Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

The Brea(st/d) of Heaven

August 30, 2014

A group of girlfriends, including our priest, humbly shared Communion around a circle. One mother of three small children handed the consecrated bread to the woman next to her and said accidentally, if appropriately, “The Body of Christ, the Breast of Heaven”. Much laughter ensued. I was moved by the potential meaning held in her unintentional substitution for the word “bread” – it remains an unforgettable Eucharist.

I wonder what it is like to breastfeed from God, to experience mutual need and devotion, intimacy and sustenance unlike any other. Do I already? Could I intentionally?

My son’s favorite part of church is what he calls “God’s Dinner”. It may be because he gets to move his little legs and see lots of people on our way up front, or it could be that he gets a snack. I think, however, he senses something more is happening. He seems in sweet awe as he holds his two-year-old palms up to receive this spiritual food. He has a skip in his step afterwards. Back in our pew, he always asks for more.

I experienced breastfeeding my son as a kind of sacrament, an “outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace” (Book of Common Prayer). In the wee dark hours, more than calories was transmitted. “Take, eat, this is my Body, which is given for you.” (BCP, Eucharistic Prayer II) It wasn’t my grace that flowed; it was the purest of God’s love feeding us both, and a passing of Peace between mother and babe.

It is no small feat to feed a child from your own body multiple times a day and night for weeks, months or years. During the harried moments of raising a baby into a toddler, it was within the calm of nursing that I remembered the profound nature of the mother role and what a privilege it is. A lot transpired in the 12-inch world we created between us in our blue denim rocking chair. It was there that my son rolled toy dump trucks and excavators across my chest, it was there we chanted about Sita and Ram during my yoga teacher training, and it was there we gazed into each other’s souls and fell deeper and deeper in love.

I often wonder, as I look at my son, if God loves me that completely. There were a few days last winter when I found myself saying, “I’m not a good person” because I had been bitchy, ungrateful, impulsive, and negative. These are the moments when I most want to contribute to God’s kingdom rather than take from it, and yet, I need time at the Breast of Heaven in order to right myself. I need to be held, to connect my soul with God, and to feel loved despite my shortcomings, maybe even, inclusive of them. Then I can be nudged towards what could be.

In the Hindu scripture The Bhagavad Gita, Krishna, the charioteer and teacher, gradually reveals himself to the warrior Arjuna as the Divine and as Arjuna’s immortal Self. Near the end of the story, he tells Arjuna that he loves him, that he is dear to him. I found this so touching. Could God also be this Self within me offering tender love and forgiveness to my imperfect, small “s” self?  

When people say “God loves you,” it feels like fluff to me, until I give credence to God’s love as I experience it – a surrounding presence within which I “live and breathe and have [my] being” (Acts 17:28). It is a healing energy that works its way into the inner reaches of my heart. It is as if I were a nursing baby and whenever I cry for my Mother, or even make a peep, She is there. This there-ness, that’s love to me.

Do we wean from God? As happens in a breastfeeding life cycle, I know that I have received highly personalized-for-each-stage-of-my-growth Divine nourishment. Sometimes I wonder if it is time for me to stop asking God for so much, and give what I already have. I don’t think, however, that I will ever grow out of needing to hear about Jesus’ vision of justice or tap in to his meditative presence. Nor can I imagine being beneficial for my family and the world without continually accessing a power greater than myself.  

I’m heartened that when weaning a child, allowing him to continue becoming his own self, his need for his mother is no less strong, and her love for him is no less fierce and no less present. This, I suspect, is how it is with God.

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A Teacher and a Preacher

November 21, 2013

I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One.”

– The meaning of the Sanskrit salutation Namaste

If Christ is in me and Christ is in you, we have something in common. We are no longer separate. We are no longer separated by so many miles—or by race or class or disease. We have something of our essence in common.”

