Rev. Tony Ponticello

Rev. Tony Ponticello

Rev. Tony Ponticello is CMC Minister #20. He was ordained on Oct. 17, 1997. He is Executive Minister of Community Miracles Center and serves on the CMC Board as President. He is the Master of Ceremonies for the CMC Sunday Gathering and teaches 2 other CMC classes.

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We all know the Easter story. Jesus was brought up before Jerusalem's leader Pilate on trumped up charges of insurrection and sedition. Pilate sent Jesus to the Roman governor Herod, because Pilate didn't want to be the one to make the final call. Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate, basically signing off on whatever Pilate decided. Then Pilate, pushed on by the populace mob, condemned Jesus to death by crucifixion. So Jesus was crucified – but then something extraordinary happened, something miraculous. Jesus' body disappeared from the tomb where it was laid, and a resurrected Jesus started making appearances and giving advanced teachings. Eventually the resurrected Jesus was assumed bodily into Heaven and was seen physically no more. "Yet it is [the Teachers of God's] mission to become perfect here, and so they teach perfection over and over in many, many ways until they have learned it. And then they are seen no more, although their thoughts remain a source of strength and truth forever." (Mn.In.5) His apostles picked up Jesus' message of healing and love and eventually a new religious movement named Christianity formed. We ACIM students are modern day disciples of Jesus and we are carrying his updated message of healing and love to a new generation of humans. Celebrate and reconsecrate your dedication to this mission and message this Sunday with the Community Miracles Center at our Easter Sunday Gathering. Rev. Tony will give a modern day resurrection message. 25 min. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

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When many people think of “freedom" they may get images of extended vacations from work, and family responsibilities. Freedom? Perhaps from house work – who wouldn’t want to be free from every having to clean the bathroom again? Many people believe basic freedoms are getting challenged in the world today: freedom of speech, freedom to travel, freedom to work. There are important discussions to be had about all those things. However ACIM challenges us to see that the only true freedom is when we do here what God and the Holy Spirit are asking us to do. We are free when we accept our responsibility and heal the world, save the world. "Spirit am I, a holy Son of God, free of all limits, safe and healed and whole, free to forgive, and free to save the world." (OrEd.WkBk.97.9) 20 min. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

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Tuesday, 05 April 2022 00:22

Now What ... ?

Dear Miracle Worker,

Hopefully the worst of the pandemic is behind us now. I’m not just talking about the Covid19 disease, the hospitalizations, and the deaths – although let’s hope that it is true about those things. I’m also talking about the worst of the mitigation strategies which closed businesses, evaporated jobs, and caused a mental health crises in our society’s children. Hopefully those thing are behind us as well.

The war in the Ukraine seems to have taken a turn towards de-escalation. Russian troops appear to have abandoned their northern incursion towards the capital city of Kyiv. Ukraine President Zelenskyy appears more willing to negotiate with Russia and offer concessions. Although certainly not over, the prospect of an impending World War III happening soon seems more remote than it did a month ago. The direction of the situation appears more positive.

The Slap Heard ‘Round the World” from the 94th Academy Awards ceremony sparked an interesting, and I believe healing, conversation about physical violence and its acceptability in the modern world. (Click on the linked title to hear my talk about this.) While talking about the Russian Ukraine violence felt too massive and global for people to truly connect with, the Oscar incident had just the right amount of day to day about it to make it good fodder for meaningful dialogue. Do men really need to defend any woman’s honor any more?

After the slap, Will Smith yelled to Chris Rock twice, "Keep my wife's name out of your fucking mouth.” Chris Rock replied, "I'm going to. Okay?" If you listen to the tone in his voice it was sincere and without sarcasm. Mr. Rock would give Mr. Smith what he wanted. It may have been an outrageous request but, ”... if your brothers ask you for something 'outrageous,' do it because it does not matter." (OrEd.Tx.11.27)

Okay! Interesting times. Now what?

