Why we suffer and why we die are two of the great mysteries that many of us grapple
They are questions that faith is both challenged by and provides insight on. In When God Says No, Franciscan Daniel Lanahan offers a Catholic perspective on the great mystery of why we are visited with suffering and why at times God does not seem to hear our prayers.
In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed that the "cup be taken from him," if it be God's will. God answered no. Three times St. Paul begged God to remove the "thorn from his side." Three times God said no. When my family prayed desperately for my brother Neil to be cured of melanoma, God said no. When we prayed for a twenty-five-year-old niece to survive a car accident, God said no. When the victims of war in the former Yugoslavia, or in any of the hundred places war is being waged at any given time prayed; when people afflicted with cancer, alcoholism, or AIDS prayed for deliverance; when the victims of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse prayed to be spared, the answer was no. . . .
Kumuda Reddy: Ancient medicine, modern application
The ancient Indian system of healing and medicine known as Ayurveda has proven effective in disease prevention and health creation for thousands of years and is becoming increasingly popular as a holistic alternative to conventional allopathic medicine.
Ayurvedic medicine works by enhancing the immunity of the individual through an analysis of the three body types: vata, pitta, or kapha. Maharishi Vedic Medicine is a revival of the most ancient Vedic wisdom of natural health care from India, the "Land of the Veda." The forty different treatment modalities of Maharishi Vedic Medicine are a comprehensive and holistic alternative medicinal approach to the prevention and treatment of all diseases and enliven and enhance all aspects of life.
The author, or co-author, of these books is Kumuda Reddy, MD, who has been practicing medicine for nearly thirty years. She completed her residency and fellowship at Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York and was the Medical Director of Maharishi Vedic Center in Bethesda, Maryland and a former faculty member of Albany Medical College. Dr. Reddy practiced Ayurveda full time for twelve years in Bethesda and in Falls Church, Virginia, before returning to India in 2008.
Through her practice, books and lectures, Dr. Reddy conveys this simple message, that "we are one with nature." Because of our intimate connection to nature and the entire cosmos, we need natural and holistic medicine. It is her belief that no other medicine has proven to be as natural, comprehensive, time-tested, and holistic as Ayurveda.
One of our new titles is Into the Depths by Mary Margaret Funk. I first heard Sr. Meg tell the story that constitutes the heart of the book over a dozen years ago—and even then I heard it secondhand. Garbled and half-baked though that rendition was, I immediately sensed its immense power and wanted it to be told properly. But the story was incredible painful for Sr. Meg, and she told me to wait, and that she would pray for guidance.
At the beginning of 2009, Meg told me she was ready, and we set to work on the story. There were tears and hiatuses, but we finally completed our work. I feel immensely privileged to have been a part of the process, and am proud of the honesty and conviction with which the story has been told.
The creation of Into the Depths also reminds me that sometimes you have to wait for a story to come to its fruition, and that it may take time and patience and deliberation. But all of the deferrals and difficulties are worth it in the end.
In Denver, the Vegetarian Society of Colorado holds an annual event on Thanksgiving Day, attended by about 100 people. This year I've been asked to take the stage to give a reading along the lines of a table grace. We make it non-religious, though, in order to accommodate a diverse audience. I post it here, in case anyone reading this might want to use it:
Some of you may know that a few months ago Lantern author Will Tuttle and friends initiated a campaign to take his book The World Peace Diet to number one on Amazon.com. His friends got their friends, who got their friends, and so on, to buy the book on one day, and lo and behold enough people bought the book within a period of time that it did indeed get to number one.
Well, Sharon Gannon of the Jivamukti Yoga School is trying the same thing, and I think you should support her. Why? Because Jivamukti Yoga is on the side of the angels—committing itself to yoga that's conscious and committed to veganism and caring for all animals. Jivamukti was also one of the first sponsors of Will Tuttle's work; they carry many Lantern titles in their store; we publish a Jivamukti Yoga teacher—Ruth Lauer-Manenti—and distribute Sharon's book Cats and Dogs Are People Too.
The project is called Sharanam. According to the material put out by Jivamukti Yoga
Sharanam’s powerful and spiritual mantras incorporate the yoga teachings that all life, whether human or animal, is about experiencing eternal happiness. That we all are all One; that human and animal beings all want to experience kindness, freedom, happiness, and joy.
