One Hundred Sermons & What We Have Learned So Far

 Topic: One Hundred Sermons & What We Have Learned So Far

This is my one hundredth sermon; I have been writing and publishing one per week for over two years, taking a couple of weeks off here and there for holidays and vacations. We have learned a lot so far, about ourselves and one another as well as the Core Tenets and Virtues. I would like to review the last ninety-nine sermons, to talk about the Tenets or Virtues to which they apply and also how popular they have been with our readership.

We started this whole adventure by going over the Eight Core Tenets of the Path, in order. The ideas expressed in my first sermon about the first Core Tenet and its meaning have been touched on several times in following sermons. We talked about the combination of Compassion and Self-Control it takes to truly do no harm, which we went over again when we discussed each of the Virtues later on. We also mentioned exercising Patience when dealing with people who do not seem to be actively seeking Enlightenment and instead choose to live in the dark. The same themes have shown up in several sermons since then. (There is a lot of overlap when it comes to the ideas and practices of the Tenets and which Virtues they relate to, and this is by design. The whole thing is meant to work like a clock, with multiple moving parts that affect one another in subtle but important ways.) We went through each Core Tenet and then each of the Eight Virtues in this manner, basically just introducing the foundation upon which the Path is built.

I started the practice of special sermons on certain important holidays on Mother’s Day of 2022. That sermon was about Sacred Mother archetypes across various cultures. I delivered topical sermons on Father’s Day, Juneteenth, the Winter Solstice, and New Year’s Day. For Easter of 2023, I got whimsical and we talked about the Rabbit in Myth & Legend. We have delved into the surprising origins of multiple Western holiday traditions.

For a while, I wrote about pretty much whatever I wanted. We examined a few social, spiritual, and religious practices and ideas: The false dichotomy of “fight or flight,” how it is up to you to find your own definition of a higher power and whether or not you choose to recognize one at all, and how our little monkey brains can only maintain so many mutually beneficial relationships at one time. We talked about the Path take on capital punishment and the distinction between justice and vengeance, cannabis and other drug use, and the problems with biblical literalism. We even got to examine the Devil archetype in Christian mythology and asked why he gets such a bad rap. There were sermons about other Christian ideas that do not hold up under scrutiny, like the logical conclusion of an omniscient deity negating that of free will. (Later this year, we will talk about the Epicurus quote regarding the origin of evil.)

At the beginning of 2023, we revisited the Core Tenets and their practical value, restating some things and introducing new concepts. We talked about types of harm, crafting your own Wheel of the Virtues, different ways of reaching a Zen state, and how praying is not a substitute for medicine. We discussed the topics of slut-shaming, how you must use Compassion and Patience when somebody you know is transitioning, the ways in which Ka is a wheel, and what we mean when we say “treating people as things.”

Then we got into one of my favorite topics: books! I wrote about the works of Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, Clive Barker, and several others. Each of the books we talked about are recommended reading for any adherent of the Path because of the ideas they contain. While many of the books we discussed are fiction, possibly one of the most important of them is actually non-fiction: How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, which has inspired two sermons so far. The other non-fiction work on the list is also quite important: On Compassion, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who has an eloquent way of explaining that the foundation of Compassion is, paradoxically, not giving a shit, and we talk about that again later.

After writing about all those books, my sermons were once again about whatever I wanted. On my birthday in 2023, I published a sermon about the symbolism of roses. I wrote about scientific literacy, different Virtues, and even a brief history of coffee. There was a sermon about a scene from the television series M*A*S*H and one about how not to respond to allegations of racism. We got deep and talked about the meaning in life, the divine nature of sentience, and the relationship between the body, the soul, and the Path. I revealed a healthcare discrepancy in Check Your Privilege that I hope helps to awaken others to the plight of our beloved sisters of color.

So far this year, sermon topics have included the consequences of harm, how chemical dependency relates to Self-Control, stories about immortality and the cost it comes with, and a takedown of some more Christian mythology like the threat of Hell and the ten commandments. The sermon on the threat of Hell and the one about the Seven Deadly Sins were among my most popular posts. We have gone over how Core Tenet #3 applies to abortion bans, which also had quite a few views. One of my favorite sermons this year is the one about music and the healing power of sound. I learned a great deal while researching this topic, which is always fun. I also really dig the Tad Williams quote about how if it takes you there, it’s good. We also learned some lessons from a couple of powerful women of color about how to use your own privilege to support and empower others.

Moving forward, I will try to maintain some kind of order and reason to my topic selection, but I will be writing about a lot of things. Expect a lot of sermons based on inspirational quotes I found on the internet. You may have already noticed that my sources are pretty diverse: I will write one sermon on the works of Tananarive Due and another on a  quote from Tupac Shakur. But the first sermon of each month will probably be about a Core Tenet, the second about a Virtue, third will be about a book, and the fourth week’s sermon will be about a random topic. Since topics that dissect and perhaps even poke a little fun at Christian mythology seem to be popular, I will try to produce more sermons in that vein.

Are there topics we have not covered that you would be interested in? Do you have any literary suggestions that may have some bearing on Path teachings?


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