Working on some spiritual practices in our lives is easier then others. It is easy to think about how to practice kindness, gratitude, joy, kindness, or even play. However thinking about practicing vision requires us to think outside the box. So I was excited when I found the writing of Angeles Arrien, in The Four-Fold Way Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer and Visionary. She offers some concrete steps and things we can do to practice developing our inner visionary. So I thought this week I would share her ideas with you.

“Processes and Reminders: Important Practices to Develop the Inner Visionary

“1. Spend at least fifteen minutes each day in walking meditation. Record your experience in your journal or create a special meditation log.

“Walking Meditation
Accessing the Inner Creator
Accessing the Quality of Creativity

“Purpose

“The purpose of walking meditation is to honor sacred time. This is a time set aside for introspection, contemplation, discovery, and honoring the sacred or divine.

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WISDOM FROM A HOPI ELDER

August 7, 2017

It never ceases to fascinate and inspire me to read the wisdom of those on different, but similar paths to mine. Huston Smith, in his book A Seat at the Table, shared this wisdom from a Hopi Elder. These questions challenge us to critically reflect on our lives and our vision for the world. May we each reflect on these questions this week.

“You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.
Now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.
And there are things to be considered:
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?

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THANK YOU!

July 31, 2017

I have been sitting here today reflecting on the last seven years. It has been a crazy and amazing journey. So many different people have come through our doors. Some have journeyed with us for years, some for a few months, and some just came and left. Each in their own left a mark on me and this ministry. To all of you who have been a part of our journey and evolution, thank you!

I remember when I first started talking to someone about this vision and she said just start it and they will come. What has fascinated me most the last seven years is the messages and emails from people around the world.  I was not expecting that my writing would resonate with people from just about every continent in the world. It has allowed me to build relationships with people from places such as the Czech Republic, Liberia, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, India, Jamaica, Russia, and Ireland. There is something about knowing that there is a language that resonates with people globally. There is a blessing in knowing that people can come together and feel the presence of the Ultimate. It is a different kind of unity then I have been thinking about all month.

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AND GOD CREATED UNITY

July 24, 2017

Years ago, when I was in seminary, one of my professors Rev. Dr. Gail Ricciuti, challenged me to think about God as an artist. I fell in love with that idea, partly because it reminded me of one of my favorite children’s books by Martha Hickman called And God Created Squash. She tells the Creation story with a God who has an awesome sense of adventure, play and creativity talking to himself in the Garden of Eden about all that he wants to create. He envisions things and creates them by calling them into being. One inspiration leads to another. For example, God falls in love with the word squash. “I like that name . . . I think I’ll use it again. Acorn squash. Butternut squash. Even zucchini squash. I might have a game and call it squash. Or put my hand on something and press down hard and call that squash.” This creative process continues until God ends by fashioning some company for himself–something, “well, more like me.”

This whole idea of God as an artist was the inspiration for one of my first sermons, called Divine by Design. Here I argued we are Divine by Design because we were designed by the Divine. If we had a label that we wore, some sort of trademark, it would say Divine Design.

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The other day, I was sent a story about an interaction between a homeless man and a manager at a Chik-fil-a. The homeless man had come in asking for remnants and anything they might be throwing away. Instead the manager offered to pray with him and then gave him a full meal. It is in these acts of radical hospitality that we practice unity. Whether this story is true or not is not important. What is important is the lesson it teaches about how to practice unity. When we honor the dignity in others and treat them with respect, then we work together in unity to promote love and kindness in the world

The world is full of people like this. The other day as I was in my mart cart waiting to check out at the grocery store, a young boy offered to help take all the groceries out of my cart. While I did not need the help, I could see that this was something he wanted to do and so I graciously accepted. What I learned was this this was a practice his parents were teaching him. Each day he is to do something kind for someone. When he does he gets a kindness sticker on his calendar. When he has a full calendar, his parents do something for him. His mom told me that one month, his act of kindness was to tell his parents they did not need to reward him for being kind. They did anyway.  He has learned to work in unity with others to help achieve little goals.

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Just Like Me

July 10, 2017

A few years ago, I read a book called The Buddha Walks Into a Bar by Lordo Rinzler. One of the things he offered a practice which helps me to practice unity in my own life. He suggested that when someone is getting on your nerves, that you remember a time when you were like that. Marc Rosen offered a similar lesson in his book Thanks for Being a Pain. When I practice remembering that I too have been a pain then it allows me to stand in unity and remember they are being just like me.

When someone is irritating me, I say to myself they are being irritating just like me. I think, “This person is irritating, just like me.” It then makes me remember and stand in unity with all those who have ever been irritating. When I judge someone, albeit a compliment or a criticism, I add just like me to the thought. When I think someone is loving and supportive, I think to myself. “This person is loving and generous, just like me.” Doing so reminds me to practice being in unity with all of myself as well as with others.

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CHANGE THE FACE

July 3, 2017

Recently, I read this story by Richard W. Chilson, in a book called Yeshua of Nazareth: Spiritual Master. Chilson wrote

“I remember an embarrassing incident that brought to mind that the ‘enemy’ is my brother. I was driving home on the freeway and as I approached my exit a car dawdled in front of me. Too late to pass him; I was stuck following: as usual I was in a hurry. That driver inspired in me a whole slew of invectives. Spewing epithets I pulled up alongside at the stoplight by the exit. I looked over only to discover a dear friend. Instantly the situation changed although I had not done anything public to express my rage, I felt ashamed and guilty. How could I think these things about him? I had seen him as an obstacle, not a brother. It is the same with the other no matter the situation, from the person ahead of us in line, to our age-old enemy. Whoever it is, they have the same concerns, fears, gifts, and shortcomings we all do. Just another human being trying to do their best, a fellow sufferer of life, a brother or sister at heart, at least in the heart of God.”

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T > I AND C

June 26, 2017

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.

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EVOLVING OR REVOLVING

June 12, 2017

What a difference an R can make. It made me think about the story I was once told about how the difference between evolving and revolving is an R. When we keep doing or believing the same thing repeatedly, then we are not evolving. It is as if we are trapped in one of those revolving doors, which we have often seen in a department store. We are just revolving through life and not evolving.

It is reassuring to remember we do not have to believe in or agree to the same things for our entire lives. As we grow and evolve, what we believe should also change. What we believe is in our minds. Those beliefs only have power over us as long as we agree that they are true and give them power in our lives. When we realize they no longer need to reside in our mind, then we can say to them, “you are no longer true” and release them from our Book of Law.

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THE STRIPPING PROCESS

June 6, 2017

My wife and I have several restoration projects that have been on our things to do list for a long time, some of them years. It is not that we do not have the dream of restoring them, we just have not begun the work of doing so. As I have been thinking about the process of transformation, it dawned on me it was like getting to those projects we have not tackled yet.

The hardest part is getting started and saying today we ARE going to begin work on this project. Our friends have told us the first thing we need to do is strip all the layers of paint and coatings off of the piece we want to refinish. We need to strip it down to the bare wood. We are going to have to strip away all the years of dirt, layers of pain, varnish and anything else that might be on it. Doing so is a lot of work, so we need to really think about how seriously we want to do this. Once we start, then we have to be intentional about getting rid of all the layers and getting to the solid wood that is underneath all these layers.

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