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Thursday, May 04, 2017

Love, Not Atonement - Rohr 

Thursday, May 4, 2017 All the great religions of the world talk a lot about death, so there must be an essential lesson to be learned here. But throughout much of religious history our emphasis has been on killing the wrong thing and avoiding the truth: it’s you who has to die, or rather, who you think you are—your false self. It's never someone else! Historically we moved from human sacrifice to animal sacrifice to various modes of seeming self-sacrifice, usually involving the body. For many religions, including immature Christianity, God was distant and scary, an angry deity who must be placated. God was not someone with whom you fell in love or with whom you could imagine sharing intimacy or tenderness. The common Christian reading of the Bible is that Jesus “died for our sins”—either to pay a debt to the devil (common in the first millennium) or to pay a debt to God the Father (proposed by Anselm of Canterbury, 1033-1109). Theologians later developed a “substitutionary atonement theory”—the strange idea that before God could love us God needed and demanded Jesus to be a blood sacrifice to ''atone'' for our sin. As a result, our theology became more transactional than transformational. Franciscan philosopher and theologian John Duns Scotus (1266-1308) was not guided by the Temple language of debt, atonement, or blood sacrifice (understandably used in the New Testament written by observant Jews). He was instead inspired by the cosmic hymns in the first chapters of Colossians and Ephesians and the first chapter of John's Gospel. For Duns Scotus, the incarnation of God and the redemption of the world could never be a mere mop-up exercise in response to human sinfulness, but the proactive work of God from the very beginning. We were “chosen in Christ before the world was made” (Ephesians 1:4). Our sin could not possibly be the motive for the divine incarnation; rather, God’s motivation was infinite divine love and full self-revelation! For Duns Scotus, God never merely reacts, but always freely acts out of free and unmerited love. Jesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity (it did not need changing)! Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God. God’s abundance and compassion make any scarcity economy of merit or atonement unhelpful and unnecessary. Jesus undid “once and for all” (Hebrews 7:27; 9:12; 10:10) all notions of human and animal sacrifice and replaced them with his new infinite economy of grace. Jesus was meant to be a game changer for religion and the human psyche. This grounds Christianity in love and freedom from the very beginning; it creates a very coherent and utterly attractive religion, which draws people toward lives of inner depth, prayer, reconciliation, healing, and universal “at-one-ment,” instead of mere sacrificial atonement. Nothing “changed” on Calvary but everything was revealed—an eternally outpouring love. Jesus switched the engines of history: instead of us needing to spill blood to get to God, we have God spilling blood to get to us!


Monday, March 20, 2017

MARY UNDER THE CROSS - Ronald Rolhesier 


On the surface, it seems she isn’t doing anything at all: She doesn’t speak, doesn’t try to stop the crucifixion, and she doesn’t even protest its unfairness or plead Jesus’ innocence. She is mute, seemingly passive, overtly doing nothing.
In essence, what Mary was doing under the cross was this: She couldn’t stop the crucifixion (there are times when darkness has its hour) but she could stop some of the hatred, bitterness, jealousy, heartlessness, and anger that caused it and surrounded it.
Mary helped stop bitterness by refusing to give it back in kind, by transforming rather than transmitting it, by swallowing hard and (literally) eating bitterness rather than giving it back, as everyone else was doing.
Had Mary, in moral outrage, begun to scream hysterically, shout angrily at those crucifying Jesus, or physically tried to attack someone as he was driving the nails into Jesus’ hands, she would have been caught up in the same kind of energy as everyone else, replicating the very anger and bitterness that caused the crucifixion to begin with. What Mary was doing under the cross, her silence and seeming unwillingness to protest notwithstanding, was radiating all that is antithetical to the crucifixion: gentleness, understanding, forgiveness, peace, light.
There are times too when things have gone so far that shouts and protests are no longer helpful, darkness is going to have its hour come what may and all we can do is to stand under the cross and help eat its bitterness by refusing to participate in its energy.
In those situations, like Mary, we have to say: “I can’t stop this crucifixion, but I can stop some of the hatred, bitterness, jealousy, brute-heartlessness, and darkness that surround it. I can’t stop this, but I will not conduct its hatred.”
Sometimes the blind, wounded forces of jealousy, bitterness, violence, and sin cannot be stopped. Like Mary under the cross, we are asked to “stand” under them, not in passivity and weakness, but in strength, knowing that we can’t stop the crucifixion but we can help stop some of the hatred, anger, and bitterness that surrounds it.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

The End of Power:Moises Naim (2014) The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isn't What It Used to Be  

Where ever power matters, power is also decaying PP5

But what causes the distribution of power to change? it can happen with the advent of a talented, disruptive Newcomer like Alexander the great or Steve Jobs, or that of a transforming innovation like the stirrup, the printing press, the integrated circuit, or YouTube. PP 28

Weber - theory of power laid out in economy and society. Traditional power where authority is inherited by its holder and is accepted by the holders subjects. Charismatic power in which an individual leader was seen by forest possess a special gift. The third form of authority he sees is one suited to modern times and is bureaucratic and rational authority, grounded in laws and wielded by an administrative structure capable of enforcing clear and consistent rules.

Organisations relied heavily on written communications and documents, and on the training of personal according to each job requirements and skills it needed. Importantly, the inner workings of bureaucratic organisations were based on the application of consistent and comprehensive rules for everyone regardless of social economic status or family, religious or political links. Therefore recruitments, responsibilities and promotions were based on competence and experience.  41

Micro powers-there advantage is precisely that they are not burdened by the size, scale, assets and resources portfolio, centralisation, and hierarchy that megaplayers have deployed and spent so much time and effort nurturing and managing. The more the micropower take on these traits, the more they turn into the type of organisation that other new Micro powers will attack with just as much effectiveness. PP 52

The 'more, mobility, mentality revolutions' are attacking the mode of organisation so persuasively advocated by Max Weber and his followers... And they are attacking it precisely at the point where it drew strength. Large organisations were more efficient because they operated lower costs, thanks to economies of scale; today, however the cost of maintaining order and control are going up... Large organisations have a sheen of authority, modernity, and sophistication; today, headlines are being made by small newcomers that are challenging the big powers. And as the advantages of this large scale, rational, coordinated, and centralised model of organisation diminish, the opportunities increase for the micro powers to make their mark using a different model for success. Pp75

Power is to politicians what sunlight is to plants. What politicians do with their power varies; but the aspiration to power is their essential common trait. As Max Webber put it on a century ago: "he who is active in politics strives for power, either as a means in serving other ends, ideal or egotistic, or as power for powers sake that is, in order to enjoy the prestige feeling that power gives.  76

More powerful local and regional authorities has also changed the prospects of public profiles of mayors and regional governors, sometimes boosting the national political reason and sometimes creating alternative is that bypass the capital together. 97

Who are our leaders? It was a time when leaders were in extractability in twined with the apparatus of governments and parties. Even revolutionaries aspired to high office. Lately, however many of our heroes have arrived at their fame via the digital world-using technology to spend messages and influence outcomes in ways that would previously have required the infrastructure of parties, non-governmental organisation's, The traditional press. PP 100


