Thoughts on the with-god life

"As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silence in the churches.” (I Corinthians 14:33-34)

I know a woman named Silence
She said her parents did not know her very well
when they named her.
They thought Silence was a beautiful name
for a girl.

She stands up in her pew and speaks her mind:
When a couple in church announces the birth of a girl
Silence says, “I think we should all clap for that.”

When a foreign student speaks about war in Ethiopia
Silence says, “Keep telling us about that, we need to hear.”

When someone complains about the church
needing air conditioning
Silence says, “That’s why I bring my fan.”

I love this woman named Silence
And I think we should definitely
Keep Silence in the church.

—   Margalea Warner via inward/outward

“Fear tempts us to make safety and self-preservation our highest goals, and when we do so our moral focus becomes the protection of our lives and health. Security becomes the new idol before whom all other gods must bow. In the past, when asked “What is your chief goal?” Christians have given answers such as “friendship with God” (Thomas Aquinas) or “to glorify God and enjoy him forever” (Westminster Catechism, seventeenth century).’ Today, I suspect many Christians would echo the culture in naming “safety” or “security” as the primary good they seek.”

—   Scott Bader-Saye, Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear (via contrariansoul)

“My little children, your hearts are small, but prayer stretches them and makes them capable of loving God.”

—   St. John Vianney (via servusmariae)

(via contrariansoul)

“God for us, we call you Father.
God alongside us, we call you Jesus.
God within us, we call you Holy Spirit.”

—   Richard Rohr

Morning Poem by Mary Oliver

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches —
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead —
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging —

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted —

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

—   Mary Oliver

“On a man’s journey, everything has its place. Our failures, heartbreaks, defeats, and victories; our wounds, dreams, and passions; our stops and our starts-all have a place in our story, and all have a place in our transformation from shadow men to real men. Everything has meaning, and everything belongs.”

—   Richard Rohr, On the Threshold of Transformation (via contrariansoul)


Top 13 signs of not being loving union with Jesus

1. I feel anxiety in the tenseness and tightness in my body.
2. I am not present or listening intently.
3. I feel pressure, with too much to do in too little time.
4. I am rushing.
5. I give quick opinions and judgments.
6. I am fearful about the future.
7. I am overly concerned with what others think.
8. I am defensive and easily offended.
9. I am preoccupied and distracted.
10. I am resentful of interruptions and abrupt.
11. I am manipulative, not patient.
12. I am unenthusiastic or threatened by the success of others.
13. I talk more than I listen.

How might God be speaking through your body today?

False Self-Assessment

I am reluctant to admit my weaknesses and flaws to others.
I look for the approval of others more than I should
I am highly “offendable” and defensive when people criticize me.
I often become harsh and impatient when things are moving too slowly or my expectations are not met.
I say “yes’ when I would rather say “no”.
I beat myself up when I make mistakes.
I have difficulty speaking up when I disagree or prefer something different.
I have a number of people I am struggling to forgive.
My fears often cause me to play it safe “just in case.”
My body is more often in a state of tension and stress than relaxed.
If you checked two or three statements, you may be living out of your false self at times. If you checked four to five, you probably have a moderate case of pretending to be somebody you are not. If you checked six or more, you want to receive this as a gentle wake up call to a deeper journey with Jesus!

—   Emotionallyhealthyspirituality.org

I want to go to there!

“Small boy
He picked up a pebble
and threw it into the sea.
And another, and another.
He couldn’t stop.
He wasn’t trying to fill the sea.
He wasn’t trying to empty the beach.
He was just throwing away,
nothing else but.
Like a kitten playing
he was practicing for the future
when there’ll be so many things
he’ll want to throw away
if only his fingers will unclench
and let them go.”

—   Norman MacCaig

“I got out of bed on two strong legs.
It might have been otherwise.
I ate cereal, sweet milk, ripe, flawless peach.
It might have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill to the birch wood.
All morning I did the work I love.
At noon I lay down with my mate.
It might have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together at a table with silver candlesticks.
It might have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed in a room with paintings on the walls,
and planned another day just like this day.
But one day, I know, it will be otherwise.”

—   Jane Kenyon

“In the soil of the quick fix is the seed of a new problem, because our quiet wisdom is unavailable.”

—   Wayne Muller via Richer by Far

We talk about “biblical families,” “biblical marriage,” “biblical economics,” “biblical politics,” “biblical values,” “biblical stewardship,” “biblical voting,” “biblical manhood,” “biblical womanhood,” even “biblical dating” to create the impression that the Bible has just one thing to say on each of these topics - that it offers a single prescriptive formula for how people of faith ought to respond to them.

But the Bible is not a position paper. The Bible is an ancient collection of letters, laws, poetry, proverbs, histories, prophecies, philosophy and stories spanning multiple genres and assembled over thousands of years in cultures very different from our own.

When we turn the Bible into an adjective and stick it in front of another loaded word, we tend to ignore or downplay the parts of the Bible that don’t quite fit our preferences and presuppositions. In an attempt to simplify, we force the Bible’s cacophony of voices into a single tone and turn a complicated, beautiful, and diverse holy text into a list of bullet points we can put in a manifesto or creed. More often than not, we end up more committed to what we want the Bible to say than what it actually says.

“In one sense, quiet prayer is really nothing other than the practice of faithful attentiveness. I am not speaking here of meditation that in­volves guided imagery or scriptural reflections, but of a more contemplative practice in which one just sits still and stays awake with God. This kind of meditation is extremely difficult, especially in the midst of battles with addiction, because it gives us nothing special to do, no fancy ways to entertain our­selves or to escape from the simple truth of the moment. Attentive meditation can be a true ascetic practice. It is like fasting for the mind. One only sits there, inclined toward God, noticing the thoughts and sensations that come and go, adding nothing to them, subtracting nothing from them. The mind is allowed to be what it is, but it is seen. When properly practiced and truly graced, this kind of meditation—to the extent that we can bear it—can be very powerful in exposing and vaporizing mind tricks.”

—   Gerald May

“Contemplative prayer begins to make us aware of the divine presence within us, the source of true happiness. As soon as we begin to taste the peace that comes from the regular practice of contemplative prayer, it relativizes the whole unreal world of demands and ‘shoulds,’ of aversions and desires that were based on emotional programs for happiness that might have worked for children, but that are, in fact, killing us.”

—   Thomas Keating via Richer by Far