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Here you will find articles on spiritual themes common to all religions and cultures. For the month of November (2017) Niki has accepted the #bahaiblogging challenge (one post per day). The posts are repeated on FaceBook. Visit Niki on FaceBook (www.facebook.com/nicola.g.daniels/) to comment and interact with the Blog.

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Virtues, Virtues, Virtues

Posted on January 13, 2015 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

We've covered 18 virtues so far in our weekly Video Blog The Friday Fix (link on our Home Page). For 2015, we are testing an expanded game board with room for 65 virtues. We have increased from 56 virtues to 68! Who knew there were so many? Most of them are described very well at The Virtues Project website (www.virtuesproject.com).


We invite your feedback on which of the 12 new virtues you would most like to see included. Here they are in alphabetical order. (For a list of the original 56, see the new Virtues page, under the About the Game tab.)


Excellence

Friendliness

Ingenuity

Leadership

Mindfulness

Obedience

Objectiviy

Persistence

Serenity

Simplicity

Steadfastness

Tolerance



Interfaith Harmony Month in South Carolina

Posted on January 13, 2015 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (1)

We are so pleased to see the increase in interfaith activities this year, in celebration of Interfaith Harmony Month (January). Interfaith Partners of South Carolina has posted a listing of events over on their website (http://interfaithpartnersofsc.org/?page_id=329). Most events are in Columbia, but the activity has spread to Beaufort, Florence, Aiken and Charleston.


There are events spreading over into February (World Interfaith Harmony Week is February 1 – 7), so check it out, and bring a friend. All events are free of charge. 



Interfaith Partners of SC - IDEAL keynote(s)

Posted on November 10, 2014 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

11/10/2014


Reverend Roy Mitchell of Columbia College gave the keynote address at the Interfaith Partners of South Carolina annual meeting last night. Rev Mitchell is a fan of acronyms, so he made up this one out of the word IDEALS to illustrate what has actually been happening in South Carolina as the 10 faith groups represented in this volunteer organization have been working towards the goal of understanding and practicing Compassion within and between their communities.


I = Interfaith

D = Dialogue

E = Encounter

A = Activism

L = Literacy

S = Service


At the start of his address, Rev Mitchell used the word intentionality, and I mistakenly wrote this down as the first element in the acronym. The word stuck in my consciousness so firmly that I was compelled to look it up this morning to explore the meaning. Two dictionay definitions give the meaning I inferred from the context:


"the fact of being deliberate or purposive" and "the state of having or being formed by an intention"


I went on to read about intentionality as a philosophical term, which the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines like this:


"Intentionality is the power of minds to be about, to represent, or to stand for, things, properties and states of affairs." See plato.stanford.edu/entries/intentionality/ for more on this concept. I don't quite understand what this all means in practical terms, but I have a feeling it will become clearer if I set my mind to contemplating it. Meanwhile, your comments and insights are welcome!


After the keynote address (and a break for cookies, fruit and coffee) each of the 10 panelists expressed how they, and their community members, had acted on the idea or intention of being compassionate - a seed sown through the 'Charter of Compassion' initiative.



Photo Caption: Panelists at the IPSC Annual Meeting, 11/9/2014, at Columbia College, SC.


One member of the audience asked about how the IPSC was organized. They have a 12-member volunteer Board of Directors, and a larger 'advisory' group made up of individuals from the 10 groups currently represented (Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Native American, Sikh and Unitarian Universalist). Dr Evans, the IPSC Board Chair, noted that this was obviously not an all-inclusive list and that other groups were welcome to join. We note that there was at least one member of the Religious Society of Friends also in attendance.


Some of the panelists echoed - in diverse language - the idea that we could achieve more if we worked together more. It seems to me the intentionality (for compassion and inclusiveness) is firmly in place and that this is the necessary first step in an Interfaith enterprise, just as it is the first letter in Interfaith and Ideal. We'll be posting more from the IPSC meeting (including thoughts on the "DEALS" from Rev Mitchell's acronym) in the near future. 


