Sunday, May 23, 2010

Reposting Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation


On a first level I see mystical moments as moments of enlargement.
Suddenly you’re bigger. You don’t feel a need to condemn, exclude, divide or separate. Secondarily, mysticism is a deep experience of connectedness or union. Unfortunately, most of us were sent on private paths of perfection which none of us could achieve.

The path of union is different than the path of perfection.
Perfection gives the impression that by effort or more knowing 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. As a result, many people just gave up—even many clergy and religious— when they saw it never worked. They ended up practical agnostics or practical atheists. They keep up the form, keep up the words, they keep going to church, but there is no longer the inner desire and expectation that is possible with the path of union. Mysticism does not defeat the soul; moralism does.

Adapted from: Following the Mystics Through the Narrow Gate

Mantra: Fall into the Love of GOD

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I've started a Newsletter...

And I'm posting my first "test" newsletter here as well as sending it to friends:

One of the things I realized when my Dad got sick, was how we all seem to think we have all the time in the world, and we get out of the habit of staying in touch. Not all of us, I realize…some of us use technology to keep in touch with chat, email, texting and even calling…but some of us let time just drift and in doing so, we drift apart in some ways. So, I decided that I would try to do a monthly newsletter as Sean and I take off on this new adventure of living apart from Jon and with Jeremy, Tamara and Wyatt…
First off, an explanation…Jon and I had a very rough 2009 into 2010. By the end of January 2010, we had argued ourselves into a corner we didn’t see a way out of, so we decided to separate. Jon intends to use this time to “find himself”, to enter more into the Buddhist path and to meditate.
We will continue to see each other, while not living together, in order to decide if there is any reason to continue the marriage. Since the decision to separate, we have actually talked through many things and could, conceivably, stay together; however, Jon’s need to figure out who he is remains, so the separation will happen as planned. He will be finding an apartment to live in, seeking to find a 2 bedroom in case one of our sons needs a place to stay somewhere down the line, but taking a 1 bedroom if that is all he can find. The separation officially begins the last week of June. I intend to get a truck and move things the weekend of the 18th/19th of June.
At Jeremy & Tamara’s, Sean will have his own room in the basement. It’s bigger than the room he has now, thankfully. He intends to make full use of the empty walls to hang his posters and his anime scrolls. J
I will be in the former guest room at the back of the house, with doors that open onto the back yard. Jeremy went to a great deal of trouble to rip out and refinish the floor in my room in this gorgeous bamboo. I am so grateful & I love how lovely it looks.
We will share a living room area in the basement, to the right of Sean’s room. It is a small, cozy area in which we will put our love seat (along with Tamara’s love seat), 2 end tables, our television and my computer desk/computer. My computer will be on the wall against Sean’s room. Sean’s computer will be inside his room on the same wall. In essence we will be “facing each other” although we won’t be able to see each other because of the wall. J
Sean will remain in North Central High School, and will walk the extra 6 blocks to his school bus stop. I will be taking the 23 bus downtown, probably, instead of the 24, but other than that, my busing will remain the same. Jeremy & Tamara only live 6 blocks from us, so the move isn’t a huge distance.
Ok, so this is our first newsletter update, coming up to the move. Expect another one after we get settled!!! Hopefully I will manage to update you at least once a month, more if something exciting occurs!!! Hopefully you will find a way to keep in better touch also!!!

Reposted from the Beyond Blue Blog...

A Spiritual Journey to Mental Health by Therese J Borchard:

Posted on Wednesday May 19, 2010

Don't take anything personally.

That's the second agreement of Don Miguel Ruiz's classic, The Four Agreements.I need a reminder today. So I open his book to that chapter and read: Whatever happens around you, don't take it personally...Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.

Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds...Taking things personally makes you easy prey for these predators, the black magicians. They can hook you easily with one little opinion and feed you whatever poison they want, and because you take it personally, you eat it up....

But if you do not take it personally, you are immune in the middle of hell. Immunity in the middle of hell is the gift of this agreement.

