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Category: 07-Spiritual Sunday

May 11 (Mother’s Day): 500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art

Having just completed a class in Time-Based Media, I have a much better idea of how this video was constructed, but the mechanics aren’t the point. Watch how women are represented in art as we slip quickly through five centuries of artistic representation. Notice how often the woman’s eyes are downcast, and notice how shape, color and texture changes.

Art is an idealized form. Even in photography, especially with the tools available through Photoshop and similar editors, truth is often elusive. These are the ideals of the eras, or the truths viewed through the lenses of their artists, most of whom were men.

This Mother’s Day, consider how often we try to reach for the ideal and wonder whose ideal that is. We don’t live in an ideal society. We live in the real world, and our connection to that reality is manipulated all the time.

If you’ve watched this video before, watch it again and consider the filters through which you view your own life.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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March 9: Sherwin Nuland ~ A meditation on hope

In 1994, Dr. Sherwin B. Nuland wrote a book called, simply, How We Die.

On March 3rd, Dr. Nuland died of prostate cancer. This week, Krista Tippett featured an earlier talk with Dr. Nuland about his various books and his views on spirituality in her weekly NPR show, On Being.

Until this week, I didn’t know of the book’s existence. I still haven’t read it, because I’m presently swamped (as you may have noticed from the erratic way in which this blog is being populated at the moment). Based on the radio show, which I listened to this morning while trying to adjust my internal clock to the new Daylight Savings normal, I’ve decided the book needs to rocket to the top of my reading list. And, I think, perhaps for my friends as well, as this has been a bad week for a number of them.

The majority of my friends are older (in the vicinity of, or over, 50), and most are dealing with the aging and illness of parents and their siblings, but one of my friends just lost a battle with H1N1 and pneumonia at only 43. It’s not clear to me from this obituary whether I will agree with all that he writes, as I believe quite firmly in speeding up the process if the person is ready to go and wants to exercise the option, but I found his words this morning to be worth further investigation.

Here’s a TED talk featuring Dr. Nuland on the subject of hope rather than death. I recommend listening to both this and the On Being show as well. Expect more of these over the coming months. I’ve found many of the TED talks intriguing springboards for further conversation. I don’t think I’m alone.

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March 2: Mr. Hublot (2014 Academy Award Winner)

I had hoped to find this piece for today’s entry, but when I looked yesterday, it wasn’t where I expected to see it. Today, magically, I could find the film, but be warned – it’s likely to go away again, so see it while you can.

How does Mr. Hublot fit into Spiritual Sunday? I’ll leave that as an exercise for the viewer. All I know is it touched my heart. Would have been my choice, if I’d been allowed to vote. (Yes, Get a Horse! was awesome, but while it was funny and technically spectacular, it wasn’t moving.)

Unfortunately, the full version of the video is gone from YouTube. You can find more by going to this link to the official site.

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February 23: IF ONLY FOR A SECOND // Mimi Foundation // EN

This video is for all my family and friends, past, present and future, for whom cancer is personal. In fact, I suspect the video is for everyone. I don’t think I know anyone…ANYONE…who hasn’t been touched by cancer, either because they have had it themselves, or because they know or knew someone who did.

It’s all about control, in a place where we have none. For all the talk of cures and prevention, there is still the simple truth that there’s a great deal we still don’t know about how our bodies change and degrade. But there are some things we can still do, to defy the changes, to take us out of ourselves. If only for a second. And that’s precisely what this project is all about.

We reveal our spirituality in our ability to rise above it all. At over 15 million hits, it’s clear that this viral video, a neat embodiment of that spiritual essence, has struck a chord.

For more information about the project, visit their website:

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February 16: Bishop John Shelby Spong ~ “The Church Doesn’t Like the People to Grow Up.”

I debated adding this clip to the blog, but I’ve decided it’s appropriate. Christianity gets a bad rap a lot of the time, because many people who claim to believe use their faith in ways that run counter to the concepts taught in the New Testament. I find it more than a little disturbing that so much of what is passed off as faith actually serves as an excuse for bigotry and exclusion, the exact opposite of what the New Testament says Jesus taught.

If people stopped cherry picking the text for the things they liked, I think they’d come to the conclusion that either the bible wasn’t what they thought it was or that the agendas of those who compiled and printed it were not the Christians they said they were.

I’m not Christian in any conceivable way, but I can still get the teachings. And this man speaks a great deal of truth. And after the horrible bill Kansas almost enacted against a portion of our population that could have taken them back before 1960, I think it’s the right thing to share today.

[The original clip is gone. This is a replacement. -BMD]

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February 9: Pro Infirmis «Because who is perfect?»

This video caught my attention right after I assembled the last Sunday post, but I have been dealing with an extended internet outage – the latest in a series – that took my access down to a roller coaster of ups and downs that finally quit for good on Sunday, and I couldn’t post this entry.

So, these entries are going to be a little more irregular than they have been, at least until my new provider’s install package arrives.

But I digress.

