be. thursday april 1 2010

I have this thing for written prayers, especially ancient prayers. Prayers that stir deep within my soul and bring forth a sense of being that is not brought about through much other. Prayers of hymns that ring voices of 'be thou my vision oh Lord of my heart'. When taken to heart these letters on the page are fierce in an aw inspiring way.

I've had a "busy" few weeks (which the word busy itself I find so interesting.. perhaps a later blog post) . Rarely stopping to acknowledge where I am for as long as I desire too. However, when I do grant myself the time to be, it's more alluring than normal.

Which brings me to prayer written in the New Union prayer book I've begun to confess as words of my own...

{Our noisy day has now descended with the sun beyond our sight.
In the silence of our praying place we close the door upon the hectic joys and fears, the accomplishments and anguish of the week we have left behind.
What was but moments ago the substance of our life has become memory; what we did must now be woven into what we are.

On this day we shall not do,

but be.

We are to walk the path of our humanity, no longer ride unseeing through a world we do not touch and only vaguely sense.
No longer can we tear the world apart to make our fire.
On this day heat and warmth and light must come from deep within ourselves.}

the sacredness of questioning everything. saturday 3.12.10

I've started diving into a book entitled "The Sacredness of Questioning Everything" by David Dark. Read this the other day and agree:

"If we’re more opposed, for instance, to what we take to be bad language and nude scenes and films about gay people than we are to people being blown up, starved to death, deprived of life-saving medicine, or tortured, our offendedness is out of whack. We have yet to understand the nature of real perversion. We aren’t as deeply acquainted with our religion as we might think."

so walk it out. thursday 3.11.10

I've learned the art of walking these past few weeks. Which for most, would believe this occurs around the age of 1. However, I've found that walking can be just what I need when the rest is too much.

There is something so peaceful about stepping outside to just be. No destination. No agenda. Nothing but me and this earth. It is a way for me to give my mind a time-out so my body can embark on a journey. This practice I've realized is more valuable than I once gave it credit for. It's in the silence that my heart speaks; and when my heart speaks I've also learned to take good notes.

I also love how small I feel when walking. Often times, in this world, I feel the need to stand up and make something of myself.....

All the time.

Which, in reality is tiresome. This past weekend I went for a walk barefoot. Best activity I've done in a long time. The earth was crisp yet soft. My toes were sinking into the moist dirt and I realized how young I was because of how old the earth is. Simple concept of course, however,

emotionally refreshing.

My life's stress or worries are short term in the scope of everything. The dirt beneath my toes that most walk on everyday without giving two thoughts about taught me a great lesson.

Tomorrow will come.

Thus, I've learned the art of walking - the art of stopping. breathing. being.

Wash Feet. Eat Food. Wednesday 2.10.2010

Last weekend I visited the Meanwhile with a few friends. As we were leaving, a gentleman in his 40's approached us. "Dear friends, kind people, I'm asking you to help a brother out. I have a favor to ask of you." He stated boldly to a group of 5 strangers. Immediately, one of the guys in the group responded with "Sorry man, don't carry cash."

We all just. kept. walking.

Everything inside of me said: This is wrong.

I sit here now and wish I would have stopped. Asked him what he needed. (Let me put this out there that if I were alone, I would not stop at night and talk to an older man by myself. I know to put my safety in the forefront of my mind). But truth of the matter is, I wasn't by myself. I was with a group of people that might have been overly capable of helping this man out. Would buying him a sandwich or giving him a few bucks for a bus ticket too much to ask? He was in need. Aren't we all in need?

I keep replaying the story of the Good Samaritan in my mind. In a sense, I was the Levite.

Why as society do we instantly shun those different than us? Why do we instantly assume all men on the streets only want our money to buy drugs? The media portrays the homeless as drunks, stoned, crazy, sick and drug abusers. Which in my opinion is not entirely accurate. Why do we not allow the homeless or even those in need to describe their conditions in their own discourse to provide a more accurate and balanced depiction of themselves?

What would society look like if we gave them a voice?

When it comes right down to it, I'm not so different than the man I encountered on the street that night. It might seem silly to say or blatantly obvious but we have a lot in common actually::

We both wear skin.

We both have beating hearts.

We both breath.

Physical reality is something people can always agree on. I'm sure he was as cold as I was that night.

My body is what connects me most to all other people - as a follower of Christ I'm called to honor the bodies of others the same I do mine. "Love your neighbor as yourself."

If you read the scriptures with this point of view you also see then to love and respect the bodies of lepers, possessed bodies, the widow, the orphan, the homeless. Read from the perspective of the body and Christ ministry was about encountering those whose flesh was discounted by the world in which the lived.

If you look closely at what God taught his people hours before he left the earth it was about flesh. Encountering others.

Wash feet. Eat food.

Concrete ways of being together. Encounters his followers would have to get their hands on. Things that would require us to get close enough to touch one another.

Christ said "DO THIS". Not "Believe this" but "DO THIS, in remembrance of me."

What would society look like if we did "this" in remembrance of Christ? As Daniel Berrigan said "Whose flesh are you touching. Why?"