I'm not there yet. I am way too sensitive and way too vulnerable to the opinions of others. Where I HAVE made progress the last month is that I no longer read articles from a website that published material that upset me too consistently. I took a hiatus from that site. I also go through the equivalent of the FDA security process at the airport whenever I open a book. "Is this going to make me feel worse?" I ask myself, and if I can't answer the question, or I find myself nodding, then I put it on the shelf to read when I reach a more resilient place.

But what I CAN'T control are the opinions of the people that I'll run into during the day, those who haven't managed a severe mood disorder and try to convince me that acupuncture, meditation, and yoga cure absolutely every illness. Or those that say the way I run my house is wrong because nothing is usually organized. I can't control those situations.

So I sit down and try to soak in as much of Ruiz's message that will penetrate the gray matter of my brain. He writes: Even the opinions you have about yourself are not necessarily true; therefore you don't need to take whatever you hear in your own mind personally...Don't take anything personally because by taking things personally you set yourself up to suffer for nothing....When we really see other people as they are without taking it personally, we can never be hurt by what they say or do. Even if others lie to you, it is okay. They are lying to you because they are afraid.

There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally. You become immune to black magicians, and no spell can affect you regardless of how strong it may be. The whole world can gossip about you, and if you don't take it personally you are immune. Someone can intentionally send emotional poison, and if you don't take it personally, you will not eat it. When you don't take the emotional poison, it becomes even worse in the sender, but not in you.

As you make a habit of not taking anything personally, you won't need to place your trust in what others do or say. You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices. You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you. When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally, you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others.

If you keep this agreement, you can travel around the world with your heart completely open and no one can hurt you. You can say, "I love you," without fear of being ridiculed or rejected. You can ask for what you need.

Friday, May 14, 2010

From Inward/Outward...

A Project of the Church of the Savior (it touched me as I am also 57):

At Fifty-Seven
Mark Nepo

I feel like I stumbled
down a hill of years, only
to land in a pile of my books.

Along the way, I cracked
like a Russian doll; finding
something smaller and more
essential inside every version
I've known as me.

And now, when all I know
bursts into flame each time
I try to give it away, I'm asked
what matters.

There's something perfect
in how we're worn; like sculptures
left for Spirit and wind to finish, the
film taken from our eye just as
our heart is exposed, one
crumbling into the other.

Source: Unknown

Monday, May 10, 2010

Minister Says Everyone is Born Again...

Bible Teacher Claims Christianity Misrepresents the Gospel

PR Log (Press Release)May 09, 2010 – Augusta , GA – For years, a preacher who grew up in the Baptist church and appeared on television shows like the 700 Club taught people they had to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and savior to receive the gift of salvation and to be “born again.” His name is Mike Williams, a Bible teacher who has appeared with well known evangelicals as Pat Robertson and the late John Osteen, father of Joel Osteen. Williams now preaches what he calls the “True Gospel.” Williams says the phrase “born again is taken out of context by traditional Christianity.” "Born again" is only found in the Gospel of John and I Peter in the New Testament. According to Williams, all people were "born again" through the accomplishment of Jesus Christ as a direct result of his death and resurrection. Just as all human beings fell into sin through the action of Adam, all people are found righteous by God through the act of who the Bible describes as the "last Adam", Jesus himself. This, of course, flies in direct conflict with traditional Christian theology. Nonetheless, Williams persists. “The Gospel is completely misdiagnosed by orthodox and evangelical Christianity alike,” says Williams. He is far from being alone in this declaration. According to Williams, the New Testament refers to a Gospel of grace and peace. There are many individuals, groups and concepts such as “Universalism” that make the claim that all people are redeemed through Jesus Christ. This is a major departure from the Christian tenet which states that one must believe in Jesus Christ or fear eternal damnation. Williams does not call himself a “Universalist,” but says the claim that all are universally redeemed is true and his teaching, using the Bible exclusively, explains why. "The word Gospel in the Bible is translated 'good news'. And if there's one thing I know is that there is no bad news in the good news,” says Williams. "Traditional Christianity tends to speak of grace, which is the gift of God without requirements, but it tries to bind that unconditional gift to some moral code. This is completely contradictory to grace." according to Williams. Williams says it is common in Christianity for individuals and denominations to develop entire doctrines by linking disparate Bible verses from various books to support their doctrines. Although he also teaches from the Bible, Williams consistently keeps verses in the context of chapters and chapters in the context of entire books of the Bible, which draws a much different picture than that presented by the Christian religion. According to Williams, Christianity likes to base an entire doctrine or belief on a verse or two taken out of context to which he replies, “I see your verse and raise you a chapter.”

