The Ritual Of The Top Ten

We would be remiss to end this month of exploring the ever-evolving ritual of the “Top Ten”. As 2014 comes to an end we all want to look back at what the year has held. We have selected ten posts, not because they are the best, or the most popular, but because they have represented some important moments from 2014. Even though we have only selected ten, we have been honored by every post and every comment. We hope each of you has found lots of wisdom, love …and even a little lint on your spiritual journey this year. Happy reading and Happy New Year!

  1. A Prayer for New Beginnings— A prayer for anyone starting a new journey
  2. Millennials Strike Back with Professions of Love— A post from Jenni Taylor about the value of Millennials
  3. Ferguson: We Are Praying— A spiritual reaction to the racism in Ferguson and across the USA
  4. Fear Vs Self Worth— A post about bullying by a former Miss Arab America and a notMyKid volunteer
  5. The Choice of Leaving Syria–A post about one woman’s choice to leave her home in Syria.
  6. For the Love of ElephantsJenni Taylor thoughts on justice for all of God’s creatures 
  7. It’s Your Church Too— Patrick Cousins,a campus minister at Saint Louis University, writes about LGBTQ justice
  8. Secular Spirituality: Is That a Thing?–Hailey Kaufman’s eloquent post on atheism and spirituality
  9. Strength To Endure–a reflection on sexism and strength after the shootings in Santa Barbara by Autumn Elizabeth 
  10. Fear and Hunger for Justice–Hafsa Mansoor writes about fear and justice as a Muslim
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Choosing to Let Go

By: Autumn Elizabeth

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You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

― Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

Being an immigrant can be frustrating, so can being a Christian, and being a traveling Christian feminist…that can definitely get frustrating. Most of my frustration comes from concentrating too much on the results of my life. I want things to go my way, want my prayers to be answered the way I want, want everything to go as I have planned. Once I choose a path, I want it to be the right one. I want to be the one in control of all the outcomes.

But that’s the thing, I am not in control, not of my life as an immigrant, and not as my life as a Christian. I have to give up that illusion.  Now, I am not one to say “let go and let God”. I don’t believe that if I sit at home and do nothing God will make everything perfect.  I am pretty sure God wants us all to strive, to work, to hustle for a better world.

However, sometimes, when we are doing the best we can, when we are working to change the world with thought and action, we can give our frustration to God. We can choose to let go of the result, if and when we have given our best to the process.

So this is what I am choosing. I am choosing to let go of those things that are out of my control, like the result of a job application, or a visa application. I am deciding that my hard work will eventually pay off, even if I can’t see it.

Isn’t that the whole mystery of the universe, of God anyway? None of us, not a one, can know the ultimate effect of our actions. Yet we are called, as humans of a hurting earth, to act, to create, to work, even if the end result goes unseen by our eyes.

I choose to continue to support organizations like Faith Aloud, even when it seems like we fight the same battles every day. I choose to continue to pray for the people of Syria, of Ukraine,and  for all people who live in the mists of this world’s conflicts, even when it seems my prayers go unanswered. I choose to continue on this life path as immigrant, even when I don’t know if it is the right one.

I choose to believe that my work and my life are important for this world, even if I never see the good they do.  I am constantly, forever, choosing to believe that I am a child of the universe, a child of a loving God, and, that with my help, the universe is unfolding as it should.

If you want to tell us what you believe, what you choose, and how you are making a difference, you can submit your words, photos, and prayers.

Millennials Strike Back with Professions of Love

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By: Jenni Taylor

There has been a barrage of articles the past few years aimed at my particular age-group, you know the 20-somethings often ever-so-kindly referred to as “Millennials”. If you believe these articles, you know that we are considered over-educated, under-paid or jobless, a little lazy, idealistic, media-centric, and we do large amounts of classy wine consumption and have a disinterest in politics. To this constantly over-generalized, under-estimated group of my peers I would like to say:

We need you. Desperately.

You, my dear one, are in the perfect position to change the world right now. You can take all the criticism the media has been throwing at us and use it.

On a recent trip to Cambodia, I visited a married couple who fit the 20-something prototype and worked every bit of it to their advantage.

Cambodia has received a slew of NGO bandage programs in the last few decades to help restore the country after years of violence. I refer to them as bandage programs because while they were desperately needed at the time, a few years later many of them have proven to be unsustainable, disorganized, and sorely lacking solid, informed leadership with long term goals in sight.

These two people I visited are learning the language, building connections with the people, working with existing programs to create change. They are using every aspect of the media’s generalizations about 20-somethings –their “over-education”, their “search for purpose” and their “naïve idealism”– to create professions of love.

As I walked with them, they would greet and chat with their neighbors. I saw faces light up as these two “over-educated” and “lazy” Millennials struggled through their Khamai, with laughter and gestures thrown in for good measure. I saw relationships being created one step at a time.

I saw them study, read, talk and pray, as the navigated the waters to enter into leadership for a new foster care program aimed at education and healing for families. What I saw, more than anything else, were two ordinary 20-somethings searching for meaning by doing their best to make a difference. It was beautiful.

If this speaks to you, if you are a 20-something experiencing the lost feelings and search for purpose that so many articles claim is essential to our identity, please—explore those feelings, ignore the hype, get up and go. Use everything in your brain, everything those large college loans paid for, to make the world a better place. You have skills. You are needed. Use the Millennial stereotypes to your advantage. Strike back and turn your job into profession of love.

If this speaks to you, please don’t hesitate to contact Autumn or Jenni through sophiaspockets@gmail.com. We would love to provide more information about professional NGOs looking for the help of passionate professionals. Also, please send your own stories of how you created a profession of love so we can share it with others!