Dr. Arthur Chang, author of “The New Positive Spirituality: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Everyday Life,” defines positive spirituality as the practice of positively embodying God’s attributes of love and law and using them in our lives to bring our desires into physical reality.


Tuesday, November 26, 2019


THANKSGIVING: BEING GRATEFUL FOR IT ALL

This year, we will come to Thanksgiving with smiles as broad as our appetites. Oh we may not begin with the singing of “This Land is My Land,” or “American the Beautiful.” Our scope of interest may not be able to push beyond the delicious aromas of the day’s cooking locked in this blessed gathering home. It may have time for the urgency of hugs while looking beyond to the delights and our favorite pies. Yet, this day is not without its knotted threads of tensions; the young adult relative who is still whining like a child because he wants to eat before everyone gets there; the other guest who complains about the late comers. Then there is the host who must make it all work.

Minor ingredients such as these may arise from Thanksgiving. However, let them all be flavored with the depth of thankfulness. The object of the day may seem to fill the stomach but it is most successful when it fills the soul. The true light of simply being grateful for being alive and having whatever faculties, friends, family and loved ones we do. Some of our beloved may have fallen by the wayside during the years. Thanksgiving is the moment of remembrance of their many kindnesses and the letting go of their faults.

We will never be able to match the gift of life God has given us. We will never use all the opportunities we have to make our lives all that it can be, but we don’t need to be lacking during this time, to be as grateful as we can be for what we still have in relationships and possessions and most of all, in God’s continuous support of us.

BLESSING
May this Thanksgiving be the enrichment of your soul’s greater expression of the good vested in it.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

THE VALUE OF YOUR LONGING AND BELONGING


THE VALUE OF YOUR LONGING AND BELONGING

By Arthur Chang

Poet David Whyte remarked, “Longing is the transfiguration of aloneness.” It is said that mastering the art of being alone means acknowledging the longing for connection. This is the need to belong to a larger group. To do this we must then orient ourselves to our central yearning—the connection, while developing the greater gentleness and less judgement that makes this possible.

Humans tend to live isolated, fragmented lives, without realizing how vital it is for our longing to take us out of our solitary cocoon to develop the butterfly evolution of our person-hood.  Our longing allows us to connect with others in the world with a sense of love and meaning. Our longing forms, for our isolated selves, a bridge between our longing and belonging. We will bring into the self from the world out there, a greater connection with the whole and a sense of belonging that transforms us. This vital activity heals the hunger of the heart by providing the antidote to aloneness, which wreaks havoc on the healthy development of our heart by stunting its growth into full human hood. 

When we fail to reach out, we are prone to diseases, intolerable of differences, impatient with the pace of growth, finally losing the eternal values of love, kindness, patience, flexibility and goodness. In as much as we live isolated lives, we desire to be relational in this relational world. The creative tension between our longing and belonging will provide just this.

Blessing

May you master the art of being alone by acknowledging your longing for connection to the larger world. May your then experience a deeper sense of belonging to the world in which you live.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

PROCESS THEOLOGY & PROCESS SCIENCE OF MIND


PROCESS THEOLOGY & PROCESS SCIENCE OF MIND
By Arthur Chang

Ernest Holmes’ dream was for a time to come (process) when science and religion walked hand in hand. That time is now. However, in the search for truth there is no guarantee that what is found will fit seamlessly into one’s assumed and familiar cosmology or worldview.

Process theology is radically different in many important ways than Plato/Aristotle influenced classical theism we have accepted as theological correct for centuries. Process is a theology that grew out of current philosophy and science (namely quantum physics) rather than out of the scriptures. However, the concept of God fits more closely the qualities of God in history, which is more like the Judaic/Christian model than it is like the current classical theism of Greek philosophy with its notion of God as a static actuality, immutable, perfect, and unfeeling.

Process thought affirms that process is fundamental. This does not mean everything is in process. That would imply even process is subject to change. It teaches that there are unchanging principles and abstract forms. However, to be actual is to be a process. Thus, anything that is not a process is an abstraction from process, and not a full-fledged actuality.

Alfred North Whitehead, the seminal thinker on this latest form of process thinking, says the temporal process is a “transition” from one actual entity to another. These entities are momentary events, which perish immediately upon coming into being (quantum physics). They perish to be succeeded by the succeeding events. Time does not flow but comes in “droplets.” Think of a filmstrip with discrete frames. When in motion it seems to flow smoothly. Without the boundaries, there could be no real individuals. Boundaries are what allows us to identify events.

However, there are events that have their own unity, unlike a storm, or party. These may consist of person or animal, tree, mountain and so forth. This is an experiential unity. Events of this type Whitehead calls “actual occasions” or “occasions of experience.”

This subject becomes much more complex and I’ll stop here. However, there are great implications for theological reflections. As we proceed we will see that God does not control everything, or else there would be no true freedom. There are past actualities as well as present. However, the future has no actualities. God is fully engaged in our lives offering options. God feels us and is responsive, and God is not coercive, God is persuasive.

This is an extremely brief attempt to introduce to you a few concepts of Process theology and Process Science of Mind. Learning it is worthwhile even if you will have to live with it awhile to arrive at that conclusion.