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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

what makes you come alive... 

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. —Dr. Howard Thurman

As conscious human beings, our life purpose is to be a visible expression of both the image and the likeness of God. Each of us reveals a unique facet of the divine, what Franciscan John Duns Scotus called haecceity or thisness.  Parker Palmer

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Monday, April 30, 2018

St. Bonaventure “fountain fullness” of love. 

St. Bonaventure (1221-1274) called the Trinity a “fountain fullness” of love. [2] God is unhindered dialogue, a positive and inclusive flow, an eternal waterwheel of self-emptying and outpouring love—that knows it can completely self-empty because it will always be filled back up. This is the very definition and description of divine love; all human love merely imitates, approximates, and celebrates this same pattern.

Rohr

God is love. —1 John 4:8
The physical structure of the universe is love. —Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) [1]
If a loving Creator started this whole thing—the Big Bang, the evolution of diverse and beautiful life forms—then there has to be a “DNA connection,” as it were, between the One who creates and what is created. The basic template of reality is Trinitarian, it’s relational. God is relationship.

Rohr

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Rolheiser and the Inner Code of Love 

And there is an inner code, a certain DNA, within love itself. It too has inner secrets, an inner structure, and a code that needs to be cracked if we are to properly understand its dynamics. And we don’t crack that code all at once, at a weekend retreat or at religious rally. We crack it slowly, painfully, with many setbacks, over the course of a lifetime.
Jesus gave us the keys to crack it. They can be named: vulnerability, the refusal out of love to protect ourselves, self-sacrifice, putting others before ourselves, refusing to give back in kind when someone hurts us, a willingness to die for others, the refusal to give ourselves over to cynicism and bitterness when things beset us, continued trust in God and goodness even when things look the opposite, and especially forgiveness, having our hearts remain warm and hospitable, even when we have just cause for hatred.
These are the keys to the wisdom that Jesus revealed and the gospels tells that we are “inside” or “outside” the true circle of love, depending upon whether or not we grasp this wisdom.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Soren Kierkegaard and Faith Development 

Alan Hirsch facebooked some interesting infromation reagrding Soren Kierkegaard and faith development from a forthcoming book authored by Hirsch and Frost tentatively called "The Faith of Leap: A Theology of Adventure and Risk and the Implications for Discipleship, Mission, Leadership, & the Church"


One of the ways Soren Kierkegaard articulated how we move to true maturity is what is known as ‘the three stages’: the aesthetic, ethical, and the religious stage.


Firstly there is the Aesthetic Stage: Here the individual lives in what Kierkegaard calls ‘immediacy.’ "At this level one lives within almost entirely devoted to the pursuit of pleasure (what he calls ‘the prisoner of the happy moment’). Life here is profoundly unreflective and lived in conformity with the expectations of the ‘crowd.’ For the person in this stage, the highest goal is self-satisfaction, even at the cost of living an authentic, consistent life. But the end result is that people made in the image of God cannot endure such shallowness and it leads to despair. What Kierkegaard calls ‘the staling of existence.’ Most people never make it beyond this stage and live lives of quiet desperation. We are the most over-entertained, most affluent, most indulged generation of all time, and yet we have the highest depression and suicide statistics among the young. This indicates something significant. Boredom is the end result of living on the surface of life…of failing to go deeper.



The next and more existentially consistent level is called Ethical Stage: Here the individual begins to get some real direction in life, and becomes aware of and personally responsible for good and evil, and begins to form lasting commitment to oneself and others. The realization of enduring values – justice, freedom, peace, love, and respect for the moral law within, propel the ethical self forward into a life of responsibility, of caring beyond one’s own immediate interests. By breaking away from enslaving hedonism and conventionalism, life at this level develops a consistency and coherence that it lacked in the previous sphere of existence. Simply put, one discovers that "there’s something more to life than pleasure or being ridiculously good-looking. But there is a catch; there is more to life than ethics and moral duty, and to get stuck here means one risks becoming the judgemental moralist that we all despise. In other words, no one will want to go on vacation with you. In fact moralism is another form of despair…this is so because humans were made for something much more. We were made for life before God. This need for to find the real meaning behind all things drives the spiritual adventurer on to the next level.



The Religious Stage: At this stage, the individual realizes that the eternal, ultimate good is not a static system of ethical rules, but a real, living being. One discovers that "there’s someone more to life". When an individual stands before God he no longer sees himself as self-sufficient. He recognizes his own inability to transform himself. The religious person strives to allow himself to be transformed by God. Thus one who lives in the religious stage lives in faith-upheld obedience to God. Since one’s commitment is to a living God, one must at times set aside social conventions (go against the flow), and even "suspend the ethical" for the sake of living in faith.



Interestingly, and as we have indicated above, Kierkegaard said the opposite of love is not hate, but fear. Fear is the negation of love. And fear keeps us from loving, growing, maturing, and adventuring into God’s big world. Thus, by risking the journey, by forgoing our penchant for personal safety and for conformity to the masses, we move from self-love, to love of others, to love of God. All human loves enfolded in, and undergirded by, the centering love of God. We learn to love self and others properly by loving God truly.



