Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sushi at the Edge of Comfort

Maybe you can relate? I really like this recent article in Relevant Magazine. (OK I’m biased towards anything that underscores the importance of community and friendship. I simply see too much loneliness and,often, too little hospitality– too little relationship.) The Body of Christ – even as a gathered community – can, at times, be one of the loneliest points on the planet. And, this should not be so. Anyway, enjoy the following excerpt. It’s not profound but it is certainly worth the read. ( If you want to check out the entire article, click here.)

Living in community awakens new desires and needs within us that we never knew existed. I never knew that I needed to coexist with others until I made an effort to choose community. I never knew I had a desire to live life alongside others until I forced myself to get out of the house and roll the dice. The choice has to start with us, no matter how lonely or isolated we feel. We choose community and then the beautiful thing is that, in turn, community chooses us. It’s a risky bite of something strange that could lead to a great reward with every attempt.

Sharing life with others also takes us to the very edge of our comfort zones and then lovingly pulls us over that edge time and time again. And so we begin to let our guard down in the foyer as we talk about life with people we’ve just met. We begin to call our friends when we need a ride to the airport without feeling like we’re an inconvenience. We show up for board game night, even though we feel like a deer in headlights when we have to read anything aloud or act anything out. Because there’s something healing and gravitational about sharing space with others, even if the trek is a bit clumsy.

God Bless.

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Saturday, September 17, 2005

A Dilgent Search Put Into Practice

May your Spirit, O Christ, lead me in the right way, keeping me safe from all forces of evil and destruction. And, free from all malice, may I search diligently in your Holy Word to discover with the eyes of my mind your commandments. Finally, give me the strength of will to put those commandments into practice through all the days of my life. --Bede (673-735)

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Putting Precepts into Practice

Lord, inspire us to read your Scriptures and meditate on them day and night. We beg you to give us real understanding of what we need, that we may in turn put its precepts into practice. Yet we know that understanding and good intentions are worthless, unless rooted in your graceful love. So we ask that the words of Scriptures may also be not just signs on page, but channels of grace into our hearts.--Origen of Alexandria (c.186-254)

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Saturday, September 03, 2005

"Keep your hands up, and throw more."

I came across this article a while back. It is worth the read. In the work environment, in parenting, in discipleship, and etc. it is a good reminder that our aim, in love, is developing others and not mastering them. Cheers.

On The Journey Toward Right Use of Power
written by LISA CATALDO

The man in front of me was six feet tall and in his late twenties - much younger than I am - and the gleam in his eye said, "I'm going to hit you." Then he bowed, never taking his eyes from mine. As I bowed back, I glanced at the black belt around his waist and thought of my own recently earned yellow belt. I had been proud of that achievement, but now I wanted to run as fast as I could. What was I thinking? A middle-aged woman should not be wearing boxing gloves and facing off with a young man, protective gear notwithstanding. It isn't dignified. It isn't age-appropriate. It isn't safe. I thought I heard amusement in my teacher's voice when he hit the bell and yelled "Fight!" After the longest two minutes in the world, the bell rang again. We bowed to each other again, and the black belt smiled at me. "You did great. Next time, keep your hands up, and throw more."

I was alive! As I walked home, I realized that I had truly expected to be badly hurt in my first fight. After all, my sparring partner had age, power, and skill to his advantage. I had assumed he would use all of that to its maximum because he could, and because doing so would make him look great in front of the teacher. But instead he challenged me just enough - the punches really landed, and they really hurt, but they were gauged to make me respond, to fight back, to defend myself and learn in the process. There were many other opponents of his skill level, whom he would be glad to fight with all he had, but with me he knew his role was to use his power judiciously to empower me to believe in myself. It was an astounding revelation.

Now, three years later, I am preparing for my own black belt promotion. Now there are many yellow belts who, facing off with me, feel that same fear. Will I hurt them? Will I use my power to make myself look good or to humiliate them? But I have learned at the hands of the best teachers - power is to be used to lead others to new levels of accomplishment and insight. This use of power makes me understand better the power of God, whose "might" is beyond measure but who chooses to be incarnate among us and to share our weakness. God's power is "power-with" and not "power-over," the kind of power that challenges us to respond, to grow into our best selves, and to create with God a world where all are empowered to love, to grow, and to be whole.

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