Rev. Tony Ponticello

Rev. Tony Ponticello

Rev. Tony Ponticello is CMC Minister #20. He was ordained on Oct. 17, 1997. He is Executive Minister of Community Miracles Center and serves on the CMC Board as President. He is the Master of Ceremonies for the CMC Sunday Gathering and teaches 2 other CMC classes.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022 00:46

Happy Eternal Birthday to Me!

Dear Miracle Worker,

Next Tuesday, June 7, I will have a birthday! WooHoo!! I will be … an eternal, infinite Holy Child of God! I will be manifesting the greatest body symbol of my timeless self that I can!

I stopped counting my years sometime ago. It just seemed counterproductive. I try not to even think about them. If I find my mind focusing on them I note it and gently move on to other thoughts. I get a little annoyed each time I have to fill out a form that asks for my birth year. I wish they wouldn’t do that. I had to do another one this morning. I don’t raise objections, and since I can’t proceed without doing it, I look at this as an “outrageous" request and simply put the year down. "Recognize what does not matter, and if your brothers ask you for something ‘outrageous,' do it because it does not matter." (OrEd.Tx.11.27) Okay. It doesn’t matter so I just enter the year and click “continue.”

I like to think that I am not aging but “youthing!”

ACIM teaches us that we don’t leave this world by dying. This is a prominent world belief and even ACIM students participate in the recitation of it. We leave this world by embracing the truth. "The world is not left by death but by truth" (OrEd.Tx.3.80) The truth is I am an infinite, eternal God being. I will leave the illusion manifestation by an embracing of that true idea, not by going through an aging and “death” experience. I assume that one goes through a dying experience to emerge into a very similar reality where not much is different. Perhaps the form is different but the content remains the same. Why bother? I can’t think of a good reason.

(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #339, May 31 2022)

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Another school shooting – 19 elementary school children and 2 teachers bodies were killed. Plus the shooter's body was killed as well. The mind reels at the sadness and the horror of it all. The ACIM Practitioner struggles with the right Holy Spirit guided perception to claim. This is not a time for spiritual platitudes and correct “Course speak.” If God can weep then so can we. "God weeps at the 'sacrifice' of His Children, who believe they are lost to Him." (OrEd.Tx.5.93) What we can do is not descend into helplessness and disempowerment. We can help, and we can heal. We can be empowered because as ACIM teaches us, "There is nothing my holiness cannot do because the power of God lies in it." (OrEd.WkBk.37.7) 27 min. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

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Most of us are probably comfortable with the religious terms that are contained in ACIM. Terms like: God the Father, Holy Spirit, Jesus, atonement, salvation are used ubiquitously all throughout ACIM. However there are many who do not resonate with these terms, and in fact are turned off by them. How do we reach them with ACIM’s healing message? Rev. Tony was recently charged with the task of writing a short inspirational treatise on “miracles” that would communicate to the non-religious, the secular. "They come from all over the world. They come from all religions and from no religion." (OrEd.Mn.1.2) How do we introduce our important healing technology to the non-religious? 22 min. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

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Probably everyone in the USA is now aware that the federal right for women to have an abortion seems to be in serious jeopardy. As one would expect, this has triggered many passionate discussions on both sides of the issue. I choose to see this as a miracle in the making. Can we Miracle Healers offer the world a different perception? Can we show that it is possible to have a discussion without demonizing those with a different point of view? "Whenever anyone can listen fairly to both sides of any issue, he will make the right decision. ... Conflict can seem to be interpersonal, but it must be intrapersonal first." (OrEd.Tx.7.12) When we can heal the conflict within ourselves (intrapersonal) then we become the force for healing it in the world. Can we listen fairly to the other side of the discussion? 26 min. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

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Tuesday, 10 May 2022 00:30

Roe v. Wade: Separation at Its Best

Dear Miracle Worker,

Sometimes it’s just fun to watch the world go from one crisis to the next. Where should we invest our fear today? Not too long ago it was the Covid19 pandemic. Then we had the Ukraine Russia war. Then we had the censorship, free speech debate with the Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter. Now we have leaked documents from the U.S. Supreme Court indicating it is very possible the landmark ruling, Roe v. Wade, that legalized abortion by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 may be overturned.

