From the November Newsletter

Having a keen interest in psychology for many years I have discovered that for many of us, myself as well, anger is a consuming problem. Of late, I have been reading after ‘Buddhist Psychology.’ One of its attractive premises is freedom, not political but freedom from mental issues such as anger, delusion, and jealousy. One of the necessary actions for freedom from anger is practice. Often, we are angry because we are suffering. To both comprehend and transform anger we must master how to listen compassionately and to speak lovingly. Are we a are hard or tender person? The poet who speaks to me (besides William Blake) is Mary Oliver. In her poem, “Some Questions You might Ask,” she writes:      “Is the soul solid, like iron?      Or is it tender and breakable, like      the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?      Who has it and who doesn’t      I keep looking around me.      The face of the moose is as sad      as the face of Jesus.” The master Thich Nhat Hanh writes: “Yet, even if you have the best intentions, you cannot listen deeply unless you train yourself in the art of compassionate listening…Listen with only one purpose: to allow the other person to express himself and find relief from his suffering.” Practicing is difficult…Okay, Okay! It’s hard! But Jesus asks us to serve, so…. Se ya in church....

Read More

From the October Newsletter

Recent research has shown that of all the important tasks of the infant, the most crucial is the search for, the finding of, and the creation of joyful, securely attached relationships. If there is no safety, there can be not security. This is not a joy for joy’s sake, but joy is the primary indicator of a deep, mindful, intentional connection (Allen Schore). Leo Tolstoy wrote, “Life cannot have any other purpose than joy or goodness. Only this purpose—joy—is ultimately worth of life.” We are created for joy. C. S. Lewis writes “…glory for humans hears that we are pleasing to the One whose pleasure we most long to fulfill. It is no more seen than when we hear our Master say, “Well done!” The uniform theme here is joy. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the max, where are you on the joy scale? See ya in Church....

Read More

From the September newsletter

One of the reasons I love Anne Lamott is her ability to speak to me where I really exist. She has a way with words. For example, in “Small Victories” she writes “I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus drink gin straight out of the cat’s dish.” The ability to understand who you truly are is a gift from God. It is difficult to acknowledge this because we live in a culture consumed by self-interest. And while our society is enthralled by what or who can bring us satisfaction, perhaps it would help if we believed as the Rev’d James Forbes once said, “Nobody gets into heaven without a letter of reference from the poor.” Personal satisfaction is more than a hot bath. It is found in loving and serving others in spite of how unworthy we think we are. See ya in church....

Read More

From the August Newsletter

One cannot study the gospels without encountering the ‘servant leadership’ of Jesus. It makes not sense to speak of the lordship of Jesus if Christ-like behavior, values, and attitudes are not seen in us. Being a servant of God and others is not feelings, moods, or emotions; it is a decision to live your life as Jesus lived his. Brennan Manning writes, “The steady erosion of servant leadership in the North American church, the deference shown to charismatic superstars, and the bowing and scraping to TV evangelists deface the image of the servant Jesus and make the credibility of Christian leadership literally incredible.” If we desire God to be our God, we have an obligation to let God be who God wants to be for us. Se ya in church....

Read More

From the July, 2015, Newsletter

Every church leader is looking for the answer to “Why the church appears to be disappearing.” Some say that one of the reasons is that worship services lack something. It might just be experimentation. A kind of exchanging of the self for the Spirit. Far too many churches have exchanged poetry for marketing, passion for excitement, and selfless ecstasy with self-conscious self-righteousness. Or, as Rabbi Rami Shapiro says, “Myth and story are mistaken for science and history. Teachings to wake you up are replaced by clich├ęs that put you to sleep. And music to dissolve the ego is traded for tackiness that reinforces it. And silence, where the soul finds growth, is not found at all. If faith is to be more than a business model or political tool it must return to its roots and use them to conquer ignorance, injustice, and uncritical thinking. Se ya in church....

Read More