Grace: Drilling Down to Core Values


Writing about grace was a personal challenge, because it forced me to drill down deep enough to identify the essence of what is important to me and how I manifest it in my life. I invite you to try it; it’s not that easy.

A lot of things are important to me — marriage and family, material well-being, health, humanity and our planet. And there are a host of other things that also have personal importance, but are less central — adventure, travel, sensual pleasures and intellectual stimulation. I’m sure you can come up with a good-sized list of things that are important to you.

I tackled the problem by thinking of people whom I have used as models in my own evolution. Five people stood out, three of them well known…

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Giving and Receiving Are Spiritual Acts

Dr. Neill

How good are you at receiving?

We are coming down the home stretch of a season that for most of us is filled with giving and receiving. With all the stress and increased financial pressure of family gift giving, we still try to open our hearts and our wallets to others in need.

But for giving to mean anything there have to be receivers. A receiver is different from a taker. We pay taxes, but we usually don’t think of ourselves as “giving” taxes. The government takes them. Perhaps the Receiver General or the IRS would be more honestly named the “Taker General.” Paying taxes for services is an economic exchange, not giving and receiving.

Contrast the taxation exchange with donating to the Salvation Army Christmas food program. The less fortunate among us, who ultimately receive the food hampers, are receivers. They are aided by an army of givers of time, the volunteers. The volunteers accept our gifts of food and money on behalf of our community’s needy that otherwise might not be able to have a special holiday dinner.

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