Thursday, November 18, 2010

Richard Rohr Drops the Gloves! I Love It!

Social Justice
 The very fact that Glenn Beck, a national commentator, could get away with criticizing and even mocking the phrase “social justice” without major outcry, shows how comfortable and numbed much of our country and church have become. He dared to infer that it was a non-Christian concept and even sank to calling it socialism or communism. To my knowledge and disappointment, no bishop or church conference has publicly corrected him on this.

Can we not see that the other justice issues we are supposedly concerned about (such as abortion) are one “seamless garment,” to use Cardinal Bernardin’s brilliant metaphor? If social justice is not the foundation of God’s kingdom then it is hardly God’s kingdom at all, but merely tribalism.

Resources of Fr. Richard’s that address this topic include
A Lever and a Place to Stand (CD) and
Contemplation in Action (book)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Carrot On A Stick Christianity - Richard Rohr

ADULT CHRISTIANITY


Paul says in Galatians 3 that the law will kill you, that the law leads to death, and only an experience of the Spirit has any saving power. Jesus says much the same with his mantra, “The law says, but I say. . .” (Matthew 5:20-45). This has had little effect on the church recently.

Many Christians and many clergy are still trapped under the law and remain in the first half of life, spiritually speaking. This is not the gospel, but its most common counterfeit. You always fail if you’re under the criteria of the law because you can never attain something that you already have—namely your daughterhood and sonship in God. The law will send you on a wild goose chase that never ends and usually makes you more and more legalistic. Religion at this level becomes an eternal carrot on a stick held out in front of you. Unfortunately, we see this in many rigid and unhappy Christians. Their disappointment with God and themselves is visible to all but themselves, I am afraid. We can do so much better.



Adapted from Adult Christianity and How to Get There CD

If you are inspired by Richard's Daily Meditations,
please consider attending Loving the Two Halves of Life:
The Further Journey, a conference hosted by the
Center for Action and Contemplation, January 21-23, 2011.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mr. Lightbulb by Richard Rohr

Great people are usually humble. They understand and accept that they draw from another Source; they are satisfied to be an instrument. Their genius is not of their own making but a gift. They do great things precisely because they do not take first or final responsibility for their gift, and they don’t worry much about their failures. They understand that their life is not their own but has been entrusted to them. Someone Else has taken them seriously, and they feel profoundly respected, which is what men ultimately want and need.

A few weeks ago I was invited to meet with Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Cape Town, South Africa. He told me that he—and I—were mere lightbulbs. We get all the credit and seem to be shining brightly for all to see, but we both know that if this lightbulb was unscrewed from its source for even a moment, the brightness would immediately stop.

He laughed hilariously afterwards, and gave me a wink of understanding!

Where is the abundance in my life?
And how do I pass it along to others?

FROM DAY 341 OF FR. RICHARD'S NEW BOOK: On the Threshold of Transformation: Daily Meditations for Men


Thursday, September 2, 2010

840,000 Saved

840,000 saved through night and day prayer in South Africa in the last six years. For video CLICK HERE

EMERGING CHRISTIANITY by Richard Rohr

"Jesus told people to love your enemies, but in effect we ended up condemning them or splitting them, because we did not give them the software to know how to actually do this. Again, we gave them the what but not the how. Emerging Christianity is going to have to emphasize orthopraxy (walking the talk) much more than mere orthodoxy (talking the walk). It is the walking that changes you and reveals your own deeper self to yourself (in ways that are not always flattering).

"Spiritual practices must invade, touch, and heal the unconscious, where 95% of our real motivation lies. Faith-filled actions, contemplative prayer, solitude, silence, and many life events have the power to expose and change our unconscious agendas and motivations. Most “belief systems” are just laid on top of our egoic world view, and unfortunately do little damage to it. We can say all the right words, practice all the right rituals, and our heart can remain cold and unconnected."

From Emerging Christianity: the conference recordings

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Praying IN The Downtown East Side

From 24-7 Prayer:

Vancouver 614

"They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing the cities destroyed long ago. They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations." 

These words from Isaiah 61.4 have been the foundational scripture passage of our Salvation Army community, known as 614 Vancouver. It speaks about going back to places – cities in particular – that have been abandoned for generations, forgotten or ignored by the powers of this world. But it also speaks of great hope, and the possibility that those who have been oppressed, mourning, despairing and captive and now be those who rebuild, restore and renew. God made this promise to Israel originally, but we believe this same God wants to do the same things in our forgotten places, here and now.

We are a seven-year old Corps (church) plant of the Salvation Army. Even people within our denomination have a difficult time characterising us. We don't have meetings on Sunday, we don't play brass (well, maybe at Christmas) and we don't run a charity shop. All these things are fine, but we have chosen to focus our community around prayer, incarnational presence in our locality, joy and justice. READ MORE

Friday, August 27, 2010

Is It Dangerous To Meditate?