– Br. Mark Brown, Society of Saint John the Evangelist

These quotations reveal a poignant similarity between the two paths of spirituality I walk – yoga and a private relationship with Christ. I’ve only just begun to explore the depth and breadth of either path. This interweaving of the two expands my capacity to know God within myself and to recognize God in others, my life and the world.

I believe it was the goodness and strategy of God that brought me into the spheres of two mentors, one for each path, who continue to have great influence on me and what I hope to offer the world.

Meaghan de Roos is a deeply inspired yoga teacher and co-founder, with her husband Gil Elhart, of Breathe Yoga Center in Norfolk, Va. Her classes are structured, informative and powerful. Too many times to count, I have felt awakened by her clearly stated, profound words coupled with thoughtfully led movement. Once, just before I participated in a difficult work meeting, I heard her say in a morning class, “Rest in your own center with your own Source.” I repeated this mantra silently to myself during the meeting and came through with my dignity and integrity intact.

Whitney Zimmerman Edwards is a humbly-brilliant, Episcopalian priest. She was recently named rector of Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Westport, Ct. Years ago in a women’s Bible study in Richmond, Va., she said, “We each write our own gospel with our lives.” This seemed revolutionary to me: that the story of God continues to be written through me, and that my story matters. Last fall, in response to my questioning how God could allow incredible evil to be perpetrated against children, she wrote, “God is not a thing as much as the cosmic well from which is born any of the goodness, grace, peace and healing you and I have ever known.” I’ve been pondering that sentence for a year.

In the foreword to Eknath Eswaran’s translation of the Hindu scripture The Bhagavad Gita, he describes adventurers dedicated to “knowing the knower”:

Yet there are always a few who are not content to spend their lives indoors. Simply knowing there is something unknown beyond their reach makes them acutely restless… This is true of adventurers of every kind, but especially of those who seek to explore not just mountains or jungles, but consciousness itself: whose real drive, we might say, is not so much to know the unknown but to know the knower… every now and then, like friends who have run off to some exotic land, they send back breathless messages… ‘Look at this view! Isn’t it breathtaking?’” (pp. 7-8)

At young ages, both Meaghan and Whitney were led to seek the Divine and testify to the deeper meaning of our existence. Each practices and, in her own authentic way, builds upon an ancient tradition. They send back “breathless messages” and lay paths and lend guiding hands for others to make their own journey.

Their respective ministries – one delivered in a studio, the other in a church – have led me to believe that both traditions can be mine and that I can delve into their synergies. It is going to require a commitment to deep study of the teachings of Jesus and an embodied investigation of the spiritual realm of yoga revealed through intense physical, meditative and breathing practices.

Day after day, Meaghan and Whitney give of their real and evolving selves to the healing of others and, as a result, the healing of the world. It takes great courage and a deep-rooted sense of purpose to be a seer who tells what she’s seen and admits she yearned to seek it in the first place.

I’m honored that both agreed to let me share with you a small glimpse into who they are and why I find them so inspiring. They both responded separately to the following set of emailed questions.

What in your life experience has most shaped your spiritual journey and what you believe to be true?

Meaghan: When I was 20 years old and a sophomore in college I developed an eating disorder that started as bulimia and progressed to full blown anorexia. I was at a cross roads where I had to decide if I wanted to live or die. I truly believe that my eating disorder was actually a deep longing for a fulfilled life, a searching for a connection to God, to something bigger than myself. Existing in the silence I was creating between my body and mind was a longing connected to my soul’s desire for healing and wholeness. That longing could be expressed in two ways: that of disconnect, cruelty, inward violence, and separation, or that of growth, connection to spirit, and a putting back together of fragmentation, therefore the possibility of wholeness. What I believe to be true from this experience is that there is shadow and there is light in all of us and that both are born of the desire to be at peace and to be happy, whole and free. In order to truly live in the light we have to be equally willing to be in the vulnerability of the shadow, of what we fear, and what causes us pain. We can’t selectively have one and numb the other. This is the fullness of life. And to me, it is what makes life worth breathing.