But to understand Kierkegaard correctly here, we must not perceive these stages as a simple linear progression. Rather, any move to a deeper stage merely incorporates and integrates the functions of the previous ones—the ‘religious’ person can appreciate pleasure and aesthetics, and incorporates ethics and morality into life. It simply is not the determining center of life. That belongs to God. Nor is progress through the stages automatic. In fact, the real challenge of evolving into true humanity lies in the fact that the person must deliberately and courageously choose to engage the risks of life, negotiate personal crisis, bravely confronting even despair when necessary, in order to move from one stage to another



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Philokalia 

The Philokalia is a collection of texts written between the fourth and the fifteenth centuries by spiritual masters of the Orthodox Christian tradition. It was compiled in the eighteenth century by two Greek monks, St Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain of Athos (1749-1809) and St Makarios of Corinth (1731-1805), and was first published at Venice in 1782.
Evagrius Ponticus
idea of bread persists in a hungry man because of his hunger, and the idea of water in a thirsty man because of his thirst, so ideas of material things and of the shameful thoughts that follow a surfeit of food and drink persist in us because of the passions. The same is true about thoughts of self-esteem and other ideas 
If you long for pure prayer, keep guard over your incensive power; and if you desire self-restraint, control your belly, and do not take your fill even of bread and water. Be vigilant in prayer and avoid all rancor. Let the teachings of the Holy Spirit be always with you; and use the virtues as your hands to knock at the doors of Scripture. Then dispassion of heart will arise within you, and during prayer you will see your intellect shine like a star. 
A monk should always act as if he was going to die tomorrow; yet he should treat his body as if it was going to live for many years. The first cuts off the inclination to listlessness, and makes the monk more diligent; the second keeps his body sound and his self control well balanced. 



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God, Evil and Omnipotence By Epicurus 

God, Evil and Omnipotence By Epicurus c. 341 - c. 270 BC

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is not omnipotent. Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is He neither able nor willing? Then why call Him God?

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Suspicion and Faith: The Religious Uses of Modern Atheism 

Salieri presents us with a vivid picture of the piety that reduces God to a means to the believer's own ends. Freud , Marx, and Nietzsche find this sort of piety to be the rule rather than the exception. To see our three atheists as critics of instrumental religion could be to make them instruments for self-examination and sanctification.


 Merlon Westphal

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Monday, February 05, 2018

WHAT MAKES FOR A PRACTICING CHRISTIAN? Rolheiser 

People are treating their churches just like they treat their families. Isn’t that as it should be? Theologically the church is family – it’s not like family, it is family. A good ecclesiology then has to look to family life to properly understand itself (the reverse of course is also true).
Inside of our families: When does someone cease being a “practicing” member of a family? Does someone cease to be a member of a family because he or she doesn’t come home much any more?  Many of us have children and siblings who for various reasons, at some stage of their lives, largely use the family for their own needs and convenience. They want the family around, but on their terms. They want the family for valued contact at key moments (weddings, births of children, funerals, anniversaries, birthdays, and so on) but they don’t want a relationship to it that is really committed and regular.
It’s natural that in families there will be different levels of participation. Some, by virtue of maturity, will carry most of the burden – they will arrange the dinners, pay for them, keep inviting the others, do most of the work, and take on the task of trying to preserve the family bond and ethos. Others, for many different reasons, will carry less, take the family for granted, and buy in largely on their own terms.
That describes most families and is also a pretty accurate description of most churches. There are different levels of participation and maturity, but there is only one church and that church, like any family, survives precisely because some members are willing to carry more of the burden than others. Those others, however, except for more exceptional circumstances, do not cease being members of the family.
They ride on the grace of the others, literally. It’s how family works; how grace works; how church works. In most families, simple immaturity, hurt, confusion, distraction, laziness, youthful sexual restlessness, and self-preoccupation, do not mortally sever your connection. You remain a family member. You don’t cease being “a practising member” of the family because for a time you aren’t home very much. Families understand this.
Ecclesial family, church, I believe, needs to be just as understanding.

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Zoe Heller - The Believers 

‘I see’, The rabbi smiled. ‘so he disapproves of the god in whom he doesn’t believe.’

The Hebrew word about it, Yom’, which is usually translated as day, can also refer to an undefined period of time

I know I’m supposed to do this, but I can’t just yet

Her anger had become a part of her. It was a knotted thinket in her gut, two dense to be cut down and too deeply entrenched in the loamy soil of her disappointments to be uprooted.

How much simpler life must be when you believed that your grade school opinions had the status of knowledge

This was not about God at all: it was the expression of some school girlish masochism, some hysterical need for rules and restrictions, The pettier and more arduous, the better.

It was hard for me to believe that he is such a pedant

Perhaps believing was like poetry in this regard. It required a delicacy or subtlety of mind that she had yet to attain

Accept the truth from Whom ever gives it

God doesn’t need our perfect understanding even our perfect faith what he wants is our commitment, our actions. 

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PRIDE IN SUBTLE FORMS - Rolheiser 

PRIDE IN SUBTLE FORMS

The Pharisee, vilified in this story, is proud precisely of his spiritual and human maturity. That’s a subtle pride of which it is almost impossible to rid ourselves.  As we mature morally and religiously it becomes almost impossible not to compare ourselves with others who are struggling and to not feel both a certain smugness, that we are not like them, and a certain disdain for their condition. 
Spiritual writers often describe the fault in this way: Pride in the mature person takes the form of refusing to be small before God and refusing to recognize properly our interconnection with others. It is a refusal to accept our own poverty, namely, to recognize that we are standing before God and others with empty hands and that all we have and have achieved has come our way by grace more so than by our own efforts. 
During our adult years pride often disguises itself as a humility that is a strategy for further enhancement. It takes Jesus’ invitation to heart: Whoever wants to be first must be last and be the servant of all! Then, as we are taking the last place and being of service, we cannot help but feel very good about ourselves and nurse the secret knowledge that our humility is in fact a superiority and something for which we will later be recognized and admired.
As well, as we mature, pride will take on this noble face: We will begin to do the right things for seemingly the right reasons, though often deceiving ourselves because, in the end, we will still be doing them in service to our own pride. Our motivation for generosity is often more inspired by the desire to feel good about ourselves than by real love of others.
Pride is inextricably linked to our nature and partly it’s healthy, but it’s a life-long moral struggle to keep it healthy.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Mature Discipleship - Rolheiser... 

