April 16, 2018
Find tips and resources for self-care, material to assist you in providing pastoral care, and general information to help you in your practice of ministry. Information will be updated every two weeks concurrent with the East Ohio E-news. Archives Here ...
How very good and pleasant it is
when kindred live together in unity!
It is like precious oil upon the head,
running down upon the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down over the collar of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there God commands blessing, ordains eternal life.
Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common.
With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.
There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
This, my friends, is the word of God for the people of God.
The transition to the second half of life moves you from either/or thinking to both/and thinking: the ability to increasingly live with paradox and mystery. You no longer think in terms of win/lose, but win/win. It is a very different mind and strategy for life. In order for this alternative consciousness to become your primary way of thinking, you usually have to experience something that forces either/or thinking to fall apart. Perhaps you hate homosexuality and then you meet a wonderful gay couple. Or you meet a Muslim who is more loving than most of your Christian friends. Or you encounter a young immigrant who doesn’t match your stereotypes at all. Something must break your addiction to yourself and your opinions.
Your first reaction is a struggle: “What do I do now? I don’t like this. I can’t deal with this. I want to go back to my familiar and habitual world.” You know your lesbian daughter is good and you love her and don’t want to reject her. So you ask your minister, “What will I do?” (Hopefully you have a wise, nondual minister!) Inside such “liminal space” is where real change happens, where your self-serving little dualisms must fall apart. It might be called growing up.
Earth Day - Creation Reflects God’s Glory
by Richard Rohr
The universe itself can be understood as the primary revelation of the divine. —Thomas Berry
The Divine Presence is happening in, through, and amidst every detail of life. . . . [It] penetrates all that exists. Everything in virtue of coming into existence is in relationship to this Source. —Thomas Keating
Christians have gotten ourselves into a muddle by not taking incarnation and creation as the body of God seriously. As theologian Sallie McFague writes, “Salvation is the direction of creation, and creation is the place of salvation.” All is God’s place, which is our place, which is the only and every place.
I hope that our very suffering now, our crowded presence in this nest that we have largely fouled, will bring us together politically and religiously. The Earth and its life systems, on which we all entirely depend, still have the potential to convert us to a universal maturity. We all breathe the same air and drink the same water. There are no Native, Hindu, Jewish, Christian, or Muslim versions of the universal elements. The periodic table is the same in every country, or as Shakespeare and musician Mandisa expressed it, we all bleed the same. Animals do not care whether they are on the Mexican or the American side of our delusional wall.
Creation is the Body of God
Richard Rohr quoting Sallie McFague
This week I’m drawing from several theologians and spiritual teachers I respect. I hope these introductions will inspire you to seek out their work and learn more! Today I offer Sallie McFague’s (b. 1933) excellent model of creation as God’s body. I could never say it as well as she does:
[This model of the universe as the body of God invites] . . . us to do something that Christians have seldom done: think about God and bodies. What would it mean, for instance, to understand sin as the refusal to share the basic necessities of survival with other bodies? to see Jesus of Nazareth as paradigmatic of God’s love for bodies? to interpret creation as all the myriad forms of matter bodied forth from God and empowered with the breath of life, the spirit of God? to consider ourselves as inspirited bodies profoundly interrelated with all other such bodies and yet having the special distinction of shared responsibility with God for the well-being of our planet? Such a focus causes us to see differently, to see dimensions of the relation of God and the world that we have not seen before.
. . . Incarnation (the belief that God is with us here on this earth) [goes] beyond Jesus of Nazareth to include all matter. God is incarnated in the world. . . . [This] suggests that God is closer to us than we are to ourselves, for God is the breath or spirit that gives life to the billions of different bodies that make up God’s body. But God is also the source, power, and goal of everything that is, for the creation depends utterly upon God. . . .
What postmodern science is telling us—that the universe is a whole and that all things, living and nonliving, are interrelated and interdependent—has been, for most of the world’s history, common knowledge. That is, people living close to the land and to other animals as well as to the processes that support the health of the land and living creatures have known this from their daily experience. We, a postindustrial, urbanized people, alienated from our own bodies and from the body of the earth, have to learn it, and most often it’s a strange knowledge. It is also strange because for the past several hundred years at least, Christianity, and especially Protestant Christianity, has been concerned almost exclusively with the salvation of individual human beings, (primarily their “souls”), rather than with the liberation and well-being of the oppressed, including not only oppressed human beings, body and soul (or better, spirit), but also the oppressed earth and all its life-forms.
In the model of the universe as God’s body, not only does postmodern science help us understand the unity and diversity of the body in liberating ways, but divine embodiment makes sacred all embodiment: neither perspective alone is as rich as both together.
Find Your Meditation Style with these 7 Practices
by Amanda Mascarelli
Sorting through meditation styles can be a lot like sifting through yoga-class schedules when you are a new practitioner.
