Common Sense Ministry

For those of you that know me you're probably shocked I'm an ordained minister. I'm not exactly your typical minister. I was ordained many years ago by the Association for the Integration of the Whole Person (AIWP), a spiritual community dedicated to the proposition that the potential of human development is sacred and that individuals find religion in the temple of their own being. In other words, AIWP encourages every person to find the approach to their own development and spirituality that works best for them.

So what's my personal perspective? Although raised a Catholic, I no longer align with any organized religion or specific spiritual belief system. In fact, I tend to avoid them. Rather, I believe that neither institutions nor people have any right to dictate an individual's spiritual life and I won't do that either. The emphasis of the ministerial work that I do is on the commonalities we all share and I try to focus on those. Common sense prevails here I hope.

Ultimately, I feel that all of the world's primary spiritual teachings boil down to four simple principles of life that, if adhered to, will properly guide anyone trying to lead a good life and to give back to others. The principles are:

— Strive to be the best person you know how to be.

— Live your life trying to treat every human being with the respect, dignity, care and compassion with which you wish to be treated. (Yes, this is the Golden Rule. For a beautiful and important project that seeks to foster the Golden Rule worldwide, visit Charter for Compassion.)

— Do some good in the world by helping, in whatever way you can (big and small), individuals, groups of people and the Earth itself.

— Try to not harm individuals, groups of people or the Earth.

That's pretty much the sum total of my spiritual teaching and I encourage you to adopt a similar way of life. Do I always comply with these principles? No. I'm human, I make mistakes and I'm less than perfect, as we all are. But imperfection is no excuse for inaction and I do try to live by these principles daily.

Periodically I'll list a cause or organization that I feel is worthy of some support and I hope, in the spirit of helping people, you'll consider giving to money or time to the cause. Currently, here's a cause I feel strongly about:

Kiva - This site lets you lend money to a specific entrepreneur in the developing world, empowering them to lift themselves out of poverty. Very cool site that does a lot of good. Watch Bill Clinton's explanation of Kiva on the site's home page.

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Copyright © 2009 Race Bannon