Spirit Matters by Shirley Barr – Common Ground – February 16, 2013

Spirit matters logoCFN– A couple of Sundays ago (February 3), a magical meeting took place in Cornwall, organized by the Cornwall Interfaith Partnership (CIP). The meeting was a celebration of World Interfaith Harmony week with the theme of Common Word- Common Ground- Common Good. The CIP arranged an evening meal shared with diverse people of different religions, ages and interests. The central idea of the meeting which drew around 85 people like a magnet: finding some common ground in order to  increase compassion in the community.

The original idea came from a talk on the TED (Technology, Education and Design) channel where religious scholar and writer Karen Armstrong presented her idea of how to help make the world better. She outlined the Charter for Compassion which she describes in the following video:


We watched the video and then organized into small groups to discuss the ideas that stood out for us during the talk. The fact that so many people would take the time to come together and share their passion for the betterment of their community was impressive. This is the heart of community development. At one point it was mentioned that our religious leaders should be the ones who take the role of championing compassion as a way forward out of the tensions between us. This was countered by the group realizing that, in fact, we are the leaders because we were the ones who had showed up with our hearts filled with the desire to make a change, to cause a shift in how we all work together! It was a joy-filled moment where we looked at each other with new eyes and immediately started to make plans to get together regularly to bring our own Charter for Compassion to reality in our region. You can see the pictures of the event at the following LINK

I am excited about this meeting because it was a coming together of a profound desire to manifest unity in the form of compassion. I was explaining the concept of compassion to a 15-year-old Inuk friend and describing how it is a quality that encompasses justice, equity, kindness and love; compassion brings them all together in  a unique configuration of spiritual muscular strength. My friend’s face became illumined as she realized that she had this capacity within herself; she could tap into this and gain a new sense of identity. We talked about the idea of compassion starting with ourselves – the concept of self-compassion as a starting point. My beautiful friend said these words:

“ We are taught to have self-esteem but I feel that is materialistic as compared to self-compassion which is spiritual. It’s a whole different experience”.

Shirley lives and works in Cornwall Ontario and is a member of the Baha’i Community.


  1. “finding some common ground in order to increase compassion in the community” – in the Holy Scriptures this principle prevails – truth brings unity. So you would naturally think falsehood would bring disunity. But what happens when falsehood is believed to be the truth? What is the end result? The Cornwall Interfaith Partnership!

    Back in the book of Genesis is the account of the building of the tower of Babel. All that worked on the tower could speak only one language. This unity of work was in total opposition to God’s revealed truth and will as revealed in the Bible. In our day another tower of Babel is being built, this tower will be used to support a one world wide religion used and controlled by Antichrist, the false human messiah that is to come.

    In the end, this tower that is built on human self esteem/compassion, and that without God, will fall too, right into lake of fire, along with the Devil, the Antichrist, False prophet, and all those who went along with this false, Christ denying unity.

  2. @ Shirley. It sounds like a very positive event that can’t help but break down misconceptions and barriers between the many faith groups in your community. I am not permitted to comment about Mr. Newtons posts on this site, so I will only say this… Please, Shirley, don’t worry about burning in hell for communicating with, or getting to know people of different religious beliefs.

  3. Author

    No Ed. You’re not allowed to bait and play funny beggars with Tom. You can post germane legitimate comments any time.

  4. That’s funny Admin. Mr Newton can declare on this site that Shirley and everyone else who attended the Common Ground get-together will burn in hell. Disputing Mr. Newton’s hateful BS is baiting? Yes I know. This comment will be blocked as well.

  5. Author

    Ed cut it out. You know you have a hard on for Tom. There is a difference between debating a position and debating a person. You lost your perspective. End of. It’s not about what Tom is saying. It’s about the circus you create in your attack on him whether it be here or on the Free Holder. It’s that’s simple and CFN is not here for some WWE type circus cat fight. You were warned multiple times and even now you still keep instigating. Shall we have to ban this ID too and have you sneak back under a new guise again? It’s simple. On CFN debate the concept; not the person. It’s about ideas; not about high school grudge matches.

  6. Ban me. {MODERATED} yourself.

  7. Well, good morning Gentlemen! I see you are in fine fettle!

    It seems to me that for the world to become a better place for all to live (humans and all other beings in the natural world) leadership must include everyone. That is what religion is about at its root. It’s what religion has been about from the beginning, and, it will continue to be about connecting humans to the divine for eternity. People need to distinguish between the true and the false. Truth brings unity and includes endless diversity; the false causes separation and “otherness”, a sense of superiority, prejudice, and other nasty side effects.

    Religion is like a tree that begins with a seed pod, grows a root, a trunk, leaves and fruit, and then eventually dies, and from that pre-existent root a new tree, a “new” religion is born. The thing is it is still the same original root, so the messages are all connected at their heart and are to cause a connection between humans and the divine.

    Now, if people want to argue about which offshoot of the original religion is the best etc that usually descends into fundamentalism and conflict. To that I offer that “every aggressor deprives himself of God’s grace”. Conflict and contention, dissension and strife are not acceptable in the sight of God. So, it is up to each one of us to push the reset button on our own system and come into alignment with the will of God. Not because we fear God and His power but rather, because we love God and we willingly conform to His will.

    I would much rather attract and magnetize my loved ones to me than deal with them in a harsh and critical manner which causes them anxiety and stress. My personal experience is that it takes a lot more work to be compassionate than it does to be critical. It is so worth it in terms of the peace of mind and the sense of well-being it generates.

    I wish you all a very good day!

  8. Shirley writes – “Truth brings unity and includes endless diversity; the false causes separation and “otherness”, a sense of superiority, prejudice, and other nasty side effects”. Shirley, did you think of this or did you copy this from one of your spiritual advisers? I guess when the Lord Jesus declares – “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”, You would have to assign Him to – “the false causes separation and ‘otherness’, a sense of superiority, prejudice, and other nasty side effects” group?

    How could such a One declare as in John 8:36 “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed”, and not come up with the conclusion, He is excluding all others? Meaning He is the only One that can set a sinner free!

    The witness of God’s word is clear – Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other (Messiah Jesus): for there is none other name(The Lord Jesus Christ) under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”.

    Shirley which road are you on? – Mat 7:13-14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it”.

  9. Tom, you are the falsest of prophets, and therefore hold no authority over anyone and have no place in judging anyones beliefs. Please stop with your wickedness and bloviating. Please put the stones down fellow sinner, and leave the judgement to the One who truly loves and forgives.

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