Durham News

On Faith: Talks aim to integrate spirituality into everyday life

Dr. Harold Koenig
Dr. Harold Koenig

Johnson Service Corps, a diverse, ecumenical community of young adults dedicated to service and social justice in Durham and Chapel Hill, will hold its first SpiritedTalks on Thursday, May 19, at Chapel of the Cross Episcopal Church, 304 E. Franklin St.

Keynote speaker is Dr. Harold G. Koenig, co-founder and current director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Duke Medical Center. His presentation will focus on his personal journey of spirituality, leadership and career.

This event, the first in a planned annual series, aims to inspire and to assist people in integrating their spirituality more deeply with their everyday life, including career, family and civic engagement.

It will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a meet and greet followed at 7 p.m. by Koenig’s presentation and two short presentations by young adults from the Service Corps program on the same topic.

A reception will follow at 8 p.m.

Koenig’s research on religion, health and ethical issues in medicine has been featured on dozens of national and international TV news programs. He has given testimony before the U.S. Senate in 1998 and U.S. House of Representatives in 2008 concerning the benefits of religion and spirituality on public health. He travels widely to give seminars and workshops on these topics.

Johnson Service Corps has been part of the Chapel Hill non-profit community for more than 15 years,

Its one-year program guides young adults in their 20s through a curriculum of servant leadership to connect their faith and spirituality to their unique outward call to use their gifts for social change and the common good as life-long community leaders.

Calls for repeal

Calls continue to come from the faith community for the repeal of House Bill 2, the new state law that among other changes limits protections for LGBT people.

In addition to all the fallout from around the state, the U.S. Justice Department last week put North Carolina on notice that the state is in danger of being sued and losing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.

A statement was released on Passover, a Jewish holiday celebrating freedom from slavery and oppression, from The Temple of the High Country, a Jewish temple in the hills of North Carolina.

It reads: “The Temple of the High Country of Boone, joins with its brothers and sisters of all faiths who have strongly urged the North Carolina Legislature to immediately repeal House Bill 2, a law that blatantly discriminates against the LGBT community.

“We, as Jews, have experienced discrimination throughout the ages, which at its worst led to the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis. This is why discriminatory laws such as HB2 are so profoundly troubling to our people.”

Chapel Hill’s Church of Reconciliation, a Presbyterian (USA) congregation, has added its voice to the growing call for “immediate repeal.”

This congregation at 110 N. Elliott Road was founded in 1967 as an intentional community of racial reconciliation in order to address the deep wounds of racism in society. In 1993, the church declared itself a “More Light” congregation, affirming the welcome and full inclusion of LBGT persons in its life and ministry.

Its statement reads:

“We believe HB2 is contrary to the love and justice of the Christian gospel. It fails to understand and respect transgender persons and singles them out for discrimination. In addition to sexual stigmatization, HB2 undercuts crucial constitutional protections against racial and economic discrimination by prohibiting vulnerable individuals from bringing remedial litigation in state court.”

Jewish Museum

Dr. Steve Feldman, director and creator of the online museum “The Promised Land Museum: The Jewish Museum of the Palestinian Experience,” will give an overview of this unique site at Peace Covenant Church of the Brethren, 601 E. N.C. 54, from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 17.

The online museum takes what had been two narratives, separate Israeli and Palestinian narratives, to help people see one consistent story of how a state run by Jews was formed in a land where non-Jewish people were the majority.

The museum was founded to provide a Jewish perspective on the Israel/Palestine conflict. The Jewish perspective is rooted in Jewish values to treat neighbors as we would want to be treated.

A project of the Coalition for Peace with Justice, the museum complements the common understanding of the founding of Israel with first hand resources describing how Palestinian families came to be expelled from their homes and villages.

Feldman says that the museum fills gaps in his Jewish American education and upbringing.

“Jewish morality is ingrained in us. American Jews have been on the front lines of anti-discrimination efforts. The museum, which presents largely Jewish sources and a Jewish perspective, documents our role in making and keeping Palestinian families refugees from their homes, actions inconsistent with our Jewish values.”

The museum presents firsthand materials and supplementing resources from Jewish Voice for Peace’s Facing the Nakba Project and from other organizations that offer educational materials and programs about the Nakba, or 1948 Palestinian Exodus, from a Palestinian perspective.

‘Grace-Shaped Life’

Session 1 of Max Lucado’s DVD-based study “The Grace-Shaped Life” takes viewers on a journey to discover the depth of God's grace that is “greater than you can imagine, more than you deserve and all that you need.”

The event featuring praise, pizza, fellowship and the video is on tap at Advent Lutheran Church, 230 Erwin Road, at 5:15 p.m. Saturday, May 21.

All are welcome. The event is free.

Contact Flo Johnston at fjohnston314@gmail.com or call 910-361-4135.