Something old, something new…

I may be weird, but I get bored when I’m not learning something new about my spiritual journey.

Not being nourished by different spiritual food would be like eating in the cafeteria and having the same 20 choices day after day, year after year. I’d probably just skip meals because I’d get tired of choking down the same food (if I didn’t just die of boredom first). Most mainline Christian churches are content to tell their people the same things over and over again. And most folks are willing to listen to it and not ask for more. Not me. There is a world of God-experiences out there in numerous religions and a multitude of cultures. Certainly there is something to be gleaned from exploring them.

The amazing women from the retreat.

Over this last weekend, I had the pleasure of leading a Women’s Retreat that introduced the participants to the ancient concept of chakras – energy centers in the body. These concepts are much more ancient than our Christian religion and are utilized in many holistic healing methods such as acupuncture, yoga, reiki and meditation. Yet, we never talk about them. Why not? I suppose because they aren’t Biblical.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The Bible contains lots of good stuff… enough for me to have spent the last 16 years preaching from it. But when it is supplemented with other ideas and experiences of God, it is sort of like adding new spices to the old food in the cafeteria line up. Suddenly the same old thing has flavor that we didn’t even know existed and we’re experiencing the Divine in a new way with new insight.

My approach to spirituality tends to follow the old wedding adage, “Something old, something new, something borrowed…” (I skip the “something blue” part). Sure, let’s look again at the traditions and teachings of Christianity, but let’s sprinkle in something new to us – be it contemporary theology, other religious teachings, archeology, or science – and measure in a dose of borrowed ideas or exercises to broaden our experience and understanding of God. A new flavor can waken taste buds we didn’t even know we had. Perhaps this new nourishment will explode in our souls with the excitement and passion of fresh discovery. Or perhaps we’ll not like the taste at all, it’s possible. Still, I’d be getting bored and my feet would be lagging on this spiritual journey without trying.

I know sometimes my dear folks at Sacred Journeys wonder what I’m going to be up to next. But God bless them all for joining the adventure with me!





Agents of Hope

At Christmas time we always talk about how the baby Jesus brought hope to the world. But I figured something out this Christmas season… all babies bring hope to the world. And we were all babies once. That means (if my logic class from college did anything for me) that we, too, are agents of hope.

Work with me here… you’ve all held a baby at some point in time, right? And, did you not see and feel – in those moments of holding those children – the feeling of hope? Even as they get older, we find ourselves inspired by their love, kindness, wisdom and wonder. Children have an inherent connection with the pulse of the universe and of love until they grow up enough that it becomes obscured by layers of fear and rules imposed by society and families. Children have an innocence and an idealism that allows them to have radical hope in outrageous possibilities.

As I thought through this, what struck me forcefully is this… just as we look to those children for hope, someone once held each of us and looked at us in the same way. Since our birth (if not before) we have carried the ability to bring others hope). It’s not about always looking to someone else or to God, but looking to tap into the Divine within. It requires us to find the child within us, to reclaim the innocent belief that the world is a good place, that the world is a just place, that all people are just people and that the impossible can happen. Sometimes we need to put aside our rationale and justifications and sense of “reality” and live again the human vulnerability that allows us to BE HOPE.. to LIVE HOPE.

Perhaps the question today is how can we bring someone else an ounce of hope? I really don’t think it takes much. A phone call to encourage or comfort someone, a smile in the grocery store, care and concern shown to a patient, student or client, let someone know you believe in them or help someone who could use a hand. Hope, as Jan Richardson says, “starts small, even as a seed in the womb, but it feeds on outrageous possibilities. It beckons us to step out with the belief that the action we take will not only bear fruit but that in taking it, we have already made a difference in the world.”

Love & Light,