Whitney: Not long after my brother’s incarceration, our father drank until he died, and our mother did the same, only a little more slowly. I was left to my own devices at such a young age that I shudder to think what could have happened after leaving home with few possessions and a load of pain. But what did happen, instead, was grace, in the form of a grandmother who needed me almost as much as I needed her.

I was never allowed to visit my brother in a prison deep in the south. But a short ways down the river that ran beneath my bedroom window, there was a jail. So, I began my search there, which as best I could tell was the closest I could get to him and the events which had laid waste to our family and my innocence.

I didn’t go to jail looking for my life’s purpose: I went to find fellowship with the broken, the burdened and the blamed. I sought kinship in those who had suffered evils not spoken of in polite company and among them I came to know beauty beyond all evidence to the contrary and forgiveness for that which I cannot understand. And, most unexpectedly, in between the bars and gates and rolls of razored wire I kept meeting this character Jesus, who, it seems, had long awaited me. Jesus, who stretched out his arms upon the hard wood of the cross so that everyone might come within the reach of his saving embrace, was there living among men who had known and caused suffering beyond measure.

I went to prison looking for what had broken in me and by the grace of God I found Jesus and returned home every evening to tell my grandmother about him.  And somewhere, on that short stretch of river between the two, I was saved.

What is God to you? What kind of trust do you place in that God? How do you believe God works in your life?

Meaghan:  I have always felt a sense of connection to something bigger than myself. Early in life that was an experience of God in the way that people told me, as a man with a white beard and staff that lived in heaven and determined one’s goodness based on how one behaved. Over time my image of God became freer and more personal. It was later in life, in a class with my teacher Seane Corn, that I heard her describe God as the manifestation of truth and love. That really resonated with me and is most in alignment with how I experience God. God is the manifestation of truth and love in all things, a blade of grass, the ocean, an animal’s sweet face, a baby, a spider, the greatest joys in life, the deepest sorrow. There is no limit or separation in this manifestation of truth and love, and it is recognition of the goodness innately in all. I place enormous trust in my belief that everything in my life is happening to bring me to a greater understanding of truth and love. That means the easy moments in my life and, most definitely, the challenging ones. The stickier it gets, the more I squirm, the more I know God is all over it.

Whitney:  I long for God in ways that surprise, feed and compel me.  I was first able to articulate that longing as a teenager.  I found myself in the midst of the Rose Test Gardens in Portland, an impossibly beautiful and fragrant spot. Looking at the snowcapped Mt. Hood, with a petal in my fingertips and the fragrance on the hot, dry air I had this perfect and fleeting moment of bliss and at that very moment I heard in my mind “this is what grace is”. I also realized that I have chosen to ignore grace by closing myself off to it countless times. Until that point I don’t ever remember wondering or caring about the nature of grace, but suddenly my senses had proven the means by which I could understand an aspect of God. God is pure gift: delight, beauty, life, hope, wholeness, and God pursues me with much more faithfulness than I have ever pursued God. The more time I spend with God the more any worries, fears, anxieties and wounds of life take their proper place in my consciousness.

What did it take to put yourself out there?

Meaghan: I don’t know if I ever would have pictured myself getting up in front of people day after day giving instruction, offering insight into yoga as I have experienced it through my life, and hopefully creating a container where people can feel truly seen and held. Truth is, I was a painfully shy and introverted child who liked the safety of my own home and the feeling of my own bed. I couldn’t look a stranger in the eyes without a ripple of terror pulsing through my body. My parents pushed me to do it anyway, and although there was a time in my life when I resented them for it, I am extremely grateful now. I am still introverted and it requires a lot of my energy to teach yoga in the way that I do. There have been times along the way that I have questioned if I am cut out to do this work, but every time I sit with that question I am absolutely clear that this is my dharma (purpose). I know because it is where I am asked to learn the most about myself and how I want to show up on this planet. It asks me to grow in ways I couldn’t otherwise. It asks a lot of me because it is through my teaching that I am coming to understand why I am here.