I have always been neutral about abortion. I recognized it as a complex issue with strong sentiments on both sides, which can both easily be backed up by strong arguments founded in philosophical and religious thought. I saw early on that there was no winning this argument by anyone. "Ideational preoccupations with problems set up to be incapable of solution are also favorite ego devices for impeding the strong-willed from making real learning progress." (OrEdTx.4.77) In other words, there was no cheese down the abortion argument tunnel for me. Plus being a man, abortion was not truly my issue. Many woman have said that men should not be making decisions about the bodies of women. (Unlike our newest Supreme Court Justice I can define both “men” and “women,” but then I DO have a degree in biology from Cornell University! LOL)

In short – how much separation do we want to see in the world? How much separation do we want there to be in the world? The answer to those questions are the same. While our society argues and battles this question, do we find ourselves making one opinion not just wrong but “bad”? If so, then we are playing the separation game to its best. Let’s be a voice for oneness instead.

(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #336, May 10 2022)

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Tuesday, 03 May 2022 00:11

That’s Not Scary to You – Is It?

Dear Miracle Worker,

Feeling a connection to Absolute Divine Power today. Was it the sunny warm day, the deep blue sky and the perfect temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit? Probably not really – but those wonderful conditions did give me a little push in that direction. That’s because I know those worldly conditions came from me, from us, our holy minds connected to each other and connected to the one Divine Mind of the Universe.

What will this power do to transform the world? To truly know I need you to join with me. I can only do so much by myself alone. Wait – I’m not myself alone ever. Still I know it will all be so much more powerful and transformative if you connect with me. "The world would be completely changed should any two agree these words [I want the peace of God] express the only thing they want." (OrEd.WkBk.185.2) Surely there are those among you who will join with me on this.

I have felt less fear in the world these past few weeks. I gave a talk recently named, “And Then the Fear Lessened.” You could watch the video by clicking on the the linked title. I would be so honored.

Anytime the fear lessens the healing and peace increases. That’s because the peace and healing are always there but the fear obscures them. Remove the obscuring interference and what the interference was blocking is automatically revealed.

So why wouldn’t you want to join me with that? I’m not that scary – am I? I guess I am to some people. I continually call people to embrace their power and to turn aways from the sickness, war, and death that appear to be in the world. To many that’s a scary thing, but not to you – right?!?!

(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #335, May 3 2022)

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Why do we practice A Course in Miracles? I am not referring to just why do we read the Text and try to understand it? That would be the question why do we study it? Nor am I speaking about why do we do the Workbook lessons. I want to engage us in a discussion of why do we actually practice living as it asks us to live. Why are we miracle practitioners? The dictionary defines "practitioner" as: "a person actively engaged in an art, discipline, or profession, especially medicine." Why do we devote ourselves to healing, both ourselves and others? Why do we choose to forgive? Why do we choose to live as eternal, infinite beings in a world that seems temporary and finite? "I am a Son of God. And can I be another thing as well? Did God create the mortal and corruptible? What use has God's beloved Son for what must die?" (OrEd.WkBk.294.1) Leave behind the false temporal identity and embrace the Divine Self we all are. 21 min. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

Dear Miracle Workers,

Robert Rosenthal, MD, affectionately called “Dr. Bob” by many in the A Course in Miracles community, made his transition from bodily life on March 20, 2022. He was a long time Board of Directors member for the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP), the first publishers of A Course in Miracles (ACIM). He had served as Co-President of the FIP along with Tamara Morgan since 2016 when Judy Skutch-Whitson stepped down from that position.

He was the author of three A Course in Miracles based books: Never Mind to Ever Mind (2019), Loving One to One Love (2020), and the recently published From Fear to Eternity (2022). Probably his most popular book was the earlier, From Plagues to Miracles (2012) which, while not directly about ACIM, works with many ACIM principles.

Dr. Bob was born on September 1, 1955 in Boston MA. I am told that at the age of 5 years old he already knew that he wanted to be a doctor. While attending Yale University as an undergraduate majoring in English literature, his roommate was Jon Cohen, Judy Skutch-Whitson’s son and Tamara Morgan’s (formerly Cohen’s) brother. Robert quickly became good friends of Judy’s family and spent a considerable amount of time at Judy’s apartment talking about metaphysical materials, especially the Seth material. This was in Judy’s pre-Course days when she and husband Bob were running the Foundation for Parasensory Investigation, which would later become the FIP.

