What makes a “faith leader”? (part 5) A letter to faith leaders everywhere!

 Nancy Thayer in her studio Our Guest
Writer this week is educator and artist Nancy Thayer. In this 5-part series, Nancy
examines aspects of her life that make a “faith
leader.” (Quick links:
Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.)

Since the whole point of the OurValues.org project is to create a discussion that will help reshape the way our leaders understand our values—including faith, family and the way we make moral choices—I am closing my series with responses to some of the many thought provoking comments our readers have contributed.
    First, thank you for taking the time to bring your thoughts to this group discussion. By contributing, you have led us to consider issues and ideas that reach beyond the original articles. You have reinforced the belief that within our many communities, there is a desire to find spiritual solutions.
    In David’s comment he expressed concern for those friends who have lost jobs and what this means to friendships. And Nancy B. expressed a similar concern for adult children who find themselves jobless. We have several family members who needed to find new jobs during the past year. In each case, I wanted to support their efforts in the best way possible, and to find that way I began with prayer.
    Prayer to me means, first, identifying the challenge, quietly affirming that our Creator has already provided all that each of us needs for any right activity, and listening with a sense of expectation for direction. There is a statement in “Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy that I often refer to: “Metaphysics resolves things into thoughts, and exchanges the objects of sense for the ideas of Soul.” This has always provided two things: First, it takes the burden of solution off my shoulders. Second, it turns it over to a far wiser and infinitely more Creative Source than I. And it works!
    I love what Grace, who works for the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice in Ann Arbor wrote. Can you imagine our world recognized and embraced as a spiritual community, a community responsible for the well-being of one another? Thank you Grace for the leadership you are demonstrating in this critical work.
    Gail’s individual path of spiritual discovery has led her to form a group of faith leaders actively working throughout the Metro-Detroit area and beyond. This is certainly one of the highest forms of art. If you are not already familiar with WISDOM, I highly recommend that you learn about the many activities they have initiated.
    Padma’s efforts that often go without appreciation from her own faith community remind me of a statement by Anais Nin. “The artist is not there to be at one with the world. She is there to transform it.” Thank you for continuing your transforming work as a faith leader/artist.
    Sometimes those with a strong faith in God are reluctant to share that with others for fear their motives will be misunderstood, that they will be seen as proselytizing when they are not. Elaine is willing to share her deep belief in God with others regardless of their own faith. Thank you Elaine.
    The interfaith work that many leaders are doing today is about bringing a sense of mutual understanding and respect—not “tolerance”—among the many faith communities. It is about bringing healing to many wounds. It is vital work if we are to live in a world that is truly a spiritual community. I thank you all for being a part of this community project and for the opportunity to join you.
    We still welcome your thoughts, too!



   Please, Add a Comment. Where have you seen this kind of problem arising? What solutions have you found?

 Nancy Thayer painting

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