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Monday, October 28, 2013

Legs - long, short - or none!

Sitting on a seat above the beach on my morning walk I watched a couple walking with two dogs… I didn't have my camera but one was like this:

And one was like this:

As they walked the man threw long fast balls for the long-legged dog to chase while the woman kept looking behind, encouraging the Dachshund and waiting for him if he was too far behind.

It was a lovely picture of taking care of others whatever pace they can go. It's true (and can be challenging) for all relationships. I was especially thinking of spiritual direction where the "Anam Cara" (Soul Friend) role is to stretch and extend those who are ready to move forward in great strides, and to walk slowly and encouragingly with those whose pace is slower.

And then as a PS - Last night (27th Oct) the TVNZ Sunday programme featured a story of incredible courage, love and optimism for a family where the husband and father had to have all four limbs amputated. So even if your "legs" seem short and your pace slow, be grateful that you have legs of any kind! (If you missed the program me it will be available on TV on Demand but wasn't yet posted when I wrote this.)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


"Wisdom consists in
doing the next thing
that you have to do;
doing it with your whole heart and finding delight in doing it. And in this is
the sense of the sacred.” 

- Helen Luke

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Floating in Grace

The Avowal
As swimmers dare
to lie face to the sky
and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air
and air sustains them,
so would I learn to attain
freefall, and float
into Creator Spirit's deep embrace,
knowing no effort earns
that all-surrounding grace.

                                    -- Denise Levertov

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Suffering and power

A recent daily meditation from Richard Rohr:

"The spirituality behind the Twelve-Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous is a "low Church" approach to evangelization and healing that is probably our only hope in a pluralistic world of over seven billion people. Most of those people are not going to "become Christian" or join our church, which even the Vatican now admits.

Our suffering in developed countries is primarily psychological, relational and addictive: the suffering of people who are comfortable on the outside but oppressed and empty within. It is a crisis of meaninglessness, which leads us to try to find meaning in possessions, perks, prestige and power, which are always outside the self. It doesn't finally work. So we turn to ingesting food, drink or drugs, and we become addictive consumers to fill the empty hole within us.

The Twelve-Step program walks us back out of our addictive society. Like all steps toward truth and Spirit, they also lead downward, which they call sobriety. Bill Wilson and his A.A. movement have shown us that the real power is when we no longer seek, need or abuse our outer power because we have found real power within. They rightly call it our "Higher Power". "

It is the second paragraph that strikes me: "Our suffering... is primarily psychological, relational and addictive: the suffering of people who are comfortable on the outside but oppressed and empty within."
Of course there are other kinds of suffering in "developed countries". But his point is well made. To put the "psychological, relational, addictive" checklist alongside our own suffering may be a wake up call. I was motivated to refresh my memory about what the Twelve Steps are. Click here if you'd like to do the same! I knew that Bill Wilson framed these steps from his Christian perspective and this shines through. And as Rohr says - these steps are now a world-wide guide to a Higher Power available to anyone - whether they call that Power "God" or not. My final thought, having re-read the 12 Steps, is that, if courageously followed, they represent something much more rigorous than many "Christian discipleship" programs!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Reactions to Atheism

I attended the book launch for this book earlier in the week. I was prompted by the fact that three of the authors are members of the church I also belong to and another three are people I know. It certainly seemed like a book I should read! (It is a collection of essays.)
The description on Book Depository is:
"How can one believe in an age of doubt? How can we name the mystery of God in human words? Does nature speak of the glory of God? Does science undermine faith? Is the problem of evil unanswerable? In this volume scientists, theologians, philosophers, as well as a historian and social scientist, take seriously the challenge of knowing and speaking about God in an age of doubt and challenge."

The book launch was a delight! Nine of the essayists were present and each took a couple of minutes to introduce their chapter. They did so with considerable skill and humor. I was definitely intrigued and inspired to read.