Robert was close to the Skutch family when they first got involved with A Course in Miracles and he considered Dr. William Thetford (one of the two *Course* “scribes”) a friend and a mentor. Dr. Bob once told me that he learned ACIM first and foremost from William Thetford. Dr. Bob had been a student of ACIM since before the books were first published in 1976. After graduating Yale in 1977, Robert went on to Hahnemann Medical College (now named Drexel University College of Medicine) to continue to pursue his goal of becoming a medical doctor. Dr. Thetford was a consistent guiding force for young Robert and encouraged Dr. Bob to continue in medical school at a time when Robert was having some doubts. Was being a medical doctor truly consistent with the ACIM teaching? Dr. Bob did continue on and eventually received his MD degree from Hahnemann.

In 1991, during a stint of time while living in California, Dr. Bob met his second wife Emmanuelle and they married in 1993. They eventually moved back to the East Coast where Dr. Bob set up his psychiatry practice. While being a full medical doctor, Dr. Bob was not content just being a prescriber and monitor of psychiatric medications (the way many modern psychiatrists are) and he always was involved with psychological counseling with his patients as well. With wife Emmanuelle, Dr. Bob has two young adult children, daughter Sophia now 27 and son Avery now 24.

Many in the A Course in Miracles community felt an energetic shift in the FIP when Dr. Bob and Tamara became Co-Presidents. A previous FIP energy that had sometimes felt “above the fray” by many members of the ACIM community shifted. Both Dr. Bob and Tamara reached out to the greater community in ways that had not happened before – or perhaps had not happened in decades. Dr. Bob and Tamara were a co-presenter team at the Community Miracles Center’s (CMC’s) 2018 San Francisco ACIM Conference “Love Makes No Exceptions.” Dr. Bob was a presenter for the CMC’s 2019 Boston ACIM Conference “The Power to Heal.” He again was a presenter for the CMC’s 2021 virtual ACIM Conference “Unblock Unlock and Rock!”

In 2017 when Robert Perry and the Circle of Atonement published a new version of A Course in Miracles named The Complete and Annotated Edition, Dr. Bob thoroughly reviewed it on Amazon and noted many good points about the book. This review was later fully published by the CMC in its publication Miracles Monthly, May 2017 issue (Vol.31,No.3) and is currently on the CMC web site. (Click here to read the review: Amazing Scholarship - For Experienced, Committed Students.) The fact that a prominent FIP person would acknowledge and say good things about another ACIM edition might have seemed “impossible” just a few years before.

I was also honored that Dr. Bob chose to comment on my presentation at the 2016 Las Vegas, Conference “Change Your Mind, Change the World” at which I did an unexpected strip to my “skivvies.” He had watched the YouTube video. While some had chosen to attack me for that presentation (we lost Supporting Members and Board Members) Dr. Bob’s feedback was gratefully very positive. From his article which appeared in Miracles Monthly Aug. 2017 (Vol.31, No.6) “A Psychiatrist’s Thoughts on the 2016 Finale” he shared this, “As for what you shared, there is such stigma about mental illness and the meds used to treat it that I am always delighted when someone steps bravely forward and ‘outs’ his or her bouts with it. So on that count, I applaud you.” Thank you Dr. Bob. (Click here to read the full article: A Psychiatrist's Thoughts on the 2016 Finale)

After Dr. Bob assumed the FIP Co-Presidency he did a continuing series of discussions and on-line webinar events under the banner of “Let’s Discuss A Course in Miracles” that were available through the FIP. Prior to these, the FIP had not engaged in such ACIM community outreach, teaching, and sharing. These are currently available through the FIP web site and serve as a lasting testament to Dr. Bob’s important contribution to the ACIM community discussion.

I only had one extended alone time with Dr. Bob, and that was in July 2017, when I met with him for a drink and discussion at a San Francisco airport hotel that he was checked into before a morning flight. He was on his way to Utah to participate in an event organized by ACIM teacher David Hoffmeister. I was bringing him flyers and other publicity to share with attendees in order to promote the upcoming San Francisco Conference. He was: friendly, open, familiar, loving, warm – and an all round “good guy.” I am grateful for this time. We shared drinks and laughs. It was lovely.

