Culture of Imagination

connecting spirituality to everyday life

A Solitude Of Our Own – 8 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – No Man Is An Island

41tYJhDcp8L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. Evasion is the answer of superstition

“This discovery of Christ is never genuine if it is nothing but a flight from ourselves. On the contrary, it cannot be an escape… I cannot discover God in myself… unless I have the courage to face myself exactly as I am, with all my limitations, and to accept others as they are, with all their limitations… Evasion is the answer of superstition.”

2. Be true to the ones we love and to ourselves

“Love, then, must be true to the ones we love and to ourselves, and also to its own laws. I cannot be true to myself if I pretend to have more in common than I actually have with someone whom I may like for a selfish and unworthy reason.”

3. Happiness consists in

“Happiness consists in finding out precisely what the ‘one necessary thing’ may be, in our lives, and in gladly relinquishing all the rest. For then, by a divine paradox, we find that everything else is given us together with the one thing we needed.”

4. Everyone has a vocation: to be themselves

“Every man has a vocation to be someone: but he must understand clearly that in order to fulfill this vocation he can only be one person: himself.”

5. Sharing in the common good

“There are plenty of men who will give up their interests for the sake of ‘society,’ but cannot stand any of the people they live with. As long as we regard other men as obstacles to our own happiness we are the enemies of society and we have only a very small capacity for sharing in the common good.”

6. More than a mere turning inward upon ourselves

“Recollection is more than a mere turning inward upon ourselves, and it does not necessarily mean the denial or exclusion of exterior things. Sometimes we are more recollected, quieter, simple and pure, when we see through exterior things and see God in them than when we turn away from them to shut them out of our minds. Recollection does not deny sensible things, it sets them in order. Either they are significant to it, and it sees their significance, or else they have no special meaning, their meaninglessness remains innocent and neutral…”

7. The infinite solitude of God dwelling within us

“Recollection is almost the same thing as interior solitude. It is in recollection that we discover the finite solitude of our own heart, and the infinite solitude of God dwelling within us. Unless these vast horizons have opened out in the center of our lives, we can hardly see things in perspective. Our judgements are not in proportion with things as they are…”

8. A solitude of our own

“A person is a person insofar as he has a secret and is a solitude of his own that cannot be communicated to anyone else. If I love a person, I will love that which most makes him a person: the secrecy, the hiddenness, the solitude of his own individual being…”

Have you created and discovered a solitude of your own?

Purchase No Man Is An Island

Resting in Silence – 5 quotes from Rory McEntee and Adam Bucko’s book – The New Monasticism: An Interspiritual Manifesto for Contemplative Living

51HASH0VxPL._SY344_BO1204203200_1. By resting in silence

“By resting in silence, we begin to allow the divine therapist to do its work of healing… As this happens, the undigested psychological damage of a lifetime, warehoused within our bodies, begins to rise to the surface of our consciousness. We begin to reexperience feelings of hurt, anger, and frustration, allowing them to circulate through our bodies and consciousness. But by not re-repressing them during their recapitulation, we begin to let go of these damaging experiences. Through continual practice we develop the fortitude and maturity to allow the deepest experiences of pain to resurface, and by doing so evacuate the energetic constrictions that form the foundation of the false-self system.”  

2. An integrate spiritual life

“One’s spiritual practice should consist of a number of different practices meant to develop an integrated spiritual life…”

3. Create a world that works for all

“We see these movements as spiritual impulses, moving us away from an era of fixed dogmatic religious formulations and embedded power structures. These impulses are awakening a whole new generation of people across the globe. These are people who are not interested in imposing a new and fixed rule, but rather want to commit to a daily practice of putting aside their egos and exploring what it means to create a world that works for all, a world the is rooted in the principles of direct democracy, mutual aid, trust in our original goodness, and a radical acceptance of each individual and the unique gifts each has to offer.”

4. Outside of traditional forms

“The truth is there is a quiet revolution happening. People are beginning to reevaluate what matters and to rediscover spiritual life outside of traditional forms, in stark contrast to Western society’s empty vision of a consumer-driven world…”

5. Dialogical dialogue

“Dialogical dialogue does not require or necessarily produce an overarching philosophical understanding that can be articulated in language (though it might), but it does demand a philosophical openness, a loving awareness that is able to recognize the presence of the Divine in others and allow oneself to be changed in such an encounter. It is having enough confidence in the movements of the Spirit to let another’s revelation into the deepest recesses of our being. It is becoming comfortable with allowing our own understanding to evolve, which requires we do not identify with our conceptual belief structures. Then it can be a revelatory, joyous experience. As the astronomer searches the night sky, relishing the ever-expanding mysterious happenings of our universe, so the dialogical dialogue becomes an exploration of our own interior and collective depths. It is a catalyst for emergent insights and intuitions into the hidden destiny of the human being. It is an exploration tinged with existential questions in which the very meaning of our lives is caught up…”   

Have you been resting in silence lately?

