Welcome To The Religion Network!
I'm Lisa Bowman, editor of The Religion Network, a multi-faith Web site. This site provides inspirational quotes through an
exploration of a new spiritual theme every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The Religion network is offered with the
conviction that inspiration can be found in all spiritual faiths, and furthermore, that finding the commonalities
among the world's religions is more healing than pointing up their differences.
Religion as an institution is a precious gift, blessing individuals and uplifting communities. However you choose to
worship, I hope this site enhances your journey. If you'd like to know my story, click on biography.
ON TODAY'S SITE:
Book of Sirach, Book of Mark, Rabbi Lawrence Goldmark, Anonymous, M. Basil Pennington
Photo by Stephen Bowman All rights reserved
All wisdom comes from the Lord and is with him forever.
The sand of the sea, the drops of rain, and the days of
eternity -- who can count them?
The height of heaven, the breadth of the earth, the
abyss, and wisdom -- who can search them out?
Wisdom was created before all things, and prudent
understanding from eternity.
The root of wisdom -- to whom has it been revealed?
Her clever devices -- who knows them?
There is One who is wise, greatly to be feared, sitting
upon his throne.
The Lord himself created wisdom; he saw her and
apportioned her, he poured her out upon all his works.
She dwells with all flesh according to his gift, and he
supplied her to those who love him.
To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; she is
created with the faithful in the womb.
To fear the Lord is the root of wisdom, and her branches
are long life.
Book of Sirach 1:1-10,14,20
The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing
that he answered them well, asked (Jesus), "Which commandment is the first of all?"
Jesus answered, 'The first is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and
you shall love the Lord you God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all
your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this, 'You shall love your
neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
Book of Mark12:28-31
The Holy Bible
Photo by Stephen Bowman All rights reserved
"The One Holdout"
by Rabbi Lawrence Goldmark
Reprinted with permission from "The Beacon"
My friend Rabbi Joshua Berkowitz tells the story of the Jewish community in
Eastern Europe some years ago that needed a new rabbi. They put out the call and
there were several applicants. The town leaders settled on one candidate and they
had a meeting with him. The negotiations were about to end when the rabbi had one
last demand. He declared: “When the members of the community vote on me, the
results must be unanimous in my favor. If there is even one dissenting vote, I will not
take the position.” Both sides agreed to all of the conditions and the ballot on the rabbi
was sent out to the Jews of the village.
When the results were tabulated, to everyone’s surprise, the rabbi received every
vote in the town – except for one. When the rabbi was called in to receive the results,
the president of the congregation congratulated him on his election as the rabbi of their
community. The rabbi then asked the crucial question: “What were the actual results of
the vote?” The leader of the community revealed to him that everyone voted in his favor –
except for one man. The rabbi reminded the president and all members of the leadership
group that the prerequisite for his taking the position was a unanimous vote. But the
president protested that the one opposing vote came from a man who was poor, old and
not respected by anyone in the town. Nevertheless, the rabbi would not accept the position.
However, the rabbi felt he had to find out why the one man voted against him. And so
he set out one morning to the poor section of the village to find his only detractor. Finally,
he happened upon a miserable rundown shack and knocked on the door. The old man
answered and the rabbi revealed who he was and then said: “I need to know why you
voted against me.”
The old man looked at the rabbi and replied: “Rabbi, if I had voted for you, would you
have come out to see me?”
And so, what is the moral of this story? Attention must be paid to all people, no matter what
their age or social status or any other seemingly negative factor. Or else. Or else they may
cast the one vote that will block the actions and desires of the majority. Everyone is
important. Everyone wants to be noticed or else.
Rabbi Lawrence Goldmark is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Ohr in La Mirada. He is the
Executive Vice President of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis. Among many other posts,
he was President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California from 1997-1999.
I learn, as the years roll onward
And leave the past behind,
That much I had counted sorrow
but proves that God is kind;
That many a flower I had longed for
Had hidden a thorn of pain,
And many a rugged bypath
Led to fields of ripened grain.
The clouds that cover sunshine
They cannot banish the sun;
And the earth shines out the brighter
When the weary rain is done.
We must stand in the deepest shadow
To see the clearest light;
and often through wrong's own darkness
Comes the very strength of light.
Author unknown, but appreciated
The Last Word:
I remember the Zen story of a terrible outlaw who
was terrorizing villages. Whenever the people
heard he was coming, they fled and left all for him.
As he approached one village, everyone fled, except
one monk. When the outlaw heard that the monk had
remained in his monastery, he was outraged. He broke
down the gates of the monastery and confronted the
monk. "Do you know who I am? I am the one who can
kill you on the spot." The monk looked at him calmly
and replied, "Do you know who I am? I am the one
who can let you kill me on the spot."
Whatever decision I make about my future,
I want to make it freely -- free to let go
or free to go on...
From 'Engaging the World with Merton'
by M. Basil Pennington OCSO
Paraclete Press, 2005
Totally Random Bonus Quote:
Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things,
literature, music--the world is so rich, simply throbbing
with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting
people. Forget yourself.
Henry Miller (1891-1980)
American novelist and painter