William Young originally wrote The Shack as a Christmas gift for his 6 children with no intention of publishing it. Friends encouraged him to publish the book and now The Shack has been the #1 paperback trade fiction on the New York Times bestseller list since June 2008. Young says the title of the book is a metaphor for “the house you build out of your own pain.” It’s an interesting read and offers some powerful yet simple explanations for Christian theology. The book is also raising some controversy among fundamentalist thinkers. Stay tuned for the movie version and check out the The Shack web site in the meantime.
The inspiring benediction given by Reverend Lowery at Obama’s inauguration:
Owen Williams is a local Beach life coach who works with a terrific team at Inner Directions on Queen Street East. I was surprised when I first met Owen and he told me that his mentor was Miss Lilly — a longtime Bellefair UC member that I knew. Owen and his colleagues recently launched a new site called Relationship Excellence and my eye caught this review of the book, The Four Agreements, by Don Migel Ruiz in their recent newsletter. I’ve reproduced the article here in its entirety, since these inspiring concepts always bear repeating.-CA
“Good things come in small packages. This is true of The Four Agreements, a small book with a big impact. In very plain language, Don Miguel explains how we can change our perspective on life by applying the four agreements outlined in the book. They are on the surface simple, yet profound and life-altering if we are prepared to consciously apply them.
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word. It’s not always easy to say what we mean, or to speak with integrity and truth. Our words are powerful, and they convey our intent. If we strive to speak from a place of truth and love, we can change what we manifest in our lives. By choosing not to use our word against ourselves with negative self-talk or against others by gossiping or speaking ill of them, we feel happy and at peace.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally. When you agree with what someone else thinks of you, you become prey to their opinions and beliefs. You might be offended and defensive if their opinion is negative, or thrilled if it’s positive. It’s important not to take what others think personally as it will change depending on their mood, their belief system and the agreements they have with themselves. If you make a habit to not take things personally, you avoid many upsets in life and gain a lot of personal freedom.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions. We create a lot of drama in our lives when we fail to ask for clarification or don’t express what we really want because we assume we know the answer. By communicating with others clearly and with courage it becomes simple: this is what I want, this is what you want. There is no misunderstanding when we don’t assume that others know how we feel or what we need.
4. Always Do Your Best. From moment to moment, depending on your health, your state of mind or your circumstances, your best will change. If you simply strive to do your best at any given time, there is no room for self-judgment or regret. You will learn to accept yourself, and by continually doing your best, you master the previous three agreements.
You will not always be impeccable with your word, will still take things personally and make assumptions on occasion. They are ingrained habits. However by just doing your best, you will slowly find that your love and self-respect will grow and all four agreements will become part of your life.”
Yet another group of scholars from the U.S. — 20 historians, biblical scholars, archeologists, textual authorities, theologians, and other experts — have formed a research initiative to ponder the existence of Jesus. The group claims it will do a better job of things than the Jesus Seminar — a similar but no less controversial group that voted on biblical concepts using coloured marbles. The group has started a website if you want to read more and follow their progress.