Purchase The New Monasticism: An Interspiritual Manifesto for Contemplative Living

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist

Questioning Everything – 12 quotes from Meredith Gould’s book – Desperately Seeking Spirituality: A Field Guide to Practice

261134981. Remarkably resistant to change

“Spiritual growth involves changing perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors. It’s that annoyingly simple but not at all easy because humans aren’t especially keen on change. Even longtime Seekers aspiring to total transformation can be remarkably resistant to change…”

2. Wrestling with paradox

“You might also be comforted by knowing that wrestling with paradox is an inescapable aspect of spiritual growth. Every religious tradition has core teachings firmly fixed in paradox. In at least one Eastern tradition, pondering paradox is itself considered a key practice.”

3. Questioning everything

“What we think is our path to God, may not be our path to God. Turns out the ‘dark night of the soul’ lasts much longer than one night and the metaphor is as accurate as it is lyrical. Feelings of wanting to withdraw and isolate while questioning everything are typical at this stage…”

4. The whole world is a spiritual practice field

“The whole world is a spiritual practice field and opportunities to practice curiosity abound. God’s grace is always somewhere in the messiness of life, and asking increasingly pointed questions about what, where, when, why, and how will help you discover it. Become willing to opt for being curious the next time you feel bored, bothered, and bewildered.”

5. We’re all connected

“…we’re all connected and beloved creatures of God…”

6. Exploring whatever diminishes, blocks, or may completely obliterate delight

“Practicing this practice of being involves exploring whatever diminishes, blocks, or may completely obliterate delight, and then healing whatever needs to be healed to encounter and recognize it…”

7. Whatever emerges

“…plan to practice curiosity and delight about whatever emerges during your solitude and behold how self-care has become a spiritual practice.”

8. Essential forms of self-care

“Relaxation and rest are essential forms of self-care…”

9. Focusing on actually being rather than doing stuff

“For a change try focusing on actually being rather than doing stuff that promises to get you there eventually…”

10. All beings share a sacred heritage

“Big questions get bigger: Why am I here? What am I called to do? Other people – their needs and sorrows – are becoming more intriguing. You’re realizing that ‘it’ isn’t even about you. Spiritual life, it turns out, is ultimately about understanding and acting upon the knowledge that all beings share a sacred heritage.”

11. Ongoing and never-ending

“…your spiritual growth will stay somewhat stalled unless and until you become open to seeing and doing things differently. Willingness, then, is an essential practice for Seekers that’s ongoing and never-ending – something else you might need to muster some willingness to accept. It’s also a radical practice, the taproot from which every other practice is nourished. Plan on recommitting to the practice of willingness whenever resistance shows up, and it will show up, usually but not exclusively during times of life cycle transition.”

12. View your own pain and suffering as a gift

“You’ll need to explore self to go beyond self, be willing to see and feel your own brokenness before being able to recognize it in others, be willing to view your own pain and suffering as a gift. Empathy is a practice of being that will help you shift from feeling for to feeling with in a healthy way that might not feel especially terrific, but will reveal what you already know – that the Divine is fully present in all of it.”

Have you been questioning everything about life?

Purchase Desperately Seeking Spirituality: A Field Guide to Practice

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist

One Can Be A Cause Junkie – 6 quotes from Adam Bucko and Mathew Fox’s book – Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation

51CtjqY4XxL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_1. Do the inner work

“If you don’t work on yourself, then much of your politics is merely projections. We have to walk our talk and do the inner work that allows the outer work to be authentic and also effective…”

2. Mystic-prophets

“There is really only one vocation: that’s to be mystic-prophets, to be lovers and defenders of what we cherish. What form it takes, how it is incarnated in history and culture, of course will vary. However, we really do have a common vocation. If we could begin to think like that, whether we’re Muslim or Jewish or Native American or Buddhist or Hindu or Christian or atheist, it would create an incredible bedrock of commonality for service to community…”

3. Reconnect with our spirit

“We need to reject this system of uniformity and this system of life mediated through symbols that value having over being and that rely on addiction to keep it going. Instead, we need to reconnect with our spirit, with our life, listen to its guidance, and allow that life to live through us. In doing so, we will discover the real essence of who we are and why we are here. And then, through that direct intuition and in a dialogue and community with others (reminding each other of this experience and our authenticity) we will begin to build our lives around what emerges out of this process, with each community representing a different dimension of this dream that is trying to be born here. This is the way to transform our world from a world in which life is asked to serve economy to a world in which economy serves life.”

