Another good blog post from this week.
…..the peacemakers shall be called the children of God (Matthew 5:9)
Today is the Feast Day of Hildegard of Bingen, a truly remarkable women. You can pray the Daily Office and learn more about her at the link below.
“Where your life and God’s will intersect for maximum Kingdom impact” Jeff Greenway
“The problem with talking about theology is that you have to say everything all at once.” Tom Wright
“Beware of F.A.E” Toddy Holeman
F.A.E. – fundamental attribution error. That basically means you think you know what the other person is thinking or feeling and you proceed with flawed understanding and, usually dire, consequences.
For example, for at least 900 years there has been one set of voices interpreting what Jesus was really saying and what that meant for the rest of us. Don’t get me wrong, I am as much committed to Biblical authority as the next person. But often, we twist the words of Jesus so they will say what we want them to. And when we try to see God usually we just see whatever it is that appears when we look into the bathroom mirror. God of Creation, the burning bush, the Exodus, the Babylonian exile, the birth, like, death, resurrection of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit has become, to us, just like us.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a God that’s just like me. I am limited, broken, usually confused or distracted and have just a few moments of Holy Love and clarity strung along the trajectory of my life. I want to live in Holy Love that is bigger, stronger, more compassionate, more wise and courageous than I am. Ever since my beloved son went into the US Air Force, I have held on to the fact that God (or Holy Love) loves him even more than I do and can take care of him a whole lot better than I can.
We worry so much about what other people think, or what they really mean or why they did what they did. When we can’t or don’t get answer, we’ll just make one up for ourselves, thank you very much. As a result, mis-understandings abound. We have wars and rumors of war between people, between nations, between hemispheres.
So here, at the end of this post, I’m not going to leave you hanging. Sometimes we feel like Wayfaring Strangers (you can hear that song on the music page of this site) As corny, cheesy and thin as “Christian” music can sound, I believe we are all expressing the same kinds of things. We are loved by a love so Holy we cannot fully comprehend it. That same Holy Love meets us exactly where we are but loves us to much to leave us there. That’s the good news. Easy to understand, impossible to live out all by yourself.
Come as you are to a community of folk who will do their best to love you in that Holy way and leave changed so the world around you will be changed and the planet itself will have the chance to be transformed and set free. Free from the fear of dying, free from the fear of a meaningless life. In partnership with Holy Love and each other, the borders of heaven, where Holy Love rules) will expand to encompass all the earth.
God bless us every one, Kelli+
Breathing In – Forgiving ourselves and other people, September 9, 2014
Holding on to unforgiveness is like preparing the poison of revenge for another person and then drinking it yourself.
Kelli: I have been preaching a lot about forgiveness lately. I finished the sermon series last Sunday, so today I want to finish up with the quotes and ideas that I found useful and practical. Forgiveness is part of the very nature of God. When we are called to be like Jesus – to take on his competency and character – forgiveness is the key that opens the door to grace.
Although disagreement is inevitable and forgiveness is hard, forgiveness brings in our healing and peace. (I don’t know who said this first because I found the magnet hanging on my refrigerator with these words printed on it).
Don’t quarrel with anyone. Be at peace with everyone, just as much as possible. Romans 12:18 TLB
Larsen and Hegarty, Days of Healing, Days of Joy: We need to rebuild the bridge. People, like islands, need ways to see and reach and touch hands over all that separating water. Making connections is the only way. Unless we can hear each other singing and crying, unless we can comfort each other’s failures and share each other’s victories, we are missing out on the best that life has offer. The only real action takes place on the bridge between people. Today, I ask my Higher Power for the courage to build another bridge.
Kelli: We can only build those bridges when we are willing to forgive ourselves and each other.
Thomas Merton: The one thing necessary is a true interior and spiritual life, true growth, on my own, in-depth, in a new direction. Whatever new direction God opens up for me. My job is to press forward, to grow interiorly, to pray, to break away from attachments and to define fears, to grow in faith, which has its own solitude, to seek an entirely new perspective and new dimension in my life. To open up new horizons at any cost. To desire this and let the Holy Spirit take care of the rest. But really to desire and work for it. September 21 and 22, 1959, Journal III. 331.
Kelli: In preparing the sermon series on forgiveness, I relied heavily on Ev Worthington’s work on forgiveness and reconciliation. His REACH method of forgiveness is a practical way to put forgiveness into action in our own lives. I wanted to sum it up here because I find it so useful. Forgiveness is like so much of Jesus’ teaching. It’s not hard to understand, it’s just difficult to live out if we try to do it all by ourselves.
R is for Recall. Recall the events and the hurt as accurately and objectively as you can.
E is for Empathize. Try to understand what happened from the point of view of the person who wronged you.
A is for the Altruistic gift of forgiveness. Recall a time that you hurt someone else and were forgiven. And offer this gift to the person who wronged you.
