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Why not give up: faith and resilience

Why not give up: faith and resilience

A friend of mine lost his wife recently after a three-year battle with cancer. Anytime we saw Bill and Margaret together, their total and deep love for each other was obvious. Talking with him and hearing his devotion and connection to her was inspiring. Now as he grieves his loss, he is alone in the same home, taking the same walks, eating meals at about the same time. And yet it is all different. And profoundly sad.

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The Jazz of Faith Formation: One Believer’s Path

The Jazz of Faith Formation: One Believer’s Path

Twenty years ago, I left an executive position in a faith-based nonprofit (I was dean of the Presbyterian college at the University of British Columbia and taught organizational development and leadership at Vancouver School of Theology) to launch a consulting firm that sought to provoke greater institutional flourishing in the sector. I needed a catchy angle to attract attention and found it in jazz. Thus, Jazzthink Consulting was born.  Little did I imagine the lessons I would learn as I collaborated with others in imaging new ways of cultivating the common good. My faith was reformulated one conversation after another with people in both the visible and the invisible church. 

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“Family” and Faith: The Power of Shared Beliefs

“Family” and Faith: The Power of Shared Beliefs

I recently attended a memorial service for my older cousin, Paul, back in the community where I grew up. While I have not always considered it so, I increasingly appreciate the blessings of being born into a large family. My Mom came from a large, farm family of Irish Catholics. She had two brothers and three sisters – all of whom married and had four to eight children. It’s a challenge sometimes to remember all my cousin’s names, never mind the next generations of their children and grandchildren. In contrast, my Dad had only one sister but my three siblings and I share two wonderful cousins from that side of the family.

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Faith as Community Building

Faith as Community Building

Last night I was up late. It could have been the cortado I’d had in the afternoon, but the recent headlines about Haiti, Afghanistan, relentless fires in California, the Delta variant, and all the forgotten ills still afflicting our human family abroad and at home could have also been contributing factors. It was two in the morning. I played song after song on the piano until eventually, melodies I had not played before began to fill the room. This is amazing, I thought. I imagined people who had passed on as inspiring the prayers my fingers were sending into the world from that out-of-tune instrument. And, like anyone would do at three in the morning, I began to wonder if there wasn’t some mystical meaning to the name “YAMAHA” in front of me. My exhaustion eventually pushed me off the bench and onto the couch.

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Exploring faith: Maybe the questions are bigger than the answers

Exploring faith: Maybe the questions are bigger than the answers

Being Religion Editor for Reuters, one of the world’s largest news agencies, was so interesting that I often called it “the best-ever continuing graduate course in world religions.” I didn’t just read the Scriptures or learn the histories of the major faiths. My job was to go report on these beliefs at first hand, experiencing believers — wherever they were — as they practiced their faith or brought it into their daily lives. It was a wonderful experience.

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A Love Letter for a Dark Night

A Love Letter for a Dark Night

The first three decades of my life I always felt God’s presence, and I am incredibly grateful for that. There were of course times when I felt closer to God, and other times when I didn’t feel as close, but those patterns often mirrored how active I was with my prayer life. The times when I struggled to make spiritual practices a part of my regular routine, God naturally seemed less a part of my life, but I knew God was always there waiting for us to spend time together.

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A Love Letter for a Dark Night

A Love Letter for a Dark Night

The first three decades of my life I always felt God’s presence, and I am incredibly grateful for that. There were of course times when I felt closer to God, and other times when I didn’t feel as close, but those patterns often mirrored how active I was with my prayer life. The times when I struggled to make spiritual practices a part of my regular routine, God naturally seemed less a part of my life, but I knew God was always there waiting for us to spend time together.

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Disney Magic and Faith

Disney Magic and Faith

Last week my wife and I took our 13-year-old grandson to Disney World in Florida as a birthday treat. We joined thousands of other people at Epcot one day and at Animal Kingdom the next. Given the 90 plus heat and the crowds, I approached this trip with mixed feelings – anticipation of my joy of being with him and his joy of being there. Yet I feared the heat and crowds. In Disney speak, they call my experience “the magic.” In my faith, we would call it a miracle.

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About Tom Adams

Tom AdamsTom Adams writes and speaks on topics vital to the intersection of our personal lives with our community and global lives. He has for decades been engaged in and written about nonprofit leadership and transitions, spirituality and spiritual growth, how we each contribute to a more just and equitable world and recovery from addictions and the Twelve Step recovery movement.