Are You Trapped in Religious Debt or Are You Paying Spirit Forward?

The good you do today may be quickly forgotten, but the impact of what you do will never disappear. ~Anonymous
Paying It Forward To A Friend
By: Ian Lawton

Two people were shipwrecked on an island. One of them was screaming and yelling, “We’re going to die! We’re going to die! There’s no food! No water! We’re going to die!” The second person was propped up against a palm tree and calmly said, “You don’t understand, I make $100,000 a
week….we’ll get found soon.” The first person was dumbfounded and
asked, “What difference does that make?!? We’re on an island with no food and no water! We’re going to DIE!!!” The second person answered, “You
just don’t get it, do you: I make $100,000 a week, and I tithe ten
percent to my church. I give $10,000 each week to my church.” The first person said, ” I still don’t understand! How will that help us?” The
second person said: “Listen, I said to relax, I TITHE $10,000 a week to
my church, BELIEVE ME, my pastor will find me!”

Speaking about finances is always a tricky business for a pastor of a church. I want to relate financial realities to the concept known as “paying forward”. Trust me, I will just stop short of tracking you down on tropical holidays.

The movie, “Pay It Forward” tells the story of a seventh grade student named Trevor with a plan to change the world. He decides to help three people. The only condition on the act of kindness is that rather than paying him back, they will pay the kindness forward to three other people.
And so the 3 will turn into 9 people, who will turn into 27, and so on.

It struck me that if we lived with a “pay it forward” mindset, the world would be a much better place. We would spend less time watching our backs, and more time sending good energy forward.

The intention of pay back is often to clean up a situation or to pacify someone or even to appease God. Often religions require people to pay God back by making a sacrifice. In pay back mode the only way to show true gratitude is to suffer pain or loss.

Paying forward, on the other hand, is a spiritual act in the sense that it acknowledges that all actions are related. Paying forward awakens us to the fact that our current actions will affect other people, both now and in the future. It calls us to compassion rather than guilt. It inspires excitement about the future we are creating now, rather than leaving us dwelling in the past. Paying forward affirms that there’s enough love and goodness in the world for everyone.

Jesus mixed with a lot of religious people who lived according to a pay back mentality. Think of the story about the woman caught in adultery. The religious people wanted her to be stoned for her crime. If Jesus refused to condemn her, then they wanted him to pay the price. After all someone had to suffer. Jesus said, “I don’t condemn you. Neither do these people. Now go from here and live a better life.” In effect he was saying that there is no payback. There is only paying forward with goodness.

Some people think that’s why Jesus died on the cross, so that all the sins of the world could be paid for. That’s a pay back mentality. Jesus was more likely to say that we reap what we sow. Jesus would say that if we put positive energy out, if we live with optimism and grace, then that’s the energy we will invite into our life. Life is reciprocal. Situations are connected. “Do unto others as you would have them to do you” is the essence of the teaching of Jesus.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Some would say that God deals with people according to their actions. I don’t think of it that way. I just think life works so that what goes around comes around. We exist in a continuum of creative energy, where giving and receiving are not different experiences. They are one and the same.

So what’s this got to do with the the C3 e-zine?

We enjoy offering it for free. We don’t want anything back. We want to ask you to pay it forward.

We want to suggest that you forward it to friends who want to be part of a genuine resource that comes with no agenda other than to affirm the sacred journey of life.

We want to expand our E-zine and website capabilities so that people all over the world can benefit from a truly liberated and liberating resource.

Many of you have been enjoying the e-zine and online resources for some time now. People have written and said that it provides a spark at low times, and meaning in times of confusion. Some people have written and said they don’t agree with points, but appreciate the chance to think freely. That’s just what we hope will happen through it. Now we want to offer this to more people.

Some people have already paid the progressive spirit forward by using the network for good button. If more people follow suit we can continue to offer this resource and expand it.

We invite you to donate just $10 a month for our online/ web site and e-zine resources. We hope that 1,000 people will choose to do this so that we can expand to new levels of technical expertise and invite significant writers to submit pieces for the e-zine. The quality of the resources make $10 a month a bargain. If you already give regularly to the church, consider adding $10 a month for the online resources. If you join us from afar, just click on the “network for good” button on the e-zine or on the web site.

Oh, and why not ask those you forward the e-zine to, to pay forward your good thoughts by forwarding it on to their friends. The right people will receive this e-zine. Those who can use it will get it.

The beauty of paying forward is that we don’t need to worry about outcomes.
There is no end to the goodness that will grow out of our current actions.
Once you have released positive energy into the universe, once you have given with a generous spirit, then the outcomes will be the right ones.
You can be sure of that. You don’t need to control them. Paying forward is about freely releasing positive energy and letting it do its good work.

