Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Category: Food For Thought, Wednesday’s Notes

Food for Thought: What Do Words Mean? June 19, 2019

Food for Thought: What Do Words Mean? June 19, 2019

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

Please note that we will be having our monthly potluck next week on July 26th, a time to eat and spend some time together.

Reference was made to this article by Isaac Asimov, entitled the “Relativity of Wrong.”  https://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/RelativityofWrong.htm

What do Words Mean?

Love.    How do we know what love is?

Do we need more precision? (It was mentioned that Greek has five words, and our word can reference anything from hot dogs to mothers!)

Is a precise definition in terms of chemical and electric responses in the brain enough to define it? Why do we seem to believe that it is something more? Is that a delusion?

For that matter, what about other emotions? Are these the result of the evolutionary need for survival and nothing more?

 “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” ― Dr. Seuss

 “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” –MLK

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” –Elie Weisel

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ― Lao Tzu

 

 Truth.  

What would a definition of truth look like? Would it fill an entire book or set of books? Would that be enough?  

 What are we looking for when we search for truth? Would we know it if we came upon it?

  Haven’t we known it in portions at least before? How did we know?

What is meant by “my truth”? Is that an altogether bad idea? Is that an altogether good idea?

“The reason I talk to myself is because I’m the only one whose answers I accept.”  ― George Carlin

 “The truth.” Dumbledore sighed. “It is a beautiful and terrible thing and should therefore be treated with great caution.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” ― Joe Klaas, Twelve Steps to Happiness

 “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”  ― Mahatma Gandhi

Food for Thought: Truth in Love, June 12, 2019

Food for Thought: Truth in Love, June 12, 2019

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

Truth in Love

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -the Declaration of Independence

Self-evident:    This means that we accept these truths as-is, with no need to establish them from the outside with evidence each time we begin a debate or discussion.

And from these “self-evident” truths, a foundation for Independence at the time is derived—and a foundation for an ongoing developing understanding of liberty and equality.

I think that any system of belief has some “truths” that are accepted as foundational—as “self-evident”.  “We are going to accept these as fundamental and build on them, not re-hashing them every time we begin.”

What a task to come up with THOSE!

Can our “self-evident” truths (within a belief system) be false? (of course) One can SINCERELY BELIEVE a falsehood. (Am I willing to accept that I too am capable of this?)

How do we test those without bringing the entire house down? (in any belief system—religious or otherwise)

I see Jesus questioning things that were not supposed to be questioned.

St. Paul seems to have believed that some truth about God was “self-evident”

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

            The things that have been made are wonderful enough to not only imply, but prove, a Creator.

Yet many an intelligent and sincere philosopher would disagree!

           

Bertrand Russel: What is Truth? 

            Three requisites (requirements, necessary items) for a theory of truth

  • It must allow truth to have an opposite, namely falsehood
  • It makes truth a property of beliefs (not simply facts)
  • But that property is completely dependent upon the relation of beliefs to outside things (the truth of a belief ‘always depends on something which lies outside of the belief itself; a correspondence between belief and fact)

“We know that on very many subjects different people hold different and incompatible opinions; hence some beliefs must be erroneous. Since erroneous beliefs are often held just as strongly as true beliefs, it becomes a difficult question how they are to be distinguished from true beliefs.

Kantian Ethics and categorical imperatives:

            I have been asked to do several weeks without big words, so I apologize! It just means something like this:  It is ALWAYS wrong to lie, and you cannot make an exception based on consequences.

             Do we have examples of when lying is more in line with “the Truth” than not lying?

 What does truth look like in community?

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.  Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil.  Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4)

 Truth in relationship, in community

What makes woodsEnd a place where you feel comfortable saying what you honestly think or believe?

What makes woodsEnd a place where you do NOT feel comfortable doing so?

For that matter, is there a LOVING way to be your authentic self, and is there an UNLOVING way to do so?

How does one practically “put away falsehood”? Can you identify “falsehood” in yourself?

How do these work against truth?       Anger, corrupting talk (?), bitterness, malice

How do these work with truth?            Kindness, tender-heartedness, forgiveness

 

What is the role of healthy boundaries? (things you are not allowed to know about me, places you may not inquire)

 

Food for Thought: The Universal Christ with Father Richard Rohr. June 5, 2019

Food for Thought: The Universal Christ with Father Richard Rohr. June 5, 2019

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

Here is a link to the video that was the foundation for our discussion on Wednesday night.   It is an interview that Oprah Winfrey did with Father Richard Rohr on his book, The Universal Christ.

http://www.oprah.com/own-super-soul-sunday/father-richard-rohr-the-universal-christ

 

Food for Thought: Twenty Questions (four or five of them at least), May 15, 2019

Food for Thought: Twenty Questions (four or five of them at least), May 15, 2019

Notes composed and discussion facilitated by Pastor Bryan Hackett.