C is for Committing yourself to forgive publicly. Write a letter of forgiveness (whether you send it or not), write in a journal, tell a trusted friend, or, if you can, tell the person who wronged you.
H is for Holding onto forgiveness. Forgiving is not forgetting. Memories of the wrong and feelings will come up. Remind yourself that you have made a choice to forgive.
Kelli: Two books of that I would highly recommend for anyone who struggles with forgiving themselves or someone else are: Moving Forward: Six Steps to Forgiving Yourself and Breaking Free from the Past and Forgiving and Reconciling: Bridges to Wholeness and Hope. They are both available form Amazon and as Kindle books. Also worth reading is the world of Miroslav Volf and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. All three of these men have lived though unbelievable suffering come though it healed and holy by the grace of God. It is our great privilege they have taken the time to write it down for the rest of us.
This is where forgiveness brings us in the end – an entirely new perspective and new dimension – where we live into our own forgiveness by Holy Love and, out of gratitude for that grace, we find unlimited freedom. My identity and behavior choices bubble up out of forgiveness and grace instead of my human intellect or emotions. But my intellect and emotions are not useless or inconvenient. It is through my human intellect and emotions, I become a partner with Holy Love in the world and the world is transformed by forgiveness and grace. My life has purpose and meaning and I can live without fear of other people or the grave. Death and meaninglessness have been swallowed up by Life and Abundance.
P.S. On the Musical Expressions page of this site,
there is a track from my first album . The song is a cover of The Judd’s Love Can Build A Bridge. I hope you will take the time to listen.
September 1, 2014
Kelli: On Monday mornings I often feel sluggish, uninspired, and resistant to any sort of work. Today’s readings reminded me that even the smallest step forward or the first word written on the page or computer can be the drop of water that inspires the pump from which the flow of living water streams. Today’s meditations are about procrastination and speed. Both of those things, moving too slowly or moving too quickly can keep us from experiencing life the way that God intends.
The rhythm of life is more than just moving from season to season. The rhythm of life is also the rhythm of our days. It is the rhythm of the hours and minutes that we are awake, aware, and attentive. Moving in rhythm with Holy Love, we can be nudged out of our procrastination or slowed down enough in order to stop and smell the roses.
The One who created life is the one who knows best about the rhythm of our days. We are not called to walk in lockstep with God and each other. We are called to live in co-creation working with Holy Love for the transformation of the world.
Upper Room Disciplines 2014: What sacrifices have we experienced in our journey with God as individuals or as a people of faith? In Jesus we received courage to seek justice for others and for ourselves, risking comfort and familiarity in a sacrifice for liberating action. Our willingness for loving sacrifice empowers us to be a doorway, not a doormat, in our relationship with God and others. (Diane Luton Blum. 292)
Rokelle Lerner, Daily Affirmations: Intimacy does not need to happen all at once. I will slowly give of myself and learn about myself by watching, listening, observing, and evaluating.
Kelli : In our instant society, it seems that even something as sacred as intimacy is given as much attention as a bowl of instant rice; or the time we allow ourselves to make, eat and clear up a lunch of ramen noodles. We know, intellectually, that intimate things like friendship and marital love grow slowly across the span of time. We know that the events of our lives, the problems and the resolutions to them, are what give our relationships their unique beauty. And yet, there seems to be this constant push for everything in our lives to be instant. We demand instant gratification from everything. As women, when we put on our make-up we are encouraged to use the system of the 5-minute face. Dinner, even when eaten sitting around the table with family and friends, has more likely taken less time to cook (or pick up from the take-out window) than it will take for us to eat it and go our separate ways.
“Time is money” we hear again and again until it is inscribed on our brains and tattooed under our wristwatches.
When we don’t take the time to take the time, we handicap and shortchange ourselves. The rich tapestry of living becomes a one-dimensional ink and pen drawing of the way we want things to be. It seems we are simply too distracted by the passage of time and the opportunities we might be missing than to give our lives and each other the full attention they deserve.
When things don’t happen exactly as we want them to, and when we want them to, we call it settling for less. In that ‘settling’ there is inherently a sense of loss. Life is full of sacrifices willingly made for the good of the other. Sometimes the consequences of those loving sacrifices are not immediately apparent. That’s not settling for less, it’s being patient and attentive. Is it truly loss when we have turned down the better in our lives to make room for the best?
Can we slow down enough to let our lives unfold? With God’s help and the partnership of the people around us, we can hold back our desire for immediate answers, in order for the best that is within us and within the people around us to be slowly enjoyed and savored.
Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way Every Day: Writers procrastinate because they do not feel inspired. Feeling inspired is the luxury. Writing, often excellent writing, can be done without the benefit of feeling inspired. Writers tell themselves they just don’t have enough ideas yet, and when they do, then they’ll start writing. It actually works exactly backward. When we start to write, we prime the pump and the flow of ideas begins to move. It is the act of writing that calls ideas forward, not ideas that call forward writing. (page 273)