The Moonlady

Had a meeting with the Moonlady today. The Moonlady being Amy Martin. Amy is the self-described “poobah” behind “EarthRhythms,” the group that puts on Dallas’ large annual “Winter Solsticelebration.” She’s also the editor of “Moonlady News,” an email group that is really one of the best sources for news and info on interesting things happening around Dallas. Her website describes the list by saying “if it’s holistic, eclectic, progressive or spiritual it’s on the Moonlady News listserv…”

She’s also a contributor to “Texas Faith,” a consortium of writers from various religious faiths who chime in on issues of the day at the DMN Religion blog.

Here’s her website.

Me and two members of our “Second Monday Series” team were meeting with Amy because she’s going to be one of our presenters later on this year. She’ll be with us in May, talking about her own personal connection to Taoist spirituality, and how it approaches the idea of “mystery.” But she’ll also note the broad “Spiritual but not religious” movement that is of such growing importance to so many people today.

You can argue about the name –and there could be a better term out there somewhere– but the number of folks who call themselves “spiritual, but not religious” is exploding. Especially among the young. What this means is that they are saying “No thank you” to any organized religion of any kind. It’s not that they are ignorant of “organized religion;” it’s that they have made the more dramatic choice to “Just Say No” to what traditional religions offer.

As I noted, huge and growing numbers of persons, especially among the young, self-describe themselves in this way.

Whether or not people inside “traditional” religions are comfortable with this movement is of little importance. My personal sense is that it’s here to stay, and its existence is something we, on the “inside” of organized religion, need more than a passing understand of. Frankly, it’s probably more important for “us” (those who have a foot inside of a traditional religion) to understand “them” than vice versa.

So, I’m grateful to have been given the chance to get to know Amy a little better these last few years. I’m grateful for her reservoir of spiritual insight, and for the way she brings disparate spiritual seekers together in acts of real connection and community.

Amy Martin is today’s “Daily Gratitude.”

(During this year, my goal is to find something new to be thankful for every single day, and to add that thanksgiving as a blog entry, under the title “My Daily Gratitude.” I started this kick back around Thanksgiving, and it’s already resulted in a favorite new song of mine. The goal of this ongoing spiritual exercise is to see if doing such a thing might inspire even more gratitude within me, and to foster general awareness of life on a deeper level.)

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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