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    Spiritual practice: Take an inventory

    Sunday, September 15, 2013, 6:40 PM [General]

    Step 4 of AA involves taking “a fearless moral inventory” of yourself.  This week take some time to take such an inventory. The inventory might include a list of actions, situations you have been involved in, thoughts, memories, feelings, personality characteristics or anything else you would like to add. Then go over your list.  Each time you come across something that you would label good that makes you proud, say, “Thank you, God.  I offer this to you.”

     

    Every time you come across an item you wish were not on your list, it makes you ashamed or disappointed in yourself, say “Thank you, God.  You never give up on me.  You see who I long to be and who I can become.”

     

    Peace and Blessings

    Bob

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    Lectionary Scriptures with Questions for Reflection

    Sunday, September 8, 2013, 6:23 PM [General]

    I've posted scriptures and questions for reflection for next Sunday and the following weeks on our church web page. I hope they are helpful to you for personal reflection, group discussions, or sermon preparation.  You can click here to go there.

    Peace and Blessings!

    Bob

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    Spiritual practice: Contemplate images of destruction and re-creation

    Sunday, September 8, 2013, 5:05 PM [General]

    Watch an ice cube melt into water.  Play with these questions:  What happened to that ice?   Can the water be made into ice again?  Would it be the same ice?  

    Like Jeremiah’s image of the potter’s clay, this image is an analogy.  What does it teach you about permanence, impermanence, change and transformation?  Does this image bring other images to mind?

     

    Peace and Blessings!

    Bob

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    Spiritual Practice: Pray for those who “aren’t good enough”

    Sunday, September 1, 2013, 5:24 PM [General]

    Through our conditioning we have been taught that some people are different than us.  We have been taught that they aren’t good or aren’t good enough.  Try to remember where and how you learned that “those people” (whoever they are) aren’t good enough or that they deserve … .

     

    Who told you that they weren’t good enough?  Write down who “those people” are and specific details to your answer to the question.  

     

    Place this paper in a place that you will see it regularly throughout the day.  And then offer this prayer, “God of Love, what would you have me do to love ‘those people’ as you love them?”

     

    This can be a transforming experience not because it is something you are supposed to do, but because you open yourself to the gifts that diverse people bring.

     

    Peace and blessings!

    Bob

     

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    Praying the News: We're prepared to strike Syria

    Saturday, August 31, 2013, 4:36 PM [General]

    I’ve been praying the news today with a heavy heart today.  The headline:  “We’re prepared to strike.”  President Obama and his advisers plan to seek congressional approval to strike Syria in response to President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons.  Reports suggest over 1400 people died as the result of chemical weapons.  When I pray the news I use two primary questions. 

    The first is, “Loving God, what would you have me learn?”  I found as I asked this question, rather than a straight forward answer, I was engaging in an internal conversation. 

    Stop the killing, is the cry.  Yes, indeed, stop the killing.

    We want to strike to stop Assad from further violence and inflicting further casualties and death on his own people.  Yes, intervene.  Yes, stop the killing.  A military strike?  How many people will we kill in order to stop the killing?  I predict, when (unfortunately not if) we strike, in the end we will kill more than 1400 people.  The mathematics simply doesn’t add up.  Stop the killing by increasing the death toll. It doesn’t make sense.

    I cannot imagine that a family who loses a father or mother, brother or sister, wife or husband, or child to a US strike will hurt less knowing that the strike is going to “stop the killing.”  Their beloved one is no less dead than those who died at the hand of Asaad.

    The second question is: “God of Compassion, how would you have me show your love?”  As I asked this question, I felt compelled to write this blog in the hopes that others will pray with me.  I found myself entering into the lives of the people who are grieving the loss of their dead family members and friends and projecting myself into the grief of the people who will suffer the same loss.  I believe there has to be a better way to stop the killing—theirs and ours.  We have relied on force for so many millennia we have almost given up hope of finding a better way.  I’m praying that we will.

    When I finished writing, I did not say amen.  I sighed a heavy sigh.

     

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