(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #331, Apr. 5 2022)

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I suppose there are very few people on the planet now who are not aware of what happened last Sunday night at the Oscar ceremony. Will Smith left his seat in the auditorium, walked up to the stage and slapped the presenter Chris Rock hard across the face with his open hand. By now this is literally, “The slap heard ‘round the world.” Chris Rock had made a joke about Will Smith’s wife and her shaved head. When Will Smith returned to his seat he shouted obscenities to Chris Rock loudly. ACIM teaches us, "Anger is never justified. Attack has no foundation." (OrEd.Tx.30.70) This Oscar incident has sparked a world wide conversation about violence and the appropriateness or inappropriateness of it. While the conversation following has been criticized by some – I believe it is a good conversation for us to have and that this is a teachable moment for the world. Let's bring miracles and healing to this conversation. 25 min. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

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Tuesday, 22 March 2022 03:15

Spiritual And Religious

Dear Miracle Workers,

I consider myself a committed spiritual person. I also consider myself a committed religious person. The two are not identical but are certainly intertwined. Modern society has been involved in the denigration of religion for decades. Religion is an authority challenge to those in power. Intellectuals love to talk about the atrocities of organized religions throughout the ages (the Crusades are a good example). Modern day organized religion is not spared (Catholic priest scandals about sexual abuse of children). However the many gifts from organized religion get ignored or marginalized. Religious charities have always helped those struggling in times of disaster and war. Churches, monasteries, and religious persons of all faiths are frequently the first to organize help when disaster strikes. Helping the needy is often woven into the spiritual beliefs of the religious and their organization into churches with active communities gives them just the kind of foundational organization needed when disaster happens.

The Course is not against church or religion and talks about church positively. “… only you can be the foundation of God's church. … Any church which does not inspire love has a hidden altar ... I must found His church on you because you who accept me as a model are literally my disciples." (OrEd.Tx.6.12) This is Jesus telling us to be his disciples, and thus the foundation for a church based on love. The Course also cautions us against “anti-religious” concepts. "This particularly unfortunate interpretation, ... has led many people to be bitterly afraid of God. This particularly anti-religious concept enters into many religions" (OrEd.Tx.6.12) The concept being called out is that God encouraged his Son to suffer because he was good.

Church is merely organized spiritual community. Secular organizations are just as fraught with problems as religious ones – maybe more. Just look at government.

(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #329, Mar. 22 2022)

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Tuesday, 15 March 2022 03:07

Ending the War

Dear Miracle Workers,

Most people are troubled by the violent fighting in the Ukraine. It is estimated that more than 3 million people have already fled the country. The population of Ukraine was 41,300,000. Already more than 7% of the population have fled. The longer the war goes on this number will increase. I’m sure we will be at 10% soon. Take that in for a moment – 1 in 10 will have soon fled the war torn country.

ACIM has a lot to say about war, and it is never "good." It is never romanticized nor called "just." The Course wants us to know that in war both sides inevitably loose. "Yet peace is stronger than war because it heals. War is division, not increase. No one gains from strife." (OrEd.Tx.5.24) Many ACIM students believe they should look at the war as neutral. I understand that – but I don’t think broad neutrality is truly appropriate ACIM practice.

Death of the body, and especially violent death at the hands of our fellow man, is not a valueless or meaningless thing. "Living is joy, but death can only weep." (OrEd.Tx.20.5) This kind of fighting and death only bring tears. ACIM teaches this kind of death is an inherently grim image and will never reconcile with God. "The grimness of the symbol is enough to show it cannot co-exist with God." (OrEd.Mn.27.3) ACIM fundamentalists have trouble with my more "fuzzy" ACIM practice, but being rigid is how one breaks instead of bends.

ACIM also identifies the war we have against ourselves, and ultimately any external war must just be a reflection of that. Instead of sending love and peace energy to Ukraine, why not work at ending our internal wars. How can we forgive ourselves today? What forgiveness could we extend to others?

(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #328, Mar. 15 2022)

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Sunday, 13 March 2022 03:47

03.13.22 Video "Fear – Nothing to It!"

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It is a well know fact that “Fear not,” “Be not afraid," or some other derivation of this thought is the most often repeated phrase in the Bible. It is a common thing for angels to say to people. An angel told this to Mary the mother of Jesus when she learned she was pregnant. An angel said this to the shepherds who were in fear of the light and “glory” all around them when the baby Jesus was being born. Of course Jesus said it frequently during his ministry too. He told this to his apostles when they panicked at seeing him walk on water. And he’s still saying it to us in ACIM. All throughout ACIM we hear this consistent “fear not” message. The lesson from the Workbook "There is nothing to fear." (OrEd.WkBk.48) comes to mind. I always like to remember that this can be also interpreted as that fear is vaporous and without substance, as in “fear – nothing to it.” Join me on Sunday as we explore our ego's favorite addiction – fear. 31 min. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

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Tuesday, 08 March 2022 02:59

