Sunday, July 8, 2012

A SUNDAY IN {re}VIEW + REFLECTION

Dear Virtual Peeps,
Greetings and welcome into the season which my lovely centering prayer friend has titled "Mid-Year". So a "Happy Mid-Year" to all of you! We may be mid-year but we are also mid-summer; how fast the seasons have come and gone this year. 
I have been creating weekly newsletters for my local community of SEEK{ers} and so I thought I would extract the parts that could be for anyone and post it up here! I hope it's enjoyable.

Updates...
THE SEEK{ers} MAGAZINE  is looking for SUBMISSIONS FOR the first ISSUE which will be published by the end of the summer in a potentially hybrid SUMMER/FALL ISSUE. The theme is BIRTH + reBIRTH.

 You can go to the link above to learn more about submissions for each categories but we are looking for material both from locals and those in the larger, national community as well as people in the 20's and 30's cohort as well as some select pieces from others of any age. We would love submissions from you or the creative people you know in your life in any of the following areas: photography + visual arts, poetry, short fiction, short nonfiction (creative nonfiction and any essays--academic or personal), reviews + interviews. 
WE ARE ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS IMMEDIATELY.

Readings for the Week...
GOSPEL READING : 6th Sunday in Pentecost 
Read all the Lectionary Readings for today HERE.
Mark 6:1-13
Jesus left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, "Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him. Then Jesus said to them, "Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house." And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.
Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, "Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them." So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
WEEKLY ROHR-ISM : Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation Selection for Today
Link to sign up for Richard Rohr's Daily Meditations HERE.
"Richard Rohr's Lineage"
Until recently I’ve never been forced to ask myself, “By what authority do you say the things you do, Richard? How do we know these are not just your ideas? Why should we believe you?” I do think that those are completely legitimate questions. So as we began to dream about the Living School, some of the staff said, “Richard, why don’t you try to chart your own growth, your own tradition, your own lineage?” I did so, and came up with fifteen foundational sources. For the next days, we’re going to present them in a somewhat logical order.
“Bible” of Nature and Creation
We have to begin with the first bible, which is creation itself—that God has revealed who God is through what is. If we don’t learn to honor, respect, and learn from creation—the natural world—I think it’s very unlikely that we are going to know how to read the second bible—the written Bible—with respect, reverence, and in an open way. So I believe (and of course this is very Franciscan for me) that we have to start with the first bible, which is the created world itself, or nature.
~ Richard Rohr, 2012
Adapted from Fr. Richard’s teachings on his lineage.

Reflections on This Week's Readings + Life...
Both of the readings for this week (the Gospel + Rohr) discuss the issue of "authority"--Jesus is questioned by his hometown and Rohr contemplates the questions often asked about his own authority. It shows that no matter how much authority you can have (ahem, I mean Jesus was Jesus and people were still like "We don't get it. You can't do that") people can still sit in disbelief. All we can ever do is be authentic, honest, transparent and do what we can.
The proportion to which we can help someone is always the extent to which they let us. As Jesus discusses in the Gospel reading, in a space where he was crowded by disbelief there was little he could do--even God can be made ineffectual and incapable without human faith. 
In Rohr's discussion he took time for self reflection, cutting the fat off "the Truth" and making sure what he was giving to people was the most synthezied truth of his lifetime of learning and teaching--and from that he built his "Living School". Jesus's life is what we could call a LIVING School as well. All that said, the only people that are healed by healers or find truth are those who are honestly and actively seeking it. 
Truth is hard; faith is constantly tested and it is up to each person to let God BECOME in their life--unencumbered by the limitation of our human ideas of what God "should" be. A passage I reflected on with a client this week (as he was discussing an abusive and vengeful image of God--based on his own self-loathing, and, as he was aware, nothing to do with how God sees him): God created us in his image, and we have never stopped returning the favor.
The most profound teachers could come to our doorstep but if we are not ready to hear what they have to say then we won't be changed by their wisdom. I think one of the hardest things in living out faith is letting ourselves get out of the way and let God in. We are willful, ego-ful, restless creatures and it is so hard for us to LET GO. I was leading contemplative prayer this week and after we were discussing the difficulty of that one simple act--to let go of our thoughts, worries, self-judgement long enough to let God get a word in edgewise. That is essentially the contemplative prayer practice--struggling with the noise and angst of our inner self to let God have some air time.
I would also say, in letting other people into an experience of faith we cannot force people into places and positions they don't want to be--if we do they won't hear tthey won't. But, that does not mean that we have to stop offering an invitation. Half of our human call is to let go and let God in ourselves, the other half is to be in some way a bridge in the world from the external back to God. Sometimes that is just being who you are in the world and other times it becomes a more literal invitation. 
There is a beautiful and truthful authority out there which is not about rules, doctrines, or scaring people into belief but about something so much better than anything we humans could create. All we ever are is the conduit, the boat, the buoy which can carry people there--the results are always God. This is a thing Jesus knew and Rohr understands. 
We cannot ever make people believe anything, but we can always offer the invitation. 
I thought I would leave you with this great video I found on a new blog I very much like called Rev Gal Blog {for some obvious reasons, not the least of it being that it is the representation of women who have been called on a priestly/pastorly journey and also that it is an ecumenical community}.
In the following video this Presbyterian Pastor describes her route to a life of faith from a secular upbringing to her first steps into a church experience by way of the invitation to a friend. She says, astutely and wisely, that we are often brought to faith not by the stranger shouting in the streets but by the trusted one who brings us an "invitation".
It is the most beautiful, gentle, and simply packaged way to describe (what she calls the "scary word") "evangalism.
Which is scary at times and often brings thoughts of someone shouting in the streets of Times Square. If you have ever been to Times Square the image will come quickly to your mind--rows of multi-faith voices, shouting to be heard above the rest with exaggerated promises or threats. She talks about her journey to God as comihng by way of an "invitation of a friend" and how we are all called to invite our friends into the experience of faith. I admit, myself, I have trouble swallowing the word "evangalize" and images of the worst of that word dance in my head when I hear it. I say a thank you to Teri for taking the scary out of it and give all of us a new way to view it. 
I share this with you, now, not just because she is young, and a woman, and has a pretty good story to tell but because her call is one that I hope the community I am working to build in my home-based spiritual community of SEEK{ers} in Delray Beach, FL has, and will continue to, aspire to. We hope to be a gentle invitation into an experience of faith, and community, and experience of God.
And, as Pastor Teri says, it's not about this church, or this denomination, or this place but it is about a call that is from God much more than from us to an experience and a relationship with Him. Where that takes you we hope it is beautiful + we hope we continue to carry with us and in our program that gentle invitation to you. And we hope you, in turn, carry that gentle invitation to those you love and trust and know in your life. 
I tried to have the video imbedded, but it seems to be giving me problems. So, here is a direct link to the YOUTUBE FOR IT!

Prayers + Blessings To You All,
t.b. pasquale
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...above is my newly created badge for "Tikkun Olam"
which is Hebrew for "Healing the World".


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