Whitney:  My early story is a sad one, one that I do not tell often, but it deeply informs my care for others.  I have known pain so intimately that others’ pain does not frighten me.  Suffering is inevitable yet dreaded by all.  It is never welcome and yet it refines the soul like fire.  Our silly concerns, wasteful anxieties and selfish pursuits tend to burn off in the fires of pain and whenever that happens real and meaningful healing is possible, in the way that these epic fires burning across the West will prove the forests, making the conditions just right for an even healthier stand than there was before.  I am honored to draw close to people in those terrible moments and remind them of a strength they possess not to endure but to flourish; helping them navigate their fear and discover more of themselves and God in the process.

What do you see in your students or parishioners that you wish they could see?

Meaghan: I see myself in every student that comes to class. I see the vulnerability of what it means to be alive on the planet at this time. I see how connected and alike we all are despite our surface level differences. I see the courage, strength and dedication it takes to make a commitment to practice yoga and develop a willingness to bump up against what is uncomfortable. I see the beauty and the wisdom that is expressed in each individual as I witness a collective moving and breathing together. I see what it means to choose a different path, one that is not ordinary or easy. I see the sacrifices that are made to carve out that bit of time to be on a yoga mat in a life that is busy and filled with responsibility. Most of all I see God…the manifestation of truth and love embodied through the practice both on and off the mat. And it gives me hope.

Whitney: God is in everyone.  I am dedicated to witnessing to that and celebrating it.

Conflicted, but not really

December 7, 2012

In a recent Sunday morning yoga class, my teacher invited “the presence and manifestation of truth and love” into the room. I like her teaching. She speaks cleanly, with conviction, of complex ideas that inform the larger meaning of my practice and how I may take the wisdom of my body into my life.

Lately, yoga is the 90 minutes of the week when I most consciously connect with God, perhaps because I’m able to slow down enough to feel God there. Being a new mother, I believe God is ever present, but I often think my son’s care, safety and happiness are all up to my husband and me. In class, I’m reminded of a larger force for good, available to help us with this monumental task, raising a child.

You likely know that I get pretty frustrated when God is exclusively referred to as “Father” and “He,” even though I recognize it is easier to use a masculine pronoun than none at all. Ironically, when I sense God near me in yoga, a “he” appears. Jesus, in fact. He’s usually sitting in lotus about five feet in front or to the side of me. He’s quiet and waiting, being present and emanating truth and love.

Perhaps this is Jesus’ way, showing up for me even when I repeatedly push aside the possibility that he could be a real and acknowledged part of my faith. I’m shy about even saying his name for fear of being misidentified as someone who uses Jesus as an exclusionary tool to separate the “believers” from the “non.”

Is my faith in Jesus an accident of geography? Was I just trying to fit into a traditional southern city the last few years of attending church and going to a women’s Bible study group (which I loved)? Or was God working on me? Is my imagination just choosing to see Jesus instead of some other image of God because he is such a part of popular American life? Would Mohammed appear during yoga if I lived in Pakistan? Does the fact that the question arises for me at all make me less of a Christian, if indeed I am a Christian?

I don’t know exactly what “Jesus is my Lord and Savior” means. It’s such a big (and often public) statement. Is it just easy to say to fit in with a church? I wonder what depth is behind that statement for others. I’m curious about their personal “being saved” experiences. Are their lives totally devoted to Jesus?

The thing is, I do think he’s real. I just feel I’m out on the intellectual ledge saying it. Though I have a hard time crediting him out loud (especially to my family), I believe this “presence and manifestation of truth and love” filled a long-term hole in my heart and made me ready for a lasting relationship with a kind and caring man. I do think he “saved” me.

