I have only recently discovered Derek Sivers . . . I love the way this guy sees life. Peace, dwight
Posts Tagged ‘ questions ’
Beginning with our next gathering, we are going to look afresh at some of the central questions of life. If you have some issues or questions you are considering or you’d like to guide us in, post your replyt here.
Some of the things I’m considering are:
- What is a good life?
- Do I really need to be a Christian and what does that mean?
- What does it mean to forgive and what role does memory play in forgiveness?
- What does God hope/want for/from humanity?
- What are sin & holiness?
Sunday 1/14/07 from 4:00-6:00 pm, in Bellevue, WA. Email for directions.
“Nobody sees a flower – really –
it is so small – and to see takes time
like having a friend takes time.”
— Georgia O’Keefe
Many contradictory images of the Sacred exist in our culture, presenting many possible faces of God to the world. Some, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, stand silently holding up their Watchtower magazines in the hope that you’ll be interested. Others carry signs or wear placards, filled with homespun theology in hand lettering. And then there are the screamers. Sometimes with an open Bible in their hands, at other times with nothing more than an accusing finger pointed at the passersby, the screaming evangelists holler at the people on the sidewalk about hell and damnation and the certainty of the wrath of God. And even though no one seems to notice, I always wonder what kind of subconscious imprinting we are all getting about the idea that God is wrathful and enraged.
It’s not just the sidewalk preachers. Televangelists, authors, pastors, revival leaders, and many other figures in our world seem to emphasize God’s fury and anger. Especially in the south where the combination of poverty and conservative evangelicalism has created a grim world here and a more grim world to come, the possibility of God as unloving seems all too real.
Of course, the wrathful God is by no means the only image of God we have. Jesus spoke lovingly of God as ‘daddy,’ the adoring parent who yearns to give good things to his children. Julian of Norwich rounded out that image by proclaiming the motherhood of the Sacred in a book filled with poetic insights into the nature of Divine love. The New Testament author who wrote the Letters of John said it most simply: “God is Love.” (First John 4).
I am convinced that we can choose which image of God, and which theology — in other words, which way of talking about God — seems the most true and right to us. To choose the wrathful and angry God is to choose a world where obedience and placating are the supreme virtues, where the job of human beings is to be docile and submissive. Unfortunately, such a choice not only is psychologically crippling to individuals, but it also creates the kind of world where the abuse of power can take place, whether the abuser is a despotic political leader, a money-hungry pastor, or a controlling parent. I find it hard to believe that a good God would want to relate to us in such a life-diminishing way.
The other choice is to believe in the love of God, despite the haranguings of conservative religion and despite the fears and anxieties that sometimes overwhelm life. To choose belief in a loving God is to choose a world where intimacy and celebration are the supreme virtues, where the purpose of human life is to live fully, creatively, and compassionately. This choice is psychologically liberating, for a loving God is a God who celebrates our ability to make wise choices (even if God does not “let us off the hook” when we make poor choices — another sign of love, incidentally!). Furthermore, if God loves me and you, then God loves all people, which means that a loving God is a God who takes a radical stand for peacemaking, nonviolence, social and economic justice, and dignity for all persons, regardless of race, gender, creed, or sexual orientation.
So how can I be sure God loves me? Choose to encounter the Divine Love, and you will soon be overwhelmed by the evidence of Him in your life. You’ll see the love of God in the sunrise and the sunset, in the eyes of babies and old people and homeless people and loved ones, in the playfulness of children and pets and the seriousness of people everywhere trying to make a better world. Say “I believe in the love of God” today, and every day, and soon the day will come when you wonder how you ever could have doubted!
Last of all… the surest way to find the love of God is to choose to love God. Give your heart to the source of love and light at the center of all things. Give your ability to love to the silent presence who watches you and accepts you no matter how “good” or “bad” you are. Open yourself up to the mystery of existence that extends before birth and beyond death. Relationships, after all, are mutual matters, and to the extent I open myself up to love God, to that same extent I open myself to receive Divine love. As Meister Eckhart said, “The eye with which I see God is the eye with which God sees me.” What goes for the eye goes for the heart.