THE MAJOR IMPERATIVES WITHIN MATURE DISCIPLESHIP • Be willing to carry more and more of life’s complexities with empathy: Few things in life, including our own hearts and motives, are black or white, either-or, simply good or simply bad. Maturity invites us to see, understand, and accept this complexity with empathy so that, like Jesus, we cry tears of understanding over our own troubled cities and our own complex hearts. • Transform jealousy, anger, bitterness, and hatred rather than give them back in kind: Any pain or tension that we do not transform we will retransmit. In the face of jealousy, anger, bitterness, and hatred we must be like water purifiers, holding the poisons and toxins inside of us and giving back just the pure water, rather than being like electrical cords that simply pass on the energy that flows through them. • Let suffering soften rather than harden our souls: Suffering and humiliation find us all, in full measure, but how we respond to them, with forgiveness or bitterness, will determine the level of our maturity and the color of our person. This is perhaps our ultimate moral test: Will my humiliations soften or harden my soul? • Forgive: In the end there is only one condition for entering heaven (and living inside human community), namely, forgiveness. Perhaps the greatest struggle we have in the second-half of our lives is to forgive: forgive those who have hurt us, forgive ourselves for our own shortcomings, and forgive God for seemingly hanging us out unfairly to dry in this world. The greatest moral imperative of all is not to die with a bitter, unforgiving heart. • Live in gratitude: To be a saint is to be fueled by gratitude, nothing more and nothing less. Let no one deceive you with the notion that a passion for truth, for church, or even for God can trump or bracket the non-negotiable imperative to be gracious always. Holiness is gratitude. Outside of gratitude we find ourselves doing many of the right things for the wrong reasons. God is a prodigiously-loving, fully-understanding, completely-empathic parent. We are mature and free of false anxiety to the degree that we grasp that and trust that truth.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

Cycle of Grace - Rolheiser 

We are also too anxious about how we are perceived, about having a good name and about being respected in the community. We see this in Jesus’ warning about how we are to imitate the lilies of the field in their trust in God and his multiple warnings about not doing things to be seen by others as being good. But we’re always anxious about these things, all of us, and our fear here is not necessarily unhealthy. Nature and God have programmed us to have these instincts, though Jesus invites us to move beyond them. More deeply, beyond our anxiety for our physical needs and our good name, we nurse a much deeper fear. We’re fearful about our very substance. We’re fearful that, in the end, we are really only, as the author of Ecclesiastes puts it, vanity, vapor, something insubstantial blown away in the wind. We are so anxious about our substance and immortality and are always trying to create this for ourselves. But, as Jesus, often and gently, points out, we cannot do this for ourselves. No success, no monument, no fame, no tree, no child, and no book, will give ultimately still the anxiety for substance and immortality inside us. Only God can do that. ( In essence, leave some indelible mark on this planet. Guarantee your own immortality. Make sure you can’t be forgotten.) Real consolation lies in knowing that our “names are written in heaven”, that God has each of us individually, lovingly, and irrevocably, locked into His radar screen. Real consolation lies in recognizing that we don’t have to create our own substance and immortality.

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Cycle of Grace - Nouwen 

Many voices ask for our attention. There is a voice that says, "Prove that you are a good person." Another voice says, "You'd better be ashamed of yourself." There also is a voice that says, "Nobody really cares about you," and one that says, "Be sure to become successful, popular, and powerful." But underneath all these often very noisy voices is a still, small voice that says, "You are my Beloved, my favor rests on you." That's the voice we need most of all to hear. To hear that voice, however, requires special effort; it requires solitude, silence, and a strong determination to listen. That's what prayer is. It is listening to the voice that calls us "my Beloved."

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Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Step over Nouwen 

Sometimes we have to "step over" our anger, our jealousy, or our feelings of rejection and move on. The temptation is to get stuck in our negative emotions, poking around in them as if we belong there. Then we become the "offended one," "the forgotten one," or the "discarded one." Yes, we can get attached to these negative identities and even take morbid pleasure in them. It might be good to have a look at these dark feelings and explore where they come from, but there comes a moment to step over them, leave them behind and travel on.

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Monday, January 08, 2018

Cycle of Grace - John Ortberg 

Cycle of Grace - John Ortburg from Frank Lake

The Cycle of Grace

"I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete"

Identified by the Christian psychologist Frank Lake with theologian Emil Brunner and rediscovered by Renovaré speaker and author Trevor Hudson and Gary Moon, founder of the Renovaré Institute

1.  Acceptance - like Jesus we are first baptised and given acceptance and identity.  Dallas Willard said "joy is not pleasure, a mere sensation, but a pervasive and constant sense of well-being, hope is the goodness of God in joy's indispensible support".  Nehemiah said "the joy of the Lord is your strength".

2.  Sustenance - like Jesus we have practices we can engage in every hour of every day such as prayer, a close circle of friends, the practice of vulnerability, he went into the synagogue "which was his custom", he fed his mind on Scripture, he enjoyed God's creation (mountain, garden, lake), he took long walks, he welcomed children (he hugged them), he went to parties and was called "a glutton and a drunkard".  "The problem is people think of them as obligations that will actually drain them" says John Ortberg.

3.  Significance - like Jesus we have a place in this world that is for us to occupy.  Collectively we have been told that "your are the salt of the earth... you are the light of the world... like a city set on a hilltop that cannot be hidden...".  The invitation to us is to discover our significance and let it work as salt and light in the world.

4.  Achievement - like Jesus we are able to achieve things in this world.  Jesus did kingdom work out of grace and, therefore, out of joy.  He taught, traveller, healed, explained, recruited, put a team together, developed people, confronted, achieved.  "My food is to do the will of him who has sent me to finish the work".

Faced with huge suffering in the world Rudolph Bultmann said "it is in the nature of joy that all questions grow silent and nothing needs explaining" or, as Jesus put it, "I'm a little while you won't see me (it will seem a ling time) but then you will see me and all will be well...".

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Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Big River.... 