Monday, January 16, 2017

Scripture Tradition - Rohr 

Scripture as validated by experience and experience as validated by Tradition are good scales for one’s spiritual worldview. (Sunday)
The Bible is the best book in the world and the worst book in the world. It is the worst when it is used for bullying and self-justification; it is the best when it is used for the healing of the world and for transformation of the self. (Monday)
Jesus taught us how to see, what to emphasize, and also what could be de-emphasized or ignored. Jesus himself is our hermeneutic! (Tuesday)
The very inclusion of the Hebrew Bible into the official canon of the Christian Bible is forever a standing statement about inclusivity. (Wednesday)
The genius of the biblical revelation is that we come to God through “the actual,” the here and now, or quite simply what is. (Thursday)
We have created an artificial divide or dualism between the spiritual and the so-called non-spiritual. This dualism is precisely what Jesus came to reveal as a lie. (Friday)

Practice: Lectio Divina
Jesus knows how to connect the dots and find out where the sacred text is truly heading, beyond the low-level consciousness of a particular moment, individual, or circumstance. He knows there is a bigger arc to the story—one that reveals a God that is compassionate and inclusive.
Jesus doesn’t quote lines that are punitive, imperialistic (“My country is the best!”), wrathful, or exclusionary. He does not mention the list of 28 “thou shall nots” in Leviticus 18 and 20, but chooses to echo the one positive command of Leviticus 19:18: “You must love your neighbor as yourself.”
The longest single passage he quotes (in Luke 4:18-19) is from Isaiah 61. Jesus closes with the words “proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,” deliberately omitting the next line—“and the day of vengeance of our God”—because he did not come here to announce vengeance.
This is what the Spirit teaches any faithful person to do—read Scripture (and the very experiences of life) with a gaze of love. Contemplative practice helps you develop a third eye that reads between the lines and finds the thread always moving toward inclusivity, mercy, and justice.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Can’t literalists be honest... 

Jesus often used similes in his parables: “The kingdom of heaven is like. . . .” (See Matthew 13: 31, 33, 44.) In other places, the Bible uses metaphors for God, such as rock (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalms 62:3) and shepherd (Psalm 23:1; Ezekiel 34:11-16). Jesus describes himself metaphorically as the bread of life (John 6:35-51) and the light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5). The Spirit is portrayed as breath (Genesis 2:7; Job 32:8) and wind (John 3:8). Can’t literalists be honest and admit these are all fingers pointing to the moon? God is not literally a rock or an actual shepherd on a hillside somewhere, yet we need these images to “imagine” the unsayable Mystery.
Christians must also admit that the New Testament was largely written in Greek—a language which Jesus did not speak or understand—and the text was mostly written thirty to seventy years after Jesus’ death, centuries before the age of digital recorders. We have only a few snippets of Jesus’ precise words in his native Aramaic. We can only conclude that Jesus’ exact words were apparently not that important for the Holy Spirit—or for us. This should keep us all humble and searching for our own experience of the Risen Christ now instead of arguing over Greek verbs and tenses.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, an unpublished talk, Canossian Spirituality Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico, December 3, 2016


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Rohr - falling into love 1 co 13 

Love Never Fails
Thursday, December 29, 2016

1 Corinthians 13 might be the supreme piece of condensed theology in the entire Bible. The whole message of Scripture is there. In this one short part of a longer letter, Paul shows himself to be an excellent philosopher, theologian, mystic, teacher, and psychologist. If he had written nothing else, he would still deserve a place in spiritual history. Honestly, I could preach for two hours on this one chapter and wouldn’t scratch the surface of its brilliance.
I have to compare the love described in 1 Corinthians 13 with our cultural understanding of love—largely a romantic infatuation that does not and cannot last. It’s fine as far as it goes, but we need a much, much larger understanding of love.
Paul has to list a whole bunch of descriptors to even get close to this mystery he calls love. He grabs for moral superlatives: “Love is patient, love is kind, Love is not jealous, Love is never boastful or conceited, Love is not rude, nor does it take offense. It takes no pleasure in other peoples’ faults. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure. Love does not come to an end.” [1] It has an infinite quality like the very being of God!
Divine love that is God’s Self is an absolute open-heartedness. When you’re in that space, your energy flows outward and even expands. When you’re not in that space, your energy sucks in. It’s all about who did me wrong and why I don’t like those people and how my aunt never talks to me and why so-and-so is a jerk.
It doesn’t help that our brains have evolved to hold onto negative thoughts (like Velcro) and let the positive thoughts slip off (like Teflon). To retain a positive experience, you have to intentionally hold onto it for at least fifteen seconds to allow it to imprint on your brain. You have to deliberately, consciously choose to love and not hate. Because people haven’t been taught that, we have even decent people in our country, in political parties, and even in leadership positions in our churches who are much more at home with hate than they are with love. And they do not even know it.
Spirituality is whatever it takes to keep your heart space open. That is daily, constant work because your ego and the events of life want to close it down. The voices in the dominant culture tell you to judge, dismiss, hate, and fear. If you don’t have some spiritual practice that has kept your heart open in hell, I know you’re going to be a grumpy old man or a hateful old woman. By the last third of life, negativity is all you have left.
You have to work to live in love, to develop a generosity of spirit, a readiness to smile, a willingness to serve instead of to take. Each morning you take your inner temperature, observing if your energy is loving and flowing outward or negative and sucking in. Contemplative prayer helps us witness and recognize these outer flows and inner suckings.
Sooner or later, by God’s patience, many of us eventually fall into Love and learn to draw our life from that Infinite Source “which has no end and never fails.” Yes, the nature of Love and the nature of God are the same thing.


Monday, December 19, 2016

Transmitting Love (Rohr) 

Love is not love until you stop expecting something back. The moment you want something in return for your giving, love is weakened and prostituted. This is the nature of the divine energy that transforms: love is always flowing outward, it is inherently contagious, and it is holiness itself.

this continues visibly in time through people like Francis and Clare, Bonaventure and Scotus, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa, and Pope Francis. But the vast majority of unified souls are unknown to history books. We ourselves are part of this one great parade, “partners in God’s triumphal procession,” as Paul calls it, “spreading the knowledge of God like a sweet smell everywhere” (2 Corinthians 2:14). It is much more a transmission of authentic life and love than of correct ideas or doctrines. 


