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It’s Called Application . . . or is it Integration?

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Scrabble tiles spelling "speak truth"
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

I ran into this online the other day; the title of the article fairly well says it all:

New study links intrinsic religious motivation to higher-level patterns of thought.

The article says:

“The main takeaway from this study is that people who are motivated to pursue religion or spirituality and integrate it fully into their life while finding it contributing to what they experience tend to think in more meaningful ways . . .

OK, sure — any study that says health and well-being is improved by integrating religion or spirituality (or philosophy) into one’s life is going to be music to a practicing minister’s ears. Will, as a matter of fact, have us jumping in joy: What I do for a living is good for people! Glory be!

But it is. Good for all of us, I mean. My surmise is that, almost as early as the oldest profession appeared, so did the embittered remarks concerning priests, prophets, and philosophers: “They don’t live up to what they say! Hypocrites!”

That’s been true for a while now.

A few years back, the Roman writer Seneca (c. 4 BCE — 65 CE) said:

Despite human shortcomings, we have no cause to despise the good sayings of good hearts. Even when their actions fall short, people who think good thoughts deserve respect. When we start a steep climb, we may not finish it. We need to look with respect upon those who even make the attempt. It is the act of a generous heart to think of lofty goals and to conceive of ways for us to achieve them. (Book XX, “Of a Happy Life”)

So, take that, naysayers! Even hypocrites have good days and spread a little truth on the the sidewalks of the world.

And for those among us who actually try to practice what we preach . . . well, where there’s life there’s hope, as the saying goes. (Or is it, “even a stopped clock is right twice a day”?)

Either way, research says it’s healthy to take a shot at integrating our ideals and our actions.

That goes for all of us.

Seriously.

First Unitarian Society on YouTube.

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