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

Twenty Questions (four or five of them at least)

  1. What does it mean to live in the present moment? (mindfulness)

Jesus:                           Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Thich Nhat Hanh:        Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.

Buddha:                       As you walk, eat, and travel, be where you are.

Woody Allen:              What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet.

 

  1. How does one obtain true peace?

Lao Tzu:                    When there is no desire, all things are at peace. (very Buddhist)

                                    Let it be still, and it will gradually become clear.

The Bible:                 Be still and know that I am God. (Is God known better in the stillness rather than the activity of the mind?)

Jesus:                         My peace I give you.

                                    Do not think that I came to bring peace, but a sword.

Douglas Adams:     He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher… or, as his wife would have it, an idiot.

 

3.  What is our greatest distraction?

Jesus:                           And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Ramana Maharshi:       Think of God; attachments will gradually drop away. If you wait till all desires disappear before starting your devotion and prayer, you will have to wait for a very long time indeed.

Ray Bradbury:             The Internet is a big distraction.

 

4.   What is the greatest quality humans possess?

Socrates:                      There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.

St. Paul                        There are three things that endure: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.

Jesus                            No greater love has anyone than this: that he should lay down his life for his friends.

Lao Tzu:                      Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. 

Blaise Pascal:             The greatness of man is great in that he knows himself to be wretched. A tree does not know itself to be wretched.

Also: The greatness of man lies in his power of thought.

 Douglas Adams:          A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

Food for Thought: For Goodness’ Sake

Food for Thought: For Goodness’ Sake

Notes composed and discussion facilitated by Pastor Bryan Hackett.

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

For Goodness’ Sake

I woke up thinking about “the good”, and something George has said a few times—that he looks for “the good, the true, and the beautiful”.  What is good? In particular, what is moral goodness? What is virtue? Why is real justice so elusive?

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

The Ten Commandments:

You shall have no other Gods but me.

You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it.

You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.

You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy.

Respect your father and mother.

You must not commit murder.

You must not commit adultery.

You must not steal.

You must not give false evidence against your neighbor.

You must not be envious of your neighbor’s goods. You shall not be envious of his house nor his wife, nor anything that belongs to your neighbor.

 

Other codes were developed like The Code of Hammurabi, in pursuit of “the good” or “the just”

Hammurabi ruled from 1792 to 1750 BC according to the Middle chronology. In the preface to the law, he states, “Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak; so that I should rule over the black-headed people like Shamash, and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind.” On the stone slab are 44 columns and 28 paragraphs that contained 282 laws. Some of these laws follow along the rules of “an eye for an eye”.

 Women could also receive punishments that their male counterparts would not, as men were permitted to have affairs with their servants and slaves, whereas married women would be harshly punished for committing adultery. (Wikipedia)

Two lessons of the law in the Bible

-If you have broken one, you are guilty of the whole thing

-The law fails to bring about justice (goodness), and only acts as a restraint

Jesus and the woman caught in adultery: Why this story is central to my vision of wE. (no stones to throw)

  • It represents, for me, the heart of Jesus
  • He must subvert the law to achieve genuine goodness (like many of his followers since)

Then each of them went home, while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.  Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them.  The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.  Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”  They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground.  When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.  Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”

Stoning:          Social ostracization taken to its limit

Nobody was guilty of the actual murder: “I only threw a stone”

With social ostracization, no one person is guilty of the dehumanizing, murderous rejection or hate—each has their reason for the personal choice to exclude.

Jesus instead subverts the “mob mentality” that the law prescribes and turns the exclusion on to the accusers. (It perplexes me that Paul later prescribes such ostracization, though he does say “bring him back before it kills him” in the next letter.)

I think that Jesus really has to struggle towards the good here—it cannot be simply “yep, that is what the Bible says. Go ahead and stone her!”

The people who come “packing the heat” of Scripture feel very justified in their cause.   But the good has totally eluded them.

While the people who feel the injustice struggle, perhaps writing in the sand and reaching for what they know must be the good, even when scripture seems to say otherwise.

Bartolome de las Casas was a young priest who came with Columbus to conquer Cuba, and became a vehement critic of Spanish cruelty (https://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/zinncol1.html)

Endless testimonies . .. prove the mild and pacific temperament of the natives…. But our work was to exasperate, ravage, kill, mangle and destroy; small wonder, then, if they tried to kill one of us now and then…. The admiral, it is true, was blind as those who came after him, and he was so anxious to please the King that he committed irreparable crimes against the Indians…. 

The equality of women was noted by Las Casas, as was the absence of lust.