Grace and mercy teach us that we are all much larger than the good or bad stories we tell about ourselves or about one another. Please don’t get caught in your small stories; they are usually less than half true, and therefore not really “true” at all. They’re usually based on hurts and unconscious agendas that allow us to see and judge things in a very selective way. They’re not the whole You, not the Great You, not the Great River. Therefore it is not where your big life can really happen. No wonder the Spirit is described as “flowing water” and as “a spring inside you” (John 4:10-14) or, at the end of the Bible, as a “river of life” (Revelation 22:1-2). Strangely, your real life is not about “you.” It is a part of a much larger stream called God.
I believe that faith might be precisely that ability to trust the Big River of God’s providential love, which is to trust the visible embodiment (the Son), the flow (the Holy Spirit), and the source itself (the Father). This is a divine process that we don’t have to change, coerce, or improve. We just need to allow it and enjoy it. That takes immense confidence, especially when we’re hurting. Usually, I can feel myself get panicky. Then I want to quickly make things right. I lose my ability to be present and I go up into my head and start obsessing. Soon I tend to be overly focused in my head to such a point that I don’t really feel or experience things in my heart and body. I’m oriented toward goals and making things happen, trying to push or even create my own river. Yet the Big River is already flowing through me and I am only one small part of it.
Faith does not need to push the river precisely because it is able to trust that there is a river. The river is flowing; we are already in it. This is probably the deepest meaning of “divine providence.” So do not be afraid. We have been proactively given the Spirit by a very proactive God. Jesus understands this gift as a foregone conclusion: “If you, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give you the Holy Spirit?” (Luke 11:13).
Simone Weil said, “It is grace that forms a void inside of us and it is also grace that fills that void.” Grace leads us to the state of emptiness, to that momentary sense of meaninglessness in which we ask, “What is it all for? What does it all mean?” Without grace we will not enter into such a necessary void, and without grace the void will not be filled. All we can do is try to keep our hands cupped and open. And it is even grace to do that. But we must want grace and know we need it.
Ask yourself regularly, “What am I afraid of? Does it matter? Will it matter at the end or in the great scheme of things? Is it worth holding on to?” Grace will lead you into such fears and emptiness, and grace alone can fill them up, if we are willing to stay in the void. It is a kind of “negative capability” that God seems to make constant use of. We mustn’t engineer an answer too quickly. We mustn’t get settled too fast. We all want to manufacture an answer to take away our anxiety and settle the dust. To stay in God’s hands, to trust, means that we usually have to let go of our attachments to feelings—which are going to pass away anyway (which is the irony of it all). People of deep faith develop a high tolerance for ambiguity, and come to recognize that it is only the small self that needs certitude or perfect order all the time. The Godself is perfectly at home in the River of Mystery.

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Monday, December 18, 2017

Heaven... (Rohr) 

The purifying goal of mysticism and contemplative prayer is nothing less than divine union—union with what is, with the moment, with yourself, with the divine, which means with everything. Healing, growth, and happiness are admittedly wonderful byproducts of prayer, but they must not be our primary concern. The goal must be kept simple and clear—love of God and neighbor, union with God and neighbor. Our common word for this state of union is heaven. Wherever there is union, there is a little bit of heaven.
Much of common religion is well-disguised self-interest—high premium fire insurance for the afterlife—instead of self-emptying love. Most of the official Catholic liturgical prayers ask in some form, “That I or we might go to heaven.” (This is not a guess. I have counted!) Is there no other priority than my personal salvation? If it is true that lex orandi est lex credendi, “the way you pray is the way you believe,” then it is no wonder Christians have such a poor record of caring for the suffering of the world and for the planet itself, and the Church has fully participated in so many wars and injustices. We have been allowed to pray in a rather self-centered way, and that fouled the Christian agenda, in my opinion.
Jesus talked much more about how to live on earth now than about how to get to heaven later. Show me where Jesus healed people for the next world. He healed their present entrapment and suffering in their bodies, not just their souls. But many Christians, both Protestant and Catholic, pushed the goal into the future, making religion into a petty reward/punishment system inside a frame of retributive justice. (The major prophets—and Jesus himself­—teach restorative justice instead.) Once Christianity became a simplistic win/lose morality contest, we lost most of the practical, transformative power of the Gospel for the individual and for society. I cannot state this strongly enough.
Objectively, we cannot be separate from God; we all walk in the Garden whether we know it or not. The branch that imagines itself to be separate from the Vine (John 15:1-8), acts as if it is separate from God. We call the result sin, but the real sin is the imagined state of separation. It is our own delusion and decision!
We came from God and we will return to God. Everything in-between is a school toward conscious loving. As theologian Charles Williams (1886-1945) said, the “master idea” of Christianity is co-inherence. “You already know the Spirit of Truth; the Spirit is with you and in you!” (John 14:17). God is your deepest desiring. But it takes a long time to allow, believe, trust, and enjoy such a wonderful possibility. We move toward union by desiring union. We move into heaven by desiring heaven now. So just pray for the desire to desire union. Then the actions will take care of themselves.
 

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Friday, December 15, 2017

Sallie McFague.- Blessed Are the Consumers: Climate Change and the Practice of Restraint (Fortress Press: 2013), xii-xiv. 


The fourfold process from belief to action contains the following steps.
  1. Experiences of “voluntary poverty” to shock middle-class people out of the conventional model of self-fulfillment through possessions and prestige, and into a model of self-emptying, as a pathway for personal and planetary well-being. It can become a form of “wild space” [what I would call liminal space], a space where one is available for deep change from the conventional model of living to another one.
     
  2. The focus of one’s attention to the needs of others, especially their most physical, basic needs, such as food. This attention changes one’s vision from seeing all others as objects for supporting one’s own ego to seeing them as subjects in their own right who deserve the basic necessities for flourishing. We see everything in the world as interdependent.
     
  3. The gradual development of a “universal self,” as the line constituting one’s concern (compassion or empathy) moves from its narrow focus on the ego (and one’s nearest and dearest) to reach out further and further until there is no line left: even a caterpillar counts. This journey, rather than diminishing the self, increases its delight, but at the cost of one’s old, egoistic model.
     
