Saturday, June 11, 2016

EVERYONE'S PATCHWORK QUILT SPIRITUALITY MUST BE UNIQUE

I have been collecting quotes for sometime that point to the fact that each of us need to develop our own, one-of-a-kind spirituality. Some of the best follow:


"Asking important questions is far more important than answering them, and of course no one can ask your questions for you, far less answer them."

[from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi in his book, Jewish With Feeling, (c) 2005]

                                                            ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Only you can decide for you. That doesn't mean that you don't listen to others input or advice, but it's really up to oneself after all, isn't it?"

[from Lama Surya Das in his book Make Me One with Everything  (c)2015]

                                                           ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Quakers may have been the most faithful to the wisdom of Jesus. Believing that everyone has the ability to experience the love and leadership of God and that no ecclesiastical authority has to mediate or direct that experience..."

[from Robin R. Myers in Saving Jesus from the Church (c) 2009]

                                                          ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

After reading William James book, The Varieties of Religious Experience, the great basketball coach Phil Jackson realized "that mystical experience didn't have to be a big production...and he experienced a quiet feeling of inner peace...(he) no longer felt compelled to run from my (Pentecostal) past or cling to it out of fear. I could take from it what worked for me and let the rest go. I could also explore other traditions more fully without feeling as if I was committing a major sacrilege against God and family."

[from Phil Jackson in his autobiography, Sacred Hoops. This is one of the best descriptions of how a person develops their own patchworkquilt spirituality.]

                                                          ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"The ultimate authority of my life is not the Bible;
it is not confined between the covers of a book.
It is not something written by men and frozen in time.
It is not from a source outside myself.
My ultimate authority is the divine voice in my own soul.  Period.

[from Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd]

                                                          ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And finally, a description of what it feels like to live with your own version of a patchwork quilt spirituality from How to Pray When You're Pissed at God by Ian Punnett (c) 2013:

"I carry my faith and my desire to understand the mysteries of life with me everywhere I go...
Like anybody, I struggle and succeed in equal spurts.
Mine is a tattered faith...
I wear my faith like an old corduroy jacket that has patches on the elbows and scars all over it from my haphazard mending...
I often use my faith as a blanket when I'm lounging under a tree...
My faith-jacket has coffee stains, is hopelessly wrinkled...
Even so, after all these years it keeps me warm and protected.

                                                           ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And so the process of developing a patchwork quilt spirituality continues...

Friday, June 10, 2016

PRAYER, QUESTIONS AND MISSING GOD

I need to share some gems from my readings earlier today:

                                                                  PRAYER_


[from a sermon by Nancy Petty at Pullen Memorial Church on May 29, 2016, entitled:
"A Contest of the Gods" (I Kings 18): ]

"Prayer is our most inner and outer longing, desires, hopes and hurts reaching out to that something that is within us and beyond us for understanding and comfort and peace."

{Ty thought: so my patchwork quilt spirituality is a prayer...}


                                                               QUESTIONS

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves...
Live the questions now."
                                                            -- Rainer Maria Rilke



                                                            MISSING GOD

[from a post by "Melody" of her poem "Missing God"on Tarrin Nicole McDonald's website mysoulcoaching.com:]

                                         I don't remember
                                         Her voice
                                         but sometimes
                                         in the mountains
                                         I think I hear
                                         an echo
                                         of the flute
                                         She played.
                                          



Thursday, June 2, 2016

QUILTER'S POEM: LOVE IS A QUILT--A QUILT IS LOVE

Love is a quilt--a quilt is love...
   Both love and a quilt should be:
      Soft enough to comfort you,
         Bright enough to cheer you,
             Generous enough to enfold you,
             Light enough to let you move freely,
        Strong enough to withstand adversity,
    Durable enough to last a lifetime,
And given gladly, from the heart.    

                                       --Author unknown

CAFETERIA CHRISTIANITY

     This morning's edition (6/02/16) of Baptist News Global had a link to an article by Kate Blanchard from Religious Dispatches (May/June 2016) entitled "Cafeteria Christianity in the Age of Social Media." The title caught my attention because I enjoy a cafeteria where I can see all the selections and decide for myself what I want--and its obvious connection to patchwork quilt spirituality.