Marriage laws are non-existent men and women alike choose their mates and leave them as they please, without offense, jealousy or anger. They multiply in great abundance; pregnant women work to the last minute and give birth almost painlessly; up the next day, they bathe in the river and are as clean and healthy as before giving birth. If they tire of their men, they give themselves abortions with herbs that force stillbirths, covering their shameful parts with leaves or cotton cloth; although on the whole, Indian men and women look upon total nakedness with as much casualness as we look upon a man’s head or at his hands.

Point: Their pagan culture had achieved “the good” in very different, but workable, ways.

Food for Thought: Socratic Humility and Jesus, May 1, 2019

Food for Thought: Socratic Humility and Jesus, May 1, 2019

Notes composed and discussion facilitated by Pastor Bryan Hackett.

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

Socratic Humility—Is it Christian too?

“True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” (Socrates, as reported by Plato)

 Plato wrote about him. Socrates “went around talking to people”

“When told that the Oracle of Delphi had revealed to one of his friends that Socrates was the wisest man in Athens, he responded not by boasting or celebrating, but by trying to prove the Oracle wrong.”

By asking questions to expose ignorance in a quest for true wisdom.

Socrates seemed to think that the people around him could help him acquire the knowledge he so desperately wanted—even though they were handicapped by the illusion that they already knew it.  Indeed, I believe that their ill-grounded confidence was precisely what drew Socrates to them.  If you think you know something, you will be ready to speak on the topic in question.  You will hold forth, spout theories, make claims.  And that, combined with Socrates’ relentless questioning, is a recipe for actually acquiring the knowledge you had previously deluded yourself into thinking you already had.  Socratic Humility, Agnes Collard, July 3, 2018

“…handicapped by the illusion that they already knew it” This is probably my core answer to the questions, “Why mystery? Why unknowing?” I have seen that handicap, lived it, spouted it out. Ignorance is bliss. Unknowing is terrifying.

Relentless questioning: “a recipe for actually acquiring the knowledge you had previously deluded yourself into thinking you already had.”

Jesus is the Question—I wish I had thought of the book title!

Contrary to some common assumptions, Jesus is not the ultimate Answer Man, but more like the Great Questioner. In the Gospels Jesus asks many more questions than he answers. To be precise, Jesus asks 307 questions. He is asked 183 of which he only answers 3. Asking questions was central to Jesus’ life and teachings. In fact, for every question he answers directly he asks—literally—a hundred.

Confronting the Pharisees (well-regarded religious leaders of the day) “illusion that they already knew”

Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”  Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?”  Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.

Helping us confront the illusion that we already know…

“This is why I speak to [people] in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.”

Parables have the power to overturn religious (and other) certainties, to disrupt and disturb a comfortable and confident worldview.

At one point, just before his death, the disciples expressed a relief of great frustration that he was finally “speaking plainly” and not in figures of speech (parables, metaphors, etc.)

Even then he indicated that they did not know what they thought they knew!

Food for Thought: Descent, April 17, 2019

Food for Thought: Descent, April 17, 2019

Notes composed and discussion facilitated by Pastor Bryan Hackett.

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

Descent

Become like children:

At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.  Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.” 

Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

I would suggest that the ego, the false self, is incapable, for he is hell-bent on ascent. However, this is completely natural for the true self. She knows how, for she learned it as a child before anything else took place.

Shadow work: Descent into grief; honesty with sadness, fear, and anger. (“liminal space”)

Because we have avoided liminal space, we have created a very smug and middle-class kind of Christianity that has little wisdom or compassion to offer the world today.

In liminal space we sometimes need to not-do and not-perform according to our usual successful patterns. We actually need to fail, fast, and deliberately falter to understand other dimensions of life. We need to be silent instead of talking, experience emptiness instead of fullness, anonymity instead of persona, and pennilessness instead of plenty. In liminal space, we descend and intentionally do not come back out or up immediately.

From Sunday: “You must fall through fear into love.”

 Notre Dame: Cross still stands. Tragedy unites a city, even the world for a moment. A very real “descent” for Holy week.

Liturgy: It can’t be carried alone

  • Bell is rung for a moment of silence
  • Reading: Lamentations 3:1-20 with reflection
  • Grief ritual
    • “I am sad that…” Response: “We hear you”
    • “I fear that…” Response: “We hear you”
    • “I am angry that…” Response: “We hear you”
    • Call and response:

Call (Bryan):                           Take pity on me, God, I am in trouble.

Response (everyone):              My life is worn out with sorrow.

  • Reading: Luke 23:27-33 with reflection
  • Bell is rung three times for a closing prayer sit
  • Prayer for healing and forgiveness

 

Food For Thought: One Suchness, April 10, 2019

Food For Thought: One Suchness, April 10, 2019

Notes composed and discussion facilitated by Pastor Bryan Hackett.