  4. The new model of the universal self operates at both the personal and public levels, for instance in the planetary house rules: (1) take only your share; (2) clean up after yourself; (3) keep the house in good repair for those who will use it after you.
. . . [I]f one understands God to be not a “substance” but the active, creative love at work in the entire universe, then “loving God” is not something in addition to loving the world, but is rather the acknowledgement that in loving the world, one is participating in the planetary process (which some identify as “God”) of self-emptying love at all levels. By understanding both “God” and the world in this way—that is, as radically kenotic—this essay can be read as both Christian and interfaith. Thus all can participate in the kenotic paradigm as a way of loving the neighbor, a process in which God’s own self may also be seen at work.
Sallie McFague.

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We used this prayer this morning

Gracious Spirit,

Who makes the first to be last and the last to be first,
Who makes the rain to fall and the sun to shine upon all,
Help us to understand that life is not an contest
Where having the most toys is the point of the game,
To realize that the victor’s circle can be the loneliest spot on earth,
To recognize that the greatest rewards don’t come from winning
but from relationships where both triumphs and tears
can be celebrated and shared.

Powerful Spirit,

Infuse us with your lifegiving strength
And grant us the inward security of knowing our own goodness
without needing to prove it to the world;
Lift us above both envy and pride --
the need to feel superior to others
and feelings of inadequacy alike --
Enabling us to walk together as equals,
At home in the great community of life.

Wise Spirit,

We know that life is not a race to be won
But a journey to be savored.
Grant us the faith to live each day with the finish line in sight
So that when our days are over
Our achievements will be measured not by the degrees we’ve earned, or the size of our estate,
but by the dimensions of our character,
not by the quantity of our possessions
but by the quality of our love

Triumphant Spirit,

Instil in us a yearning for the prizes that matter most:
Not the laurels of celebrity or acclaim that bring just passing pleasure,
But grant us the more enduring gold
Of a life well lived,
Spent in gratitude for what we’ve been given rather than in pining for things we lack,
Gratitude for friends, for work, for opportunities to use our gifts in service to the world.

Holy Spirit, hear our prayer.


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Monday, December 11, 2017

Black sheep And prodigals Dave Tomlinson  

In the context of Damascus Road experience-“I am more inclined to wards the experience of former poet laureate, Andrew  motion, Who said I’ve seen the light. And it flickers on and off like a badly wired lamp. He goes on to say that this is probably experience of millions of people who inhabit what he calls the ambivalent middleground in religion. Xi 

There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in bracket (Leonard Cohen) 37

All the great religious traditions acknowledge that God is a mystery beyond human comprehension; it has its own subtle methods for subverting black and white outcomes about who or what God is. In Judaism the name of God quite literally cannot be uttered since it only consists of Hebrew vowels. If you try to speak the word, (rather wonderfully) just makes the sound of breath. - rabbi Lawrence Kushner insists that it is no coincidence that the holiest name in the world, the name of the creator, is the sound of your own breathing. 38

To Dishley, Western Christianity has been preoccupied with understanding God through conceptual and rational terms-through beliefs, doctrines and Crete. These are undoubtedly significant. Yet purely rational, verbalise faith is a miserably impoverished one.49

Sophie Sabbage The cancer: how to let cancer heal your life

Astrophysicist carl Sagan calculated that if Jesus had literally flown off into the sky, even at the speed of light 180 6400 mi./s he still wouldn’t have made it out of the Galaxy! Actually he would still have 93,000 years go, Even to get that far. It is silly point, I know, and Sagen had his tongue firmly pushed into his cheek, but it was meant to demonstrate how ridiculous he thought a little belief in the ascension was. 178

Apparently, in the original Aramaic Jesus‘s followers used, there is no word for salvation. Salvation was understood as a bestowal of life; to be saved was  to be made alive, or to be fully alive. For the earliest Christians, therefore, Jesus was not the Saviour (as we have come to think of that) but then life giver.

Throughout the gospels, Jesus never speaks of receiving salvation; he called people to follow him, to be part of his way and therefore come alive. In more contemporary language, Jesus liberated ( saved) people from enslavement to ego, the drug of self importance, and invited them to discover the path of vulnerability, love, generosity and service. The cross speaks of this more than anything else; the abandonment of ego, winning by losing, love given without measure. Indeed, the whole Jesus event  imagines a guard separated from self asserting power, a God whose only existence is love. This is the path Jesus invited his followers to enter, the path of salvation. 

The path begins with repentance, a word now Wronglet enmeshed in associations of guilt and shame. But the Greek word metanoia actually means change of mind, a new mindset. To repent is to open up to a new consciousness: about ourselves, about other people, about the world-about God.Yes, this will include turning away from taxes and thought patterns that are selfish or damaging and driven by ego alone, a century, to repent is to come alive; to discover a new wholeness; to begin to involve spiritually yes, this will include turning away from practices and thought patterns that are selfish or damaging and driven by ego alone, but essentially, to repent is to come alive; to discover a new wholeness; to begin to evolve spiritually; to be saved. 151

