Course Meets World Commentary Greg Mackie

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.

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  • Does Hell Exist? The idea of hell has a strong hold on the human imagination. Virtually every religious tradition has some version of it. In the West, even people who have never been inside a church are familiar with the traditional image of hell as a fiery, underground abode where horned devils with pitchforks torment the damned for eternity. But does it really exist?
  • A Prayer for Virginia Tech We've all heard the news by now: A student at Virginia Tech University killed thirty-two people and then himself, in the deadliest shooting incident in modern U.S. history. All of us at the Circle of Atonement extend our heartfelt condolences and prayers to everyone touched in any way by this tragedy.
  • Healing the Slaughterhouse Many people point to the beauty and order of nature as evidence for God. Just today, in fact, I was reading a Time Magazine article about Albert Einstein's spirituality—his belief in a "God who reveals himself in the harmony of all that exists." What better evidence could there be of the Love and plenitude of God (or the Goddess) than the glorious circle of life?
  • The Perfect Lesson This week is Holy Week, the week Christians commemorate the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. This week is central to the Christian faith, for according to the tenets of that faith, the events Holy Week celebrates are those which brought about the Atonement, humankind's reconciliation with God.
  • God Still Speaks A Course in Miracles tells us that "God's Voice speaks to me all through the day" (W-pI.49.Heading). An essential teaching of the Course is that we should listen to that Voice and let it guide all of our decisions. This guidance needn't take the form of an audible voice: it can come through a thought, an image, a feeling, or myriad other ways. Whatever form it takes, discerning God's Voice clearly on a consistent basis is a skill that won't be learned overnight. Yet the Course promises that, with time and practice, we can hear God's Voice, and that Voice will lead us home.
  • Unmasking the "Vain Brain" I recently read a review of what looks like a fascinating book: A Mind of Its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives, by Cordelia Fine, a psychologist at the Australian National University. (The review is by Richard Lipkin, and appears in the August/September 2006 issue of Scientific American Mind.) The main theme of this book is how the human mind distorts perceptions to make itself look good: a phenomenon Fine calls the "vain brain."
  • Welcome to the Family of God This week, I read an inspiring New York Times story about a man named Roy Ratcliff, minister of the Mandrake Road Church of Christ in Madison, Wisconsin. He was living an ordinary life as a nondescript minister of a small church, when one day something happened that changed his life forever. In April 1994, he was called to the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin, because an inmate wanted to be baptized. In and of itself, a minister baptizing a prisoner is nothing unusual. This, however, was no run-of-the-mill prisoner. It was Jeffrey Dahmer, the notorious serial killer.
  • The Lost Tomb of Jesus? I just watched The Lost Tomb of Jesus, a film produced by James Cameron (of Titanic fame) which has caused quite a stir among those interested in the historical Jesus. It claims that a tomb discovered in Jerusalem in 1980 is highly likely to be the family tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. Based on a number of factors, especially the inscriptions on some of the ossuaries found there (ossuaries are limestone boxes that contain the bones of the deceased), the film claims that Jesus, his mother Mary, several other relatives, and Mary Magdalene were entombed there. It speculates that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had a son together. (A "Judah, Son of Jesus" was also buried in the tomb.) Needless to say, if all this is true, it has huge ramifications for how we view Jesus.
  • Giving Our Sleep to the Holy Spirit When we face a difficult problem in our lives, we are often advised to "sleep on it." A recent article in the Daily Mail (UK) describes scientific research that supports this advice. A number of studies have shown that sleep does a lot more than simply provide rest and recuperation. A great deal of mental processing happens during sleep. In the words of the article, "Sleep strengthens the memory and helps the brain extract themes and rules from the masses of information we soak up during the day." In short, sleep is a time of learning.
  • The Holiest Spot on Earth An article in the most recent issue of Time Magazine describes the newest front in the seemingly never-ending abortion war in the United States: "crisis pregnancy centers," clinics run by pro-life groups that aim to dissuade women from getting abortions. Pro-choice advocates argue that these clinics subtly pressure women to forego abortions, and that they don't give women the accurate information they need to make an informed choice. Pro-life advocates counter that it's groups like Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics that don't give accurate information, because they have a vested interest in performing abortions. And so the controversy rages on.

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