Michael (Michal) Heller, a Polish Roman Catholic priest and cosmologist whose intellectual and religious life has been grounded in the insights of both science and religion, has won the 2008 Templeton Prize, believed to be the largest yearly monetary award given to a single individual.
Heller, 72, who teaches at the Pontifical Academy of Theology in Cracow, was awarded the prize for his work in connecting the realms of physics, cosmology, theology and philosophy.
I don’t think what we call religion can be put into a box neatly labeled religion and relegated to one part of the academic curriculum or one area of journalism. It seems to me that one of the lessons of 9/11 is that the influence of religion is virtually limitless and ubiquitous, and the sooner we figure that out, the wiser we’ll be.
Perennialism rejects a modern world that has slipped off the rails. Yet it also embraces all variations of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faith, as well as Asian religions and indigenous schools of thought. Perennialists believe that all religions are part of one great religion; that all wisdom makes up a great river of truth that all modern people should return to for what the Gospels call “living water.”
Faith Without Borders
What would Buddha do?
Every spring and fall, enlightenment-seekers from all over come here to find out, converging for arduous weeklong retreats at the Bodhi Manda Zen Center in a red rock canyon among the thermal springs and Indian pueblos west of Santa Fe.
Dressed in black robes, they strive to live in the moment and awaken to the oneness of everything by rising at 3 a.m. for 18-hour sessions sitting lotus-style in the zenda, or meditation hall, eating communal vegan meals in silence, chanting and taking restorative dips in the hot pools.
But mostly they come to practice with an impish, smooth-faced Japanese monk, Joshu Sasaki Roshi, a 100-year-old Rinzai Zen master, one of the oldest in the world, who tells followers, “Excuse me for not dying.”
We live in a time in which people with strong opinions about the end of time can influence foreign policy. It’s fair to ask Romney the questions put to Kennedy: will your faith conflict with your duty? Will others, even non believers get a fair shake? Romney says separation of Church and state has gone too far. Inquiring minds want to know: What exactly does he find excessive?
I never have been able to understand lay folk who are obsessed with the abolition of celibacy. It may well be an appropriate modification of the church in a time when most American young men do not find the priesthood an attractive way to spend their life. However, a cursory reading of the research literature on the personal and professional satisfaction among the clergy and reports from the spouses and children of Protestant (and Greek Orthodox and rabbinic) clergy indicates that family relations are an enormous problem for many of them. In addition to the usual problems of spouse and children to which all humans must respond, married clergy are subjected to pressures from their parishioners (who often assume that the spouse is an unpaid member of the parish team) and ecclesiastical authority who often assume that ministerial families must be like Caesar’s wife — beyond reproach in every way.
Priests are happy without wives :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Andrew Greeley
When different-minded people gather at Marnita’s Table, meaningful conversation is always the main dish
The dining room windows are foggy with conversation. Every seat, nearly every piece of floor space in Marnita Schroedl’s modest three-bedroom house in Minneapolis is occupied. Patio furniture has been pressed into February service. Guests perch on radiators and test the limits of the pet-weary sofa, juggling paper plates, plastic wine glasses, and animated discussions.
Although space is tight, the more than 50 people who have crunched through fresh snow to get here tonight don’t seem to care. They’ve come to meet six international doctors who specialize in HIV/AIDS and to meet each other. All of them have some connection to the disease. Over the next four hours, they swap stories about how it has changed their lives and their communities and grope for new strategies and answers.
A Feast of Ideas
Please remember that Saturday, December 1st is World AIDS Day. Do something.