Wind Chimes: 13 Oct 2012

Today the chimes sound questions. What do you hear?

Was Job an explorer?

My own peculiar task in my Church and in my world has been that of the solitary explorer who, instead of jumping on all the latest bandwagons at once, is bound to search the existential depths of faith in its silences, its ambiguities, and in those certainties which lie deeper than the bottom of anxiety. In those depths there are no easy answers, no pat solutions to anything. It is a kind of submarine life in which faith sometimes mysteriously takes on the aspect of doubt, when, in fact, one has to doubt and reject conventional and superstitious surrogates that have taken the place of faith

—Thomas Merton in Faith and Violence quoted in Seeds edited by Robert Inchausti

Was Job a mystic?

Bernard McGinn says that mysticism is “a consciousness of the presence of God that by definition exceeds description and . . . deeply transforms the subject who has experienced it.” If it does not deeply change the lifestyle of the person—their worldview, their economics, their politics, their ability to form community—you have no reason to believe it is genuine mystical experience. It is often just people with an addiction to religion itself, which is not that uncommon.

Mysticism is not just a change in some religious ideas or affirmations, but it is an encounter of such immensity that everything else shifts in position. Mystics have no need to exclude or eliminate others precisely because they have experienced radical inclusivity of themselves into something much bigger. They do not need to define themselves as enlightened or superior, whereas a mere transfer of religious assertions often makes people even more elitist and more exclusionary.

True mystics are glad to be common, ordinary, servants of all, and “just like everybody else,” because any need for specialness has been met once and for all.

Daily Meditation by Richard Rohr on September 23, 2012. Adapted from Following the Mystics Through the Narrow Gate. (CD/DVD/MP3)

A prayer

O God:
Give me strength to live another day;
Let me not turn coward before its difficulties or prove recreant to its duties;
Let me not lose faith in other people;
Keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude, treachery, or meanness;
Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them;
Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away the joy of conscious integrity;
Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things;
Grant me this day some new vision of thy truth;
Inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness;
and make me the cup of strength to suffering souls;
in the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

A Prayer For Today  a resource of Forward Movement

Wind Chimes: 12 Oct 2012

We continue to listen to Job’s story. The Spirit moves the chimes (or not). Is it a persistent sound in the chimes? Is it still and quiet? What do you hear?

Trust

Quote . . .I remember sitting parked by the roadside once, terribly depressed and afraid about my daughter’s illness and what was going on in our family, when out of nowhere a car came along down the highway with a license plate that bore on it the one word out of all the words in the dictionary that I needed most to see exactly then. The word was TRUST. What do you call a moment like that? Something to laugh off as the kind of joke life plays on us every once in a while? The word of God? I am willing to believe that maybe it was something of both, but for me it was an epiphany. The owner of the car turned out to be, as I’d suspected, a trust officer in a bank, and not long ago, having read an account I wrote of the incident somewhere, he found out where I lived and one afternoon brought me the license plate itself, which sits propped up on a bookshelf in my house to this day. It is rusty around the edges and a little battered, and it is also as holy a relic as I have ever seen.

Buechner, Frederick (2009-10-13). Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner (pp. 326-327). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

I AM “None of the above”

Quote . . .The number of Americans who say they have no religious affiliation has hit an all-time high — about one in five American adults —  according to a new study released Tuesday (Oct. 9) by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. … Pew partnered with the PBS television series Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly to survey 500 additional unaffiliated Americans. Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly will air a three-part series about the unaffiliated beginning with its Oct. 12 broadcast. —Religion News Service 10/9/2012

Whether we “like it” or not this is where we live now. As people in relationship with God we live and move and work and play among those who are not so sure or who believe there is no God. What are we to make of this new landscape? It is a topic worth exploring in our homes, in our Forum, and in our church.

Note: there is a link to a PBS Preview of the series in the RNS article: Losing our religion: One in five Americans are now ‘nones.’

A prayer

Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag downwards; give me an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; give me an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow on me also, O Lord my God, understanding to know Thee, diligence to seek Thee, wisdom to find Thee, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace Thee. Amen. —Saint Thomas Aquinas

Shannon, Maggie Oman (2009-12-22). Prayers for Hope and Comfort: Reflections, Meditations, and Inspirations (p. 10). RedWheelWeiser – A. Kindle Edition.