Posts

Acceptance of Life as Gift

If I were to actually accept my life as gift, what would that look like?

I sent an email this morning to my women's spirituality group, quoting Mark Nepo's reading for today about the Flow of Life.  He says all of life is harboring and releasing.  Fully taking in our experience, then letting it go, whether joyful or painful.  Harbor and release.  Again and Again.  Beautiful stuff.

And he has a line in there about how resisting is painful...resisting makes us rust like iron.

Yes, resisting is futile...but accepting my life as a gift ...means ... hmmm...
Facing the profound disappointment I feel about certain relationships that are currently blocked.  This is not blog-able, but it occurs to me first because it's what I am resisting SO strongly each and every time I think about it.  I want to make them right. I want them to be what they used to be...free and easy and close.  I want to correct this, un-do what needs to be undone.  I want to take action to .... to what?  Oh, Lo…

An Eagerness to Learn Again

Conversation this morning with my Brilliant Friend reminded me how deeply satisfying it is to LEARN.  Learning expands who I am.  In carrying me forward into exciting new thoughts and realizations, learning feeds my spirit in such an important and beautiful way. 

She was saying how she found Dibbs: The Search for Self to be amazing.  Five-year-old boy with a therapist who lets him be who he is, and in doing that, she provides the grace-filled space for him to become who he is. His home life was not providing such a space.  Brilliant Friend was moved to tears. 

As she spoke I was able to resonate so deeply with what she was saying because of my study of Carl Rogers.  He theorized about how total acceptance, ("unconditional positive regard"), can heal.  The therapist responds by mirroring the client's words or feelings. The mirror allows the client to see herself.  Which also reminds me of Kierkegaard writing about how Christ is mirror for the self, for self-actualization.

Keep Going

OK.  It's Tuesday morning.  Here I sit, having slept until 8 am, exhausted from keeping grandchildren for a couple of days on my own and from abruptly ending the 50 mg of Prednisone I take after each Thermoplasty procedure on my lungs.  I've noticed depressed thoughts, threatening anxiety.  I'm crying more easily than usual. 

But that's all OK--I'm still adjusting to no longer working, and I've yet to find truly meaningful ways to spend my time.  Told David last night that the ground beneath me is shaky; every time I put my foot down, the rug is pulled out from under me (to mix my metaphors).  I keep wanting to grasp and control, but I know that's a response from my false ego.  Before me lies a huge opportunity for spiritual growth: Learning to be.  It will come.

Not sure how easily I could've written that paragraph without having read a couple of chapters of "What Happened" by Hillary Clinton.  I feel inspired by my reading this morning.  I&#…
Image
If you're a Christian, be careful. Easter is often portrayed/preached as some kind of triumph that can lead us toward triumphalism.
Easter is never a triumph in that way. Easter is the JOY that comes from pain. It's not the winner of some cosmic game. Easter is the EXUBERANCE born of an existence that looks uncompromisingly at the world's injustice. It is not puffed-chest: "we're the best because we have all the answers."Easter is LIFE, yes, in all its beauty, but lif...e also as the most difficult thing in the world--life FROM death. And Easter does not escape any of these processes unscarred. It is not "easy because we are the favored ones."
Easter/Resurrection is always and forever tied to crucifixion. It is the life lesson that Jesus embodied: it's through the pain (not around it, not avoiding it) that true joy, exuberance and the beauty of life are experienced. 
Christ is risen, yes, indeed that's so true. And we are forever and profound…

Expressing a Sense of Life

I'd like to be able to express in words a sense of being alive, of having been created, born.

Reading (again) Cynthia Bourgeault's Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening.  She talks about ordinary awareness and spiritual awareness, and how ordinarily we are self-reflective and perceive things based on the "I" that the ego constructs.  Here we evaluate, make distinctions, converse, etc.  Anxiety is always hanging around.  Spiritual awareness provides a different way of perceiving.  Here we are aware of a connecting oneness, the truth that we belong.   Here love predominates.  We are moving toward a Christ-consciousness in which we can engage the world with the beautiful, powerful, vulnerability of Jesus.

I suppose it's my own brand of spiritual awareness in combination with my existential proclivities that gives me a feeling of the shocking depth of the mystery that I am, we are.

I feel the infinite ocean of the Past and the Future and the holographic complexity, …

Moving On -- Already Missing Communion at Cathedral of Hope

Image
It saddens me to leave Cathedral of Hope, where I've served as Assoc Pastor for Spiritual Life for 2 and a half years.  Monday was my last day there.  This coming Monday I'll start something new--hospice chaplaincy.

I've always felt drawn to a ministry with those who are dying and their loved ones, so I move on with a sense of rightness, a feeling that it's a ministry for which I have some gifts, and that I'll find it extremely meaningful.

