Thursday, May 19, 2011

Listen to the Music of the Spirit

I have just finished reading this really good book on discernment by David Lonsdale. As a spiritual director I felt like I should know more about discernment. I have now read this book twice. It offers a really good introduction to discernment, both on a daily basis and for the big stuff. He basis this way of making choices on a profound sense of our being loved unconditionally by God, a sense that comes out of regular prayer and reading and reflecting on the scriptures. He explores how good discernment holds together both the affective, in particular whether we are being led to God or away from God, and our head. He also explores the obstacles to good discernment.
This is a really easy to read and informative book which I recommend to any interested in this basic Christian discipline

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Mountain Top

I have been at a meeting of ministry educators in Nelson, well a retreat, led by Justin Duckworth. During the last day we have spent time exploring the exodus story, leaving Egypt and entering the wilderness as a way of exploring our current context as a church. We have been in Egypt. In many ways it has been good, and in others it has been bad. But it is and was known, and comfortable. And now we are leaving Egypt, leaving what is known, and leaving what is comfortable. 

We built Duplo pyramids, each piece with a word on it, each side representing politics, religion, economics or media. So many of those words were negative, which in a sense is an aspect of being in Egypt, we focus so easily on the negative. So much was about the individual, either as individuals or as individual groups, and those individuals protecting what is “theirs” and trying to attain more, be that wealth, power or prestige.
WE were then invited to stand at the Mountain top along with Martin Luther King, to see the promised land, when the kingdom come (and all the colours bleed into one)
My vision is about eh creation of a society where relationships are restored, and we work of the common good. The community is the starting point rather than the individual. It is a society where wealth is seen as a communal rather than the property of the individual, where all have enough and are satisfied with what they have (give us today our daily bread. It is a society where all are treated with dignity no matter their age, gender, race, ability or sexual orientation. It is where the tangata whenua are honoured and treated justly.
So where is the church in all this? Not in the centre! It is where Francis was, where Jesus is, at the edges. We are like yeast, among the community, standing with Christ at the edge, changing the mix, standing  with Christ among the least. We will be communities who gather to encounter the living God, and go out with the crucified and living Christ to live out God’s infinite and generous love among all. We will be marked by justice, mercy and humility.

When we stand on the mountain top we can see the paths, even though you might find it hard to see that path. So as I listened to the others what words did I hear and what paths did I notice?
I like the image of altars scatters among the community that offered
Relationships, within and without. That means changing the language about ourselves and God, to God loves us (not me). It is about developing a big vision for what God is up to, and seeing God at work.  I guess we need to be like Francis and declare our own poverty, to let go for ourselves and to not try to preserve what was ours. Not try to preserve our position, our privilege, our power. To let go. Easy to say, but when my financial viability depends on a stipend that is not so easy to live out. Hmmm.
We finished by looking at the resources we have personally and as a church. What struck me was the power of the “Me” language we use, and the need to reconfigure that to we language.
So here are the resources I thought of:
·      Personally
  • Story of Francis and Clare
  • Prayer
  • Eyes to see and ears to hear
  • Courage to let go
  • Growing sense of who we are and who I am as God’s beloved companions

·        Church resources
  • Those who journey with us. Re-languaging ‘me’ to ‘us’
  • Biblical story.
  • Liturgy
  • Anglican spiritual tradition