Monday, October 17, 2016

Rohr Practice - Boats on a River 

Practice: Boats on a River
Most people have never actually met themselves. At every moment, all our lives long, we identify with our thoughts, our self-image, or our feelings. We have to find a way to get behind this view of ourselves to discover the face we had before we were born. We must discover who we are in God, who we’ve always been—long before we did anything right or anything wrong. This is the first goal of contemplation.
Imagine you are sitting on the bank of a river. Boats and ships—thoughts, feelings, and sensations—are sailing past. While the stream flows by your inner eye, name each of these vessels. For example, one of the boats could be called “my anxiety about tomorrow.” Or along comes the ship “objections to my husband” or the boat “I don’t do that well.” Every judgment that you pass is one of those boats. Take the time to give each one of them a name, and then let them move on down the river.
This can be a difficult exercise because you’re used to jumping aboard the boats—your thoughts—immediately. As soon as you own a boat and identify with it, it picks up energy. This is a practice in un-possessing, detaching, letting go. With every idea, with every image that comes into your head, say, “No, I’m not that; I don’t need that; that’s not me.”
Sometimes, a boat turns around and heads back upstream to demand your attention again. Habitual thoughts are hard to not be hooked by. Sometimes you feel the need to torpedo your boats. But don’t attack them. Don’t hate them or condemn them. This is also an exercise in nonviolence. The point is to recognize your thoughts, which are not you, and to say, “That’s not necessary; I don’t need that.” But do it very amiably. If you learn to handle your own soul tenderly and lovingly, you’ll be able to carry this same loving wisdom out into the world.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Rohr in and around atonement... 

Jesus’ teachings seem to have been understood rather clearly during the first few hundred years after his death and resurrection. Values like nonparticipation in war, simple living, and love of enemies were common among his early followers. For example, the Didache, written around AD 90, calls readers to “share all things with your brother; and do not say that they are your own. For if you are sharers in what is imperishable, how much more in things which perish.” [1] At this time, Christianity was countercultural, untouched by empire, rationalization, and compromise.
However, when the imperial edict of AD 313 elevated Christianity to a privileged position in the Roman Empire, the church increasingly accepted, and even defended, the dominant social order, especially concerning war, money, and class. Morality became individualized and largely sexual. Formal Christianity slowly lost its free and alternative vantage point, which is probably why what we now call “religious life” began, and flourished, after 313. People went to the edges of the church and took vows of poverty, living in satellites that became “little churches,” without ever formally leaving the big church.
If you look at texts in the hundred years preceding 313, it was unthinkable that a Christian would fight in the army. The army was killing Christians; Christians
In the thirteenth century, the Franciscans and the Dominicans were the Catholic Church’s debating society, as it were. We invariably took opposing positions in the great debates in the universities of Paris, Cologne, Bologna, and Oxford. Both opinions usually passed the tests of orthodoxy, although one was preferred. The Franciscans often ended up presenting the minority position in those days. I share this bit of history to show that my understanding of the atonement theory is not heretical or new, but has very traditional and orthodox foundations. In the thirteenth century the Catholic Church seemed to be more broad-minded than it became later. Like the United States’ Supreme Court, it could have both a majority and a minority opinion, and the minority position was not kicked out! It was just not taught in most seminaries. However, the Franciscans and other groups taught the minority position.
Thomas Aquinas and the Dominicans agreed with the mainline position that some kind of debt had to be paid for human salvation. Many scriptures and the Jewish temple metaphors of sacrifice, price, propitiation, debt, and atonement do give this impression. But Franciscan teacher, Blessed John Duns Scotus (c. 1266-1308), who founded the theological chair at Oxford, said that Jesus wasn’t solving any problems by coming to earth and dying. Jesus wasn’t changing God’s mind about us; rather, Jesus was changing our minds about God. That, in a word, was our nonviolent at-one-ment theory. God did not need Jesus to die on the cross to decide to love humanity. God’s love was infinite from the first moment of creation; the cross was just Love’s dramatic portrayal in space and time.
Scotus built his argument on the pre-existent Cosmic Christ described in Colossians and Ephesians. Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15) who came forward in a moment of time so we could look upon “the One we had pierced” (John 19:37) and see God’s unconditional love for us, in spite of our failings.
The image of the cross was to change humanity, not a necessary transaction to change God—as if God needed changing! Scotus concluded that Jesus’ death was not a “penal substitution” but a divine epiphany for all to see. Jesus was pure gift, and the idea of gift is much more transformative than any idea of necessity, price, or transaction. It shows that God is not violent, but loving.
Duns Scotus firmly believed that God’s perfect freedom had to be maintained at all costs. If God “needed” or demanded a blood sacrifice to love God’s own creation, then God was not freely loving us. Once you say it, its inherent absurdity is obvious! Unfortunately, the mainstream “theory” led many people to dislike and mistrust “God the Father.” This undercut the mystical, transformative journey for most Christians.
Jesus was not changing the Father’s mind about us; he was changing our mind about God—and thus about one another too. If God and Jesus are not violent, punishing, torturing, or vindictive, then our excuse for the same is forever taken away from us. This is no small point! And, of course, if God is punitive and torturing, then we have full modeling and permission to do the same. Does this need much proof at this point in Christian history?
Jesus’ full journey revealed two major things: that salvation could have a positive and optimistic storyline, neither beginning nor ending with a cosmic problem; and even more that God was far different and far better than the whole history of violent religion had up to then demonstrated. Jesus did not just give us textbook and transactional answers, but personally walked through the full human journey of both failure and rejection—while still forgiving his enemies—and then said, “Follow me” and do likewise (see John 12:26; Matthew 10:38). This is the crucial message of nonviolence that most of Christianity has yet to hear. Without it, the future of humanity is in grave peril.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Rohr on Kuhn 

In his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn popularized the term “paradigm shift.” [1] Kuhn said that paradigm shifts become necessary when the plausibility structure of the previous paradigm becomes so full of holes and patchwork “fixes” that a complete overhaul, which once looked utterly threatening, now appears as a lifeline.

[1] Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 4th ed. (University of Chicago Press: 2012).


Friday, August 19, 2016

Wright, T. (2011) Simply Jesus - Who He Was, What He Did, Why it Matters 

Themes of exodus 
Wicked tyrant-chosen leader-victory of God-rescue by sacrifice-new vocation and way of life-presence of God-promised/inherited land.66

Making sense of miracles
Suppose that the ancient prophetic dream had a glimpse at deeper truth. Suppose there were a God like Israel's God. Suppose this God did after all make the world. And suppose he were to claim, at long last, is sovereign rights over that world, not to destroy it... Or merely to "intervene" in it from time to time, but to fill it with his glory, to allow it to enter a new mode in which it would reflect his love, his generosity, his desire to make it over a new. Perhaps the stories are not, after all, the sort of bizarre things that people invent in retrospect to boost the image of the dead hero. Haps they are not even evidence of the kind of "interventionist", miracle work in supernatural divinity of some Conservative speculation. Preps they are, instead, the sort of things that might just be characteristic of The new creation, of the field time, of what happens when heaven and earth come together. 139

It will not do to suppose that Jesus came to teach people "how to get to heaven". That do you has been immensely popular in Western Christianity for many generations, but it simply won't do. The whole point of Jesus is public career was not to tell people that God was in heaven and that, at death, I would leave behind and go to being with him there. It was to tell them that God was now taking charge, right here on Earth; that they should pray for this to happen; that they should recognise, in his own work, the signs that it was happening in deed; and that when he completed his work, it would become reality. 142