I Am a "Freedom Sider"

Dear Miracle Workers,

I have always been a “freedom sider,” a term I just made up. I am not a freedom fighter. The world has celebrated freedom fighters throughout history, but a few “freedom siders” have managed to catch the world’s attention too. Mahatma Ghandi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. come to mind. ACIM calls us to be “freedom-siders.” “You have heard many arguments on behalf of ‘the freedoms,’ which would indeed have been freedom if man had not chosen to fight for them. ... Yet the argument that underlies the defense of freedom is perfectly valid. Because it is true, it should not be fought for, but it should be sided with.” (OrEd.Tx.7.11) The quotation is provocative because it states that once we start fighting for freedom it is not even freedom anymore, hence it must be slavery.

There is much going on in the world that inspires these thoughts in me today. The People’s Convoy of USA truckers with 1000s (possibly) of trucks and other vehicles circling the Washington DC beltway (Interstate 495) because they are siding with freedom from medical mandates (vaccine and mask etc). Some people call these medical mandates, medical tyranny.

There are the images of regular Ukrainian citizens in the Russian occupied Black Sea port city of Kherson protesting the Russian occupation in the town square and city streets unarmed and peacefully right alongside and in front of Russian military vehicles and tanks – a wonderful demonstration of siding with freedom.

However there were disturbing images of the Ukrainian government arming the civilian population with automatic rifles and teaching them how to be snipers so that if they need to they can kill occupying Russian troops. That is fighting for freedom and remember ACIM says that is not even freedom anymore when it gets to that.

(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #327, Mar. 8 2022)

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Sunday, 06 March 2022 03:38

03.06.22 Video "Happy 35th Birthday CMC"

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March 1st was the Community Miracles Center’s (CMC) 35th birthday. I, (Rev. Tony) have been the President and CEO for the entire time. I am very grateful that we have stayed active and vital through all those years, and especially through the last 2 years of the pandemic. Many small churches or similar religious organizations have not survived. The fact that CMC is still here and meeting the needs of ACIM students around the world is a very noteworthy accomplishment. Our world situation is uncertain right now and the future is impossible to predict. However what one can bet on is the CMC being there to meet the future head on and continue providing spiritual community and study resources to the large, broad, and diverse ACIM community. 34 min. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

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Wednesday, 23 February 2022 01:35

As the CMC Turns 35 Years Old – Patience

Dear Miracle Workers,

On March 1, 2022 the CMC turns 35. We will be completing our 35th year, beginning our 36th. I have been the Executive Minister the entire time and in these last few days of year 35 I am guided to pause and contemplate.

At this moment, more than others in the past, I truly have no idea what is in store for the future. Of course I never truly knew, but there were Holy Spirit given plans. "[A healed mind] carries out the plans which it receives through listening to Wisdom that is not its own." (OrEd.WkBk.135.12) Now Holy Spirit's guidance is, “There are no future plans.” It’s all day to day right now. Each day I approach work with what is the most important thing to do today. “Steady as it goes” seems to be another thing I hear. At the moment there are no conferences to plan (either in-person or virtual) and they were huge undertakings for the previous 20 years. The world itself seems to be on hold.

I have no office assistant right now. At first I saw this as a “lack” that needed to be filled, but my perception has changed. “All is well as it is” is what I hear. A leaner CMC is a more viable CMC right now. We are being prepared for something. What it is has not been revealed.

We have our Sunday Gathering. (Have you joined us lately?) There are 5 other drop-in groups happening weekly. Plus we have 4 classes people register and enroll for. Miracles Monthly continues to go out. I’m working on the last issue of Volume #35 now (420th issue). Our web site is expanding. I am open to receiving new guidance. At this moment, "Patience is natural to those who trust." (OrEd.Mn.4.20)

(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #325, Feb. 23 2022)

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Wednesday, 16 February 2022 01:26

Ted Poppe Has Made His Transition

Dear Miracle Workers,

On Saturday morning February 12, 2022, I heard from Vicki Poppe that her former husband Teddy (Ted) Poppe had made his transition. Ted and Vicki were living together again in Quincy, MA outside of Boston. They reunited just a couple of years ago. Ted's health had been challenged for awhile, though I hear that the quick transition was unexpected.