Ruth will be signing copies of her books at Jivamukti Yoga School in lower Manhattan on Thursday, September 30th. Or you can catch her at The Shala on Friday October 8th, 815 Broadway. Check out Lantern's "Events" listing for more details.
William Skudlarek, with the guidance of Bettina Bäumer, made an important contribution with this book. By sifting through a large volume of materials, including bulletins from the Abhishiktananda Society that are not easily found, they have made salient essays readily available. A person new to Abhishiktananda will find the book to be a good introduction to the topic, and the Abhishiktananda scholar will find some gems herein.
Rachel MacNair, Ph.D., who has done some pioneering research on the psychology of vegetarianism, recently gave a talk on religion and vegetarianism at the International Peace Research Association in Australia. O. K., I wasn't there, but I did have a chance to talk to Rachel about her research (which I hope will be published soon), and several conclusions about religion and vegetarianism stand out.
Lantern author Andrew Linzey has been given an award by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The press release announces it is as follows:
Oxford Theologian’s Work for Animals Honoured by RSPCA
The RSPCA is to give one of its highest awards, the Lord Erskine Award, to Oxford theologian, the Reverend Professor Andrew Linzey at a special ceremony to be held at the RSPCA Headquarters in Horsham on Saturday 11th September 2010.
Professor Andrew Linzey is one of the world’s leading ethicists on the status of animals and the pre-eminent theologian on animal issues. He is the founder and the Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and a member of the Faculty of Theology in the University of Oxford. This is the first time that the award has been given to a theologian.
On hearing of the award, Professor Linzey said: “This is a tremendous affirmation of the work we have been doing at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. I am happy to accept this award on behalf of all the fellows of the Centre who are pioneering ethical perspectives on animals.”
A Place for Dialogue
By Shahid Athar, M.D., and Sr. Mary Margaret Funk
The controversy regarding the site of Cordoba House, the Islamic community center, in Lower Manhattan has brought forth many opinions, snap judgments, and outright prejudice. But it also provides all Americans with a “teachable moment”: an opportunity to engage in dialogue.
For several years, the two of us—a Muslim doctor and a Catholic nun—engaged in respectful interreligious dialogue. Our aim wasn’t to compare our religious traditions to see which one was more authentically American or more tolerant. We didn’t want to share sermons and try to convince the other of whose religion was superior. We weren’t competing to see who was more religious or truer to our faith’s origins.
We decided to promote our new book, One-Two-ONE, and the DVD, Couple’s Illumination, both about relationships, by taking a tiny booth (7 feet by 7 feet) at a large public trade fair — huge showroom, 120 booths, a special room with 50 psychics at 50 square tables (with a chair for the client – the line formed quickly each morning to sign up for these readings of all sorts), clairvoyants with microphones on one of three stages, purveyors of fine chocolate, aura jewelry, exercise equipment, etc., all sorts of loosely connected things and services, also Scientology and aura photographs!. Over four days, 17,000+ people came through. It was exhausting and fascinating to watch all the different kinds of people. We put up a sign that said “Free Brief Relationship Tune-Up,” and had dozens of people come in for this little exercise (“In Whose Name”) from our book – totally fun, and we think very useful to many. We met some great people, and in the end, we don’t think we’ll ever do that again. Our two back-ups got sick, so we were there all day every day. We might help out with such a venture in the future, but not do it all day every day. We gave two talks on two different stages, well attended, and that felt positive. And we sold books and DVDs!>
Additionally, here is a quick excerpt from One Two ONE:
We know of a wedding where Uncle Robert couldn't stand the name "God" to be uttered, and threatended to walk out of the room if it was. Uncle Robert's views were so strong that they ruled what was said and not said. The couple backed down and did not include a reference to the name of power that they felt unified them. They wished to offend no one. One must ask: Whose wedding is this? Can a couple find a way to invite people to support them in shaping the Sacred Space that they choose, and ask the visitors to leave their judgments at the door?
In a wedding that we facilitated, the father of the groom insisted that the wedding could not truly legitimate unless the name of Jesus Christ was prominent. Even though the wedding couple did not have a relationship with Jesus Christ, we were able to craft a section where we made a bridge between the names in which they were marrying - "Sacred Union" and "Love" - and Jesus Christ, thus recognizing the importance of the father's beliefs as part of his uprightness and integrity as an ancestor.