Twice in the last month I had to defend my practice of contemplative prayer to well meaning Christians who looked at me like I had two heads and asked "isn't that dangerous?" No matter how much I argued to the contrary, they weren’t buying into the historically well supported benefits and basis for this type of prayer. It is so unfortunate that so many Christians are suspicious and make claims against meditation and contemplative prayer because it keeps people from participating in these transformative practices.


There are two paths that God will lead us on that help to transform our lives and make us more Godly; prayer, and suffering. One could argue that there is a third path as well, which is loving, unselfish service. The point is: by demonizing meditation, especially Christian meditation and contemplative prayer, we are keeping people from a deeper relationship with God and to a way of life that He may be calling them too.


It helps to realize that Christian meditation and contemplation differ from Eastern religious forms of meditation. In Christian meditation we take a scripture verse, poem, or attribute of God and ask God to help us understand it in a deeper way and apply it to our lives. We may do this by repeating it, or reading it several times, and mining it for deeper meaning and application with God's help (it’s “all gift!”). When practicing Christian contemplation we open ourselves up to God's presence. By faith we sit still and rest both our minds and our bodies. We don't stop thinking (which is nearly an impossible thing to do anyway), but we do let our thoughts pass as we gently return our gaze and attention to the presence of God. As Jackie Pullinger, the well known missionary to Hong Kong's gangs and drug addicts explains her practice of prayer, we "Son bathe." Again, contemplative prayer is a gift from God.


Eastern meditation doesn't necessarily differentiate between contemplation and meditation, and of course it isn't based on a relationship with God that is entered into through faith in Jesus Christ. They lump contemplation and meditation all together under the heading of “meditation.” I'm not going to go into Eastern practices of meditation, but I do want to make the point that prayer and meditation have been practiced by Jews and Christians for thousands of years. The Jewish and Christian practice of prayer is as old as Abraham, and has been practiced by the church in all sorts of ways since the death and resurrection of Jesus to the present day. There may be Christians practicing Eastern forms of meditation, but that’s not what I am talking about here. When we practice Christian meditation and contemplation, as it has been passed down to us by our Christian forefathers and mothers for a couple thousand years, we are not copying Eastern religions.


The Jesus Prayer for example can be traced back to when the early Egyptian contemplatives made the observation that Jesus didn't get into a big argument with the Devil during his temptation in the desert, but simply quoted scripture (Mt. 4:1-11). Out of that came repeating scripture, and eventually the Jesus prayer, which was to be repeated in times of prayer and when one experiences temptation or afflictive thoughts and emotions. "Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner." Could there be a more spiritually healthy practice than this? From a Christian perspective, this is the root, or the foundation of Christian meditation and contemplation. In the words of one ancient Saint “’No one’ it is written, ‘can say “Lord Jesus” except the Holy Spirit.”* (1Cor 12:3)


As we follow God down the path of Christian meditation and contemplation, over many months and years, we will be transformed and we will begin to see spiritual fruit. We will we have a greater desire to serve others, and we will become more patient, and loving. We will become less anxious, and gradually, our identity will come from a loving God and not our egos, or who anyone else says we are. This fruit will almost inexplicably come from “inside the cup.” (Luke 11.39)


Are there dangers to these Christian practices of prayer? Sure there are, just as there are dangers to almost any Christian practice that is entered into outside of Christian community and to excess. Personally, I wouldn't practice this type of prayer alone, and I wouldn’t practice it unless you have a sense that God is leading you down this path of prayer to deepen your relationship with Him. I would find a Christian who understands the process of Christian transformation and has gone through it in a deep way themselves. By its very nature Godly transformation is going to require that we deal with our character flaws and the abuse we have experienced in our lives, or done to others. As we practice Christian contemplative prayer these issues are undoubtedly going to surface as we open ourselves up to God without our normal distractions, religious or otherwise, so ask God to help you find support if you don’t have any.


If you believe God is leading you down the path to a life of prayer, please don't let the fears and claims of other Christians, no matter how well intentioned they might be, keep you from the gift of prayer and these wonderful, life giving, cross bearing, practices.


*”Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation” by Martin Laird, page 51.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Focusing Our Minds and Hearts

Volumes have been written on this subject, "Focusing Our Minds and Hearts," but Henry Nouwen boils it down beautifully here into a couple of paragraphs:

"How can we stay in solitude when we feel that deep urge to be distracted by people and events? The most simple way is to focus our minds and hearts on a word or picture that reminds us of God. By repeating quietly: "The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want," or by gazing lovingly at an icon of Jesus, we can bring our restless minds to some rest and experience a gentle divine presence.

"This doesn't happen overnight. It asks a faithful practice. But when we spend a few moments every day just being with God, our endless distractions will gradually disappear."