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

John Dear Attributes of a Prophet 

First, a prophet is someone who listens attentively to the word of God, a contemplative, a mystic who hears God and takes God at God’s word, and then goes into the world to tell the world God’s message. So a prophet speaks God’s message fearlessly, publicly, without compromise, despite the times, whether fair or foul.
Second, morning, noon, and night, the prophet is centered on God. The prophet does not do his or her own will or speak his or her own message. The prophet does God’s will and speaks God’s message. . . . In the process, the prophet tells us who God is and what God wants, and thus who we are and how we can become fully human.
Third, a prophet interprets the signs of the times. The prophet is concerned with the world, here and now, in the daily events of the whole human race, not just our little backyard or some ineffable hereafter. The prophet sees the big picture—war, starvation, poverty, corporate greed, nationalism, systemic violence, nuclear weapons, and environmental destruction. The prophet interprets these current realities through God’s eyes, not through the eyes of analysts or pundits or Pentagon press spokespeople. The prophet tells us God’s take on what’s happening.
Fourth, a prophet takes sides [the “bias toward the bottom” or the “preferential option for the poor”]. A prophet stands in solidarity with the poor, the powerless, and the marginalized. . . . A prophet becomes a voice for the voiceless. Indeed, a prophet is the voice of a voiceless God.
Fifth, all the prophets of the Hebrew Bible are concerned with one main question: justice and peace. They call people to act justly and create a new world of social and economic justice, which will be the basis for a new world of peace. Justice and peace, they learned, are at the heart of God; God wants justice and peace here on earth now. And the prophet won’t shy away from telling us that if we want a spiritual life, we must work for justice and peace.
Sixth, prophets simultaneously announce and denounce. They announce God’s reign of justice and peace and publicly denounce the world’s regimes of injustice and war. Like Martin Luther King, Jr., they hold high the alternatives of nonviolence and disarmament and lay low the obsolete ways of violence and weapons.

Seventh, a prophet confronts the status quo. With the prophet, there is no sitting back. The powerful are challenged, empires resisted, systemic justices exposed. Prophets vigorously rock the leaky ship of the state and shake our somnolent complacency. . . .
Eighth, for the prophet, the secure life is usually denied. More often than not the prophet is in trouble. Prophets call for love of our nation’s enemies. They topple the nation’s idols, upset the rich and powerful, and break the laws that would legalize mass murder. The warlike culture takes offense and dismisses the prophet, not merely as an agitator but as obsessed and unbalanced. Consequently, the prophet ends up outcast, rejected, harassed, and marginalized—and, eventually, punished, threatened, targeted, bugged, followed, jailed, and sometimes killed.
Ninth, prophets bring the incandescent word to the very heart of grudging religious institutions. There the prophet confronts the blindness and complacency of the religious leader—the bishops and priests who keep silent amid national crimes; the ministers who trace a cross over industries of death and rake blood money into churchly coffers. A bitter irony and an ancient story—and all but inevitable. The institution that goes by the name of God often turns away the prophet of God.
Tenth, true prophets take no delight in calling down heavenly bolts. Rather, they bear an aura of compassion and gentleness. They are good and decent, kind and generous. They’ve learned to cultivate joy and now exude joy. . . .
Eleventh, prophets are visionaries. In a culture of blindness, they offer insight. In a time of darkness, they light our path. When no one else can see, the prophet can. And what they see is a world imbued with God’s purposes: a world of justice and peace and security for all, a world where all of creation is safe and at rest. The prophet holds aloft the vision—it’s ours for the asking. The prophet makes it seem possible, saying “Let’s make it come true and we shall be blessed.”
Finally, the prophet offers hope. Now and then, they might sound despairing, but only because they have a heightened awareness of the world’s darkest realities. These things overwhelm us; we would rather not hear. But hearing is our only hope. For behind the prophet’s unvarnished vision lies a hope we seldom understand—the knowledge that God is with us, that the kingdom of God is at hand. To realize that hope, we must trust ourselves to plumb the depths and trust God to see us through.



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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Lencioni, P. (2002) The Five Dysfunctions of a Team 

"...a fractured team is just like a broken arm or leg; fixing it is always painful, and sometimes you have to rebreak it make it heal correctly. And the rebreak hurts a lot more than the initial break, because you have to do it on purpose" 37

 " find someone who can demonstrate trust, engage in conflict, commit to group decisions, hold peers accountable, and focus on the results of the team, not their own ego 169

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 Dysfunction #1: Absence of Trust The fear of being vulnerable with team members prevents the building of trust within the team.
Dysfunction #2: Fear of Conflict The desire to preserve artificial harmony stifles the occurrence of productive ideological conflict.
Dysfunction #3: Lack of Commitment The lack of clarity or buy-in prevents team members from making decisions they will stick to.
Dysfunction #4: Avoidance of Accountability The need to avoid interpersonal discomfort prevents team members from holding one another accountable.
Dysfunction #5: Inattention to Results The pursuit of individual goals and personal status erodes the focus on collective success.

 #1 Absence of trust The root cause of absence of trust lies with team members being unable to show their weaknesses; to be vulnerable and open with one another. The absence of trust is a huge waste of time and energy as team members invest their time and energy in defensive behaviors, and are reluctant to ask for help from – or assist – each other. Teams can overcome this dysfunction by sharing experiences, following through in multiple ways, demonstrating credibility, and developing strong insight into the unique characteristics of team members.

 #2 Fear of Conflict Teams that are lacking trust are incapable of having unfiltered, passionate debate about things that matter, causing team members to avoid conflict, replacing it with an artificial harmony. In a work setting where team members do not openly express their opinions, inferior decisions are often the result. When working in teams you need to understand that conflict is productive.

 #3 Lack of Commitment Without conflict, it is not easy for team members to commit and buy-in to decisions, resulting in an environment where ambiguity prevails. People will buy into something when their opinions are included in the decision-making process – for example through debate. Productive teams make joint and transparent decisions and are confident that they have the support of each team member. This is not as much about seeking consensus but making sure everyone is heard.

#4 Avoidance of accountability When teams don’t commit, you can’t have accountability: “people aren’t going to hold each other accountable if they haven’t clearly bought into the plan”. In a well-functioning team, it’s the responsibility of each team member to hold one another accountable and accept it when others hold them accountable. Very often, the key to success is the measurement of progress: making clear what the team’s standards are, what needs to be done, by whom and by when. 

