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Spirituality In Other Faiths


soren

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I would like to know how people on this site would answer this question:

What is the most powerful example of spirituality you have seen from a member of a different faith than your own?

I will give my own answer first.

My father-in-law is a couselor in the bishopric of an LDS ward. He served his mission in the 70s and has dedicated himself to the LDS faith. That his daughter and one of his sons have both left the Latter-day Saints is a pain to his soul that he does his best to keep in check, loving them in spite of their differences.

On the day of my wedding he was subjected to something I think may have been mortifying to him: He watched his daughter get married not simply in a Catholic Church, but in a very traditional and doctrinally centered liturgy with about 400 Catholics in attendance. If there was ever a time when the absoluteness of his own daughterâ??s conversion was made apparent to him, it was that day.

When it came time for him to give the toast, he stood up on a stage (with non-alcoholic wine) in front of a huge mass of people, probably 90% of whom would not have considered him a Christian, and he knew it. He spoke, as well as I remember, along these lines:

â??Those of you who know my daughter know she was not raised in the Catholic Church. But she was raised in a Church, and in a family, that does love the Lord Jesus. We brought her up to honor him, to follow him, and to know him as Savior. One of our most sacred doctrines is the doctrine of free agency, that man is given a choice, and it is part of Godâ??s plan that we each choose for ourself and seek him the best way that we can. My daughter has done everything according to her conscience, and with the agency that God gave her. We welcome Soren and the Filipskiâ??s into our family, and we embraqce them as our own.â?

His speech involved more topics than just that, but I record my impression of the part I best remember, the part that everyone who was at that wedding remembers. Almost a year and a half later, people I speak to mention how moving his speech was, and how brave he was to make such a statement.

At the same time, I have always felt sad for him. Even to this day, he has such a treadbare understanding of Catholic theology, particularly with regards to grace a free will, that I doubt he even begins to suspect how far he was from adding any new ideas to the beliefs of most of his hearers. Still, itâ??s impossible not to respect what he said, and I count it as a fond and deep memory.

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I would like to know how people on this site would answer this question:

What is the most powerful example of spirituality you have seen from a member of a different faith than your own?

During the monsoon season of 1983-84 in central Nepal, I was crossing a flooding river in the middle

of a terrible thunder-storm -- was up to my shoulders in rushing, muddy waters, when I lost my footing.

A Hindu farmer standing on the bank of the river jumped in, got to me befpre I went under for the

third time, and pulled me from the raging stream a half kilometer from where I had entered.

He refused all my efforts at repayment -- even though he was in rags and obviously malnurished himself.

When I asked what I could do, he merely said that his father had taught him to love all people and that I

should try and do the same -- that I should try and help any others that I myself might see in distress.

"Because," he said, "the same God made them as made you and me."

A Buddhist might have looked on in infinite compassion -- and might have hoped that I would thus

"escape the wheel of Karma," ---- but the Hindu risked his life to save mine.

What greater love hath any man?

UD

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In the Christian tradition Mother Teresa.
Heard a snippet about Mother Teresa on NPR which impressed me. When her private writings were revealed she suggested that early in her career she wasn't hearing God at all. The heavens were quiet to her -- giving no spiritual affirmation of her good works (Catholic theologians have a name for this... something like the "dark night" but I forget for sure). Nonetheless, with remarkable faith she persisted.
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I would like to know how people on this site would answer this question:

What is the most powerful example of spirituality you have seen from a member of a different faith than your own?

I will give my own answer first.

My father-in-law is a couselor in the bishopric of an LDS ward. He served his mission in the 70s and has dedicated himself to the LDS faith. That his daughter and one of his sons have both left the Latter-day Saints is a pain to his soul that he does his best to keep in check, loving them in spite of their differences.

On the day of my wedding he was subjected to something I think may have been mortifying to him: He watched his daughter get married not simply in a Catholic Church, but in a very traditional and doctrinally centered liturgy with about 400 Catholics in attendance. If there was ever a time when the absoluteness of his own daughterâ??s conversion was made apparent to him, it was that day.

When it came time for him to give the toast, he stood up on a stage (with non-alcoholic wine) in front of a huge mass of people, probably 90% of whom would not have considered him a Christian, and he knew it. He spoke, as well as I remember, along these lines:

â??Those of you who know my daughter know she was not raised in the Catholic Church. But she was raised in a Church, and in a family, that does love the Lord Jesus. We brought her up to honor him, to follow him, and to know him as Savior. One of our most sacred doctrines is the doctrine of free agency, that man is given a choice, and it is part of Godâ??s plan that we each choose for ourself and seek him the best way that we can. My daughter has done everything according to her conscience, and with the agency that God gave her. We welcome Soren and the Filipskiâ??s into our family, and we embraqce them as our own.â?

His speech involved more topics than just that, but I record my impression of the part I best remember, the part that everyone who was at that wedding remembers. Almost a year and a half later, people I speak to mention how moving his speech was, and how brave he was to make such a statement.

