Heart Thoughts: Ethics Homework

Today is International Women’s Day. In the past it has not been on my radar screen; however, it is this year. It is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. I am highlighting it here to bring awareness to the project we are embarking on called Hagar’s Well. The women we are planning to serve do not fall into the category that this day is celebrating. I shared about Hagar’s Well last week. It is to supply feminine products to houseless women and women in shelters. They do not have the means to purchase these products with SNAP funds. Attached please find the list of items you can donate.

If you live in areas where you are not able to bring items to us, collect what you choose from the list and find a shelter in your area to donate to. Contact friends in your area and start a Hagar’s Well right where you are.

This coming Sunday is our monthly potluck. It is always a great time to break bread together and create deeper relationships with those in our community. It is also an opportunity to invite a friend to join you.

As always, we have a variety of events happening and some are brand new to us. A class on the enneagram is very exciting and the facilitator, Linda Cooke, is looking forward to meeting you and helping you find your type. Register right now and we can learn together!

Well, March came in like a lion… four snowstorms in one week. Quite honestly, I liked it this way as we have had such a mild winter and now spring is on the horizon so this snow will be gone soon. Which is a reminder to you that we move the clocks forward on Saturday night. This results in more daylight!

Sunday we were online only, and I was a little rusty. But it was fun, and I missed you. I just want to say we have people from all over the world tuning in on Sundays. This week was Wissam from Lebanon. I got to talk to him a couple of Sundays ago. Ruth Taylor, Bill’s daughter from Athens Greece; Zoe from Massachusetts was in Costa Rica; and then from the states, North Carolina and Virginia were represented.

The message on Sunday was focused on ethical discipline, dilemma, and universal responsibility. These topics come from the book Ethics For The New Millennium by the Dalai Lama. The topics are heavy but important. You may want to listen to it again.

Ethical discipline is indispensable because it is how we mediate between the competing claims of one person’s right to happiness against another person’s equal right. If we ignore other people’s right to happiness to advance our own, this will lead to anxiety in our own mind and a sense of disquiet.

When we face an ethical dilemma, we need both critical and imaginative powers. They allow us to discriminate between temporary and long-term benefit, to assess the likely outcome of our action, and to choose the greater good over the smaller.

Discernment must be constantly employed to check our own motivation and ask ourselves whether we are:

• being selfish or broad-minded,
• thinking short-term or long-term,
• compassionate to all or partial to our own family.

Universal responsibility means that when we see an opportunity to benefit others, we seize it. We avoid divisiveness and cultivate contentment. Our actions reflect our concern for the welfare of all beings and all creation. We reorient our hearts away from self and toward others, acknowledging the equal right of all others to be happy and free of suffering.

Practice Exercises:

  • Help one marginalized person in your community in some way.
  • Choose one community, or world situation, you care about and identify and adopt three simple actions that you will take to assume responsibility for your actions in relation to that situation (Hagar’s Well).
  • Identify a social dilemma that you feel strongly about and have a strongly held position on.
  • Delve beneath the surface to find different cases and evaluate the ethics of each case individually, bearing in mind that we must use our intelligence to judge in relation to time, place and circumstance, and to the long-term impact on the totality of all others.

So there my friend you have your assignment for the week. Next week we will look at levels of commitment and ethics in society.

See you Sunday and looking forward to all the great food at the potluck.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey


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