The dean of San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, Reverend Jane Shaw joins us along with artist-in-residence and performer Anna Deavere Smith to discuss Grace and spirituality.

Art and Spirituality at Grace Cathedral 1 February,2012forum

Reverend Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral and former dean of divinity at New College, Oxford
Anna Deavere Smith, actor, playwright and artist in residence at Grace Cathedral

  • Grace is a state of living in tune with God’s design, which is to say, in tune with oneself. In this state, one feels no conflict between what you want to do and what you are doing or, rather, what and how you are being because you are living to your highest purpose. Grace is the feeling of the sublime Burke described, albeit in the face of the Spirit rather than in the face of art or the state. In this state, one loses oneself and just is, as a child who rides a swing and looking up into the sunlight falling through the leaves above thinks little but feels and knows all.

  • Paul

    To me, Grace is the smooth and controlled application of power.   What ever that power may be.  The sharing of food, the giving of oneself, the adjustment of a view toward others. 

  • Pete

    I am a recovering Catholic, now a contented Atheist. It seems to me that that if you believe in a God, it is only because you sense a reward from your beliefs. This reward is “grace”. 

    Sadly, grace is only a function of the marvelous human mind. It is certainly not proof that there is any kind of God. To this end, I feel “grace” because I have cut the addiction to needing a myth to feel contentment and optimism. 

    If you have some real proof that there is an almighty God other than your faith and belief, please share it with we non-believers.

    • Guest

      If there was real proof, then there would be no real faith. Real Faith cannot exist without uncertainty. Think about it.

  • Kay

    Great program. Grace cam be equated to the concept of ‘Dharma’ which is extensively expounded in Indian vedic teachings. Dharma is hard to easily translate, but very simply means: doing the right thing, staying on the right path. Gives you a great sense of right and peace.

  • Michaela

    The man who mentioned the sugar cube is giving an experience of “grace” in action, not unlike the story of Donald Nicholl in the book: Holiness.
    The receiving of nourishment while on pilgrimage opened a door into an experience outside his own field of experience or expectation.

    • Kay

      Yes, ‘Grace in action’ is a great way of phrasing it! Its doing the right thing, all the time, without any expectation of anything in return.

  • janine

    The winds of grace blow all the time. All we need
    to do is set our sails. — Ramakrishna

  • Heidi Fuller

    Grace: it’s the capacity to: 1. recognize experiences outside your own, 2. recognize worldviews other than your own, 3. recognize what is unrecognizable in the moment.

  • Pwilburn

    Grace to me is accepting your circumstances no matter how wonderful or terrible they may be.

  • Justice Fairchild

    brilliant program – we need more addressing deeper metaphysical issues. Thanks

  • Zelda

    grace is the vortex humans can enter when they are BEING god like, aka a love which is intense exciting and selfless, standing in that rarefied moment of “being” god like they are infused with god like power – the power to transcend physical laws that usually apply.  The mechanics of how this works so people can duplicate it is my next book due in 6 weeks. I’m publishing the book on the internet so every one can get it for free. Cheers!

  • 1PeterDuMont2STARALLIANCE8

    Speaking of “grace,” one may well take
    inspiration from the planetary crisis / “Planetary Birth” movement
    being led in 2012 by a remarkable “universal citizen” — no less a
    grounded, octogenarian grandmother — Ms. Barbara Marx Hubbard.  


    Although Ms. Hubbard sees our global crises as very real,
    she also sees them as part and parcel of a global birthing process destined to
    manifest something much better; presumably with an element of sudden appearance.


    Ms. Hubbard — who was an acknowledged candidate for Vice
    President of the United States, briefly in 1984 — is a graceful elder who sets
    a great example.  In partnership with Stephen Dinan (Founder of “The
    Shift Movement”) and others, she is fulfilling her own life’s purpose by
    bringing together and encouraging thousands of “pioneering souls” of
    “Homo Universalis” or global citizenship worldwide through her team’s “ACE
    Training” programs. (“Agents of Conscious Evolution.” These
    offerings are easily searchable on the web.)


    Said Ms. Hubbard recently:


    “All [of humanity’s historical] master teachers are
    depending on us now [as living, pioneering souls].”  She went on to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson
    saying: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are born
    with certain creative capacities….”


    What if it were truly “We, The People,” who are
    collectively responsible for our own destiny, good or bad?  


    As Einstein said: “Those who have the privilege to
    know, have the duty to act.”


    “Global Grace” is to stand at the intersection of
    science, politics, rationality, and spirituality — and maintain excellent
    balance and proportion — appreciating all these fields while looking to common ethical
    principles (like stars or lasting “points of value,” shining down, as
    it were, from high above the fray) for guidance.  


    Let us appreciate all
    participants as global society makes the often-tricky transition from a habit
    of “constant clashing” to synthesizing ever more harmonious and
    “universal” social forms.  


    Good will — the
    essential wish for good outcomes — is important for each and every player to
    cherish, at every step of uncertainty during this process.  


    Good will comes
    before peace.



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