Ted was a key figure in the copyright controversy and trial that dominated the ACIM community between ~1995 to 2004. Ted was involved with Endeavor Academy at the time and Endeavor was the defendant in the copyright law suit that had been launched by: Foundation for Inner Peace, Foundation for ACIM, and Penguin Books. This case resulted in the copyright (and later the service marks and trade marks) being declared null and void by the fateful decision by Federal Judge Robert Sweet in 2003.

Ted was a very outspoken, sometimes controversial figure. At this moment I want to remember all that he did to free ACIM from the copyright which allowed the earlier edits to be published. This includes the versions based on an earlier edit found in the Edgar Cayce Library (the *Original Edition* and the *Sparkly*). This also includes versions based on the original typed manuscript found in the copyright office of the Library of Congress (the *Urtext Manuscripts*). It also includes versions based on the original shorthand notes also found in the Library of Congress (the Complete & Annotated Edition* and *Helen's Notes*).

Ted himself published the Sparkly and Helen's Notes (which is the first 8 chapters of *ACIM* transcribed completely from the shorthand notes) which came out just a few months ago. Those of us who feel like they have benefited from these earlier edits owe Ted a heart-felt declaration of gratitude. "Thank you Ted!" The best to you in your next adventure.

(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #324, Feb. 16 2022)

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Sunday, 13 February 2022 02:40

02.13.22 "I Heal, Therefore I Am"

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The 17th century French philosopher René Descartes made a famous proclamation "I think, therefore I am." In ACIM we have this similar statement "If I did not think, I would not exist, because life is thought" (OrEd.WkBk.54.3) which is saying the exact same thing. ACIM agrees with the 17th century French philosopher! For us ACIM students I would tweak Descartes famous statement into, "I heal, therefore I am." We are here to represent our Creator and we do that by healing. One of the final lessons of the Workbook is this, "Sickness is but another name for sin. Healing is but another Name for God. The miracle is thus a call to Him." (OrEd.WkBk.356) We heal. And healing is God's name and thus it is us calling to our Creator with every miracle that we perform. Do you want to find God and thus our true Selves? God is not hiding, and neither are we. We find God, and we find our selves by healing. "I heal, therefore I am." 26 min. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

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Since the title of the book we study is “A Course in Miracles” one might think that, among the faithful, there was a general agreement about what a miracle is. There isn’t. Many people like to downplay miracles and say that a miracle is just a shift in perception. The problem is that there is no support for this in the ACIM book itself. ACIM never defines “miracle” as a "shift in perception." However miracles are defined several times as “expressions of love.” “Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.” (OrEd.Tx.1.3) It is the belief of this author that these expressions of love are actual interpersonal gestures, or as ACIM says, “doings.” "And now in all your doings be you blessed. God turns to you for help to save the world." (OrEd.Mn.29.8) Join me as we get clear about the “miracles." 22 min. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

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I recently was challenged by the appearance of having manifested Covid-19. I was actually told by the Emergency Room doctor, “I don't think you are going to make it.” (Exact words.) He told me he thought my body was going to die. That was a first. I have never had that experience before. However I am blessed because I am a 40 plus year ACIM veteran and I knew I had other guidance. ACIM tells us, "We will be told exactly what God wills for us each time there is a choice to make." (OrEd.WkBk.Ep.5) There were choices to be made and Holy Spirit and Jesus were with me. I made different choices. I chose NOT to be admitted to the hospital. I chose to return to my home and proceed with my ortho-molecular protocol that I had just started. That is what God’s Voice, the Holy Spirit, told me to do. I knew exactly. It made all the difference. I am well today, and I tested Covid negative last Sunday. I am so grateful that I am an ACIM student. I believe it saved my body’s life. 26 min. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

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On Friday evening at the stroke of midnight the old year 2021 ended and the new year 2022 began. Of course all of this is arbitrary, nothing really “happened” at the stroke of midnight. It was all just another now moment in a seemingly endless string of them. On previous years I have hosted a fun New Year’s Eve party which would culminate in an adventurous trip to Pier 14 on the San Francisco Bay to watch the amazing fireworks display synched to music. This year there were no fireworks for the second year in a row because the fireworks were canceled just last week due to surging Covid19 cases. Plus I (Rev. Tony) was in no shape to host or organize anything because I was feeling very poorly with a fever above 102 plus at the stroke of midnight. Apparently I was manifesting one of those Covid surge cases they were talking about. Feeling better today, but still a little off, I am thinking about the new year, possibly the 3rd year in the pandemic and what perspective the Holy Spirit has for me to embrace and share. 25 min. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

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