Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Circle of Trust

I'm going to Seattle in a couple hours for a Circle of Trust Retreat. Sounds kind of silly maybe, certainly if you have seen the movie "Meet the Parents." I think it sounds kind of cool. My guy Parker Palmer started The Center for Courage and Renewal. He is all about connecting true self and vocation, who we are with what you do. I'm all about that to. Trying to figure it out. It is fun doing this most of the time. Pretty exciting, not knowing exactly what the future holds but believing it is good and exciting. It is frustrating and depressing at times. But not horrible. Maybe puts me in a day funk at the most. So here is the next couple of days: 11 other people I don't know at a retreat center in Federal Way WA. Being in a safe environment where my soul, my self, my inner voice can feel free to speak to me. Hopefully it does. Hopefully I have the ears and heart (courage) to hear. It's not always pleasant news that comes from the inner voice. But it is always good news.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Story

The story of the exodus of Egypt informed Israel of who they were (and are), what they were doing (and are), where they were going, who was leading them there... All the important questions. This was their salvation. Their salvation provided the impetus and framework for them to be who their God was calling them to be. This was the story they lived in and under. To this day millions of Jews celebrate the Passover in remembrance of the slavery and redemption of their ancestors. This story still shapes their identity and peoplehood. I was able to participate in a Passover Seder last night. It was great. And refreshing. It invited me into an amazing story, invited me to let this story become my own and tell me who I am and how I might navigate my existence. Now I know the exodus was a specific historical act and carries great significance as the salvation of Israel in that moment (and today). But it is more. During the Seder I couldn't help but think about the millions of people who are held in slavery and bondage today, just as the Israelites were back then. And when you hear YHWH say that Israel should now be people who welcome and help the alien among them because they used to be aliens and slaves in a foreign land...I couldn't help but think that abolishing slavery now might be of the same importance to God as it was back then. Oppression and slavery of humans has not somehow become a peripheral, secondary concern for the Creator of humanity. YHWH says to Israel (essentially) "you are my people and I have redeemed you from slavery. Now go do the same." Jesus comes saying (essentially) "you know how Israel is the people of YHWH. Well, now all are. Those ancestors freed from slavery are in some way now your ancestors. That story is your story. So act like it. Oh and to show you that I'm serious about this, and that YHWH loves and is inviting all people into this great story, I'm gonna offer all salvation, from yourselves and the destructive stories you can't seem to break free from. You are slaves (to yourselves, to sin, whatever name it might go by) who are supposed to be free. Now live like it." YHWH give me the strength to live like it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Reality: Love it or Leave it?

Reality can be harsh.
The alternative is not living in reality. This certainly feels better most of the time. Maybe acting like someone I am not or faking I can do something I can't or shouldn't do. It's interesting that we call people "insane" or "crazy" who walk down the street talking to themselves, but not people who damage themselves and others around them by being someone they are not and doing something they shouldn't be doing. This is crazy. Our society is insane. At least people with voices in their head rarely do harm to others...I think. And yet we applaud and reward people who strive after some sort of "dream" or ideal kind of life, all the while destroying their own souls and usually those of the people around them. Excuse my language but this is totally f*^!#d up.
I want to live in reality.
In order to take steps toward this I have asked trusted voices in my life to share things with me. Positive and negative. What am I good at? In what contexts do you see me most alive? What are my growth areas? Honestly, the positive feedback is way less helpful than the "constructive criticism." I pretty much know what I am good at and feel pretty good about myself. But when someone offers suggestions in growth areas based on stuff they have seen in real life, in reality, it can be easy to retreat into the dream world. But I won't. Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, but these words of suggested growth have been like food to my soul. Now comes the digestion part. That is not always as easy as the swallowing part for me. But I'm doing it.
I want to live in reality.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Often times it becomes very apparent that I am not as mentally/emotionally/relationally healthy as I think I am. Certainly not as much as I would like to be. The stark reality of my selfishness becomes too obvious. I could just fake like it doesn't exist. Oh wouldn't that be nice. This selfishness makes itself known when you have a child I think. At least it did for me. But it also rears its ugly head at other times in other relationships. And these times it is more difficult to handle because it causes pain to the other person. Of course my sweet little baby doesn't really know that I would rather do my own thing than soothe her crying body by entirely focusing on her (though I really do enjoy doing this most of the time). I don't know, maybe when I let her cry for a while (like at this moment) she is in some sort of emotional pain that I am somehow allowing to happen. But I think her memory is short. Milk soothes her soul. But the other relationships are different. I think the selfishness shows itself in my inability to really get outside of my own perspective and enter into someone elses. I assume the other person is like me. Thinks like me, handles things like me, processes things like me. Fortunately for the world this is not really the case. I mean I like myself, and think I'm doing a good job, but too many of me (or anyone for that matter) and the world would suck. It takes a lot for someone to make me feel bad. I don't get hurt real deeply real easily. It happens, don't get me wrong. But I feel pretty good about myself so if I think someone is full of crap and is spewing it all over me I won't let it get to me. I think maybe this is a good thing? But not everyone is like this. And if I go about my relational business as though the other person is like me, and they are not, I am setting myself up to be a destroyer of souls. And when this happens insensitivty is what rules, not love. Forgive me LORD.