These reflections are taken from Henri J.M. Nouwen's Bread for the Journey

Sunday, August 8, 2010


"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you." - Is. 26.3

"Enter eagerly into the treasure house that is within you and you will see the things that are in heaven." - St. Isaac the Syrian

"Let the remembrance of Jesus be with your every breath. Then indeed you will appreciate the value of stillness." - St. John Climacus

"The friend of silence comes close to God." - St. John Climacus

"God far exceeds all words that we can here express. In silence he is heard, in silence worshiped best." Angelus Silesius

SOURCE OF QUOTES: "Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation" by Dr. Martin Laird Great book if you are "learning to pray!"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

God Cares


From Richard Rohr:

God cares, for some wonderful reason, despite all of our smallness and silliness. Divine love does not depend on our doing nice or right things. Divine love is not determined by the worthiness of the object of love but by the Subject, who is always and only Love. God does not love us if we change, as we almost all think; but God loves us so that we can change.

No matter what we do, God, in great love and humility, says, “That’s what I work with. That’s all I work with!” It’s the mustard seed with which God does great things. Our life experiences, “good and bad alike,” are invited to the great wedding feast (Matthew 22:10). They are the raw material that God uses to prepare the banquet.

~Richard Rohr
June 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

freedom



I found myself in a prison cell
Of my own making
I suppose I could trace my way back
And rehearse the millions of choices
That gradually took my freedom away
And landed me here

Or…

I could wait
Wait for Grace to open the cell door
And then simply walk outside
Onto a cliff
Alone, but not Alone
Into Mystery and the empty, dark, abyss

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

precious



we are ALL "precious in His sight."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

James Finley at VST


James Finley will be doing a weekend retreat at Vancouver School of Theology on July 9-11, 2010. Finley wrote the classic "merton's palace of nowhere," and another wonderful book for people wanting to practice contemplation called "The Contemplative Heart." For more information CLICK HERE. See you there!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday In The Park

Wish y'all could have gone to the park with us today. Beautiful.






Friday, June 11, 2010

Sacred Space


Check out "Sacred Space." Click on "ENGLISH" (if that's your preference!) and today's meditation. Nice!

House Concert


House Concert - Monday June 28, 2010, 7.00PM - Our House.

With special guests from Nova Scotia - Jon Bryant, and Montreal - Gabrielle Papillon. There may even be a blonde haired blue eyed girl from BC - living in Toronto "in da house!" Bring a beverage and $12. (CD's will also be for sale) For a clue on who the artists will be see Jon Bryant, Gabriel Papillon AND Jess Janz

Jon's CD has been in our car CD player for over a year - you will love this guy! Been listening to Gabrielle on MySpace - beautiful! Can't wait to hear them both - LIVE and in our living room.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Stream











Gently trickling
Hidden underneath fallen trees
The stream teaches me how to be.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

God's Judgment


From Richard Rohr:

FOLLOWING THE MYSTICS

Question of the Day: How does God’s judgment differ from that of human beings?
Those who pray learn to favor and prefer God’s judgment over that of human beings. God always outdoes any of us in generosity and in receptivity. God is always more loving than the person who has ever loved you the most! All you can bring is today’s latest product, whatever it is, for a new dose of love. It will always be immature on some level. It will always be inadequate, but that is not the point. It is not the perfection of the gift, but the willingness to lovingly offer the gift anyway, that pleases all parents and surely then the “Super Parent” that some of us call God.

God does not lead the soul by shaming it, just as a good parent would not shame their child. It doesn’t work anyway. We all have done it at times, and if we were raised in a punitive way ourselves, we still tend to think that’s the way to motivate people—by shaming them or making them feel guilty. I’ve done it enough and I’ve received it enough to know that it eventually backfires. It never works. We close down and stop trusting after that, and we use all kinds of defense mechanisms to avoid further vulnerability. So God uses a way that actually works, which is to love you at even deeper levels than you can know or love yourself.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Watching the Cottonwood...

Watching the Cottonwood
Gently fall from the trees.

It's:

Light

Free

Easy

Carried

Floating.

All good words for the soul.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010




THE PRACTICE OF AWARENESS


Another helpful gem from Richard Rohr...

Question of the Day: How do I define awareness?

Religious teachers, including Jesus, the Buddha, and many Hindu sages, are always telling us wake up—to be alert, alive, awake, attentive, or aware. But what does this really mean?

Being conscious or aware means:
• I drop to a level deeper than the passing show.
• I become the calm seer of my dramas from that level.
• I watch myself compassionately from a little distance, almost as if the “myself” is someone else—a “corpse” as St. Francis put it.
• I dis-identify with my own emotional noise, and no longer let it pull me here and there, up and down.
• I stop thinking about this or that and “collapse into” pure consciousness of nothing in particular. You don’t get there, you fall there.

At first, it does not feel like “me,” and is even unfamiliar territory, because up to now I thought my thinking was “me,” yet now my thinking has ceased. This is the accurate meaning of Jesus’ teaching on “losing oneself to find oneself” in Luke 9:24.

From "The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See", p.135 Richard Rohr