#5 Inattention to Results A team can only become results oriented when all team members place the team’s results first. When individuals aren’t held accountable, team members naturally tend to look out for their own interests, rather than the interests of the team. Teams can overcome this dysfunction by making the team results clear and rewarding the behaviors that contribute to the team’s results. The primary role of the leader in overcoming these dysfunctions is to lead by example and set the tone for the whole team. This includes being the first one to be vulnerable, encouraging debate and conflict, making responsibilities and deadlines clear, setting the team’s standards, and last but not least being clear on the team’s results.

  Members of teams with an absence of trust… 
Conceal their weaknesses and mistakes from one another
Hesitate to ask for help or provide constructive feedback
Hesitate to offer help outside their own areas of responsibility
Jump to conclusions about the intentions and aptitudes of others without attempting to clarify them
Fail to recognize and tap into one another’s skills and experiences
Hold grudges
Dread meetings and find reasons to avoid spending time together

Members of trusting teams… 
Admit weaknesses and mistakes
Ask for help
Accept questions and input about their areas of responsibility
Give one another the benefit of the doubt before arriving at a negative conclusion
Take risks in offering feedback and assistance
Appreciate and tap into one another’s skills and experiences Focus time and energy on important issues, not politics
 Offer and accept apologies without hesitation
 Look forward to meetings and other opportunities to work as a group

 Teams that fear conflict… 
Have boring meetings
Create environments where back-channel politics and personal attacks thrive
Ignore controversial topics that are critical to team success
Fail to tap into all the opinions and perspectives of team members
Waste time and energy with posturing and interpersonal risk management

Teams that engage in conflict…
 Have lively, interesting meetings
Extract and exploit the ideas of all team members
Solve real problems quickly
Minimize politics
Put critical topics on the table for discussion

 A team that fails to commit… 
 Creates ambiguity among the team about direction and priorities
Watches windows of opportunity close due to excessive analysis and unnecessary delay
Breeds lack of confidence and fear of failure
Revisits discussions and decisions again and again
Encourages second-guessing among team members

A team that commits… 
 Creates clarity around direction and priorities
Aligns the entire team around common objectives
Develops an ability to learn from mistakes
Takes advantage of opportunities before competitors do
Moves forward without hesitation
Changes direction without hesitation or guilt

 A team that avoids accountability… 
 Creates resentment among team members who have different standards of performance
Encourages mediocrity
Misses deadlines and key deliverables
Places an undue burden on the team leader as the sole source of discipline

A team that holds one another accountable… 
Ensures that poor perfromers feel pressure to improve
Identifies potential problems quickly by questioning one another’s approaches without hesitation
 Establishes respect among team members who are held to the same high standards
Avoids excessive bureaucracy around performance management and corrective action

 A team that is not focused on results…
 Stagnates/fails to grow
Rarely defeats competitors
Loses achievement-oriented employees
Encourages team members to focus on their own careers and individual goals
Is easily distracted

A team that focuses on collective results… 
 Retains achievement-oriented employees
Minimizes individualistic behaviour
Enjoys success and suffers failure acutely
Benefits from individuals who subjugate their own goals/interests for the good of the team
Avoids distractions



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Sunday, August 06, 2017

The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope 

Ignatius and Francis are alike, too, in that they fuse two qualities that are seldom found combined in a person.  On the one hand, Ignatius (As this Francis) had raw political ability, which some might call charm: capacity for reading people, earning their trust, inspiring them, organising them to work for high ideals, together with enormous skills as a natural leader, teacher, and negotiator. On the other hand Ignatius (like Francis) was a mystic, who lived and led by discerning spirits, choosing whatever served the greater good, God's greater glory, which Jesuits described with the Latin word magis. Spiritual guides or so and good governance, and those in power almost never saints. Ignatius and Francis are among the few that break the mold. Pp55

He was restoring what had been lost: not spurning the church and its doctrines but seeking to recover their meaning and purpose, which were to reveal Christ. That meant to being against somethings, and offending some people, but only in order for the church to be more like it is, not to turn into something else.88

The pope - Clung to the idea of reform rather than rupture, reform not revolution,  89

He asked the priests if they were mediators or intermediaries. The mediator he said, was a bridge, he put others together at his own expense. An intermediary, on the other hand, was the one who profited at the expense of others. In both cases, a priest stands between, in the middle; yet there is a world of difference. The mediator is a pastor who is evangelising fervour is born of an encounter with Christ, he grows in his belonging to gods holy faithful people, where as an intermediary is a state cleric, functionary in whom the further has long died and who lives mainly for himself. 245

The understanding of the Catholic Church in its first centuries was that it was many yet one; plural yet united; local and universal. The church as a whole was more than the sum of its parts-it was a universal body, including Rome-yet the local diocese was not merely a department or province of a world church, but surely the church in that place 255

This was not just good theology-or, to be more exact, ecclesiology-but had implications for the way the church was governed.  Often throughout the Middle Ages Pope sort exert control over local diastases, to gain freedom from Medling Princes, or to push through reforms; yet they face pushback if they tried to use that control in ordinary times. 255 

Rigormisti - West Church teaching above all to be clear and on ambiguous
Riformisti - wished it to be credible in the puristic society. Behind these two tendencies look too different ecclesiologys 

Rigoristi wanted to tighten the Vatican control over questions of doctrine and discipline, with the riformisti  wanted great freedom of action in applying to church norms to local situations. The rigomisti liked to close down debate, making clear that norms were clear and unchanging; the reformisti prefer to keep some things open, believing that, in matters of ecclesiastical discipline, rather than unchanging doctrines of faith and morals, the local church should help the universal Church discern the need for changes in pastoral practices. 