Sunday, May 9, 2010

THE TRUE Kokichi Kurosaki

Posted by Annie D. in an E-group I belong to:

The center of Christianity is neither institution nor organization. Nor is it even the Bible itself, as the reformers made it, for the Ekklesia existed before the formation of the New Testament canon. Christians were in fellowship with God and one another, centering their faith in Christ, long before there was any accepted New Testament.

There is only one center of Christianity, and this center is spiritual fellowship with God through Christ - life union with God in Christ. When there is this koinonia, there is the Body of Christ, the Ekklesia. Where there is no koinonia with God there is no Ekklesia, because the life-union is lacking. Though there be many excellent clerical personages, many elegant church buildings, many scholarly dogmas and creeds, if there is no koinonia with God and Christ there can be no Ekklesia at all. On the other hand, if there is this koinonia with God and Christ, the Ekklesia exists - we need pay no attention to the differences of creeds, institutions and rituals, but by loving one another can be one in Christ.

(Kokichi Kurosaki is a Japanese Christian, author of "Let's Return to Christian Unity", the first in a two part series, and the second, "Church Unity and How to Get There")

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Loved this by Nouwen

Loved Unconditionally
Henri J. M. Nouwen

If you come in touch with that first love you will discover not only that you are loved unconditionally, but that the One who loves you unconditionally loves all of humanity unconditionally, with that same all-embracing love. And the fact that God loves you so intimately and personally does not mean that God loves anyone else less or differently. Uniquely, yes. But whether they are Nicaraguans or Russians, people from Afghanistan or Iran or South Africa, they all belong to the house of God.

And therefore, when you enter into intimate communion with the God of the first love, you will find yourself in intimate communion with all the people of God, because the heart of God is the heart that embraces the whole of humanity. That's why intimacy with God always means solidarity with the people of God. To put it more precisely: God pitched a tent among us and took on our flesh so that there is no human flesh that has not been accepted by God.

Source: The Road to Peace

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

On a Franciscan e-group I belong to...

We have been discussing the new Arizona immigration law (are we asking the right questions like: how do we deal with this/how do we react to the law) and one of the participants in the conversation posted this today and I just wanted to share it and get some feedback from others:

I've been avoiding jumping into this conversation, but I think I'm going to just...not debate anything or argue with anyone, but just state a position as far to one side of the spectrum as I can go, and let it be part of the soup. Sometimes I find myself rationally pondering the U.S. immigration issue; and then I say to myself, "Wait a minute...what I really believe has nothing to do with these rational and practical considerations." So here's what I believe at the bottom of my very best heart.

Nations and their boundaries are an utterly human concoction, a development of our tendency to self-centeredness and sin, and are in no way, shape, or form part of the divine reality and divine goal for the human race revealed in Jesus Christ. God did not create a world of nations. Jesus did not die and rise for this or that nation. The church
from its very beginning knew no national boundaries, welcomed people of all nations, and has been and is a trans-national body owing allegiance to no nation on earth. A Christian is a member of the human race whose allegiance to God through Jesus Christ is untainted by allegiance to any human entity. A truly Christian response (you can tell a truly Christian action because it has a fair chance of being fatal) ... a truly Christian response to immigration would be to stand at any border anywhere on earth, and lean across it and say, "Is there anything I can do for you?"

I believe I'll stop there. That sounds sufficiently breath-taking in its arrogance and naivete -- or, perhaps, sufficiently childlike in its simple-minded devotion to the One who made, redeemed, and cherishes all human life, and all creation. Again, this is not meant to be an argument against anyone else's position. I doubt that I think and act consistently with this myself all the time (another test, in my own mind, for when something is true!). I'm just
putting it out there.

Peace and blessing,

David R.