“Especially in the West, meditation practices get mixed and hybrids emerge,” explains Dunne. (Think: Hot Vinyasa Flow, Power Yin, Ashtanga-inspired, etc.) Even in India, the birthplace of meditation, there isn’t just one word for the practice, says Dunne. On a fundamental level, all meditation aims to consciously cultivate the mind, but not all styles are right for everyone. If a mindfulness practice doesn’t resonate with you, here are some other common techniques that may be more suited to your personality and point in life.
On Easter and Suffering
Blog post by Kate Bowler
A poor carpenter from Nazareth was put to death this week, died, was buried, and rose from the dead.
Even though Christians do a lot of thinking and talking about tombs on Easter weekend, the story does not end there. It might be the most dramatic element – on the other side, nothing will be the same – but it is still the not-quite-ending the story. Death cannot define a life. As Paul Kalanithi said, “A death is not the sum of a life. A sum of a life is the sum of a life.”
This week was one of intense reflection and gratitude for what we learn at the cross. Suffering is not an affront to God. And I re-learn that every day that I watch others step into the darkness of the Lenten journey and march deliberately toward Easter. As I said in my interview with NBC’s Anne Thompson and the Today Show, you keep adding to the sum of my life, and I see the face of God in you. You are Christ’s hands and feet.
Because of you, and because of Easter, my faith isn’t dependent on whether or not everything in my life works out.
Everything happens. Period.
Everything can happen. Anything could happen.
As Toban so perfectly said in his most grounding casual-wisdom, “What happened to Jesus and the disciples? How can I look at that and expect nothing bad will ever happen to me?”
Everything happened. Life became death. Death became life. A suffering endured; suffering endures.
There are some times in the Christian year where leaning into the mystery of faith makes more sense than trying to find new words. So, I offer you all this blessing by Jan Richardson on the mystery of Christ’s resurrection, and carrying an empty tomb forward into our lives. With openness. With hesitation. With all of it.
For Easter Day
You had not imagined
that something so empty
could fill you
and now you carry
like an awful treasure
or like a child
that curls itself
within your heart:
how the emptiness
will bear forth
a new world
you cannot fathom
but on whose edge
So why do you linger?
You have seen,
and so you are
You have been seen,
and so you are
There is no other word
There is simply
There is simply
-Jan Richardson, from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Season
Monthly Live Online Spiritual Practice Groups are being provided by East Ohio United Methodist Program in Pastoral Care and Counseling using ZOOM. The ZOOM format is very easily used by just responding to an invitation email and following the links; no subscription or downloads needed. These groups will be limited to 8-10 participates and will be added as they are populated. Current groups are meeting 1st Thursdays at 1:00 p.m. and 2nd Thursdays at 2:00 p.m.
The purpose of these groups is to create space for our souls to be nurtured by exploring a variety of spiritual experiences, spending time in meditation and through the fellowship and encouragement of other sojourners. We use the term “Practice” to indicate that these are groups engaged in the practice of spiritual formation.Please contact the Office of Pastoral Care for any questions and to be added to one of the groups. Phone: 330-456-0486. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Program in Pastoral Care and Counseling encourages the spiritual formation of our pastors believing a strong spiritual base is the greatest resource a church leader can possess. It helps us weather the many storms of ministry and deepens the incredible joys ministry provides. Following is a list of Spiritual Directors in our area. We encourage you to take advantage of this rich resource. This listing will appear in each edition of our bi-monthly webpage updates and new names and contact information will be provided as we learn of them and have permission to include them. If you are a director or know of a director that is not included here please let us know.
Debbie Baker - email@example.com
Bruce Batchler-Glader – firstname.lastname@example.org
Harry Finkbone - Finkbone1@gmail.com
Joyce Gordon - email@example.com
Karen Hollingsworth - firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Nau – email@example.com
Hazel Partington – lakehavenministries.com
Jennifer Olin-Hitt – firstname.lastname@example.org
Judy Ringler -- email@example.com
Sharon Seyfarth Garner – firstname.lastname@example.org
Valerie Stultz - email@example.com
Carol Topping - firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura Tradowsky -- email@example.com
Laurie Tucker - firstname.lastname@example.org
An Intentional Midlife with Cheryl Richardson
by Rabbi Rami
Awakening to the realities of midlife and living without regret.
Rabbi Rami talks with Cheryl Richardson about a revelation she had on her 50th birthday, the fragility of mortality, and her new book
Waking Up in Winter - the book.
If you have any questions or issues you would like for us to address or would like to get email alerts when new resources have been posted please contact Howard Humphress at email@example.com or use our quick contact form.
Or contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 330-456-0486.
The East Ohio Conference Pastoral Care Office:
1445 Harrison Avenue NW · Suite 301
Canton, Ohio 44708
Toll Free: 866-456-3600
Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
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