I’ve wondered about the purpose of this blog post, of telling you about my Jesus dilemma. Who cares? Shouldn’t I be spending my time thinking about my family or my work? But in this short human life, what I think about and my relationship with God both matter to me. I also feel a need to figure out what I can say with integrity about my belief in Jesus because I would like to baptize our son. I’d like to ask for God’s blessing on him and promise to raise him in a spiritual home even though I believe he is loved and protected by God whether we baptize him or not.

There are a few people whose ideas about Jesus have made me think, “Whoa, this is something I can believe in.” I am not enough of a Bible reader or a theologian to have gotten there myself. What I know on my own is that I like Jesus’ vibe. He seems calm, deep and eminently patient – unless he’s mad about a social injustice. I like and respect that about him too.

And now that we’re headed towards Christmas and I’m listening to John Denver sing about the baby boy king and his own sweet little baby boy, I think, “Why not just let this beautiful, scientifically unproven magic be a lovely and meaningful part of my life?” I’d like to think that my New York Times-reading, Volvo-driving, Starbucks-drinking, liberal self could have an honest, tender and questioning relationship with Jesus.

Maybe he keeps showing up in yoga to remind me I can have that kind of relationship. And he’ll be there whether I can say his name out loud or not.

God in All Things

June 7, 2010

I recently learned that the pelican was an ancient symbol of Christ. According to Father William Saunders, “The legend was that in time of famine, the mother pelican wounded herself, striking her breast with the beak to feed her young with her blood to prevent starvation. Another version of the legend was that the mother fed her dying young with her blood to revive them from death, but in turn lost her own life… Given this tradition, one can easily see why the early Christians adapted it to symbolize our Lord, Jesus Christ.”
 
Just a few days after I read this, I saw these devastating photos of sick and dying pelicans on the Gulf Coast.
 
The medieval mystic Mechtild of Magdeburg wrote, “The day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw-and knew I saw-all things in God, and God in all things.” Oil-covered pelicans. Oil-covered Christ. Both drowning in the Gulf. One not able to take flight for the weight of oil in her feathers; the other present in her agony. These photos are my awakening. 
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With apologies to my pet-owning friends, I admit that I usually care more about humans than animals. I also confess that the environment has not been an issue to which I’ve devoted my passion. Rather than washing my own lettuce, I buy salad in plastic containers. I waste water by turning the shower on before I’m ready to get in. I think only about what I spend on gas, not my consumption. That contributes to the demand for oil, which has led us to this disaster.
 
“The day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw-and knew I saw-all things in God, and God in all things.”
 
Dear Mother Earth, I regret that I have taken you for granted and given you far less attention that you deserve and require. Dear Christ, I have not completely understood your presence in all things until I saw these suffering birds.
 
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said in a Speaking of Faith interview, “At the center of this existence is a heart beating with love.” I imagine that heart is breaking right now as it feels for its creation in the Gulf.
 
So what can we do now that it’s happened? Many of you are far more experienced than I regarding taking care of that with which God has entrusted us. I just took this Center for Sustainable Economy quiz to measure how much land and ocean my lifestyle requires. Yikes! Apparently we would need 4.35 Earths if everyone lived like I do! Here are their tips for minimizing our ecological footprint. Please share your own suggestions.
 
I believe we can also pray for the families of those who lost their lives, our sisters and brothers who lost their livelihoods, the ailing pelicans, the endangered whales, and the dying starfish. As Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön teaches in When Things Fall Apart, we can breathe in the pain of all of God’s creatures and breathe out whatever we feel would bring them relief.  
 
“The day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw-and knew I saw-all things in God, and God in all things.”

The Energy Between Us

April 18, 2010

A young woman recently told me she believes God is the energy between two people. Such wisdom and awareness! I appreciated the reminder that I must take responsibility for the energy I give to another.  
 
It isn’t easy. I quite regularly catch myself holding back or feeling competitive when interacting with someone new, as if the person across from me must prove herself trustworthy, before I will “love my neighbor as myself.”
 
