Thursday, October 30, 2014

A good mediation for today: Trust

Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation


Peace of Mind?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

To be trapped inside of your own small ego is always to be afraid, seeking some kind of control to settle the dust. To not have Someone that you can trust deeply is necessarily to be a control freak. Thus, great religion tries to free individuals from the tyranny of their small and fragile selves and introduce them to Someone-They-Can-Trust. Only if you trust such a “Someone” will you eventually know that you do not have to create all the patterns nor do you have to solve all the problems. You are in fact being guided.
Also, you do not have to explain the failures or take responsibility for the fixing. Finally you know you are part of “the general dance,” as Merton calls it. What else would be the beginnings of peace? As long as you think you’ve got to fix everything, control everything, explain everything, and understand everything, you will never be a peaceful person. These things largely happen by endless ruminating and commentaries in the mind, which are usually negative.
The Enneagram taught many of us that “fearful people” are actually “head people,” which was a great surprise to most folks, as we would have located the fear in the gut. The common phrase “peace of mind” is a complete misnomer. When you are in your mind, you are never at peace, and when you are at peace, you are never in your mind, but in a much larger, unified field that includes body, mind, soul, and others all at once! We called it the “communion of saints.”

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ten Reasons for being a Reluctant Christian: Ten Reasons to Overcome them

This Wednesday evening ends our first session of our 'Living in Faith' series in the Chapel from 7-8 p.m. 

In the concluding chapter David Yount restates in his Growing in Faith: A Guide for the Reluctant Christian what many us know: there are many reasons why we should not believe, yet we do. Let me sum up the ten:

1. Don't let church conflict or disagreements turn you off. The root of conflict is difference. Find a community that speaks to you.
2. We do not prove God's existence: God affirms ours. We spend a life pursuing God while God pursues us. Slow down and allow God to catch you.
3. Don't let organized religion put you off. Clergy are more likely to bore you than scandalize you. (I like that one) 
4. For those who don't "join" groups: get over it. We all need to be connected.
5. Leaving our options opens. Allowing our children to choose their religion.  Hogwash.  Choose. Child can handle truth.
6. Speaking of truth: mixing religions makes for a bad recipe. Better than mix and match, allow each faith to be whole. You must choose (see the pattern?). 
7. God already sent you a personal invitation. Open your mail.
8. Christians will always let us down. Jesus gets that.
9. "The Wager": what if all of this is not true or real? Live a Christian life not as a bet for an afterlife but a way to live a full one here and now.
10. We may not always be happy: life is cruel. But we can all love and serve. And that is enough.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Living in Faith: Creating a space mid-week

Last night seven of us gathered in the chapel of Christ Church as the wind and rain could be heard outside. 'Living in Faith' is the name of the time and place we have given to Wednesday nights between 7-8 p.m. (we begin and end at the hour). It is an intentional time for quiet (we enter in silence up to 15 minutes before, with chanting music often playing in the background). We try to not to visit and chat too much at first, but we acknowledge one's arrival and welcome them. Those who are nearby reading this blog are welcome to join us anytime. 

We begin our time with simple centering prayer.  Becoming aware of our bodies, minds and breath. The book we use is merely a guide for reflection and conversation. This not a book study. Most evenings we end with the ancient monastic service of Compline in our Book of Common Prayer.  

I believe we as a church are at a critical point when people are needing to find new places to explore preconceived notions and inherited beliefs handed down to them. What is it that I believe? Right now. After all I have seen and done in this life? 

We are doing the basics of Christian discipleship: we are learning and relearning how to pray. How to pray together. 

One of the prayers we shared with one another last week was this, written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer while awaiting execution in a Nazi prison:

In me there is darkness,
But with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help,
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
I me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways, 
But you know the way for me.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Carin Ruff asks: "I'm 49 years old. Does the Episcopal Church care that I'm here?"

I commend this blog from Carin Ruff. Worth a conversation. 

She asks key questions about what it means to be 50ish in a parish today. 

What are the 50ish in our parishes really doing?
  • Caring for elderly parents, or mourning their loss.
  • Confronting their own mortality.
  • Having existential crises.
  • Changing careers, by choice or necessity (especially after the Great Recession).
  • Sometimes struggling to do so. Sometimes discovering a vocation to ministry.
  • Reordering their priorities.
  • Wondering if it's too late to develop a purpose in life.
  • Seeking a community that will support them following a midlife displacement.
  • Seeking to form connections they can count on as they age without spouses or children to fill that role.
Click here for article