We think of mannequins as body ideals. They are, in someone’s mind, a representation of an ideal that rarely fits with reality, but when bodies change because of muscular issues, accidents or genetics, we tend to think about the people who carry those shapes differently. No two people are identical. Even the identical twins I’ve known still have their own unique personalities, no matter how much they may look alike. Witness the differences even in conjoined twins and you can see what I mean.

Here, through the wonders of reconstruction, five people who don’t share the traits of the ideal can see themselves in a new way, and we can catch a glimpse of the ideal from the other side of the line.

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February 2 (Super Bowl Sunday): Just Checking, Gracie, and Proud To Be

While I could make today’s post be about Groundhog Day, I did that last year.

No, this year, thanks to the calendar, February 2nd is a different sort of holiday (for some, anyway). It’s Super Bowl Sunday. And in the spirit of the day, I’m presenting several commercials. They might not seem related on first glance, but they are. Here’s why.

The first comes in three parts. Part one is the original commercial, published on YouTube by General Mills on May 28, 2013. It might not seem like a big deal, until you hear that General Mills had to shut down all the comments on its YouTube post because the ad sparked a flood of racist vitriol. You can read all about the controversy by searching on the words Just Checking Ad.

This evening, Cheerios is doing it again, with a follow-up to the first commercial, which General Mills published on YouTube on January 28, 2014.

This is, by all accounts, a normal family, but a lot of people don’t see them that way. “Gracie” is played by six-year-old Grace Colbert. She and her parents have been interviewed on a number of news outlets, and the conversation goes very much the same each time. And yes, considering our president’s heritage, it’s a discussion that has to happen, out in the open, because we assign far, far too much importance to the differences in race in this country. Clearly, we still have a long way to go, recognizing that our differences are nowhere near as important as our similarities.

Well, what does that have to do with the commercial below? It’s not airing during the show because the cost for the slot was prohibitively expensive. But it’s on a subject that is at least as important as the normalization of families from multi-ethnic backgrounds and it is specifically aimed at the National Football League, which should make it a top priority. But since it’s not airing this evening, let me share it with you so you can share it with others.

Our local football team chooses to keep a racial epithet as a name. I say it’s time we retired the word, so that it may join its brother, the N-word, because that is how we show respect for the values and lives of Native Americans. And that’s where these two commercials tie in.

We are all brothers under the skin. Our perceptions, our judgments, are all wrapped up in the exterior package. Wouldn’t it be better to understand and respect  each other instead of judging and vilifying what we don’t know or understand?

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January 26: Spacedrum solo by Yuki Koshimoto

After spending a whole day glued to the internet, watching with horror as the story unfolded in Columbia, Maryland, near where I live and attend classes, I’ve realized I’ve been holding my spiritual breath. Our idea of conflict resolution should never, ever include the use of firearms, and yet, it happens all too often in this country. We have forgotten how to be human when we resort to taking life by force.

I think it’s important to take a break for beauty, so we can remember that this is what we can achieve when we let go of the anger, the fear, the jealousy and all the other  stresses that conspire to make our lives hell.

This Sunday, as we remember three people in Columbia who ceased to be, and those who were injured in body and spirit as a result of this horrible, violent, American-made act, listen to Yuki Koshimoto’s Spacedrum and reflect on the beauty of nature. Remember that we lose people daily, all over the world, to everyday acts of human violence.

Fear and anger drive our actions far, far too often.

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January 19: Touch Wood

On some Sunday mornings, I forget (sort of on purpose) to turn off my alarm so I can tune in to Krista Tippett’s morning meditation. The show, which used to be called Speaking of Faith and is now On Being, has made my Unitarian Universalist exploration of life a lot more interesting over time.

I was wondering whether to post one of the video links I have stored up for Sunday, but I thought I’d wander off for a little inspiration and it didn’t take me long to discover this blog post. I remembered seeing the commercial when it made the rounds a few years ago, but apparently that predated my blog because it’s not included in last year’s entries, though I can’t imagine why.

So, with that hat tip, here’s some stunning beauty for your Sunday.

To see a little of what went into the production of this commercial, watch this:

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January 12: Emotional baby! Too cute! (now with Ellen DeGeneres appearance)!

Two things struck me the first time I watched this video. The first was how expressive this 10-month old’s face is. Then I got to wondering at how intensely she’s concentrating on her mother’s voice and expressions. She is so moved by the song and delivery that she’s crying. I think it’s all about the connections we make with each other.

We don’t give our children nearly enough credit for their connections to us. Spiritual Sunday is about exploring that sense of wonder and humor and the special spark that we carry. With over 29 million hits, I think this baby girl has struck a chord.

But wait! There’s more!

The whole family appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show shortly after the original video aired. Here’s that link, too!

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January 5: Jim Carrey ~ “The Power of Consciousness”

This seems like a great place to start the conversation over Spirit. For me, Sunday is an arbitrary selection, but since many people are keyed to think that the weekend is tied to spiritual connection, it’s as good a day as any other to select for the exploration.

Jim Carrey’s comments might seem an odd place to start, but they’re not. In fact, based on his work with The Truman Show, I think this is a dandy place to start the conversation. Look for future conversations, about the planet, religion, nature and more on Sundays throughout this year.

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