Woke up this morning to the sounds of life all around me. Feel so full of gratitude for another chance at life. But as I bask in the glory of living another day, I can’t help but think of all the unpleasant “stuff” that is swirling around all of us. It’s enough to drown us. But somehow, we get through it all.
I know how I get through it — with prayer and thanksgiving. And with a heart to try and make life a little brighter for others by doing little acts of kindness everyday.
How about you? How do you make sense of all the negative things that are happening in our country and in our White House? On our roadways? In our schools and neighborhoods? How do you stay positive and uplifted?
So, lets talk. Send me a short email, explaining how you make sense of all that is going on in our world and how you have managed to cope.
I would love to hear from you.
A warm and heartfelt Happy Birthday wish from Neighbors in Religion to Bishop Walter H. Richardson, who celebrated his 95th birthday on Jan. 5.
Richardson, who has been the spiritual leader of The Church of God Tabernacle (True Holiness) at 1351 NW 67th St. in Liberty City for nearly 53 years, is one of the longest-serving pastors in South Florida. A tall and still-handsome man, he has a strong tenor voice and still loves to preach and sing.
He is truly one of the unsung heroes in the community, never failing to reach out a helping hand to those in need, here at home or in other states and countries.
On Jan. 6, the church family had a gala birthday luncheon in his honor at the Rusty Pelican restaurant, followed on Jan. 7, by a special worship service of thanksgiving at the church.
Bishop Richardson is the father of the Rev. Dr. Walter T., pastor emeritus of Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church in West Perrine, and Elder Alfred J., who is a pastor near Atlanta; and grandfather and great-grandfather of many.
He lives in Miami Gardens with his wife of nearly 20 years, evangelist Betty Forbes Richardson.
‘The Lost Art of Listening’
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and although they seemed to be listening to you, their mind actually was someplace else. In other words, they were not listening to you at all, only seemed to be.
If this ever happened to you, you will be interested in the event to be hosted at 7 p.m. Saturday by the Ba’ha’is of Miami. That’s when Gerald Schwartz will do a presentation on “The Lost Art of Listening” at the Miami Ba’ha’i Center, 9300 S. Dixie Hwy., Suite 209. The presentation is a part of the center’s monthly community fireside series.
“In today’s world it is no exaggeration to refer to listening as a lost art,” Schwartz said. “Even though many would argue it is the most important part of communication, our listening skills were on the decline well before the massive effects of the digital revolution on attention spans and human relationships.”
He said in his own experience, “those exceptional times when I have witnessed good listening have only served to shock me into recognizing what a rare privilege it is in our world to be truly listened to. ... Listening is unifying, healing, and transformative; a loving acceptance of the other, whether that other be human or divine.”
The event is open to the community. For more information call 305-915-7247 or visit MiamiBahai.org.
Also, at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 28 the center will host a community devotional. There is never an admission charge or solicitation of funds at events at the center.
Starting Wednesday, Jan. 24, Rabbi Avraham Stolik of the Coral Gables Chapter of the Jewish Learning Institute, will present the first lesson of a six-week course, “Communications: Its Art and Soul” from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute.
“Jewish wisdom includes many powerful and original insights into the art of communication that are more relevant today than ever,” Stolik said. “The goal of this course is to mine these texts and seek out their golden teachings. I believe this can help us reclaim the lost art of deep human connection in spite of our devices.”
The course is designed to appeal to all levels of knowledge, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning. All institute courses are open to the public and attendees need not be affiliated with a particular synagogue, temple or other house of worship.
Medical and mental health professionals, including social workers and family therapists can earn continuing education credits for attending the course.
Interested persons should call 305-490-7572, or visit www.ChaabadGables.com/JLI to register and for more information.
‘Changing Face of Shamanism’
Juliet S. Erazo will lecture on the topic, “The Changing Face of Shamanism in the Ecuadorian Amazon” at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Florida International University Modesto A. Maidique Campus, Deuxieme Maison, Room 322B, 11200 SW Eighth St. Erazo is an associate professor of anthropology in the Global and Sociocultural Studies department at FIU.
In a press release, Erazo explained that Shamanism is often imagined to be unchanging, drawing on ancestral knowledge and re-enacting ancient rituals. In her lecture, Erazo will challenge some of these assumptions and will highlight some of the ways in which shamanism has remained central in Amazonian cultures and political struggles.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information call 305-348-2247.
Tu B’shevat Garden Festival
The congregation at Temple Beth Or invites the community to join members of the synagogue as they create a sacred space for Tu B’Shevat at a Tu B’shevat Garden Festival. The celebration will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday in the synagogue’s Meditation Garden, 11715 SW 87th Ave.
Join Rabbi Robyn Fisher and local artists and musicians in enhancing the spiritual nature of the garden and its connections through meditation, learning, prayer, art and music. The day will feature creating a prayer tree, painting prayer rocks, garden walk, prayer writing, spiritual discussion, local musicians and children’s activities.
The cost is $20 per person, and free to children under 13. For reservations and for more information, call the Temple Beth Or office at 305-235-1419.
If you are a believer, curious or even skeptical about life after death and looking for a place to share your experiences, or have your questions answered, you may be interested in a free afterlife discussion group.
The group meets from 1 to 3 p.m. every second Saturday of the month on the second floor of the West Dade Public Library, 9445 Coral Way. The next meeting will be on Feb. 10.
Topics of discussion usually include all aspects of the spiritual realm from ESP, signs, dreams, and reincarnation. For more information contact Donna Mello at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everyone is welcome.
Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Religion Notes, c/o Neighbors, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172 or email email@example.com. Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.