So … the best to Dr. Bob on this new leg of his soul journey. While here on earth he brought much to and participated fully in the ACIM community. He helped bring the Foundation for Inner Peace into the new millennia. He was a loving husband for wife Emmanuelle (pictured with him above), a caring father for children Sophia and Avery, and an inspiring business partner for FIP Co-President Tamara Morgan. Dr. Bob – “Good job. Well done!”

(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #334, Apr. 26 2022)

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I felt the fear level in the USA lessen this week. There was a new feeling of freedom and release all throughout the land. I certainly felt it as I walked in the streets of San Francisco. I believe this was primed to happen and then when all the major airlines lifted their mask mandates on Monday and Tuesday. The fresh waters of peace and freedom began to flow from that primed pump. The airlines did this quickly after federal circuit judge Kathryn Mizelle declared the CDC’s recently renewed mask mandates unlawful. "The only thing that is required for a healing is a lack of fear. The fearful are not healed and cannot heal." (OrEd.Tx.27.45) Multiple media outlets showed amateur video of passengers and flight attendants in planes in the air when flight attendants announced that the mandates were over and everyone could take their masks off (if they wanted to). Most were jubilant – especially the airline crews. I saw one video of a singing, mask-less flight attendant walking the aisle with a trash bag collecting used and now useless masks. WooHoo!! 33 min. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

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We all know the Easter story. Jesus was brought up before Jerusalem's leader Pilate on trumped up charges of insurrection and sedition. Pilate sent Jesus to the Roman governor Herod, because Pilate didn't want to be the one to make the final call. Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate, basically signing off on whatever Pilate decided. Then Pilate, pushed on by the populace mob, condemned Jesus to death by crucifixion. So Jesus was crucified – but then something extraordinary happened, something miraculous. Jesus' body disappeared from the tomb where it was laid, and a resurrected Jesus started making appearances and giving advanced teachings. Eventually the resurrected Jesus was assumed bodily into Heaven and was seen physically no more. "Yet it is [the Teachers of God's] mission to become perfect here, and so they teach perfection over and over in many, many ways until they have learned it. And then they are seen no more, although their thoughts remain a source of strength and truth forever." (Mn.In.5) His apostles picked up Jesus' message of healing and love and eventually a new religious movement named Christianity formed. We ACIM students are modern day disciples of Jesus and we are carrying his updated message of healing and love to a new generation of humans. Celebrate and reconsecrate your dedication to this mission and message this Sunday with the Community Miracles Center at our Easter Sunday Gathering. Rev. Tony will give a modern day resurrection message. 25 min. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

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When many people think of “freedom" they may get images of extended vacations from work, and family responsibilities. Freedom? Perhaps from house work – who wouldn’t want to be free from every having to clean the bathroom again? Many people believe basic freedoms are getting challenged in the world today: freedom of speech, freedom to travel, freedom to work. There are important discussions to be had about all those things. However ACIM challenges us to see that the only true freedom is when we do here what God and the Holy Spirit are asking us to do. We are free when we accept our responsibility and heal the world, save the world. "Spirit am I, a holy Son of God, free of all limits, safe and healed and whole, free to forgive, and free to save the world." (OrEd.WkBk.97.9) 20 min. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

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Tuesday, 05 April 2022 00:22

Now What ... ?

Dear Miracle Worker,

Hopefully the worst of the pandemic is behind us now. I’m not just talking about the Covid19 disease, the hospitalizations, and the deaths – although let’s hope that it is true about those things. I’m also talking about the worst of the mitigation strategies which closed businesses, evaporated jobs, and caused a mental health crises in our society’s children. Hopefully those thing are behind us as well.

The war in the Ukraine seems to have taken a turn towards de-escalation. Russian troops appear to have abandoned their northern incursion towards the capital city of Kyiv. Ukraine President Zelenskyy appears more willing to negotiate with Russia and offer concessions. Although certainly not over, the prospect of an impending World War III happening soon seems more remote than it did a month ago. The direction of the situation appears more positive.

The Slap Heard ‘Round the World” from the 94th Academy Awards ceremony sparked an interesting, and I believe healing, conversation about physical violence and its acceptability in the modern world. (Click on the linked title to hear my talk about this.) While talking about the Russian Ukraine violence felt too massive and global for people to truly connect with, the Oscar incident had just the right amount of day to day about it to make it good fodder for meaningful dialogue. Do men really need to defend any woman’s honor any more?