The gospels are not about "how do you just turn out to be God". They are about how God became king on earth as in heaven. 147

If Jesus is behaving as though he were the temple in person, what will this mean for both the existing temple and for his followers? And if, through his work, new creations breaking into the world, how is it going to make any headway against the apparently still all powerful forces of corruption, evil and death itself? 147

He cannot establish the new creation without allowing the poison in the old to have its full effect. He cannot launch gods kingdom of justice, truth and peace Mr injustice, lies and violent to do their worst and, like a hurricane, blow themselves out, exhausting the force on this one spot. He cannot begin the work of healing the world unless supervised antidote to the infection that would otherwise destroyed the project from within. This is the point at which we see how the early work of Jesus is public career, the healing, The celebrations, forgiveness, the change heart, all look forward to this moment. This is what it looks like when is rail is God becomes king. This is what it looks like when Jesus is in throned as king of the Jews.175

How can we interpret Jesus's death?
It is easy to belittle Jesus's death theologically. This can be done by placing it solely within a framework that speaks of Jesus as the automatic top of love-although why, without more of a framework, his death would be an act of love it is in Justin Lee difficult to say. Or it can be done by making Jesus the representative model who goes through death to NewLife and thereby enables us to make the same journey "in him" or "through him". Or, notoriously it can be done by imagining a straightforward transaction in which a God who wanted to punish people was content to punish the innocent Jesus instead. This always, of course, Leeds and answered the question of how such a punishment could it self be just let alone loving. 180

The old creation lives by pride and retribution: I stand up for myself, and if someone gets in my way I try to get even. We've been there, done that, and got the scars to prove it. Now there is a completely different way to live away of love and reconciliation and healing and hope. It's away nobody is tried before, a way that is as unthinkable to most human beings and societies as-well, as Resurrection itself. 190 


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Richard Rohr - Union / Perfection 

The path of union is different than the path of perfection. Perfection gives the impression that by effort I can achieve wholeness separate from God, from anyone else, or from connection to the Whole. It appeals to our individualism and our ego. It's amazing how much of Christian history sent us on a self-defeating course toward private perfection. Union is instead about forgiveness, integration, patience, and compassion. The experience of union creates a very different kind of person.


Many people give up on the spiritual life or religion when they see they cannot be perfect. They end up practical agnostics or atheists, because they refuse to be hypocrites. This is classic all-or-nothing thinking, characteristic of addicts. Many formal believers keep up the forms and the words, going to church and pretending to believe; but there is no longer the inner desire, love, joy, or expectation that is usually visible in people on the path of union. Mysticism does not defeat the soul; moralism (read "perfectionism") always does. Mysticism invites humanity forward; moralism excludes and condemns itself and most others.
It is quite unfortunate that the ideal of perfection has been applied to human beings. Strictly speaking, perfection can only be attributed to the Divine Self. Such a false goal has turned many religious people into pretenders or deniers-very often both. It has created people who, lacking compassion, have made impossible demands on themselves and others, resulting in a tendency toward superiority, impatience, dismissiveness, and negative thinking.

In the secular sphere, it has manufactured artificial ledgers of perfection that have clearly changed from age to age, class to class, and culture to culture. Perfectionism discourages honest self-knowledge and basic humility, which are foundational to spiritual and psychological growth. It has made basic social tranquility a largely unachievable goal. Grandiose people cannot create peace.


Friday, August 07, 2015

Poisonwood Bible 

"When I want to take God at his word exactly, I take a peep out the window at CreationBecause that, darling, He makes fresh for us every day withoutlot of dubious middle managers." Brother Fowles


Friday, May 08, 2015

Tuesdays with Morrie 

Tuesdays with Morrie our latest book group book had this today ...

Tuesdays with Morrie

Have you found someone to share your heart with? He asked are you giving to your community? Are you at peace with yourself? Are you trying to be as human as you can be? 34

The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn't work, don't buy it 42

So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half asleep, even when the busy doing things they think are important. This is because they are chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and invite yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning. 43

Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel. And if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them, too-even when you're in the dark. Even when you're falling. 61

To know you're going to die, and to be prepared for it at any time. That's better. That way you can actually be more involved in your life why are you living. 81

Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live. 82

Auden - Love each other or perish 91

I have experienced that emotion. I recognise that in motion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment. 104

Alright, it's just fear, I don't have to let it control me. I see it for what it is. 105

He saw right to the core of the problem, which was human beings wanted to feel that they mattered. 112

You have to find what is good and true and beautiful in your life as it is now. Looking back make she competitive. And, age is not a competitive issue. 120. 

We put our values in the wrong things. And it leads to very disillusioned lives 124

"We've got a form of brainwashing going on in our country" Morrie sighed. "do you know how they brainwash people? They repeat something over and over. And that's what we do in this country. Owning things is good. More money is good. The property is good. More commercialism is good. More is good. More is good. We repeat it-and had repeated to us-over and over until nobody bothers even to think otherwise. The average person is so fogged up by this he has no perspective on what's really important any more. 

Money is not a substitute for tenderness, and power is not a substitute for tenderness. 125

Devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning 127

If you're trying to show off for people at the top forget it. They will look down on you anyhow. And if you are trying to show off for people at the bottom, Forget it. They will only envy your status will get you nowhere. 127

 Part of the problem is that everyone is in such a hurry. People haven't found meaning in their lives, so they're running all the time looking for it. They think the next car, the next house, the next job. Then they find those things empty, too, and they keep running. 136

There are a few rules I know to be true about love and marriage: if you don't respect the other person, you're gonna have a lot of trouble.  If you don't know how to compromise, you're gonna have a lot of trouble. If you can't talk openly about what goes on between you, you're gonna have a lot of trouble. And if you don't have a common set of values in life, you are gonna have a lot of trouble. Your values must be alike. ... And the biggest one of those values? Your belief in the importance of your marriage. 149

Be compassionate and take responsibility for each other. If we only learn those lessons, this world would be so much better place. Love each other or die. 163

 Forgive yourself before you die

There is no point in keeping vengeance or stubbornness. These things I so regret in my life. Pride. Vanity. Why do we do the things we do? 164

Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Don't wait 167

That's what we're all looking for. Certain peace with the idea of dying. If we know, in the end, that we can ultimately have that peace with dying, then we can finally do the really hard thing.... Make peace with living 173

As long as we can love each other, and remember the feeling of love we had, we can die without ever really going away. All the love you created still there. All the memories are still there. You live on-in the hearts of everyone you have touched and nurtured why are you were here.... Death ends a life, not a relationship 174

In business people negotiate to win. They negotiate to get what they want. Maybe you are too used to that. Love is different. Love is when you are as concerned about someone else's situation as you are about your own. 178


Friday, March 20, 2015

We are all completely beside ourselves.... 

Not my favourite book for many different reasons but worthwhile reading. 

Here are some of my fold overs....

