A tough post – sometimes the image in the mirror isn’t pretty

It was a Saturday and I was on my way to a workshop to learn about accompanying those on the margins. The subject was apropos because I am currently involved in efforts to support the homeless in Seattle. I did not eat breakfast at home, but stopped at a local fast food franchise on Capital Hill to grab something before the workshop.

The restaurant was crowded and I was annoyed because many of the people appeared to be homeless and they were slowing down the line with their fumbling for money and talking loudly among themselves. Some were poking around in the trash receptacles, looking for coffee cups since the restaurant provided free refills with a cup. I felt like my precious quiet breakfast was being sullied…

As I climbed into my car, I was overwhelmed with shame at my reaction – especially because of where I was going, to a workshop on accompanying those very people. I felt that I had been in their midst and I had failed. I did not greet a single person. I did not offer to buy breakfast for anyone. I don’t think I even looked anyone in the eye. I recoiled because my actions did not match my ideals.

And how did the workshop go? I learned that companionship is a response to suffering and isolation. I heard that accompaniment is a human relationship which supports recovery and maximum wellness. I learned this must be a public relationship. Most of all, I realized how even a flawed vessel such as I, a person who becomes annoyed when his precious bubble of privilege is threatened, can still be of use in this work. In fact, it is seeing our own flaws that may allow us to accompany those in the margins. We are not so different.

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Those mountaintop moments

Those mountaintop momentsIt has been a busy week since we left class with Dr. Hess. This class was a mountaintop moment for me, one of those experiences that you just don’t want to ever end, but you grieve knowing that it must.

At time like that, I recall the words I’ve shared below:

One cannot stay on the summit forever –
One has to come down again.
So why bother in the first place? Just this.
What is above knows what is below –
But what is below does now know what is above.

One climbs, one sees –
One descends and sees no longer,
But one has seen!
There is an art of conducting one’s self in
The lower regions by the memory of
What one saw higher up.

When one can no longer see,
One does at least still know.

Rene Daumal

Please share your “mountaintop moments” and tell us how you walk with the memory of what you have seen from on high….

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Mary E. Hess – “Engaging Technology in Theological Education – All That We Can’t Leave Behind”

In our class discussions on Thursday, July 11, 2013, we discussed how digital media can intensify and sustain relationships which have started in the non-digital realm.  I was struck by a comment in Chapter six where Frankenberg brings up the concept of “color and power evasion”(p. 100) as a way in which we in the dominant culture stridently aver how these inequalities really are no big deal.  We somehow cleanse ourselves of  complicity in the violence still being visited on others by saying that we are not like that. This chapter reminds me of the barriers that we must overcome in our everyday lives which prevent us from initiating relationships with those countless others.

This book challenges us to hold on to our spiritual values as we venture into the digital sphere, but chapter six reminds me that I must be aware of the inequities which my privilege blinds me to. I carry forward both my treasures and my trash.

How do I find the courage and clarity to open my eyes to the barriers in this world which may limit me in the digital world?

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My Journey

My Journey of seeking
My path of faith
My steps of trust

I decided to try to combine words and images for this project as the mise en siècle for a favorite song of mine, “Hold It Up to the Light,” by a folk singer named David Wilcox. This song is particularly meaningful to me because I first heard it in the dark days after the death of my beloved wife. I was searching without knowing what I was seeking, feeling lost without the person who had stood with me for over thirty-four years. This song let me know that there was grace if I had faith and trust and that this grace was sufficient even when I erred.

A second little “e” epiphany for me was the realization that if I truly believe in panentheism, then the idea of needing a destination becomes less of an imperative. What seems to emerge is that I am always and everywhere surrounded by the divine, so that perhaps my task is to be grateful for the miracle of the journey, to let each breath be a prayer, every meal a communion, and every person I meet an encounter with an angel…I can then see how the light has always been there…

The quotations I have inserted are all drawn from a mail list which I subscribe to which provides both a word of the day as well as a thought for the day. I have been enjoying this list for five or six years and I compile a list of the quotations which touch me. The photographs are largely mine, so for me, each has a story of its own which adds to the beauty. A few are drawn from the web and are so noted in the credits.

