Thursday, April 19, 2007

Even in the Dark (draft)

“We never know what might blow through the door like silent prayer, and how many of us entertain angles unaware” (Angles Unaware by Carrie Newcomer)

“The truth is not that it is going to be alright,
The truth is, it already is.” (Fredric Evans 1994)

Mostly when my life goes down hill I turn to my faith. For me, my faith and the worships I often turn to when in need is a very personal, individual kind of faith. I have had a hard time relying on my friends to help me through hard patches and it had never occurred to me to think of relying on others as a form of spirituality. For some reason however with my last bout of troubles I have been indeed turning to friends for guidance and support. Through this I have begun to learn how support from those who are close to you can be it a faith experience.
It is strange; the core of my belief, the most important fact in my faith journey has been the simple promise, and incredible leap that God is love. That, to know God one knows love and where love is that is God, is the very bases for my theology on so many levels. Yet accepting love and the caring that comes out of love, finding that an important and indispensable part of who I am and of my faith has been extremely hard for me. Partly I think this is because I don’t except help or the fact that I might need help easily and because I still find it hard, in this cynical world, to expect people to give help and act in love. So certainly when people do act in love and kindness I find this a blessing, but as incredible as this might sound I never quite made the mental connection that when people act in kindness toward me this is God, and we are experiencing a touching of personal faiths. I have long thought it extremely necessary on my faith journey to show kindness and love for others. However I am beginning to see that for my own theology and faith to bloom, I must also receive kindness and love from others. I can not only experience God through loving others and being kind to others, although this is certainly a powerful and necessary way of experiencing the divine, but I also must experience God be finding those who will also act with love towards me. To know God, then, I must love and be loved, both by people and the divine. I have already taken the leap of accepting and assuming Gods love, now I must take the leap of accepting and assuming the love of my friends, partner, and family. This I believe will bring me closer to God. As I write this, a small rose bush sits next to my compute. It was bought for me for no other reason then I was feeling down and love flowers. Someone was kind, and this is a blessing, this is God.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

little thoughts

A friend of mine has posted the first prayer on her facebook. I thought it was beautiful. One of these quotes I got from my sister the others I found.
"O God! refresh and gladden my spirit. purify my heart. illumine my powers. i lay all my affairs in Thy hand. Thou art my Guide and my Refuge. i will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; i will be a happy and joyful being. O God! i will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will i let trouble harass me. i will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life. O God! Thou art more friend to me than i am to myself. i dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord." ~ Abdul-Baha

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do it. Because what the world needs is people who come alive." -Howard Thurman

Like the deer that pants
for the flowing stream,
so we thirst
for the living Spring
~ Richard J. Foster

I don't read Scripture to learn doctrine.
I don't read it to find answers to every question.
I read it to find God.
~ Carole Spencer

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Short Rant on versions of the Bible

I have always used The New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version. I prefer this Bible over all others that I’ve read. While the King James Bible is beautifully written the translation is so dated and poor I find it only usefully except within it’s own historical context. While other Bibles like the New Standard Version International Bible that they supply in my meetinghouse just makes me mad and frustrated. There are no footnotes, no notes about how or why the translators translated a word or verse the way they did, no alternatives in Greek or Arabic, so I can see the translating choices that were made. Plus all of the sections in these Bibles have captions before each chapter, things like Jesus Heals a Leper, or On Marriage, or Jesus tells about the end-times captions like these annoy me because they distract me from my reading of the actual Bible. The captions also make me feel as if I’m reading Cliff-Notes version of the Bible, and I feel as if I am being told what exactly I should be getting out of each section of the Bible. As if the translators feel like they have to tell me the punch line to everyone of Jesus’ messages, and it also bothers me because some times what I think is the most important part of a Bible passage is not what is commonly thought to be the important part. I hate having how I should pray and what I should think about God dictated to me in any way, from a minister or other wise, and particularly don’t like it coming from the version of the Bible I read. In summery I like The New Oxford Annotated Bible because it allows me, as a scholar, to make my own decisions about how I will read the Bible and how I will fully and scholarly study each passage and their meanings.

Monday, April 2, 2007

A Living Faith (draft)

Unlike most of the posts I make to this blog, this post is not, I feel, complete. I have been working on it on and off for a while but feel I have a lot more to say on the subject. However as my life as gotten crazy again I don't know when I will be able to work on it. So I'm posting it now in it's draft form. both of the quotes are taken from songs by two of my very favoret artists.

“The hardest thing I ever tried to do was stay in one place and just try to come through. I love me some, now I want to love you too, and spend some time in the garden.” (Maya by Ferron)

“Centered down and moving outward sometimes almost too sweet to bear. There are endless ways to reach home, just keep walking and I’ll meet you there” (All Saints’ Day by Carrie Newcomer)

Several days ago I began reading my new devotional “A Year with Thomas Merton: daily meditations from his journals”. The first entry I read for March 27th was entitled “a preference for the chant of frogs”, the entry recounts Merton’s decision to remain at his hermitage and not go on a lecturing circuit as he was being pressed to do by other religious leaders and scholars. He writes about how one must know and do what will be most spiritually beneficial to them and what will not distract them from God. This too has been a question I have striven to answer for myself, what is it that I am called to do with my life that is both spiritually beneficial and does not distract from my nearness to God? I have come to realize that for me one of the most important things in my life will be to do what brings me spiritual wholeness and a sense of God’s love. I have also come to realize this may mean giving up things that I might be good at or enjoy. Looking towards my future as I reach the half-way point in my college education, I have begun to ask myself what I can I do that will spiritually center and fulfill me, even if that means turning from paths that I might derive pleasure from or be good at. Not that God’s work should be joyless or I am turning way from things that I enjoy and am talented at simply because I enjoy them or am good at them, but rather it is about redirecting my priorities and not automatically choosing the path of least resistance.