There are moments when history and memory seem like mist, as if what really happened matters less than what should have happened. The mist lifts and suddenly there we are.... I see how, in a family like mine, love doesn't have to be earned and it can't be lost. Just for a moment, I see us that way; I see us all. Restored and repaired. Reunited and refulgent. 28

Language does this to our memories-simplifies, solidifies, codifies, mummifies. And oft-told story is like a photograph in the family album; eventually, it replaces the moment it was meant to capture. 48

It terrifies me to think that, come summer, there will be no more hiding, no more passing. Everyone from the woman who cuts my hair to the Queen of England might know who I am. Not who I really am, of course, but an airbrushed version of me, more marketable, easier to love... I still haven't found the place where I can be my true self. But maybe you never get to be your true self, either. 298


Monday, December 29, 2014

Volf, M (2010) Against the Tide: Love in a Time of Petty Dreams and Persisting Enmities 

Against the Tide Volf

At its core, love is not a feeling at all, but and action, a way of being, in active care of others - for the integrity of their bodies ands souls, as well as for their flourishing.

It is a call to live against the tide. The obstacles to 'project love' are formidable. Chief among them is our obvious  and nearly universal propensity to care for ourselves alone, or to care for others only if the benefit to us outweighs the cost.

black holes of self-absorption - manipulation, cheating, deceiving and exploiting others all with a clear conscience. xi

The complete works of Frederick Nietzsche " the tremendous mobility of human beings on the great earthly desert, their founding of cities and states, their waging of wars, their ceaseless gathering and dispersing, their confused mingling, their imitation and deceit of one another, their mutual outwitting and trampling under foot, their cries and their joyous cheers in victory - all this is a continuation of animality, as if human beings were intended to regress and be cheated of their metaphysical disposition" the bait which human beings have been lured into slavery to their inane desires - earthly happiness! Pp13

Dancing for God - 'authenticity unspoiled by the desire for popularity... theology undertaken above all for the sake of God and under the judgement of God ... we speak and write to get approval from an audience, to impress ... to satisfy ... popularity and its rewards will take precedence over fidelity to God. We will perform for audiences instead of dancing for God. In the process we morph into the image that we seek to please.  18-19 

Love is different. To give less than you expect to receive is selfishness, no matter how warm your heart feels in the other's presence. To  give as much as you receive is to be fair. But to love is to give more than you hope to receive 54


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bretherton, L.(2010) Christian and contemporary politics. Wiley Blackwell 

Bretherton, L.(2010) Christian and contemporary politics. Wiley Blackwell

Jeremiah 29:7

Hospitality-it is a form of life by which we expose our loves to others and struggle for conversion, the conversion of ourselves so that we may encounter others as neighbours and thence genuinely loved them rather than patronise, can opt, or ignore them and the conversion of others so that they may begin to know the world as God's good but fallen and now redeemed creation.103 

Community organising is a means by which we encounter strangers-sometimes as their Guest and at other times as their host 105

Some hospitality is reciprocal: each hosts the other in turn. However, the practice of hospitality is more often than not undertaken in a situation where one party is in a position of strength and the other in a position of venerability or weakness 114

Within the Christian tradition that is a consistent and special concern for the weakest and most vulnerable: the poor, the sick, and refugee. Moreover, the focus on the vulnerable stranger will, on occasions, mean that the church finds itself actively opposed by those who would be, by Christian criteria of evaluation, inhospitable to refundable vulnerable stranger. Thus the Christian practice of hospitality is often, because of its priorities, deeply prophetic, calling into question the prevailing political hegemony. 212


Friday, August 22, 2014

Pohl, C.D. (1999) Making room: recovering hospitality as a Christian tradition. Eerdmans. 

Pohl, C.D. (1999) Making room: recovering hospitality as a Christian tradition. Eerdmans. 

A mystery of hospitality is how often one senses God's presence in the midst of very ordinary activities... as we make room for hospitality, more room becomes available to us for life, hope, and grace. Xiii

"The opposite of cruelty is not simply freedom from the cruel relationship, it is hospitality." Halle, p. 1981 "from cruelty to goodness" the Hastings centre report 11 26-27 pp 12

The most potent setting for hospitality is in the overlap of private and public space; hospitality flourishes at the intersection of the personal, intimate characteristics of the home and the transforming expectations of the church. Practitioners view hospitality as a sacred practice and find God is specially present in Guest/host relationships. Pp12

Hospitality is not optional for christians, nor is it limited to those who are especially gifted for it. It is, instead, a necessary practice in the community of faith. One of the Greek words for hospitality, philoxenia, combines the general word for love or affection for people who are connected by kinship or faith (Phileo), and the word stranger (xenos). Thus, etymologically and practically, in the new Testament, hospitality is closely connected to love. Because philoxenia includes the word for stranger, hospitality's orientation towards strangers is also more apparent in Greek than in English. Pp31

Hospitality as an infusion of the presence of Christ - SA sacrament , Osborne ? Ro 12 pp 34

Although we often think of hospitality as a tame and pleasant practice, Christian hospitality has always had a subversive, countercultural dimension. ... That points to a different system of valuing and an alternate model of relationships pp61

Recognising the stranger, redefining the neighbour - parable of the good Samaritan pp75

There is a kind of hospitality that keeps people needy strangers while fostering an illusion of relationship and connection. It both disempowers and domesticates guests one while it reinforces the hosts power, control, and sense of generosity. 120

2co 9:8 widow of zarephath and Elijah. 

The temptation to use hospitality for advantage remains an important issue today because we tend to be so instrumental in our thinking, so calculating, so aware of costs and benefits.... We must be wary of efforts to turn hospitality into some form of commercial exchange.144

Can we make the places which shape our lives and in which we spend our days more hospitable? Do current practices within these settings distort hospitality or shut out strangers? 150

Shelter of each other 169 Irish illustration sermon. 

Did we see Christ in then? Did they see Christ in us?


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Wicks, r (1992) touching the holy : ordinariness, self-esteem, and friendship 

'Due to our lack of complete trust in God's revelation that we are made in the divine image and likeness, most of us get caught up in trying to be extra ordinary. We become insecure and are tempted to rest our sense of self on something less than God's love for us. As a result we waste our energy worrying about whether we are liked, respected, effective, or as good as other people. 15

If only we would properly attend to God's gifts to us and in us! Then self awareness and healthy self love could form a positive circle of spiritual self-esteem and ultimately be a source of strength for others as well as ourselves. Will we have the trust to do this? Will we take the time? 25

Personal awareness of self before a loving God is also important because it helps self confidence to grow and be more resistant to the assaults of failure or rebuff. Thus, it allows our character to develop and it enables the presence of God with in us to be felt in a good way by others. It is not that we forget or deny our faults; rather, we are better able to put them into perspective instead of being crushed by them. 25

We find God by uncovering our own true selves; and it it is in the search for God that we can better discover who we are. Through their appreciation of ordinariness these spiritual guides realised intuitively what theologians call the 'divinization of the human person'. Psychologists now described this as having a 'solid self esteem' that isn't swayed dramatically by the opinions or reactions of others 32