Peace, Niki D

Book Study Groups on Compassion

Posted on November 10, 2014 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Out of the Dinner Dialogue at Spartanburg Prebyterian, 3 Interfaith study groups will be convening soon to study and consult using the book "Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life" by Karen Armstrong. See charterforcompassion.org/12-steps-book for more on the book and the intentionality behind this effort. 


I am posting below more details for the Greenville group, which starts on December 9. (Niki Daniels will joining this group).  Please note all are invited to attend, whether you were at the Dinner Dialogue or not. The sessions will be held once every two months, for one calendar year, and participants will share a light meal at each session. Just email the contact person listed if you want to join.


The two other groups will be in Spartanburg. Contact: Didi Terry at dterry@fpcspartanburg.org.


One group will meet at First Presbyterian Church's Arthur Center.

This group will convene at noon (12pm) on the second Thursday of every other month, starting November 13th.


The other will convene at Temple B'nai Israel at 146 Heywood Rd. in Spartanburg, also on the second Thursday of every other month, starting November 13th, but at 6pm.


Greenville Compassion Study Group Details

Location: The Atlantic Institute [12 Davis Keats Dr. in Greenville]. www.atlanticinstitutesc.org


Dates: Every other month, on the second Tuesday of the month [Dec. 9, Feb. 10, Apr. 14, June 9, Aug. 11, Oct. 13]


Time: 6:30pm


Readings: 2 Chapters/session, completing the book on the final session after the interfaith community gathering on Sept. 10, 2015 [For Dec. 9, read the Preface, First Step, and Second Step]


Facilitators: Team of M.B. Ulmer, Akif Aydin, and the Atlantic Institute


Meal: We will share a light meal at each session; the first will be provided by the Atlantic Institute.

Please RSVP to Christina Bell atcbell@atlanticinstitutesc.org.

Compassion: An Interfaith Conversation

Posted on September 2, 2014 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Join a special Interfaith discussion about compassion with a complimentary meal.


Keynote Speaker: Rabbi Yossi Liebowitz (who will be joined by other members by the religious community)


Date: Thursday, September 11, 6-8pm


Location: First Presbyterian Church, Fogartie Hall, 393 E Main St., Spartanburg, SC 29302 (RSVP at 583.4531 by Monday, Sept 8 )


There is no cost to participate; a free meal will be provided.


To receive updates directly, you could join the Interfaith Forum of Upstate South Carolina's Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/groups/interfaithforumsc/

Reliability (Friday Fix Episode 1)

Posted on August 25, 2014 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (0)

I launched a Video Blog  or 'Vlog' last Friday. If you missed it you can watch on our Videos page (under 'Gallery') or on our YouTube channel.  Many thanks to the friends who have encouraged us with this project and given valuable feedback. 


Here's a summary and some more thoughts on the topic of reliability.


Definition (from Virtues Project): "Reliability means that others can depend on you. You keep your commitments and give your best to every job. You are responsible. You don't forget, and you don't need to be reminded. Other people can relax knowing things are in your reliable hands."


That sentence in bold made me laugh out loud. No offense to the Virtues Project at all. Reliability is something we should aim for, but to find someone who forgets nothing at all, without being reminded, seems an impossible challenge. 


Famous quote: "Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."  —Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, 1789


So what is really reliable in this world today? I say human nature. Human nature is so reliable that people and individuals who realise this fact often earn a living (and more) from it...


 

How? Well, as Human Beings we have feelings. We are creatures of emotion. We learn and develop habits – ways of acting and reacting that allow us to thrive in our relationships and that keep us happy.


 

And big businesses rely on our human nature to make them happy. Commercials and advertisements are designed to play on our emotions. So, instead of "Other people can relax knowing things are in your reliable hands," we get "Businesses can relax knowing things are in your emotional hands."


