Moments of Clarity

Have you ever had a moment of clarity - a time when the stars seemed to align and you clearly knew the direction for your life? The occurrences of these moments in literature and film are numerous.

One of the starkest examples occurs in Herman Hesse's novel Siddhartha. Siddhartha is struggling with his privileged life and haunted by the terrible poverty around him. He has searched far and wide, in every faith for the answers to his questions. As he sits by a river, everything comes together. He realizes that he is completely alone - a faith exile. Instead of shrinking from this realization, he decides to embrace it and this sparks a profound awakening:

I, who wished to read the book of the world and the book of my own nature, did presume to despise the letters and signs. I called the world of appearances, illusion. I called my eyes and tongue, chance. Now it is over; I have awakened. I have indeed awakened and have only been born today.
So, what about you. Have you ever had a stark moment of awakening? Can you recall a moment in film or literature? What is the meaning of these watershed moments?

Join us Thursday night, at 7pm for a conversation about epiphanies!


Faith and Orientation

The video above features Christian author and pastor Jay Bakker (son of televangelist Jim Bakker). His views on Christian inclusiveness stand in stark contrast with his iconic last name. He has been decried for supporting gay community causes. The above video also reveals the hesitancy of many in the American Evangelical church to accept LGBT advocacy.

From a spiritual perspective, how do you view the gay community? What affect has your faith had on your perspective? Do you have a story that you are willing to share about a personal experience?

Join us, Thursday Feb 17, 7pm at Short's Brewing for a discussion about faith and sexual orientation.


Which Side is God on?

Events in various parts of the globe - especially Egypt and Tunisia - have shown the transitory nature of political regimes - nothing seems to last in the world of politics and government. recent upheaval in Egypt and Tunisia have displayed a rarity for the middle east. The political changes seem to encompass a diversity of faiths (click here for more). Instead of Muslims versus Christians or other religious tensions, Muslims and Christians are coming together to bring down political establishments.

A BBC reporter witnessed this rare unity:

I saw three elderly men, two Muslims clutching gilded copies of the Koran, arms flung around a third, hugging an ornate cross to his chest.

A group of young men and women belted out a song of the 1919 revolution, accompanied by a guitar. "Arise O Egypt, arise. Arise Egyptians: Muslims, Christians and Jews."
We have grown used to seeing the very opposite of this. Too often, both sides of a conflict will claim God to be on their side. In recent years, in the United States, Muslim terrorists have attacked or attempted to attack American targets for religious reasons. Often, the American response has been religious.

Soon after the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush addressed congress and forthrightly claimed divine sponsorship of the American cause:

The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them. (source)

So, how do you know when God is on your side?

Abraham Lincoln explored this conundrum in his second inaugural address. He pondered upon the fact that both sides of the conflict thought that God was with them. Abolitionists of the North claimed that God had called them to fight for justice on behalf of the enslaved. Southerners felt sure that Slavery and State sovereignty was a divine mandate.
Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.
- Abraham Lincoln (read the rest here)
In other words, God wasn't on wither side.

The question we will explore for our conversation is Which Side is God On? How do you know? How does God's will affect your political and moral proclivities?

Join us, Thursday, 7pm at Short's for a discussion about God and picking sides.



This week at unTapped, we will be discussing money. Faith and money are subjects that are often intermixed:

righteousness is this [...] give away wealth out of love for [Allah] to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for (the emancipation of) the captives, and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate; and the performers of their promise when they make a promise, and the patient in distress and affliction and in time of conflicts– these are they who are true (to themselves) and these are they who guard (against evil).
- The Qu'ran, Surah 2:177

Human happiness and human satisfaction must ultimately come from within oneself. It is wrong to expect some final satisfaction to come from money
- Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyattso

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be too.
- Jesus, Luke 12:34

The rich are wise in their own eyes;
one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are.

- Proverbs 28:11

So, what do you think about money? Is money intrinsically good or evil? Or, is money amoral? Do the rich owe anything more to society than the poor?

Join us for a fascinating conversation about wealth and faith. Thursday night, 7pm, Short's Brewing in downtown Bellaire!


In order to live man must believe in that for which he lives.
- Huston Smith
unTapped is a conversation about faith and spirituality. There are many people frustrated by being forced to think of faith in the same old patterns, and would prefer to explore spirituality in different ways.

Anything goes here. No matter where you are or who you are, we want to hear from you. Feel free to join in the conversation!

You can also join us in person, every Thursday night at Short's Brewing Company in Downtown Bellaire, MI.