Still, leaving pastoral ministry is going to cost me.  I'll miss the excitement of Sunday mornings:
800 people at two servicesbeing at or near the center of a worship service that 20,000 people around the world would watch online, big screens in the sanctuary, getting the microphones just rightorchestra and choir -- music that moved the heavensbeauty of the sanctuary, with its color and light and movement Most of all, though, it's the way CoH serves communion.  When David and I first visited there on the Sunday after I w…

A Box of Letters -- Life, Ephemeral

We don't often get a real window into our childhood past, but today I did.  Wasn't a wide open window, but cracked enough for a little glimpse through time.

My brother, who lives in Thailand, asked me recently to retrieve some boxes he's had in storage with an old friend in Dallas.  I'm going to inventory them so he can decide what to do with them.  The first box I opened, and the only one so far, was filled with stacks and stacks of old letters, many of them from my mother who was writing to her son in the early 1960's.  Denny had just joined the Army, and Susan and I were between 5 and 8 years old.  
The letters are filled with news--  she's going to make the cookies soon she misses him and wishes he'd write more how Charles (my dad, Denny's stepdad) thought that Beaumont, where they had just moved, was a fisherman's paradiseusually something about the weatherit hasn't rained since "Carla," the famous hurricane (I have a vague memory …

Racism and Spiritual Growth

Gracious God, forgive our small-mindedness, our assumption that the way we see the world is the only or best way to see it. Give us a glimpse of your perspective; help us see through your eyes of love and grace. Amen.
Our recognition of Juneteenth in worship this year was a powerful experience for me. Rev. Darnell Fennell’s sermon spoke volumes—he articulated beautifully both why and how, in Christianity, there is no separation between our spiritual lives and the lives we lead in the here and now. To think of the importance of our spiritual lives solely in whether we end up going to heaven or hell misses the whole point of Jesus’ life and ministry among us. Jesus came that we might have life, and have it abundantly—in the here and now!

How do we experience abundant life? I think we experience it by courageously deciding to follow Jesus Christ, to undertake a spiritual journey to become more and more like Jesus, who was and is the Christ. This spiritual journey of following Christ entail…

Inter-Relatedness

Our "modern lesson" this morning in worship (we sometimes use something other than a secondary biblical reading) was from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1967 sermon on Christmas Eve, which said, in part:

It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality. ...Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you've depended on more than half of the world. This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren't going to have peace on earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.
I love that.  Our guest preacher, Rev. Sandhya Jha, used it in her sermon on "Ubuntu" and anti-oppression.  She's a dynamo...really excellent.

She also led about 4…

Peace in the Midst of Suffering

Suffering is such a difficult subject.  I preached about it last Sunday... I want to talk to you this morning about a serious subject – the subject of Suffering. Well, actually, I don’t WANT to talk about it.I’ve struggled with this my whole life, and frankly, I find it absolutely infuriating.But it’s our reality, and I think it’s important, when we worship God, to be real about our experience.And suffering is just part of that; we're born into a world of kindness and beauty and goodness, and suffering.These are the terms of our existence. Now, not to rank different kinds of suffering—that would be DUMB, but I do need to say that some suffering is easier to get a hold of than others.When we can explain suffering, it gives us something to hold on to, and that can help.  "Well, we’re suffering because of that person over there who’s behavior is unacceptable!OR, we’re suffering because we ourselves refuse to change, or leave, or let go.OR we’re suffering at the hands of an institu…

Galship

This week's blog carnival topic is: What does Galship mean to you? The phrase was originally coined to refer to RevGal Fellowship--all the ways we build community, share our lives, support each other, and have fun. So blog about Galship-- What does Galship mean to you? Ready, set, write

Well, I love the word -- 'bout time we had an alternative to 'fellowship.' 

Perhaps the best way to say what it means to me is to provide a couple of vignettes . . . .

Galship is Fun (Crazy, even!)
We were all in seminary together.  Every so often Lee and Wendy would come to my rented house there by the university for a Girls Night Out.  We'd eat together, sing some Taize songs (yes, that's what seminary students love, right? beautiful, but rather sedate, I have to say) and just talk and talk.  I can't remember exactly how this happened now...we must have tired of Taize.  We went in my study where I had a CD player, and we put in an Oldies but Goodies CD with the INCOMPARAB…

"How is the Spirit Calling?"

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;don’t try to figure out everything on your own.Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;God is  the one who will keep you on track.
I have been a spiritual director for a number of years now.  Spiritual direction is about companioning people as they seek to live in God’s presence—it’s really not about any actual ‘direction’ in the sense of telling someone what to do.  I’ve found the whole process wonderfully helpful in my own spiritual life.  Often, when I feel led to ask someone a question, I’ll realize that the question is also myquestion. 
That happened to me recently.  The person who sat before me was going through some difficulty at her church (in another denomination), and I found myself putting the question like this:  “The Spirit hasn’t abandoned you; the Spirit is still doing its job, so to speak, calling you toward transformation.  How do you imagine that’s happening for you?  What does that calling look like for y…