After the slap, Will Smith yelled to Chris Rock twice, "Keep my wife's name out of your fucking mouth.” Chris Rock replied, "I'm going to. Okay?" If you listen to the tone in his voice it was sincere and without sarcasm. Mr. Rock would give Mr. Smith what he wanted. It may have been an outrageous request but, ”... if your brothers ask you for something 'outrageous,' do it because it does not matter." (OrEd.Tx.11.27)

Okay! Interesting times. Now what?

(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #331, Apr. 5 2022)

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I suppose there are very few people on the planet now who are not aware of what happened last Sunday night at the Oscar ceremony. Will Smith left his seat in the auditorium, walked up to the stage and slapped the presenter Chris Rock hard across the face with his open hand. By now this is literally, “The slap heard ‘round the world.” Chris Rock had made a joke about Will Smith’s wife and her shaved head. When Will Smith returned to his seat he shouted obscenities to Chris Rock loudly. ACIM teaches us, "Anger is never justified. Attack has no foundation." (OrEd.Tx.30.70) This Oscar incident has sparked a world wide conversation about violence and the appropriateness or inappropriateness of it. While the conversation following has been criticized by some – I believe it is a good conversation for us to have and that this is a teachable moment for the world. Let's bring miracles and healing to this conversation. 25 min. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

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Tuesday, 22 March 2022 03:15

Spiritual And Religious

Dear Miracle Workers,

I consider myself a committed spiritual person. I also consider myself a committed religious person. The two are not identical but are certainly intertwined. Modern society has been involved in the denigration of religion for decades. Religion is an authority challenge to those in power. Intellectuals love to talk about the atrocities of organized religions throughout the ages (the Crusades are a good example). Modern day organized religion is not spared (Catholic priest scandals about sexual abuse of children). However the many gifts from organized religion get ignored or marginalized. Religious charities have always helped those struggling in times of disaster and war. Churches, monasteries, and religious persons of all faiths are frequently the first to organize help when disaster strikes. Helping the needy is often woven into the spiritual beliefs of the religious and their organization into churches with active communities gives them just the kind of foundational organization needed when disaster happens.

The Course is not against church or religion and talks about church positively. “… only you can be the foundation of God's church. … Any church which does not inspire love has a hidden altar ... I must found His church on you because you who accept me as a model are literally my disciples." (OrEd.Tx.6.12) This is Jesus telling us to be his disciples, and thus the foundation for a church based on love. The Course also cautions us against “anti-religious” concepts. "This particularly unfortunate interpretation, ... has led many people to be bitterly afraid of God. This particularly anti-religious concept enters into many religions" (OrEd.Tx.6.12) The concept being called out is that God encouraged his Son to suffer because he was good.

Church is merely organized spiritual community. Secular organizations are just as fraught with problems as religious ones – maybe more. Just look at government.

(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #329, Mar. 22 2022)

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Tuesday, 15 March 2022 03:07

Ending the War

Dear Miracle Workers,

Most people are troubled by the violent fighting in the Ukraine. It is estimated that more than 3 million people have already fled the country. The population of Ukraine was 41,300,000. Already more than 7% of the population have fled. The longer the war goes on this number will increase. I’m sure we will be at 10% soon. Take that in for a moment – 1 in 10 will have soon fled the war torn country.

ACIM has a lot to say about war, and it is never "good." It is never romanticized nor called "just." The Course wants us to know that in war both sides inevitably loose. "Yet peace is stronger than war because it heals. War is division, not increase. No one gains from strife." (OrEd.Tx.5.24) Many ACIM students believe they should look at the war as neutral. I understand that – but I don’t think broad neutrality is truly appropriate ACIM practice.

Death of the body, and especially violent death at the hands of our fellow man, is not a valueless or meaningless thing. "Living is joy, but death can only weep." (OrEd.Tx.20.5) This kind of fighting and death only bring tears. ACIM teaches this kind of death is an inherently grim image and will never reconcile with God. "The grimness of the symbol is enough to show it cannot co-exist with God." (OrEd.Mn.27.3) ACIM fundamentalists have trouble with my more "fuzzy" ACIM practice, but being rigid is how one breaks instead of bends.

ACIM also identifies the war we have against ourselves, and ultimately any external war must just be a reflection of that. Instead of sending love and peace energy to Ukraine, why not work at ending our internal wars. How can we forgive ourselves today? What forgiveness could we extend to others?

(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #328, Mar. 15 2022)

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