We have, indeed, to fashion our own desert where we can dwell in the gentle healing presence of our Lord. Prayer challenges us to hide absolutely nothing from God and to surrender ourselves unconditionally to his mercy 40 

principles of self-respect and clarity: 

1. When I have made a mistake or feel anxious, I need to separate what I have done from who I am. 
2. when I feel badly about myself as a person, I must see if I am embracing an irrational belief about myself. I need to take a distressful  feeling as an opportunity to uncover style of thinking and believing that undermines my self-respect or desire to understand and correct my behaviour. 
3. I must be sensitive to irrational thoughts and willing to challenge and dispute them. thus I can affirm my self-respect and model it for those whom I wish to help. a common  example of this is the irrational belief: I must be perfect or successful all the time. This is ridiculous and impossible. Is based on such irrational beliefs as: if I make a mistake it undoes all that I have accomplished; it is all my fault; it means I am a terrible and unspiritual person; it will completely destroyed my reputation in everyone's eyes; it cannot lead to anything good
4. Since I am the one person I will have an intimate relationship with for my entire life I need to take care of myself at least as well as I would care for others. Therefore, when I am feeling poorly about myself, I need to take steps to unconditionally accept myself and to help myself getting clarity and perspective in the same way as I would for someone else coming to me to empathy and support

5. I need to be aware of depression producing, personally devaluing styles of thinking . Some examples are: 
negative adding: because a few things of gone wrong I add them together and offer them to myself as proof that, I have a cloud over my head, everything is terrible in my life, I am a bad person a loser .
Size distortion: i magnify unpleasant things that have happened to me and minimise or dismiss the positive things. 
Negative contamination: I allow one error, rejection, or unhappy instance to darken all my other accomplishments or positive attributes. Awfulizing or making myself upset or miserable: I make any event into something horrible rather than seeing it as annoying frustrating or unfortunate. 
Being overserious: rather tease myself or exaggerate things until they are so ridiculous that I can laugh at them and myself, I actually believe that things are as bad as I think they are. 76

We need to recognise that it is not the end of the world, terribly sinful, or catastrophic if 
someone is angry with me; 
I make a mistake; 
some people see some of my actions as failures; 
I don't work as hard as it out everything I do; 
I temporarily avoid some problem; others are better at what they do then I am; 
some people misunderstand my intentions or don't like me; 
certain individuals don't take me seriously or may even laugh at me;
 persons say negative things about me to my face or behind my back the above instances are merely annoyances in fact, they are good opportunities to practice clear thinking as a means of supporting self respect. 77

Maybe we can clear our minds of unnecessary negativity and storm our hearts with appropriate biblical images of hope. When we do this, the challenges we are anxious about may still appear but along with them the peace and excitement that come with a really risking to live the spiritual life will also overtake, cradle and warm us. This will turn out not only to be exhilarating for us, but it will also be a guiding light to others who wish to seek a deep vitality for themselves but are too afraid because of past hurts and failures. 88

Living any other way, with a view of self that is any less than god's view of us, God who wrote our names on the palms of his hands, is unnecessarily tragic and sad. If we can remember this each day no matter how we feel or what is facing us, we can then be as spiritually audacious as God has intended us to be all along. 89

Sheila Cassidy points to the heart of the matter when she notes: "if we can come to want only what God wants, then we are in a curious way untouchable; then loss of property, of good health, or health, or even of life holds no fear, but it is what God wants, we will be at peace" it is at this point that theonomy gods rule equals autonomy our rule. At a juncture such as this we become truly free. 99

Fear can be very dangerous. a recently published book on negativity indicated that fear can lead to an unhealthy desire for withdrawal. … At the other extreme fear can lead to aggression "fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom"

A major role of spiritual guides is to help us discover our fears. They help us ask ourselves: what is the worst thing that can happen if we faced our fears? One of the greatest hidden fears is the anxiety we have when we forget God is unconditional love. When this happens, we waste a great deal of energy being preoccupied with what will happen if the image we wish to project to the world does not come across.

Too often we invest and insubordinate amount of energy trying to be seen as someone who is hard-working, helpful, successful, unique, knowing, loyal, nice, powerful, or acceptable. In such instances, we hold on to the erroneous belief that we must hide, at all cost, our anger, pride, deceit, envy, stinginess, fear, self-indulgence, arrogance, or laziness. We hide behind a screen of efforts that "prove"( to ourselves, and others, and God) that we are perfect.110

An old rabbi once asked his pupils how they can tell when the night had ended and that they had begun. Could it be asked one of the students when you can see at animal in the distance and tell whether it is a sheep or a dog? No! Answeredthe rabbi. 

Another asked is it when you can look at a tree in the distance and tell whether it is a fig tree or a peach tree? No answer the rabbi then when is it? The pupils demanded. 

It is when you can look on the face of any man or woman and see that it is your sister or brother. Because if you cannot see this, it is still night 125

Was I defensive today? Did I feel angry, hurt, annoyed, anxious, sad, disappointed, rigid, passive, overly nice, judgemental, bored, distracted, confused, impatient, or empathetic today? If so, what can I understand about such defensiveness that will also teach me something about myself? 

Good idea with the situation today by avoiding communication in one of the following ways?
1 attacking the person directly or indirectly 
2 exaggerating what was going on 
3 hiding behind the rules or some technicality as a way of avoiding communication 
4 averting the attention by brings in some unrelated issue 
5 retreating into chronic niceness or within a shell of silence.

This process in a better position to increase our openness. Specifically we will be able to 

uncover menu of our quote emotional weak spots" subjects about which we're most sensitive.
 Ferret out some of our hidden anxieties for instance fear of anger not being liked, been dismissed as a valuable person, not being seen as unique, being viewed as weak etc 
bring to the fore the inappropriate expectations we may have of others. 
Uncover some of the major prejudices or isms we have that I hidden from us. 
Highlight the emotional "baggage" or unfinished business we still carry around with us. 127

As ordinary persons band together in a world which is now so small, we must learn to face each other in understanding and love. However, to do this we must also be realistic and have humility to pray each day for patience, wisdom, charity, and forgiveness-not only of others failings but of our own as well. Otherwise we will quickly become disillusioned by our own shortcomings and the limitations of others when our day to day interactions dont reflect the hopes we had - this is true intimacy 146


Sunday, December 08, 2013

Smith James-Bryan The good and beautiful life... 

False imperative narratives

I am alone
Things always have to go as I want them
Something terrible will happen if I make a mistake
I must be in control all of the time
Life must always be fair and just
I need to anticipate everything that will happen to me today
I need to be perfect all of the time pp73

Which of these are you familiar with?

In the kingdom we live in union with one another. My brother's struggle is my struggle as well. So we show our love by continuing to pray for the person and by letting the person know that he or she is not alone. 197


wright n.t.(2012) How god became king.spck 


The challenge is to accept that we have all misunderstood the Gospels....

The gospels are not about 
Not Jesus coming to show us the way to heaven, nor a means of  Jesus teaching was merely that of ethics and how we should behave
Jesus as the moral example equally is inadequate 
Or even that Jesus is the perfect sacrifice
The  gospels neither are about providing stories for us identify with and then to show  us the way, or are they about proving Christ's divinity.