Bergoglio told caritas staff and volunteers not to get hung up on protocols and legal niceties, but to set up projects that could deliver quickly and directly to those in need.268 

There was much talk of reform of governance-the need for a puppy was accessible, informed, and free to act-and for a fluid contact between Rome and the local church.... all could agree that Vatican dysfunction was a serious impediment to evangelisation, and that  Roman centralism and lack of accountability is one major causes of the dysfunction. 353 

His governance is collegial because it aims to broaden consultation, to include different points of view, and above all to open up the centre to the periphery. He encourages, in a way no Pope has done before, lively and honest disagreement, saying that the only place questions do not disagree is in the cemetery. But this does not mean that he shares decision-making. In many ways Francis is the most centralised Pope Saint Pius the ninth ... he understands power, and he has often used to bypass existing channels or advisors, as well as tradition and protocol,.  384

He said the greatest revelation of all it was "to go to the roots", and that real change was about strengthening identity, not replacing it. One who goes to the roots is a radical399

If the church is alive, it must always surprise, Francis told thousands in St Peter's Square on Penticost Sunday 2014, before swimming mysteriously. "A church that doesn't have the capacity to surprise is a week, second, and dying church. It should be taken to the recovery room at once."

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Full Salvation - Rohr 

If we would imitate Jesus in very practical ways, the Christian religion would be made-to-order to grease the wheels of human consciousness toward love, nonviolence, justice, inclusivity, and care for creation. Mature religion serves as a conveyor belt for the evolution of human consciousness. Immature religion actually stalls people at very early stages of magical, mythic, and tribal consciousness, while they are convinced they are enlightened or “saved.” Then we are more a part of the problem than offering any kind of solution. Only the nondual and mystical mind gets us all the way through, and that happens only by continual enlargement of the True Self and continual loss of the small ego self. Authentic mystical experience connects us and keeps connecting us at ever-newer levels, breadths, and depths, “until God is all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28). “The world, life and death, the present and the future are all your servants, for you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God” (1 Corinthians 3:22-23). Full salvation is finally universal belonging and universal connecting. Our word for that is “heaven.” ...such salvation is a social and cosmic concept, and not just about isolated individuals “going to heaven.” The Church was meant to bring this corporate salvation to conscious and visible possibility, but it was itself too tribal to accomplish much in this regard.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Faith v Certitude Rohr Quotes... 

Richard Rohr points out "two kinds of human beings: there are people who want certitude and there are people who want understanding; and these two often cannot understand one another."

 "Those who demand certitude out of life will insist on it even if it doesn’t fit the facts. Logic has nothing to do with it. Truth has nothing to do with it. “Don’t bother me with the truth—I’ve already come to my conclusion!” If you need certitude, you will surround yourself with your conclusions."

 "We’ve turned faith into certitude when, in fact, this Trinitarian mystery is whispering quite the opposite.... In this space, God gives us a spirit of questing, a desire for understanding; it seems to me it’s only this ongoing search for understanding that will create compassionate and wise people."

" Rational certitude is exactly what the Scriptures do not offer us. They offer us something much better and an entirely different way of knowing: an intimate relationship, a dark journey, a path where we must discover for ourselves that grace, love, mercy, and forgiveness are absolutely necessary for survival in an uncertain world. "

 "You can tell mature and authentic faith by people’s ability to deal with darkness, failure, and non-validation of the ego—and by their quiet but confident joy! Infantile religion insists on certainty every step of the way and thus is not very happy."

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Monday, July 03, 2017

Authentic spiritual warfare - Rolheiser 

Authentic spiritual warfare is to be pictured this way: Inside our world and inside each of us there’s a fierce battle waging, a war between good and evil, and these are the contestants: Hatred is battling love; anger is battling patience; greed is battling generosity; bitterness is battling graciousness, jealousy is battling admiration; choosing to remain inside our wounds is battling healing; holding on to our grudges is battling forgiveness, ego and narcissism are battling compassion and community; and self-hatred is in a bitter battle with the acceptance of love and God’s unconditional embrace. Paranoia is waging a war against metanoia. That’s the real war that’s going on, in our world and inside each of us. 

Hatred, anger, paranoia, greed, bitterness, lust, jealousy, non-forgiveness, and self-hatred are the “thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers” about which scripture warns us. Hence the final triumph of Christ will occur when the last of these forces is eventually subdued, when we are finally at peace with goodness, with love, with trust, with ourselves, with others, with our history, with our mistakes, with those who have hurt us, with those whom we have hurt, with our shortcomings, and with our impatience with God.

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

The loss of the “third eye” Rohr 

Hugh of St. Victor (1078-1141) and Richard of St. Victor (1123-1173) wrote that humanity was given three different sets of eyes, each building on the previous one. The first eye was the eye of the flesh (thought or sight), the second was the eye of reason (meditation or reflection), and the third was the intuitive eye of true understanding (contemplation). [1]

 I describe this third eye as knowing something simply by being calmly present to it (no processing needed!). This image of “third eye” thinking, beyond our dualistic vision, is also found in most Eastern religions. We are onto something archetypal here, I think!

 The loss of the “third eye” is at the basis of much of the shortsightedness and religious crises of the Western world, about which even secular scholars like Albert Einstein and Iain McGilchrist have written. Lacking such wisdom, it is hard for churches, governments, and leaders to move beyond ego, the desire for control, and public posturing. Everything divides into dualistic oppositions like liberal vs. conservative, with vested interests pulling against one another. Truth is no longer possible at this level of conversation. Even theology becomes more a quest for power than a search for God and Mystery.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Practice: The Franciscan Calling 

Practice: The Franciscan Calling
Francis did not wish for himself or his followers to be priests, to take higher places on the Church’s hierarchical ladder of education, prestige, and power. Francis was apparently ordained a deacon, likely under pressure, because he never talks or writes about it. The sign of a true Franciscan heart is devotion to the Gospel, regardless of title, group, or official status. These hallmarks of the Secular Franciscan Order (from the formation manual For Up To Now) can be claimed and practiced by anyone:
Re-read these qualities of a Franciscan and discern if you are called to live in such a way, making the Gospel the very core of your day-to-day doings and being. What is yours to do?

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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!

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Monday, March 20, 2017

MARY UNDER THE CROSS - Ronald Rolhesier 

MARY UNDER THE CROSS

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.

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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



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