The ties that bind

Last night, students, faculty, staff, and members of the administration of SUNY Brockport gathered in in the Seymour Union Ballroom for a time of remembrance of an 18 year old, Alexandra Kogut, who was murdered by her boyfriend this past Saturday. The room quickly filled with students and the sea of students continued to flow in until there was not a seat, a spot to stand, or floor space on which to sit. What was also present last night were spiritual values, which bring communities together and are not always present in situations of domestic violence. All too often, I hear stories of how people who were in abusive situations received no support from their churches or faith communities. Recently, I heard of a woman who had been assaulted and stabbed by her abusive husband. As she recovered from her injuries, she turned to her church, expecting pastoral care and support. She was not then employed because her husband would not allow her to work.
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Courage Up, Not Cover Up

Perhaps one of the most important qualities in spiritual growth is courage. Courage is what enables us to move through our fears rather then cover them up. Michael Kimmel, a sociologist and leader in Men’s Studies, illustrated one way even our youth have learned to cover up their fears. He said the easiest way to start a fight is to walk on to a playground and ask which one of the kids playing is gay. The fear of anyone thinking you are gay is enough to provoke an all out effort to prove their masculinity, and to demasculate others. There are aspects of our personality, which we are supposed to cover up. We are not supposed to show weakness, especially men. “Are you a baby?”
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Integrity and Integration

I woke up this morning with this epiphany I had to share with a friend. The funny thing is my epiphanies tend to be things I knew at some level, but then rise to the top of my consciousness. This is what I remembered this morning about truth. We are to be about truth. We are to be about speaking from a place of truth. Not just our truth, but THE truth. Sometimes we might like to say we are the sole possessors of the truth, but like so many others, we are on a journey, which is constantly revealing new understandings and new insights about THE truth. Everyone, even those we do not necessarily agree with can have an insight into truth we do not have. What is important is that we always conduct our search for truth guided by the principles of love As we conduct our search, we may find ourselves living with greater and more conscious levels of integrity. Integrity is about wholeness and authenticity.
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