Looking at the title of my blog for today, some of you might be thinking it looks like a mathematical formula. Let me see if I can walk us through this mathematical expression. Metamorphosis is the transformation that occurs in some animals as they move from one state of being to another, like from a caterpillar to a butterfly. Over the course of our lives, we have been in the process of our own transformation, physically and spiritually.
There is a scripture in the New Testament Book of Romans which tells us quite simply do not conform to this world, but be transformed in it by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect. Paul’s words challenge us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Read More
One of my favorite places to go for nourishment and inspiration is the Spiritual Literacy library on YouTube. This week I was pulled in by a one-minute story about the hospitality of a person known as nothing more than the Desert Dweller. According to the story, this person has lived in the desert most, if not all, of his life. At the end of each day, the Desert Dweller leaves a lit lantern by the side of the road and a now worn out note in a plastic sheet protector letting people know how to find his cottage should they be in need. This story comes from a book by Howard Thurman, Meditations of the Heart.
For me this story is about the attitude we have about our willingness to open our hearts and homes to others. It is not about whether or not people accept our invitation. Rather, it is about our willingness to extend the invitation in the first place. Read More
This month, I have challenged each of us to awaken to the beauty in life and its experiences. Perhaps that is why I was drawn to this quote by Emily Dickinson who wrote: “Beauty is not caused. It is.” As we focus on our connection to the Divine and the presence of the Divine in us, we are better able to appreciate beauty in everything we see, touch, and experience. As John Keats's observed in Ode on a Grecian Urn: 'Beauty is truth, truth beauty.' As we live in the truth of who we are as spiritual beings brought here by the Ultimate, we can begin to recognize not only the beauty within ourselves but all of life. Each time we see beauty, we see a symbol of the Divine. Every time we encounter truth, we encounter a symbol of the Creative Spirit. Every day of our lives, we are invited to experience the beauty in each day. Read More
This seems to be the theme for this week, “If you can’t fix it, feature it1.” I wish I could say I created that phrase, but it was given to me by a colleague of mine Rev Glenna Tillery Shepherd, pastor at Decatur UCC in Decatur, GA. It is like that old saying, we have all heard – “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” We all have things, situations, and parts of our lives that we can’t fix. It is not about what it is, but what you do with it.
This week, for me, has been filled with examples of featuring it, when you can’t fix it. For example, the other day I met an amazing person who has Tourette’s syndrome (his can’t fix it thing), however, when he is drumming he becomes asymptomatic. Therefore, he drums. He has taken what has helped him all his life and features it in every aspect of his life Read More
week, I ended by asking how we use our status in the world to create a more humane world.
How do we, consciously or unconsciously, contribute to the inhumanity in the
world? How do we try to avoid and deny responsibility for our place in creating
a more humane world for all of humanity?
have this tendency in our culture to blame people for not having achieved as
much or done as well as others. We see things at an individual level and rarely
look at the systemic forces that make it more difficult for some to achieve or
have access to what seems within the grasp of others. Rather than be willing to
critically look at these issues and the ways they are embedded within larger
institutions and systems of injustice and inequality, people tend to try to get
off the hook by denying and/or minimizing the situation or blaming the
situation on the “victim.”
This past Saturday, June 18, 2011, I hosted a surprise gardening and garden party for Zoë. Those who came to help celebrate her 57th birthday each brought a plant to go in our new front yard in an attempt to give her the front yard of her dreams this year. While most of our friends gave her plants or gift certificates with which to buy plants, a few of our friends gave us seeds. One of the things I realized in the process is that each plant and package of seeds came with growing instructions. As I thought about these instructions, I came to realize they were not just about caring for the plants, but also instructions for spiritual growth and evolution.
The first step was to plant your seeds. Nothing can grow if you do not plant it. Read More
The other day, someone said “this spiritual evolution stuff is hard work. Sometimes I just want to go back to the way I was, it was so much easier.” I had to giggle because I totally agreed with her. It is so easy to just go through life and not think about what we say or do or why. I remember the days when I did not worry about what I did or said and didn’t think about what I really meant by that or the message I was giving off. Or the days when I was not thinking about what emotion was ruling my response? Or whether I was responding or reacting? But then I stop and think about how unhappy I was, how messed up my life appeared to be, how I felt as if I were on an emotional roller coaster. There were times I felt as if I was trapped on one of those revolving doors. No matter how much I said things were going to be different, I found myself doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results. Oh wait, isn’t that what Einstein called insanityJ.
Evolving spiritually means that we cannot zone out through life. We cannot hit the snooze alarm on our lives. We have to remain awake and conscious. When we are conscious, we can listen to our intuition. Read More
When I was pastoring, I always found it difficult to get people to pay attention to the announcements. I think most pastors would tend to agree with me. One day, when I was trying to read the announcements, one of the young visitors to our church stood up and told the adults it was pay attention time. Two things about that morning have stayed with me. One was the effect of those words on the congregation that morning; people actually focused their attention on the announcements that day. The other was the power of that young woman who reminded us all that we have to pay attention to everything, including the announcements.
The last several months, I have remembered how important it to pay attention to everything in my life. By paying attention to my feelings, especially my reactions, I can see where I have grown and where I still need to evolve spiritually. Read More