4. Action that comes from one’s deepest calling

“…spirituality that does not include action is no spirituality at all. But it’s not just about any action – it’s about action that comes from one’s deepest calling. This spirituality does not accept the reality of living a divided life, such as complete withdrawal or a separate career divided from one’s soul and it’s deepest aspirations. Those dualities of the past no longer apply here. For young people today, the sense of vocation and the sense of a calling become the very doorways into spirit. So this new spirituality also realizes that the new world can be created only if people incarnate their unique gifts and callings in the world and employ them in the service of compassion and justice.”

5. How badly we need to be awakened

“There is so much denial in our culture, our media, our religions, our politics. How badly we need to be awakened…”

6. One can be a cause junkie

“One can become a cause junkie – one can make one’s whole life social activism and leave no room for the soul, no room for the mystical juice that, first of all, is the very goal of social justice. The goal of social justice is that the whole community can live life fully. It’s about celebration of life. If you’ve left that out of your path because you’re so married to being this warrior twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, then first of all you’re going to run out of steam and juice, but also you’re not going to taste what it is you’re really trying to bring about, which is the flow of justice that allows the flow of life to move on.”

How can we keep from being a cause junkie and learn to reconnect with our spirit?

Purchase Occupy Spirituality:A Radical Vision For A New Generation

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist

We Live At A Distance From Our Depths – 5 quotes from Sandra Maitri’s book – The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram: Nine Faces of the Soul

{56398DB2-0907-4724-BAA6-D093710E0962}Img1001. We live at a distance from our depths

“In the course of working on ourselves, we learn in time that when we stay on the surface of ourselves, which is to say when we are identified with and operating from our outer shell – our personality – we suffer. The more asleep we are to the reality beneath our shells, the less we feel that life is fulfilling, meaningful, and pleasurable. Or, in the language of the enneagram, the more fixated we are, the less we partake of the loving nature of reality… We suffer because we are living at a distance from our depths – it’s as simple as that. The more our souls are infused with Being, the better we feel and the better life seems to us, no matter what our outer circumstances happen to be.”

2. Who we are is Essence

“When we perceive in this unquestionable way that who we are is Essence, our souls have undergone a radical transformation. The way we experience the world and ourselves is dramatically different from how it was prior to this shift in consciousness. We are no longer believers and seekers but have become identified with Being as who and what we are. This, then, is a particular way of conceiving enlightenment…”

3. To feel truly in contact with ourselves

“As our development progresses, to feel truly in contact with ourselves means to be in touch with Being… Only when we are profoundly in the moment and our consciousness is anchored in its depths do we feel that we have arrived at our center. At this stage, we know ourselves to be Being.”

4. The more balanced and in harmony we feel

“So the closer we are to our depths, the more in balance and in harmony we feel… This explains why being in touch with the truth of our experience and revealing ourselves as we are makes us feel good, even if what we are getting in touch with or expressing is something we don’t like seeing or disclosing about ourselves. We are moving deeper into ourselves, and so our souls are closer to and more infused with the goodness of True Nature. Being more deeply in touch with ourselves just feels better than not being in touch… Contact with Being affects us in an agreeable, beneficial, and constructive way, making the struggles and difficulties of becoming more conscious worth our time, energy, and devotion.”

5. Fully existing in the now

“Movement and change take place in this eternal now, this infinity of presence, and this is the unfoldment of Being. Abiding in this flow of Being is abiding in ‘real time,’ and this brings us to the primary implication of this understanding of Holy Work. It is that real work is the endeavor of becoming conscious of our True Nature as Being. This is the holiest work a human being can engage in… This work of real transformation only takes place when we are living in real time, which is another way of saying when we are present, fully existing in the now…”

Why is it so difficult to live fully in the now?