The instruction, “So glorify God in your body,” (1 Corinthians 6:20) helps me in my quest to remain open-hearted in my interactions. When I allow God to course through my whole being – heart, mind, strength, and soul – I am much more able to extend “God-like” energy to others.
 
The yogi Paramahansa Yogananda writes in his mind-opening book, The Yoga of Jesus, “When one actually perceives the Divine Presence in his own soul, he is inspired with love for his neighbor – Jew and Christian, Muslim and Hindu – in the consciousness that one’s true Self and the Selves of all others are equally soul-reflections of the one infinitely lovable God.” (pg. 99)
 
Can I recognize God in another? Would I even try to see God in my enemy? What kind of energy would I create with her if I did? I find it hard enough to be conscious about my energy with those I love – to love them as completely as I would like to love myself. Therein lies the problem. If I love myself conditionally, I will love others the same way. Similarly, the judgment I feel toward others often reflects hostility within me toward myself.
 
In interpreting the gospel writer John’s account of Jesus speaking to a Samaritan woman (which a Jewish man at the time would not have done), contemplative priest Cynthia Bourgeault illustrates beautifully what can happen when two people recognize each other as Divine:
 
“Something he sees in her gives him the confidence to be so nakedly vulnerable; and something she sees in him gives her the confidence to follow his lead, to go higher and higher and deeper and deeper in herself, knowing far beyond what she could know from ordinary knowingness, knowing fully in the immediacy of her own heart. This quality of awareness is not something that comes from outside the moment. Rather, it grows up in the moment itself through the quality and energy of the heart connection.” (The Wisdom Jesus, pg. 11)
 
May we all give to each other and experience that kind of God energy.

Peace

April 5, 2010

Of all the devotion, betrayal, strength, fallibility, sadness, and glory I heard and read about during Holy Week, the line that moved me the most was this: “Peace is my last gift to you, my own peace I now leave with you; peace which the world cannot give, I give to you.” (The Book of Common Prayer)
 
I’ve written often about doubt and uncertainty on this winding path of mine. It is challenging, at times, to feel lasting peace about earthly matters such as money, love, work, health insurance, family misunderstandings, and social injustice. Yet, in the midst of all or any of those, I’ve come to recognize the kind of peace that is a gift from God – “peace which the world cannot give.”
 
This peace I feel in my body. When the core of me is open, breathing, and calm, my mind feels safe to follow suit. In this state, I trust the peace of the certainty I feel – certainty that it all means something and God is there for me to lean on. It is the deep peace of forgiveness after confessing “things done and left undone.” It is the peace of saying, “Yes, I do believe in this mystery that ‘passes all understanding.'”
 
When watching and participating in Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services last week, I had to acknowledge that I believe in what this sacred practice represents. Seeing my clergy dressed in black with their backs turned to the congregation as they prayed was incredibly moving for me. I believe in the underlying story. So I say the words; I sing; I kneel; I eat the spiritual food. On Easter, it sank in deeper.
 
The judgmental, exclusionary, violent, sexist, neighbor-against-neighbor interpretations of Christianity have made me wary of Christianity as a whole. I’m grateful now to be learning a profoundly different take on what Jesus was teaching and to have found an understanding of God’s kingdom that I want to be a part of.
 
My mind still asks, “Am I for real? Is this devotion to and worship of God coming from my heart or my head?” I trust my body when she replies, “Yes. This is real for me. I feel this deeply. It has integrity.” Writing about and saying “Jesus” out loud is, at times, uncomfortable for me, yet being with him in private always feels natural. When I meditate, I invite him to sit with me.  He offers his hands. I take them. This is complete peace for me.
 
What brings you peace? If you’d like to share your own practice, please do so.

Using Our Divine Might

March 29, 2010

“They shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees and no one shall make them afraid.” Micah 4:4
 
A few days ago, my sweet 13-year-old niece wrote me that she wants to change the world for women and girls. Specifically, she intends to stop rape and sexual trafficking. I’m glad she’s on the case: recently I read of the horrific rape of girls, some just two or four years old, in post-earthquake Haiti.
 