"Whose flesh are you recoiling from. Why?"

alters. tuesday 2.2.10

When the word alter first comes to mind I immediately travel to the story of Abraham and Isaac. A picture of a father willing to kill his beloved son on an alter they built together. An alter assembled of hand cut wood. An alter used to bring a sacrifice before God. While this image is true, there is more to an alter than my original view.

After doing some reading and diving into discussion about what an alter really is, I've come to a beautiful conclusion::

Alters can be everywhere.

We don't need a burning bush or sacrificial lamb or a place of worship to create an alter. We need to open our eyes to the world right in front of us. The world right below our feet.
The house of God is not four walls. God is in the mountaintops, the crashing waves, the birds singing in the morning sunrise. A child's laugh. The holding of hands. How can we build a structure around such majesty? The church should be a place we come together as a group of believers as a way of reminding us that the whole world is God's house. The house of God stretches from one corner of the universe to the other. Along with people who pray in languages I do not speak, whose names I will never know.

So why do we not stop. Look. And make an alter where we encounter God in our day to day lives. Either a small stone or just taking one minute to acknowledge God's presence.


I can stop what I am doing long enough to see where I am, who I am there with, and how awesome of a place I am in.

Maybe an alter can become a symbol for praising the God who has come to me where I am.

objectified. tuesday 1.26.10

I watched a documentary on objects yesterday and how much goes into the design that we don't even realize. Everything is constructed to make our lives simpler. [Yet it seems to me, the world is getting more and more complicated] One of the designers they interviewed said "I'm always trying to figure out how to take the newest object on the market and make it the 'old thing'." Why is it that we are always wanting something new?

Designers spend their career creating the new objects for only 10% of the worlds population; those who can actually afford them, and yet those 10% are also the ones that already have too much.

When I lived in Bangladesh for three months life was simple. We didn't have [nor want] the luxuries of a western culture. I was able to visit a couple families living in the village outside the orphanage were I was staying. To the western culture they were living in poverty: two room house, running water was a pump shared by 7 other families, just enough food to feed all the mouths but never really an excess, electricity was temperamental. However, they were the happiest, most thankful individuals I have ever met in my entire life. To them they had everything they needed: Family, Love, Food, Shelter. What else would they need?

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to live like that. I'm actually envious if I'm completely honest with myself. I think maybe I would be more appreciative of life if I only had a few things that it were made up of..

However, I know I am blessed. Beyond blessed. I believe God has blessed me for a reason. I believe I'm here and they are there because that's what God wanted. Those families thousands of miles away taught me one of the greatest lesson I've ever learned. To me they are living life fully. I realized that yes I have been blessed so I can be a blessing. I feel that's what I'm called to do. Take what I've been given and give it away.

Blessing others. Loving others.

Life is not about objects.

Fully Alive. Sunday 1.24.10

Most of us spend so much time thinking about where we have been or where we are supposed to be going that we have a hard time recognizing where we actually are when someone asks us where we want to be in our lives, the last thing that occurs to us is to look down at our feet and say 'Here, I guess, since this is where I am'.

What if we really did that? What if we stopped searching for the better and focusing on what could be and focused on what is here and now. Doesn't God promise a lantern unto our path not our entire life at once? A lantern is not a spotlight. What if we as a society had dreams of a better world and worked towards those dreams with feasible steps that are taken right here in front of us?

I'm forming a view on humanity more and more. People are beautiful. God loves them just as they are. Each one, each person you come in contact with has a story. Each one came from God. A beautiful creation made by the creator. I've learned from my religion that encountering another human being is as close to God as I may ever get- in the eye-to-eye thing, the person-to-person thing-which is where God's Beloved has promised to show up.

So what if we stopped thinking and wishing about then and them and started acting on the here, the now, the person in front of me? What if I saw each person I interacted with as an encounter with God? How beautiful the world would be if we stopped, slowed down, and took the time to be. Just be.

I believe the Glory of God is human fully alive. So stop. And be fully alive.

something new. sunday 1.17.10

I’ve never been a blogger before. I’ve followed a few, however, never considered myself a writer even though I enjoy writing, its freeing, relaxing, thought provoking. At times when I feel I can’t speak, I write and the thoughts of my heart fill the page. Over break I began reading a book entitled “An Alter in the World” by Barbara Brown Taylor. In the chapter I finished reading this week she talks about the practice of saying no. The beginning line reads “God is not found in the soul by adding anything but by subtracting”. She goes into the chapter encouraging the act of sabbath and what that truly looks like. It came to my attention that I need that. So this is the start of something new.

I feel I’ve learned a lot about myself in the past year and reading this book opens the door to many thoughts surrounding my faith and who I want to be. By using this blog, I hope to expand on those thoughts and share what I’ve learned with those who care to read. One of the ways I’ve decided to observe sabbath, is I’m putting the world on hold and letting my heart and mind and God speak through writing my thoughts. What I know to be true is God is good and the more I search for him, the more I find my soul at rest and by adopting a sabbath I hope to be renewed and my searching encouraged. I don’t know where I’m being led, but I know and love the one leading me.

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