And so it is
Center for Spiritual Living Reno
I made a decision this week to return to some places I’ve been before while writing the Filet of Soul column. It’s very simple. I’ve tried to maintain a balance during the last three years, not favoring one religious perspective over another, trying to mix in essays, books, and things not typically thought of as “religion.” The problem is that Christian churches so outnumber those of other religions that if I continued on my path of never returning to a particular edifice from here on out, I’d only be writing about Christianity. And that would kind of defeat the purpose of this column.
So back on May 10, 2007, I wrote about the Lakeside Community Church of Religious Science. This week, I returned to the same address and the church, which is now called the Center for Spiritual Living, Reno. Whatever the name, the church supports the Science of Mind and Spirit, a religious philosophy developed by Dr. Ernest Holmes in the early 20th century. Essentially, the philosophy says that many religions, philosophies and cultures have discovered aspects of “Truth.” This church seeks to incorporate these pieces of wisdom into a unified theory of life and how to live it.
When last I visited, senior minister Rev. Liesa Leggett Garcia spoke about addiction, its causes, its appearance, and how to avoid it—basically a down-to-earth sermon about a real life issue.
I was fortunate this time in that assistant minister Rev. Karen Neuweiler led the service. Part of my desire for this column is to develop a deeper understanding of the individual religious systems. My long-time complaint was that this column tended toward a broad but extremely superficial view. Multiple visits over time should result in a deeper understanding and reportage, and seeing a variety of ministers on the same pulpit will enhance that.
To outline the service, it began with a kind of smooth-jazz, uplifting style of music led by Joe McKenna and backed up by piano, six-string and bass guitars, drums, and two phenomenal female lead singers. Dave Asher, director of LiveLocal RenoSparks, gave announcements—graduation, Boy Scout advancement, youth ministry, car wash—all the stuff you’d expect to hear at a family church.
There was an opportunity to greet the other members of the congregation with hugs and handshakes and then a short meditation before the Rev. Neuweiler started her sermon on “Silence and Solitude.” I felt that this was, once again, a common sense topic to help anyone of any religious persuasion get along better in the world—and as I’ve said before, every religion relies on meditation to some extent.
Neuweiler began by saying that members of modern society are addicted to noise and company. She asked if members knew people who turn on the television, not to watch the programming, but just to fill the air with noise to distract them from their own thoughts. She said this was symptomatic of our fear of solitude. She also described the difference between loneliness and solitude—essentially loneliness is sad, and solitude is the joy of being alone and being able to get to know ourselves and our own minds.
“We have an infinite void in our hearts that we attempt to fill with noise,” she said. Later she continued the thought, “The only way to fill that hole is with God. Spirit is so humble that it will not force itself upon us.”
I’m sorry that there’s so little room to enumerate the points of advice the reverend offered for bringing more peace of mind into her congregation’s lives. But I’d be willing to bet that common sense for better living is on the docket every Sunday.