I forget things all the time, so I keep a calendar, and I set the alarm on my phone to remind me when it is time to work, to get ready to go to a meeting or event. To-Do Lists (courtesy my friend DH) are another great way of remembering things you have responsibility or liability for. Of course if you bite off more than you can chew, you will end up with undigested liabilities (yuck!)


Thought for the week: Prioritising is a big part of being reliable. A reliable person is someone who doesn't always say yes when they are asked to help out with something, because they want to be sure they can keep their word.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Posted on August 12, 2014 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Ever heard the sentiment 'Patience is a virtue but too much of it can hurt you'? This topic came up when we visited Orangeburg. One friend said they had been chastised for being too generous, that virtues like generosity and forgiveness can encourage dependence and lead to the giver/forgiver being taken for granted. 

 


That's where virtues (dare I say skills?) like discernment and justice come in. It seems to me service in most contexts is best undertaken as a group effort. One hand washes the other, and both become cleaner. Kindness and generosity should not require reciprocity, but in my view sustainable development means self-development.  As Socrates said: “Let him who would move the world first move himself.” In any case, the longer term outcomes of any assistance given should be thought through.


What about when we express our ideas with words? Silence is sometimes the best option, but when we do speak, can there be too many good words and thoughtful ideas? It has been said: "Not everything that a man knoweth can be disclosed, nor can everything that he can disclose be regarded as timely, nor can every timely utterance be considered as suited to the capacity of those who hear it." (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah)



 

 


Orangeburg, city of flowers

Posted on August 11, 2014 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (1)

We met some beautiful flowers (i.e. people who exude the fragrances of love, humility and service) yesterday in historic Orangeburg. I found out that the city was originally named after William IV, Prince of Orange. Their website has lovely shades of orange, brown and green - my grandmother's favorite colors. Orangeburg is known throughout the South for their Festival of Roses. See www.festivalofroses.com/ 


Bad news is: we did not take any photographs. The good news is: I wrote down some of the lyrics that the friends recalled for the keywords RIVER and FLOWER. Here they are.


"Everybody wants to go to Heaven" by Louis P. Perry (1983)

Ev'rybody want to cross the Jordan [river] to that mansion in the sky.

I said, "Ev'rybody wants to go to Heaven,

But nobody wants to die!"


I found a video here: http://www.dpkkpowell.com/lighthouse-quartet.html

with the Lighthouse Quartet singing this song (fourth video down).


"We are the Flowers of God's Garden" by Phyllis J Day

We are the Flowers of God's garden,

Bright as the morning sun, fresh as the dawn

Lovely in differences, varied in loveliness,

We are the flowers of humanity.


I couldn't find a good video with this song. Mrs Day is also the author of The Singing Wind. I made a video of that: https://youtu.be/kQ7xKlvrSYk


And then there's the classic gospel song "Down by the Riverside" aka "Ain't Gonna Study War No More". I was surprised to see how many singers had recorded this song, inlcuding Nat King Cole. Elvis Presley, Pete Seeger and Van Morrison. Here's a video with Mahalia Jackson singing on the Nat King Cole show: 

http://youtu.be/DVXReRfZCM8


Hallelujah!

NikiD/Heart to Heart





Ch-Ch-Changes and Additions

Posted on August 9, 2014 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (1)

Our visit to Atlanta last weekend was awesome! We got great feedback from the friends in Austell/Powder Springs and Decatur. We welcome your feedback, questions and critiques, to make the game more enjoyable/easier to play. Do check out the new puzzles just posted to the site. We'll be trying them out in Orangeburg, SC tomorrow.


One Human Family Concert

Posted on July 31, 2014 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)

We're planning to join One Human Family and Eric Dozier as they kick off their summer tour in Atlanta this weekend. If you will be there, look for the lady in purple, dancing in the aisles :)


See the calendar for a map - it starts on Sunday, 3 August at 4pm, at the Baha'i Unity Center, 2370 Wesley Chapel Rd, Decatur, GA 30035.


From my Heart to Yours,

NikiD




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