Archive for the ‘Healing’ Category

Being Gentle with Ourselves

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

Trying softer isn’t about knowing or doing the right thing; it’s about being gentle with ourselves in the face of pain that is keeping us stuck. Because no matter how hard we try, we can’t hate or shame ourselves into change. Only love can move us toward true growth. This is the love given to us by a gentle, kind, compassionate, good God — and the love we are invited to give ourselves too.

— Aundi Kolber, Try Softer, p. 193-194

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, December 13, 2020

Our Needs Matter

Saturday, November 28th, 2020

Because our brains are shaped around what we notice, self-attunement helps us become better and more effective at listening to the heartbeat of our own humanity. And here’s what I truly love about the way we are designed: As we do our own internal work, we quite literally develop the capacity to listen to and love others more fully than before. Now it’s worth saying that we don’t do our work only so we will love others better — although it’s a beautiful benefit. Nope, we are invited to connect to and respond to our internal world because we are deeply valuable and loved by God; and because that is true, we can rest in the fact that our needs matter.

— Aundi Kolber, Try Softer, p. 133

Photo: Chateau de Chillon, Lake Geneva, Switzerland, November 2000

A Working Heart

Sunday, November 15th, 2020

Stop calling your heart broken; your heart works just fine. If you are feeling — love, anger, gratitude, grief — it is because your heart is doing its work. Let it.

KEEP MOVING.

— Maggie Smith, Keep Moving, p. 8

Photo: Leithöfe, Germany, November 1997

Next Adventure

Friday, October 30th, 2020

The ending of one thing is also the beginning of another. What is the next adventure? There is room enough in this life — with its many endings, its many beginnings — for things you could not have imagined last week or last year or ten years ago.

KEEP MOVING

— Maggie Smith, Keep Moving, p. 4

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, 10/30/2020

The Process

Monday, October 12th, 2020

Just as there’s no way to rush a flower to bloom, we cannot go beyond the stage we are in — we have to move at the pace that feels doable to us. This is why I invite you to respect the intensity of your experience and to remember that the in-between is sacred too. If I’ve learned anything, it may be that the way we do something matters as much as what we do. The process of blooming is as valuable as the flower it produces.

— Aundi Kolber, Try Softer, p. 19

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 10, 2020

God Unwrathed

Friday, September 11th, 2020

The Cross reveals God unwrathed — nonviolent, self-giving, radically forgiving, co-suffering love. And this — impossibly, amazingly — is how he overcomes evil with good. God in Christ draws all the evil, all the sin, all the violence and the resulting suffering into himself. And the Light of his love overcomes the darkness so that from that moment, “It is finished” also means “It begins!” What begins? “Behold, I am making all things new!”

— Bradley Jersak, A More Christlike Way, p. 169

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, August 24, 2020

Restorative Justice

Monday, September 7th, 2020

It’s time for Christianity to rediscover the deeper biblical theme of restorative justice, which focuses on rehabilitation and reconciliation and not punishment. (Read Ezekiel 16 for a supreme example of this.) We could call Jesus’ story line the “myth of redemptive suffering” — not as in “paying a price” but as in offering the self for the other. Or “at-one-ment” instead of atonement!

Restorative justice, of course, comes to its full demonstration in the constant healing ministry of Jesus. Jesus represents the real and deeper level of teaching of the Jewish Prophets. Jesus never punished anybody! Yes, he challenged people, but always for the sake of insight, healing, and restoration of people and situations to their divine origin and source. Once a person recognizes that Jesus’s mission (obvious in all four Gospels) was to heal people, not punish them, the dominant theories of retributive justice begin to lose their appeal and their authority.

— Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ, p. 142

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, September 7, 2020

Agents of Healing and Change

Saturday, August 22nd, 2020

In this way, the spiritual eyes through which we see the world change everything. If our default lens is sin, we tend to look ahead to the afterlife, but if we focus on suffering, we’ll lean toward presently transforming the planet in real time — and we’ll create community accordingly. The former seeks to help people escape the encroaching moral decay by getting them into heaven; the latter takes seriously the prayer Jesus teaches his disciples, that they would make the kingdom come — that through lives resembling Christ and work that perpetuates his work, we would actually bring heaven down. Practically speaking, sin management seems easier because essentially all that is required of us is to preach, to call out people’s errors and invite them to repentance, and to feel we’ve been faithful. But seeing suffering requires us to step into the broken, jagged chaos of people’s lives to be agents of healing and change. It’s far more time consuming and much more difficult to do as a faith community. It is a lot easier to train preachers to lead people in a Sinner’s Prayer than it is to equip them to address the systematic injustices around them.

— John Pavlovitz, A Bigger Table, p. 125

Photo: Isle of Staffa, Scotland, July 13, 2003

Compassion, Not Contempt

Wednesday, August 12th, 2020

In the ninth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus looks upon the crowd gathered before him and is deeply burdened by what he sees, not because of what they are doing or not doing, but because of what is being done to them and what it is creating in them (9:35-38). He is moved in that moment, not by some moral defect but by their internal turmoil. Just as when he feeds the multitudes, Jesus is not concerned with behavior modification, as we so often imagine; he is most concerned with meeting the needs that prevent people from knowing their belovedness, and he offers an expression of God’s provision. Matthew records that Jesus, seeing those in front of him, notes not their conduct but their condition, observing that they are “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” This realization prompts a passionate, public appeal for those who would do the work of restoration and healing in the name of God. The distinction between seeing sin and seeing suffering is revelatory if we really let it seep into the deepest hollows of our hearts. Jesus’ default response to the fragile humanity before him is not contempt but compassion.

— John Pavlovitz, A Bigger Table, p. 124

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, August 7, 2020

An Important Choice

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

Forgiveness is above all a choice. It is a choice to find peace and live life fully. We can choose either to remain stuck in the pain and frustration of the past or to move on to the potential of the future. It is a choice we can all make, and it is a choice that will lead us to a healthier and happier life.

— Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 217

Photo: Leithöfe, Germany, June 14, 1997