Here is the link to download a copy of the slides which are the basis for this video:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ectphgrpt2b54zq/word%20slides%20for%20593_03.pdf

I have provided the lyrics for the song and I hope that my humble offering might speak to others. I would love to hear from you if this post touches you in any way because this means that we will be travelling together, if just for a short time, and even if we are not physically together.

http://davidwilcox.com/index.php?page=songs&display=1369&category=Big_Horizon

Hold It Up To The Light

It’s the choice of a lifetime – I’m almost sure
I will not live my life in between any more
If I can’t be certain of all that’s in store
This far it feels so right
I will hold it up – hold it up to the light
Hold it up to the light, hold it up to the light

The search for my future has brought me here
This is more than I’d hoped for, but sometimes I fear
That the choice I was made for will someday appear
And I’ll be too late for that flight
Chorus

It’s too late – to be stopped at the crossroads
Each life here – each a possible way
But wait – and they all will be lost roads
Each road’s getting shorter the longer I stay

Now as soon as I’m moving – my choice is good
This way comes through right where I prayed that it would
If I keep my eyes open and look where I should
Somehow all of the signs are in sight
If I hold it up to the light

I said God, will you bless this decision
I’m so scared. Is my life at stake
But I see if you gave me a vision
Would I ever have reason to use my faith?

I was dead with deciding – I was afraid to choose
I was mourning the loss of the choices I’d lose
But there’s no choice at all if I don’t make my move
And trust that the timing is right
Yes and hold it up to the light
Chorus

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Rheingold – Netsmart and Social Capital

      Rheingold cites Pierre Bourdieu’s description of

social capital as “the resources available to people

as a result of durable relationships.”(p. 218) On the

next page, Robert Putnam’s research findings “that

horizontal relationships of reciprocity, rather than

vertical relationships of authority and dependency

are what binds together members of communities.(p.

219)

      I see how digital media offers the means by which to

maintain relationships without respect to distance

and also to make reciprocity an asynchronous

transaction. What I mean by the second comment is

that digital media may make it possible to maintain

reciprocity in relationships without necessarily

requiring immediate responses. This new capability

will require some negotiation and collaboration to

arrive at common expectations and protocols in order

to avoid conflict and misunderstandings, but once

these are in place, then digital media may afford

both durability and reciprocity.

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The LACE model presented in Drescher’s Click2Save is a keeper!

The model’s framework of Listening, Attending, Connecting, and Engaging offers promise as a method of caring for those with whom you are already in community and also for those who we wish to invite into our communities. The model is a recognition of the importance of relationships and the suggestions of how to use digital means to foster relationships offers a refreshing balance to the outcries of how the digital world is separating us. As always, both sides of the discussion come in with their truth, and the fullness of truth is probably sufficient to take in both sides. 

Just as books can offer guidance either for love or hate, we must acknowledge that the digital world, in and of itself, is probably value-neutral…it is our challenge to use this medium for good, for fostering our ministries and caring for our many communities.

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Items I follow or subscribe to daily

I thought I would share three sites which I follow or subscribe to.

 

 The first site is from the Center for Action and Contemplation (cac.org) and is titled “Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations.”  These readings challenge my understanding of the divine.

 

The second site is from Wordsmith (wordsmith.org) and is titled A.Word.A.Day.  I enjoy this daily note because I not only learn a new word, but there is also a quotation of the day at the end.  I have been subscribed to this list for several years and the daily quotations are a source of joy to me.

The final mail list reflects my Navy professional interests.  It it titled “NightWatch” and is produced by Kforce Government Solutions, Inc. (kforcegov.com)  This gives me a daily dose of analysis of current events in the world.

I’d love to hear from others about mail lists they subscribe to….

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