Wrights argument is that the underlying emphasis of the gospels has been thoroughly overlooked, that of how God became king.

"Wright argues that four speakers influence our reading of the Gospels. Each speaker has its volume controls set incorrectly. One speaker is too loud, while, perhaps, the others are too quiet. According to Wright, when we read the Gospels, we need to keep these four speakers in balance. These four speakers or influences on our reading the Gospels include the following: (1) The Gospels are an organic fulfillment of the story of Israel (The Old Testament), and not simply Genesis 1–3; (2) The story of Jesus is the story of Yahweh visiting his people, and this means that his deity is assumed; (3) Jesus comes to launch God’s renewed people into the kingdom or into kingdom life. This is what eternal life is all about; (4) The kingdom of God conflicts with the kingdom of this world, because it subverts the expectations of worldly kingdoms. (Caesar v god) It many ways, this means the Christians are called to live out this new life that Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension inaugurated"

Cleverly by bouncing Bultmann, wright is saying listen to me I am evangelical, I'm doing what evangelicals do - turn to scripture. But he does say that for many we are missing the fullness of the gospels because the balance of our interpretation is out. We've lost the sense of sequel and need to reclaim the story of Israel, an unfinished agenda rather than think that what we have in the OT is a failed first attempt. What we have in the gospels is more than reference to Jesus fulfilling prophecy, we have in the story of Israel a microcosm of god's beating heart for his world that he chose to bless through Israel . What god does for Israel is what he is doing for the whole world. Matthew presents Jesus as the jubilee of jubilees!

The pattern of God intending to live among his people but being unable to because of their rebellion,  but coming back in grace is the continued story of the OT. Garden of Eden , exodus, temple, exile ,  second temple etc... The story of the gospels is not that 'he's divine he's divine', more that YHWH is back with his people again.

The gospels offer not so much a different kind of human, but a different kind of god 104

So whether at a scholarly or a popular level, the gospels have been perceived and read as the story of Jesus launching the Christian movement, teaching the early Christians,  and then dying and rising to save them. The speaker carrying these notes has been up at full volume. And this has prevented us from hearing the much more subtle point that all four gospels, each in its own way, are making. 110

When we ponder this we realise that the four gospels were never meant as 'historical reminiscence' 125

Clear line from gen 11 via Isaiah 40-55 and Daniel 7 to mark 10 and in turn mark14-15 139 ... JC establishes the new kind of power - God's kingdom as opposed to Caesar's, on earth as it is in heaven. ... God rescues his people from their sins, through the work of the isaianic servant precisely in order to establish his rule, his own very different kind of power, in all the world.   139

Near the heart of my purpose of this book is to suggest that not only have we misread the gospels, but that we have made them ordinary, have cut them down to size, have allowed them to speak aboutbhe few concerns that happened to occupy our minds already, rather than setting them free to generate an entire world of meaning in all directions, a new world in which we would discover not only new life , but new vocation  158

We have lived for many years with 'kingdom christians' and 'cross Christians' in opposite corners of the room, anxious that those on the other side are missing the point, the one group with its social-gospel agenda and the other with its saving souls for heaven agenda. The four gospel bring these two viewpoints together into a unity that is much greater than the sum of their parts 159

We should not imagine that 'forgiveness of sins' here is a purely individualistic thing. In the light of the 'Nazareth manifesto' it seems clearly to extend to the jubilee principle, the release from all debts, the cosmic sigh of relief at God's new exodus achievement, rescuing people from all forms of slavery. Jesus' followers were thereby commissioned and then empowered by the spirit to announce to the world that there was a different way to be human.  231

We have, alas, belittled the cross, imagining it merely as a mechanism for getting us off the hook of our own petty naughtiness or as an example of some benevolent truth. It is much, much more. It is the moment when the story of Israel reached its climax; the moment when, at last, the watchmen of Jerusalem's walls see their god coming in his kingdom; the moment when the people of God coming in his kingdom; the moment when the people of avid are renewed so as to be, at last the royal priesthood who will take over the world not with the love of power but with the power of love; the moment when the kingdom of God overcomes the kingdoms of the world ... This is the vision the evangelists offer us as they bring together the kingdom and the cross 239

I offer three reflections about what this combination does to our vision of the kingdom. First, the evangelists insist that the kingdom truly was inaugurated by Jesus in his active public career... That whole narrative is the story of 'how God became king in and through Jesus' 240

Secondly, this kingdom is radically defined in relation to Jesus' entire agenda of suffering leading to the cross 241

Third the kingdom that Jesus inaugurated, that is implemented through his cross, is emphatically for this world.... The gospels are there, waiting to inform a new generation for holistic mission, to embody, explain and advocate new ways of ordering communities, nations and the world. 242

What happens if we ask ... What do we lean about the cross when we discover that the gospels present it as the means by which God (in Jesus) becomes king of the world?
1) the way we have normally listed options in atonement theology simply won't do. Our questions have been wrongly put, because they have not been about the kingdom. They haven't been about God's sovereign saving rule coming on earth as in heaven. Instead our questions have been about a 'salvation' that rescues people from the world, instead of for the world. Going to heaven has been the object (ever since the Middle Ages ; sin is what stops us; so the cross must deal with sin ... Simply untrue to the story.... In all four gospels, the cross is the victory that overcomes the world.... 

2)Through his death, the evangelists are telling their readers there will come the jubilee event, the great redemption, freedom from debts of every kind 243

3) if the cross is to be interpreted as the coming of the kingdom on earth as in heaven, centring on some kind of messianic victory, with some kind of substitution at its heart, making sense through some kind of representation,then the four gospels leave us with the primary application of the cross not in abstract preaching  about 'how to have your sins forgiven' or 'how to go to heaven', but in an agenda in which the forgiven people are put to work, addressing the evils of the world... From this there flows both a new missiology, including an integrated political theology, and the new ecclesiology that will be needed to support it, a community whose very heart will be forgiveness. 244

The resurrection is, from Mark's point of view,  the moments when God's kingdom 'comes in power'. From johnn's point of view, it is the launching of the new creation, the new Genesis. From Matthew's  point of view, it brings Jesus into the position for which was always destined, that of the world's rightful Lord, sending out his followers (as a new Roman emperor might send out his emissaries...) to call the world to follow him and learn his way of being human. From Luke's point of view, the resurrection is the moment when Israelis messiah 'comes into his glory', so that 'repentance for the forgiveness of sins' can now be announced to all the world as the way of life 247




Monday, February 18, 2013

Becket, W. sr (2007) Sister Wendy on Prayer. Continuum 

God wants you to be the fullness of what you could be. You cannot become this if you do not allow Him to enter into you. You do your feeble search for Him, and He will do His mighty search for you. 'seek and ye shall find' The 'you' God seeks may not be the 'you' of whom you are aware. it is the essential you, the real you, the fullness of your potential. The transformation from one to the other, the realising of that potential you, may take a lifetime. Few of us will ever wholly achieve this complete surrender. But all God needs is your desire. 22