At the same time, I have always felt sad for him. Even to this day, he has such a treadbare understanding of Catholic theology, particularly with regards to grace a free will, that I doubt he even begins to suspect how far he was from adding any new ideas to the beliefs of most of his hearers. Still, itâ??s impossible not to respect what he said, and I count it as a fond and deep memory.

My understanding of the word spirituality means maybe alittle differant than yours?

The meaning of spirituality to me does not only include freindship and compassion alone.

Spirituality should for the most part be the manifestation of heavenly spirit.

Ones beleife in God to the extent of having those around us feel our heavenly influence.

Now using this understanding of spirituality, I have felt oft the influentual powers of others faith

around me at differant times in differant circumstances. {in other words the power of the Holy Ghost}.

Not usually as strong as i normally see the spirit manifested, but other faiths do have it.

:P

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One man that had a profound effect on me was a Jehovah's Witness. He was extremely kind, caring, and deeply devoted to his faith and to his family. Grounded in love for the scriptures. Our conversations during the weeks he was succumbing to cancer, are ones that have left a lasting impression on me. Not because of what he was facing, but because of why he was facing it at all (he wouldn't have surgery due to his views on blood). He was a man of unique character.

In addition, there are two Seventh-Day Adventists, one with a deep appreciation for bible prophecy, and the other with a deep devotion to the Savior. They broadened my own faith, expanded my still-limited understanding of truth, and deepened my appreciation for saints wherever they may be found.

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I donâ??t know that this is the â??most powerful,â? but it is the most recent. I have a friend of 19 (almost 20) years. He was the first friend I made when I moved to this hell-hole of a city, and we have been brothers ever since (at one point, his mom almost married one of my unclesâ?¦). We grew up in the same ward, but he ended up leaving the Church around the time we turned 17. I donâ??t believe he has attended church (other than for baby-blessings, etc.) since that time. For the most part, if I had to peg him into a belief classification, I would say heâ??s probably agnostic.

There was a tree in his backyard that had kicked-the-bucket, and he had told me that he was going to tear it out and put something new in. I came over to his house about 2 months ago, and went out back to see his progress on the tree to discover the tree held together with a series of ropes, boards, bungie-cords, and other implements to provide stability to this tree that had obviously had several branches sawed off, and then reattached.

I couldnâ??t quite figure out what he was trying to do (he smoke a lot of pot, so I thought maybe it was some wacky art piece that he was creating). He finally joined me in the backyard, and I asked him what the deal was with the tree. He pointed to the end of one of the branches. I got closer, and upon examining the end of the branch, I saw a tiny bird nest with three eggs in it. He told me that he had begun to cut the branches off when he finally spotted the nest. He then worked feverishly to fix the damage he had done so the nest could remain undisturbed until the eggs hatched, and the birds left.

Silly? Perhaps... But to me; that is spirituality.

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After my mission I was working in a place with a non-member--somewhat rare back then in SLC. This person would take breaks and lunches with me and we would discuss all sorts of things-- but never religion. He knew I was a RM and one day shocked me greatly when he asked me to teach him about the church. I told him that he could go to the missionaries, but he wanted me to teach him.

After I successfully answered all his questions and taught him the lessons, he went to the local missionaries and set a baptismal date....

NOW LEST YE BELIEVE THIS IS ABOUT MY LDS SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE-- READ ON:

At the baptism this young man's father attended the service and was asked if he had anything to say just before the actual ordinance was performed. He rose slowly and stood facing the large group of lds members.

With a calm spirit he stated that he was Luthren and had raised his son to be luthren-- but he stated that he had also raised him to seek truth and to live true to the truths that he found. He said he wanted us to remember that he raised his son in such a way as to be a seeker of truth and that he would support him in that search.

That to me was profound humility, spirituality, and ultimate faith in the Lord Jesus Christ over faith in a church.

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My understanding of the word spirituality means maybe alittle differant than yours?

The meaning of spirituality to me does not only include freindship and compassion alone.

Spirituality should for the most part be the manifestation of heavenly spirit.

Spirituality is to me nothing other than the conformity of the soul to reality. (By "reality" I mean God.) The spiritual soul first knows reality, contemplates it, loves it, and acts accordingly, then contemplates some more.

Anything that fits into this scheme is spirituality to me. Obviously the manifestation of the heavenly spirit fits this, as does a wide range of moral action and interior virtues like humility, etc.

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Heard a snippet about Mother Teresa on NPR which impressed me. When her private writings were revealed she suggested that early in her career she wasn't hearing God at all. The heavens were quiet to her -- giving no spiritual affirmation of her good works (Catholic theologians have a name for this... something like the "dark night" but I forget for sure). Nonetheless, with remarkable faith she persisted.

Yes, the "Dark Night of the Soul". Most people go through it, if they are intent on spiritual growth. It was a book written by St. John of the Cross that made it a common phrase, IIRC. It has gone beyond Catholicism now, I think.

HiJolly

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