Often we believe heartbreak is to be avoided; something to guard against, a chasm to watch for and then walk carefully around. The hope is to live without it and to taste as little of it as possible, but all evidence is to the contrary of these child-like hopes.
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To want to run away is an essence of being human. It transforms any staying through the transfigurations of choice. To think about fleeing from circumstances, from a conflict, marriage, relationship, work, a ministry or congregation is part of the conversation itself and helps us understand the true distilled nature of our own reluctance.
Congregations preserve their memory through the stories they tell. Congregations live by their narratives; their stories help remind them and inform them who they are and from whence they come.
When individuals and groups are aware of the shadow, their own and others, they are more accepting, forgiving, compassionate and loving, acting for justice while having mercy, honor and humility. To change the shape of ourselves is to change the shape of the shadow we carry and cast. To become transparent is to know, accept and relate to one’s shadow appropriately. I have heard people say that we can lose our shadows altogether, but I think to be human is to carry a shadow
Declaring a new dispensation by confession, we see our trespasses against others in a new light, initiated by something we were hiding not only from the world but also from ourselves. Holding the secret was not only a defense against punishment but also a holding back from our next outrageous step. To separate the confusion of punishment with revelation, we first of all confess to ourselves, step onto solid ground in the privacy and spaciousness of our own hearts, minds and moral imaginations and then translate it into the best speech we have to represent it in the world.
Stuck inside a conflict, we may struggle to tally the costs, or we feel like the justification is worth the cost. But intentional work around tallying the cost can be helpful to the minister/leader, the congregation/organization and the family.
Is procrastination always negative? Can it teach us something important? Are there times when we call something procrastination, meaning its negative, when in fact, it is not? Can “procrastination” hold positive meaning and significance? This article explores these questions thinking about the light and shadow side of procrastination.
We are neither purely individuals nor fully creatures of our communities, but an act of becoming that can never be held in place by a false form of nomenclature. No matter our need to find a place to stand as individuals or as faith communities amidst the onward flow of the world, the real foundation of the deepest, self is in the self-forgetful remembering of the meeting itself.
I have come to believe that much of our ministry is about the phenomenology of conversation. Our ministry is not only about conflict transformation but about inviting, creating and holding space for emerging conversations toward ministry; deep, active listening not so much advising, coaching and sounding wise; being able to hold ‘not-knowing’ and the courageous questions calmly, non-anxiously; not so much about disconnect as connection; not so much about a narrative of blame as an invitation to responsibility; not as much about the chaff as it is about the wheat and the positive growth and deep roots that are happening. We are about the many wellsprings of conversations, wisdom and insights emerging.
You and I are created in the image of God with gifts and graces, voice and values. When I meet you in an I-Thou way, I help you rediscover this image in yourself and I rediscover it in myself as well. Together we walk, discovering our voice and value.