the original source). Then, I will discuss the relationship I see between it and A Course in Miracles. For example, I might show how it echoes things said in the Course, or contrast what it says with the Course's view of the same topic. The goal is to bring a Course perspective to topics being discussed in the larger world.
- Going the Extra 5K: An Olympic Holy Encounter As we leave behind the recently completed Olympics in Rio, I'm reflecting on a question that Course students have asked me often over the years: Is competitive athletics compatible with A Course in Miracles? Obviously, like so many endeavors in human life, this one is fraught with the quest for specialness. These are events in which people literally compete to see who has the best body; the official Olympic motto, after all, is "Faster, Higher, Stronger." That being said, the Holy Spirit can use any situation to teach His lesson of love and joining. With that in mind, I'd like to tell you about the Olympic holy encounter between Abbey D'Agostino and Nikki Hamblin.
- Living Up to Our Highest Values: A Miracle of Solidarity People often think of miracles as spectacular events like dramatic physical healings and the like. Certainly that is one category of miracles, as A Course in Miracles makes clear. But as we've emphasized so much here at the Circle, miracles most often take the form of small acts of human kindness that have a surprising transformative impact. Here, I'd like to share a story of what looks to me like an example of such a miracle, performed by my wonderful partner, Patricia.
Raised from the Dead?
An Extraordinary Story of Forgiveness and Transformation A Course in Miracles claims that we can literally raise people from the dead, just as Jesus did in his earthly life (see T-1.I.24:1). There is, after all, no order of difficulty in miracles. But this seems very hard to believe, to put it mildly, and the question naturally arises: Are there examples of people actually doing this? Actually, there are reports of people raising the dead, and while it's hard to say how much truth there is to them without careful investigation, I personally find them intriguing. Here, I'd like to share the story of Francis, a man who was purportedly raised from the dead through prayer and a remarkable commitment to forgiveness of the man who "killed" him.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A "Man for Others" I recently read an excellent biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor and theologian who was executed by the Nazis for participating in a plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler. The biography is called Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, by Eric Metaxis. (Numbers in parentheses throughout this article are page references to this work.) I've always connected with Bonhoeffer, which on the face of it may sound strange, since he was a conservative evangelical Lutheran who ended up supporting the killing of another human being—hardly a stance that brings to mind A Course in Miracles. Yet even so, for reasons I hope will become clear below, Bonhoeffer strikes me as a uncommonly good human being with qualities I admire and wish to emulate in my own way.
- More Evidence for the Course's "Law of Love" Many recent scientific studies have shown a positive correlation between helping other people and greater psychological well-being. I was recently pointed to yet another study that suggests this link. We seem to be accumulating more and more scientific evidence that, in the words of one of this study's authors, "When we help others we can also help ourselves." What A Course in Miracles calls "the law of love"- "What I give my brother is my gift to me" (W-pII.344.Heading)-seems more and more to be a genuine law that we can actually demonstrate in our daily lives.
- Give Love a Chance: A Sane Response to Extremist Islamic Terrorism Note: The specific audience for this article on extremist Islamic terrorism is non-Muslims in the Western world, simply because this is the main audience that reads my work. I believe the general principles I discuss here apply to everyone, but of course they would apply in different form to our Muslim brothers and sisters from all over the world, who are also struggling with this issue.
- The Power of Choosing to Be Grateful With the Thanksgiving holiday just past, I've been thinking a lot about gratitude. In line with this Thanksgiving theme, a colleague recently passed on to me a New York Times article by Arthur C. Brooks titled "Choose to Be Grateful. It Will Make You Happier." This article highlights what many studies have shown: that cultivating an "attitude of gratitude," to use the old cliché, is beneficial to ourselves and others in many ways. A Course in Miracles would certainly agree—in its view, gratitude practiced in the right spirit is an essential part of the path to God.
- Paris: The Patient Urgency of Now Everyone in the world knows what happened in Paris on Friday, November 13: a massive terrorist attack, with over 130 dead and many more wounded, and the Islamic State (ISIS) claiming responsibility. All of us at the Circle of Atonement join the world in sending love, light, and comfort to France and to anyone touched by the attacks in any way. We pray that the love of God our Father will bring healing to the victims, wisdom to all who are called to respond to this tragic event, and illumination to the misguided brothers who carried out these attacks. May we all find a better way.
- The Placebo Effect: How Deep Does It Go? I've always been fascinated by the placebo effect: the phenomenon in medicine where people can experience healing benefits from a fake medicine if they believe the medicine is real. How is it that a sugar pill can be equally or even more effective than an actual medication designed to treat a particular ailment? This has always struck me as intriguing evidence of the mind's role in healing—a major theme of A Course in Miracles. How deep does this effect go? No one knows, but researchers are discovering some very interesting and even downright odd manifestations of it. For instance, I recently came across some findings on the placebo effect which suggest that something very odd indeed is at work: The placebo effect in trials of painkillers is actually increasing—but strangely enough, only in America.
- The Umpqua Community College ShootingsDo we choose miracles or murder? As people who follow the news in the US know, there has been yet another school shooting, this time at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. On Thursday, October 1, Chris Harper-Mercer killed nine people and wounded nine others, engaged in a shootout with police, and then killed himself. Our loving thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved in this tragic event.