     The article references a Baylor study that found young people exposed to social media are more likely to agree that it is "OK for someone of your religion to also practice other religions." Professor Blanchard concluded that "despite the best efforts of those who would make their traditions an all-or-nothing proposition, human beings have gone on picking and choosing, if perhaps never quite as unabashedly as young Americans in the 21st century."

     I can't remember when I first heard the warning that you can't "cherry-pick" what you believe.
Maybe it was the fundamentalist church of my childhood where we were indoctrinated with the idea that if the Bible contained any error, then it was all false. Or maybe it was in seminary where we were taught that theology had to be "systematic."

     All I know is that over the years, I have "cherry-picked' what made sense and worked for me...and in my experience in sharing with others, I have found that many do the same. The problem is that most organized religion prohibits (or at least discourages) doing that.

     Part of my purpose in this blog is to promote the fact that we are free to "cherry-pick" what we believe from the religious "cafeteria." And we need to exercise that freedom and choose for ourselves
what we actually believe. As Lama Surya Das advises in his delightful book, Make Me One With Everything: [follow] "your own conscience, because only you can decide for you."

PS: This freedom to pick and choose is a process. As the Apostle Paul wrote, "When I was a child,
I thought as a child; but when I became an adult, I put away childish things."

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

"PIONEERING THE HUMAN TASK"

     The title of a recent article in The Christian Century (March 1, 2016) by William T. Cavanaugh caught my attention:

     "Healing from the ground up: The church as field hospital."

     In beginning the article, Cavanaugh shares the following quote from Pope Francis:

     "I see clearly that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness. proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds. And you have to start from the ground up."

     This took me back 45 years ago when I served as the program chairman for our Student Conference on Mission and Ministry [February 12-14, 1971] at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest. As program chairman, I suggested the phrase "Pioneering the Human Task" --  which I had discovered in a book by Dr. Gabriel Fackre, now retired from Andover Newton Theological School as the Samuel Abbot Professor of Christian Theology, Emeritus.

     The cover for our brochure for the "Pioneering the Human Task" conference featured the following quote from Dr. Fackre's book:

     "...when the Samaritan came upon the victim, he did not hand him a tract,
or preach a sermon, or say, 'Let us turn to hymn 52.'
                      The text says, 'He bound up his wounds.' 
 
In a world of wounds, the Church is called to be the first to leap to the side of the hurt.
 
Its missionary task is to speak the language of compassion and deed,
                               a language which the world understands.

And like the Samaritan, its role is to be the first on the scene -- to pioneer the human task."

Amen and Amen.

Monday, March 14, 2016

THOUGHTS for the MIDDLE of LENT


     "Every man is a moon
and has a side which he turns toward nobody:
     you have to slip around behind it
if you want to see it."
                                             -- Mark Twain


     "There are dark corners in everybody's life."

                                     -- Lucas McCain (Chuck Connors) in TV's "THE RIFLEMAN"



     "We like to imagine that  good and bad,
                 right and wrong,
                          are miles apart...
                                    But the truth is that very often
they're all tangled up with each other."

                                    - Rev. Charley Jackson (Bill Cobbs) in the movie "GET LOW"

Friday, January 22, 2016

"EVERY ONE BENEFITS FROM HAVING A QUILT!"

I have a good friend who has been a quilter for many years.

After sharing my reasons for this blog about Patchwork Quilt Spirituality,
I asked her to think about it and then share her thoughts.
Here is some of what she wrote:

"Every one benefits from having a quilt...

They are better than a miracle drug because
   they soothe & comfort your soul just by being.

They offer you a refuge,
   brighten your surroundings
      and send a feeling of encompassing love.

Once it is hand quilted --
   it has the ability to lift spirits,
      heal hurts and surround a person with the feeling of a warm hug.
         (HUGS CAN CURE ALMOST ANYTHING!)"

[adapted from a personal letter from Ruth Walker, January 2016.]

By the way, yesterday, January 21st, was "National Hug Day!"
as reported in the Care 2 Healthy Living website.
According to the article, reported by Diana Vilbert:

   "Hugging gives us the warm-and-fuzzies."

The article goes on to claim that hugging stimulates the neurotransmitter oxytocin --
which promotes feelings of trust and contentment,
and helps to lower blood pressure and heart rate.

Didn't Jesus say something about a "Comforter"?