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

One “Suchness”

And perhaps a little about death.

 VIDEO: Alan Watts, You’re It. (Link to the video is at the bottom of the post)

Some of the same idea I think is being conveyed with the Universal Christ, from a Buddhist perspective.   Alan Watts grew up Christian (“Muscular Christian”—yes, sadly, a very real thing), became an Episcopal Priest, and then left to study in Eastern schools of philosophy and theology.  

“In this universe, there is one great energy, and we have no name for it.”  If you are willing and able, resist the initial urge to say, “YES WE DO!” (Or, perhaps, “what a bunch of crap!”)  

And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.”  Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.

From this came the deeply Hebrew tradition of not speaking the name of God.  Some of the mystics have said that the “YHWH” spelling is the sound of breathing—something we all “speak” continually. A nameless, inherent energy of life.  SO, even when we give a name to it or a part of it, we are supposed to remember the nameless-ness.

The Tao which can be defined is not the real Tao  

“When people say ‘God the Father Almighty’, most people feel funny inside”. Do you think the entity in the burning bush is aware of the pitfalls that come with the name that Moses asks for?  

One “suchness”: Ten thousand functions, ten thousand things, one suchness.  I will leave the rest of the video for our community discussion. I hesitate to direct further.

Preview YouTube video You’re It – Alan Watts

Food for Thought: Sampler Platter, April 3, 2019

Food for Thought: Sampler Platter, April 3, 2019

Notes composed and discussion facilitated by Pastor Bryan Hackett.

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

Sampler Platter

Conferences, Life, and People

I have what feels like a smattering of ideas for tonight, and we can talk all around them, or land on one of them.

The Universal Christ: General idea and favorite thoughts…

“A merely personal God becomes tribal and sentimental, and a merely universal God never leaves the realm of abstract theory and philosophical principles…together, Jesus and Christ give us a God who is both personal and universal.”

Christ as another name for everything. Christ as the blueprint, existing in the beginning with god, long before the man, Jesus, came on the scene.

Jesus as a “female soul in a male body”—if that is too much for you, that is ok. I appreciate the idea that Jesus represents the fulness of god, and both male and female are created in that image. (I also think of myself this way, at least partially)

Jesus became Christ. And the indicator of the Bible is that we become as well. (without taking away his special place as “only begotten son”)

                        Christ in you, the hope of glory.

                        Doesn’t the scripture say, “you are gods”? (Jesus)

Dedication in Richard’s book: I dedicate this book to my beloved fifteen-year-old black Lab, Venus, whom I had to release to God while beginning to write this book. Without any apology, or fear of heresy, I can appropriately say that Venus was also Christ for me.

            PanENtheism—god in everything. (versus ‘everything is God’)

Most impacting moments:

  • Easter liturgy and anointing the rock. And the rock was Christ. Christ christening Christ continually.
  • Liminal Space—unknowing and discomfort. Surprising sense of violence in my heart.

We were told to think of three times in our lives that we could identify as “liminal space” (for tonight’s purposes, a time of great transition). The 3 I identified had a feeling of violent transition. Like in Macbeth, which I have not read since high school.

Macbeth led a “charmed” life because “no man of woman born” could harm him.

Macduff was from his mother’s womb untimely ripped.

The Conference: Things that bothered me

  • Forced interaction. Probably because of my introversion. Maybe good for me to be uncomfortable. IDK
  • “You MUST become an activist like me!”—seemed contradictory to “Be still and know that I am God”
  • I don’t want to see this paradigm-shifting idea (the Universal Christ) become trendy Christianity. It felt that way sometimes. “We are the ‘woke’ Christians”
  • Selfies with Richard and others—the line went on for over an hour, from one end of a huge conference hall to the other. I could stand to be less cynical and more understanding.
  • Holy “disappointment” and John Dominic Crossan—again, probably personal. It just felt like he was pushing the idea too hard. (I do like the book)





Food for Thought: Little Children, March 20, 2019

Food for Thought: Little Children, March 20, 2019

Notes composed and discussion facilitated by Pastor Bryan Hackett.

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

Little Children

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children…”

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Three things to share as a basis for discussion:

  1. St. Therese of Lisieux: The Little Way
  • A “spirituality of imperfection”
  • I draw God’s love towards me
  • Useless labor of a child at a staircase
  • The “slow work of God”—Tielhard de Chardin and Patient Trust (on reverse)
  • Rohr, You are not that Important, great love and great suffering
  • Authentic prayer is always a journey into love
  • The path of suffering is the quicker path to transformation
  • The male psyche is, by nature, defended

Prayer of Teilhard de Chardin

Patient Trust

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.