“…And no one shall make them afraid.” It’s too late; someone has already made these girls afraid.
 
My niece asked for my help in creating her world-saving plan. In awe of her commitment and humbled by her request, I put what I’ve learned as a Girl Action Team coach to work and suggested  a few questions that can help her begin:  What strengths can she bring to creating change? What are the personal assets she can draw upon to help her? How would she complete the Girls For a Change phrase, “This world needs me because…?”
 
They are powerful questions to explore: Why does this world need me? What does God need me to do and become while I’m here? As I grow and the stability of the world seems to change on a daily basis, asking God these questions and listening for answers is an ongoing practice.
 
Why does this world need you? What is God asking you to do for the sake of your own soul and for the care of your fellow man? What role are you to play in the healing and further development of the world?
 
Yesterday was Palm Sunday, commemorating the day that Jesus rode humbly into Jerusalem to shake up an unjust world order. Even before I had any spiritual understanding of Jesus, he was, and remains, my social justice hero. He was a man of courage, integrity, humble confidence, conviction and deep regard for the dignity of all human beings, especially those who have neither vine nor fig tree to sit under.
 
Of course, he and his work were infused by a power far greater than his mortal form. He was both man and God. My understanding is that we are too.  No, we may not possess the level of enlightenment, selflessness and pure connection to the Divine that Jesus did, yet we are “made in the image of God.” We, too, have the power of God inside us and supporting us. We, too, are here to create a more just world. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure Jesus was frustrated with his disciples for not realizing that they, also, were capable of doing what he did and dying for what they believed in. They had a choice, though – whether to acknowledge and use this power, or not. 
 
From the beginning of humanity, the world has needed people – like Jesus, like my niece – who are willing and ready to create a far better place than one in which young girls are raped and tossed aside like trash. I believe God needs all of us to help Him and has equipped us with divine might to do so.

Wrestling With It

March 9, 2010

My priest recently told me I didn’t have to be an expert in Christian scripture to begin incorporating it into my writing and workshops when I feel doing so would deepen the experience. He told me to “just get in there and wrestle with it”. His advice came as a huge relief, because I’ve been feeling uneasy about bringing in passages from the Bible – the whole of which I’ve not read. I don’t even fully understand the literal interpretations of what I have read. However, some of its words have been speaking to me at a deeper level and I’m using my weekly writings to work out their meaning in relation to my life and soul.
 
For the past 13 months, I’ve been on a journey with this platform. What started as a marketing tool transformed into an offering. I decided to start giving what I had to give. I believe God asks us to share the resources we have – money, food, inspiration, courage or care – whatever our wealth of the moment may be. The intent of this blog is to share what is opening my mind, body and spirit, in case something I’ve experienced could be of value to your heart. And vice versa: for you to share your wisdom and questioning with me.
 
Because God has played a central role in every significant growth period of my life, I want to acknowledge what I believe is the golden ticket to personal and spiritual development. I’d like to explore not only my understanding of God, but yours as well.
 
I’m scared, though. I’m afraid you (and my family) will think I’ve become a crazed evangelist. Even worse, I fear sounding like an amateur evangelist because of my lack of expertise in the teachings of Jesus and God’s other messengers. I’m considering attending divinity school to be able to base my work upon a vast history of knowledge and inquiry, yet for now, I’m simply diving in and “wrestling with it.”  
 
My heart and thinking will continue to be influenced by meditation, yoga, innumerable books, the moving worship traditions of other religions, and the Divine Feminine. For me, God is everywhere.
 
The Jesus I believe in is anything but limiting. I’m beginning to think he was and is far deeper and more magical and mystical than usually portrayed. One of my girlfriends said the other night, “What’s the point of it all without the magic?” I love that perspective.

That is what I’d like to explore with you, going forward. Where is the magic of God found in your life?