Prayer is essential an attitude. We trust God, we believe in Him, we turn to Him. An attitude is something permanent. So how could prayer stop when we , as it were , stop praying? It would be as if your relationship with your parents only existed when you were in actual contact with them 29

Having God as our Father does not relegate us to the position of perpetual children. Children do expect that their parents will 'put things right', and it can be a shattering experience to realize that parents are weak and human. But, from the shards, we build up a more adult personality. bad things happen, sometimes for no apparent reason. we have to accept them and grow through them and never let them damage us. They will wound us, yes, but damage is another matter, and that is precisely what prayer guards against. 41

What prayer does is alert us to its presence so that we are always making the best of things and not the worst. Tragedy and frustration remain their painful selves, but prayer in accepting them changes the pain into something redemptive. 43

To be mere automatons for whom God arranges the world to cause us us no suffering would mean we never have a self. We could not make choices... We can never become fuly human if we are protected from life. We have to learn and understand our vulnerability 45

GOd - this is essentially a meaningless word. no thoughts can encompass God. There is no box into which you can put Him. He, or for that matter she, completely transcends any human concepts. When we say 'god' we are doing no more than pointing a finger. It is a directional word. Forced to give a definition, all I could say is that god is Reality so absolute that all other realities are relative 64

Sometimes I blush for those who think themselves Christian and yet the God they worship is cruel, suspicious, punitive and watchful. who could love such a God? If that is your idea of God, you are obliged by all the rules of morality and common sense to become an atheist. 73

Humility is nothing to do with having a low opinion of our qualities; it is all to do with not being interested in them, not gazing long and devoted at yourself 91


One of the effects of prayer is that it exposes us to ourselves. If we pray, that comfortable cloak that assures us of our virtue begins to fray, to dissipate, to uncover the sorry nakedness of what we really are. 98

Simple faith - what they are referring to is an almost rote reception of mass and sacraments based on pitifully slight know ledge... What they are really describing is ignorant faith, last faith, a refusal to engage the revelation of God with the full dimensions of what we are or what we can be. 118

We must bring our minds to our faith, not just our hearts. Faith does not mean ticking off our assent to dogma, although that may pass for faith. True faith, the virtue of faith, entails a profound involvement with the truth of jesus. We have to understand it. Unless we know what 'the Gospel' really is and the fullness of what Jesus had to tell us, our faith can be a surface thing 119

Hope accepts all disaster, understands it as disaster, but knows that fundamentally it is irrelevant. It is so convinced of the goodness of God, of His compassionate love, that it will always remain steadfast... Body and soul may feel we ar wasting our time. Hope smiles and ignores them 123

We who cling to Jesus believe in possession by God, the Holy Spirit. However poor and humble our prayer, this is it's aim: that God will take possession of us, live within us, give His love to the world through us. 132


Saturday, February 09, 2013

Ashbrook, R.T (2009) Mansions of the Heart: exploring the seven stages of spiritual growth.jossey-bass 

Norrisey, M and norrisey, m. (1984) Prayer and temperament 223

Vision values for spiritual formation
Spiritual leadership
Authentic community and spiritual formation groups
Whole journey discipleship training
Spiritual formation mapping
Abiding prayer
Support in spiritual warfare
Resource centre for reading and study
Counselling healing spiritual direction and coaching
Ryle of life and initial disciplines
Spiritual for action retreats
Evangelism and missions from a spiritual formation perspective 239

Two dimensions of our community life that must become intentional as a minimum. we need to instill a 'climate' of openess, vulnerability and journey - requiring transparency from leadership
We need to be intentional about helping people establish meaningful relationships. 241

Ausculta - give ear to 253

John Ackerman spiritual awakening


Rohr, R. (2011) falling upward: a spirituality for the two halves of life. 

UDenial of the pattern seems to be a kind of practical daily atheism or chosen ignorance amoung many believers and clergy. Many have opted for the soft religion of easy ego consolations, the human growth model, or the prosperity gospel. Xxv

Steps and stages 8

In essentials unity, in nonessentials liberty, and in all things charity pope John xxiii 13

First half of life

You need a very strong container to hold the contents and contradictions that arrive later in life. you ironically need a very strong ego structure to let go of your ego. You need to struggle with the rules more than a bit before you throw them out. You only internalise values by butting up against values for a while.... This is an important paradox for most of us 26

The first half of life container, nevertheless is constructed through impulse controls; traditions; group symbols; family loyalties; basic respect for authority; cilvil and church laws and a sense of the goodness 27

When some have not been able to do the task of the first half of life well, they go back and try to do it again - and then often can over do it! 40

The result is a generation of seminarians and young clergy who are cognitively rigid and risk adverse; who want to circle the wagons around their imagined secure and superior group; who seen preoccupied with clothing, titles, perks and externals of religion and frankly have little use forty world beyond their own control or explanation 42

Discharging your loyal soldier - the kind of closure is much needed for most of us at the end of all transitions in life... No one shows us the stunted and limited character of the worldview of the first half of life, so we just continue with more of the same. :44

Paradoxically your loyal soldier gives you so much security and validation that you may confuse his voice with the very voice of God 46

When you discharge your loyal soldier it will feel like a loss of faith or loss of self. But it is only the death of the false self, and is often the very birth of the soul 50

Anam chara 50

Even Pope John Paul II said at a Vatican conference on June 28, 1999 that heaven and hell were primarily eternal states of consciousness more than geographical places of later reward and punishment. We seem to be our own worst enemies, and we forget or deny things that are just too good to be true. The ego clearly prefers an economy of merit, where we can divide the world into winners and losers, to any economy of grace, where merit and worthiness lose all meaning.

In the first case, at least a few of us good guys attain glory, although the vast majority of all of human history seems to be mere collateral damage to a God who is supposed to be merciful and compassionate. In the second case, God actually is as merciful and compassionate as the world Scriptures and saints seem to agree upon. A notion of hell has to be theoretically maintained, or humans have no freedom—and most religions have a similar concept—but it is interesting to me that the Roman Catholic Church has never declared a single person to be there, while it has declared tens of thousands to be in heaven!

Just the existence of a single mentally challenges or mentally ill person should make us change any of our theories about the necessity of some kind of correct thinking as the definition of 'salvation'

Paraclete defense attorney

The saint is precisely one who has no I to protect or project. His or her 'I' is in conscious union with the 'I am' of God, and that is more than enough 132

Invariably when something upsets you and y have a strong emotional reaction out of proportion to the moment, your shadow self has been exposed 133

Most groups and institutions are first half structures ... I say it to keep you from being depressed or losing all hope by having false expectations. Don't expect or demand from grous what they usually can. T give. Doing so will make y needlessly angry and reactionary. They must and will be concerned with identity, boundaries, self- maintenance, self- perpetuation, and self congratulation.this is their nature and purpose. The most y can hope for is a few enlightened leaders and policies now and then 141


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