Jesus lost his life for a cause. The cause was to inspire people to live their greatest humanity, to live in harmony with nature and to release into the universe endless quantities of peace and goodwill. We inherit this movement and pay it forward for others to benefit from. This community has a global leadership role in spreading human goodness. What we choose to do from moment to moment and the manner in which we pledge our time, talent and treasury will pay forward kindness in ways beyond our imagination.

Pay It Forward!

Begin to Pay it Forward Today!

Do you enjoy receiving our free weekly e-zine?

Would you consider spending just $10 a month to support the C3 E-zine?

It is very simple to donate to C3/Christ Community Church, through the Network For Good.

The Network For Good is a secure and safe online donations collection center for non-profit organizations. Please consider giving today!

(This option to give is available each week in the e-zine, just look to the end of the e-zine for the link.)

Click Here to Give!

Find Inspiration to Begin Giving to Receive

Check out this recent article from the DailyOm on generosity.

The DailyOm produces inspirational articles for nurturing your mind, body, and spirit, in a variety of topics from self improvement, to philosophy to energy work, to healthy living.

“Sometimes when we practice generosity, we practice it conditionally. We might be expecting to “receive back” from the person to whom we gave. We might even become angry or resentful if that person doesn’t reciprocate.
However, trust in the natural flow of energy, and you will find yourself practicing generosity with no strings attached…”

Follow the link below to read the complete DailyOm.

Check out the C3 articles page on our website for a new DailyOm article every day.

click here for the complete DailyOm

What Is Gnosticism?

Tuesday November 8
Prince Center, Calvin College

Dr. Karen King of Harvard University will be the guest lecturer. Dr.
King’s book “What Is Gnosticism?” offers a provocative look at the early centuries of the Christian era, when Judaism and Christianity were not yet separate entities, and Christianity still consisted of a heterogeneous array of groups that all claimed to be inspired in some way by Jesus.
Some of these groups, the Gnostics, proposed radical reinterpretations of Jewish Scriptures and Christian beliefs, such as the idea that the God of the Old Testament was actually an inferior deity who sought to ensnare humans in an evil world of matter, or that the serpent in paradise really was a supernatural messenger of the true God.

Conference schedule with a complete description of this one-day conference and registration forms are available in the Narthex on Sunday morning, or call the church office, 616.842.1985 for more information.

Pre-registration is appreciated for this free event; however, registration is required for a $10 lunch.

Sponsored by West MI Academic Consortium and West Shore Committee for Jewish/Christian Dialogue.
Does Your Anger Control You?
Thursday October 27th
7:00-9:00 pm
Christ Community Church, Chapel
Suggested Donation $7

C3 welcomes Gen Kelsang Khedrub, the Resident Teacher at Vajrayana Buddhist Center in Chicago. Ordained in 1995, he has a great depth of understanding and skill in presenting the teachings of Buddha in a practical and enjoyable way.

Thursday’s session’s topic is “A Buddhist Approach to Anger.” Anger is one of the most common and destructive of all delusions, and it afflicts our mind almost everyday. It robs us of our ability to think clearly and make rational decisions. Anger even destroys our relationships with those we love most. Gen Khedrub will give practical teachings on how to gradually reduce the tendencies toward anger we have lurking in our heart, and help us to learn how to live a more meaningful, relaxed, and compassionate way of life.

For more information on the Vajrayana Buddhist Center follow the link below.

click here for Vajrayana Buddhist Center
Check Out the Bulletin for Sunday and Our Bulletin Archive!

Check out this Sunday’s Bulletin titled: “Living the Wisdom of Ambiguity”

Here is just one beautiful piece of the liturgy. Enjoy!
“We dream of a church
That joins in with God’s laughing
As she rocks in her rapture,
Enjoy her art:
She’s glad of her world,
in its risking and growing:
’tis the child she has borne
and holds close to her heart.”

The C3 Bulletin Archive has turned into a great resource center for other progressive communities around the world. Thanks to the wonderful talent on our staff we are quickly becoming a leader in Progressive Christian liturgies. Check out our Bulletin Archive for more Progressive Christian Liturgies Today!

Check out the Most Recent Sermon from C3!

Were you intrigued with the idea of Paying It Forward? Were you left wanting more? Check out Ian’s sermon from last Sunday. Ian tackled this very sensitive issue of giving in our kick off to the stewardship drive.
Ian gives us a wonderful spiritual approach to generosity, and shows us as we tap into the pool of generosity and love it does not diminish, but flows and expands beyond our wildest dreams.

Read the sermon text by following the link.

You won’t want to miss this one!

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