The heart with which I love God is the heart with which God loves me.
I am looking for the book and page number where I can find the following quotes, so how I lost them. Would anyone be able to help me out?
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The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. Carl G. Jung
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Because each existence is in constant change, there is no abiding self. Shunryn Suzuki
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Die before ye die. Muhammad
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You need chaos within,
to give birth to a dancing star. Friedrich Nietzsche
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In the absence of epistemology what we are left with is hermeneutics. Richard Rorty
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“The church, like Peter, is both a stumbling block and a cornerstone.
It is the latter only when it is consciously contrite
for being, and having been, the former.”
— Gil Baile
I can only provide a personal answer to this question.
I am devoted to Christian spiritual direction, however, it is my conviction that:
- To enter the spiritual life, a person needs to deeply plumb the depths of his or her chosen path, with integrity and fidelity and healthy/appropriate response,
- The spiritual life requires good-will, dialogue, and a spirit of learning and appreciation between members/adherents of different traditions.
This plays out very specifically in my life. I am a Christian — a Post-Protestant Post-Evangelical, active in Quest, a Christ-commons in metro-Seattle. I am also committed to interfaith dialogue, and regularly participate in the practices of other traditions. I am especially indebted to Buddhism and Neo-paganism an Celtic faith as helpful guides in my own journey.
I know for some people this may raise deep and disturbing theological questions. I do not try to reconcile all the theological and philosophical differences between the different faiths I explore. Rather, I seek learn from the strengths of each with the understanding that all truth is ultimately God’s truth. I make it my goal to trust God to lead me to recognize spiritually valuable lessons and practices wherever I may find them.
I see no contradiction between loving Christ and learning from other traditions, as long as those traditions do not ask me to renounce my allegiance to Christ or to participate in any unjust or unloving behavior.
I believe that my sincere willingness to engage in dialogue differing traditions has strengthened my love for Christ and has deepened my Christian faith, making my faith more alive, more vibrant with a sense of God’s love and awe for Him.
So back to the question at hand. May people who do not define themselves as Christians explore the process of Spiritual Direction? The answer is yes. Spiritual Direction is for anyone who wishes to enter into a deepening, love-centered relationship with the Holy. So I’ve written these pages as a gift to all people, Christian and others alike. For Christians, it will have the familiarity of their home path. For those of other traditions, I hope these pages will speak to Divine love in a way that is useful and applicable to spirituality in a universal and inclusive way — and I hope “non-Christians” will appreciate learning about a beautiful aspect of Christianity.
I offer this introduction to Spiritual Direction with no attempt to “water it down” or to make it less Christian. It’s a Christian process, arising out of the beauty of two thousand years of mystical and contemplative tradition. Many people have been wounded by Christianity, and those persons may find the Christ-language in this web-site threatening. I am sorry, and I wish healing for all who have been abused by unloving Christians. Watering down this introduction to Spiritual Direction would not necessarily help persons wounded by Christianity find what they really need, which is a way to connect to Divine healing that works for them — whether that connection is Christian or not.
I know that Christ is the God of Love, and I offer this specifically Christian process to all who are able to discern the love within — whether their home path is Christianity, or some other tradition devoted to the heart of Divine Love.
All are welcome here!
To say that the internet is changing web of life in an understatement. The once, assumed claim that Americans are largely isolated individuals is certainly being emailed, IM ‘ed, live-journaled, blogged, gamed, webbed, surfed into new territory. Tim Bedner’s “We Know More Than Our Pastors: Why Bloggers Are the Vanguard of the Participatory Church” illustrates one facet of this transition.
I wonder if the the web would have ever come into being if the Western world was not as individualistic?
Further, I would love to see a sociological study on the impact of the internet on highly connected social cultures. If anyone knows of such a study, I’d be interested.