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A Self-Evident Truth: The Pursuit of Happiness

by Rev. Tony Ponticello

Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

There's an interesting fact about that phrase, though. I believe it is true because I've seen it documented in several places. Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence did not write "self-evident." What Thomas Jefferson actually wrote was "sacred and undeniable." Thomas Jefferson wrote, "We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable." However Benjamin Franklin objected to that phrase. Apparently he thought it was too religious sounding, and he wanted something a little more secular. Benjamin Franklin suggested "self-evident." So before we credit "self-evident' to Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence over a period of two weeks, let's remember that "self-evident" actually came from Benjamin Franklin. Just a little fact.

So, how are we doing in this country with these self-evident, unalienable rights? Life? Not particularly good. (laughter) We still have the death penalty legal in the United States. A number of states don't have the death penalty, but the death penalty is still legal in the U.S.A. There hasn't been any successful constitutional challenge. There is something in our Constitution against cruel and unusual punishment. The 8th amendment to the Constitution states, "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." I guess, somehow, the death penalty isn't considered cruel or unusual punishment. At least it hasn't been considered as that yet by the United States Supreme Court. Maybe one of these days it will be.

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Reasonable

by Rev. Tony Ponticello

The Thinker

The Thinker - Rodin

In other words, reason also means sanity, and I think that's how A Course In Miracles generally uses the word. When ACIM talks about reason, it's really talking about sanity. It's not necessarily talking about logic. Actually ACIM tells us that insanity can be quite logical. You can, quite logically, have a whole train of thought – thoughts that form naturally one after another – that make sense to be put together, but if it's based on an insane premise, it's insane logic. But it's logical. We get deluded by logic. We see a logical argument, so we think it must be reasonable. But it's not necessarily so. I think this is a very important thing for ACIM students to understand, logic isn't necessarily reasonable. Just because something is logical, doesn't make it true. If it's based on an insane premise it is not true. It's thoughts may follow one after another in a logical progression, but that doesn't mean anything.

A Course In Miracles talks about reason a lot. It's all over the Course. I'm going to give you a couple of quotations. It says, "The introduction of reason into the ego's thought system is the beginning of its undoing. For reason and the ego are contradictory." (OrEd.Tx.22.29) When we introduce sanity to the ego's thought system, it undoes the ego. Here's another one, "You are your brother's savior. He is yours. Reason speaks happily indeed of this." (OrEd.Tx.21.67) We are all saviors to each other. You're my savior; I'm your savior. We're all each other's savior, because we're all one and joined. And reason/sanity will always tell us this.

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Free At Last, Free At Last. Thank God Almighty We Are Free At Last

by Rev. Vincent Fuqua

Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King

As we are probably aware, this is a line from one of the famous speeches given by Dr. Martin Luther King, the "I Have A Dream" speech. This is one of those moments in history where an individual took a stand and spoke the message of hope and freedom. It has reminded me of how important it definitely was for him, that each and every person was treated equally. For me, and I'm sure for each and every one of you, this is such a very inspiring message that he was delivering during that time. It is about us making sure that we are sending out the message of love and sending out the message of hope. I know for me, as an A Course In Miracles student, there is one thing that I want to continue to work on and that is to extend love to everyone whom I come in contact with no matter who they are.

As I reflect on this and think about what it was like in the sixties, it's actually reminding me of how things are now today. Even though it's 2014, still, not every one is treated as equal. Still, there is a lot of violence and hatred that is in our society and as Dr. King points out in this speech, "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and lift out the true meaning of its creed. ‘We hold these truths to be self evident that all men ...' black and white people, ‘... are created equal.'"

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A Temple Of Healing

by Rev. Tony Ponticello

Golden Temple in Amritsar India

Golden Temple in Amritsar India

However, A Course in Miracles tells us, "No, that is not true." ACIM teaches us that the Holy Spirit's temple is not our body but our relationships. "The Holy Spirit's temple is not a body, but a relationship." (OrEd.Tx.20.49) That seems a little bit abstract. I mean, how is a relationship the temple, the house, the worship place of the Holy Spirit? 

It seems a little unusual, but it is the teaching of A Course in Miracles not to think of the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit, but relationships are the worship place. Our relationships are the place where we go and make devotions. They're the place where we do our spiritual work, it is in our relationships.This idea is peppered all throughout ACIM. It's not an unusual Course idea, especially in the Text. It's all over. 

Here it says, "Your way will be different, not in purpose but in means." in other words, the techniques that you use. "A holy relationship is a means of saving time." (OrEd.Tx.18.67) A Course In Miracles is telling us right here that relationships are the Course's means and this statement actually came after a short dissertation about meditation, and how meditation is not a primary focus of ACIM. It's saying that there are other means, but our means are not necessarily the same means as other spiritual paths. The means this course truly employs is relationships. That's how we save time. That's how we heal. A holy relationship is a temple of healing. That's the title of my talk today, "A Temple of Healing."

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CMC Mission Statement

" The Community Miracles Center is a worldwide community for anyone who is interested in the spiritual teaching A Course in Miracles. We are on the "Great Crusade" in learning how to forgive the world that we are in. We do that by LISTENING to guidance from Holy Spirit or our Higher Power, LEARNING about true cause and effect, and actively DOING things to shift the errors in perception. Our mission is to transform the world we see into a reflection of Heaven and manifest the "Real World." We do this locally, nationally, and internationally "