Purchase The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram: Nine Faces of the Soul

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist

Mysterious Inner Experience – 7 quotes from Andrew Harvey’s book – The Hope: A Guide To Sacred Activism

TheHope_AndrewHarvey1. The limitlessness greed of the corporate mindset

“Everyone knows that the world is largely run by multi-national corporations with no legal accountability that bribe and corrupt governments, pursue policies of naked greed, and control most of the political parties and institutions all over the world that could restrain their power. The world economy is headed toward an unprecedented global recession, and the limitless greed of the corporate mindset, its sanctification of the bottom-line mentality, is matched only by its limitless folly and capacity to believe its own propaganda. There is a terrible humor in all this, and as everyone also knows in a further dark twist of the joke, it is not the rich, but the poor who are paying the price for the madness of the financial markets.”

2. Act from these deep levels

“Nearly all the mistakes I have made have been because I was too undisciplined to ‘act from these deep levels.’ Over years of causing offense by my unchecked intensity, I have, I hope, begun to learn my lesson…”

3. Our responsibility

“In today’s world, it’s not only our right to be angry, it’s our responsibility. The question is, do we act out of anger or love? That’s what makes the difference. The reason I feel it’s our responsibility to be angry is that anyone who looks at the world will recognize that we hurt innocent life, and bring more children into the world who will be injured. The anger comes from knowing we have the potential to do it another way and yet we don’t. Then we let go, and the anger becomes secondary. I do what I do because of my love, not my anger.”

4. Mysterious inner experience

“…the amazing and humbling journey to unconditional forgiveness, not from a position of weakness or defeat, but from a mysterious inner experience of the nature of God as all-embracing Mercy. While dauntingly difficult, such a journey is by no means impossible…”

5. Shadow-knowledge

“And this shadow-knowledge will become your constant and most valuable companion on the path if you always keep turning to it, because it will keep you radically humble whatever happens to you and through you.”

6. A revolution of personal mystical freedom

“…anyone who wants to can now take the journey to the Divine in terms of his or her own temperament and personal inclination. This amounts to a revolution of personal mystical freedom.”

7. Calmness and humility

“…by surrendering the fruits of action to the Divine can you perform your actions with a calmness and humility that will protect you from despair and keep you secretly fed from your deepest divine sources. Nothing could be more important for all of us to learn than this Law – that it is only by giving up the results of what you do to God that you can rescue yourself from the distress, anxiety, and harassing anguish that inevitably accompany real work in the real world when it is done from a personal agenda. The more important the work, the more you need a serene inner detachment from its outcome; otherwise, knowing how vital it is will crucify you with anxiety and drive you to despair or even self-loathing when you feel you have failed in the mission entrusted to you.”

Are you opening up to a mysterious inner experience of evolving depth in life?

Purchase The Hope: A Guide To Sacred Activism

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist

A Deep And Sustained Questioning Arises – 7 quotes from Peter Rollins book – The Fidelity of Betrayal: Towards a Church Beyond Belief

41WaxxiBLsL1. Abuse and devalue a person’s actual presence

“If we think that a person can be adequately understood as a purely biological system then we do an injustice to that person’s subjectivity, while if we seek to move beyond the flesh of a person and engage in some ‘pure’ relationship unsullied by their physical manifestation then we abuse and devalue that person’s actual presence. The flesh is both our means of encountering the other and the barrier that prevents full exposure to the other’s subjectivity. The exteriority of the other’s flesh acts as a type of semi-permeable membrane that allows a type of partial access to the subjectivity of the other, exposing the other in an oblique and partial manner, as if through a glass darkly.”

2. Only in action

“God is made known only in action…”

3. A mystery to participate in

“God is not a problem to be solved but rather a mystery to participate in…”

4. Be ready to critique our ideas and practices

“Christianity thus ought not be understood as either purely religious or irreligious, and the church should not be fully embraced as necessary or rejected as unnecessary. Rather, Christianity is structured as ir/religious and the church as a structure attempting to live with its un/necessary status. Christianity grounds us and yet invites us to gaze beyond its walls. As we attempt to understand our faith, we will develop ideas and practices that help us. Yet the point is that we must always be ready to critique these ideas and practices, for they are forever provisional. To display our fidelity to them we must always be ready to betray them.”

5. Radical doubt and absolute certainty

“Christian faith teaches us, if we are sensitive and able to be taught, that the seemingly opposite and opposed realms of radical doubt and absolute certainty are reconciled in a knowing beyond knowledge…”

6. The individual’s inner world

“Because a miracle takes place at a radically subjective level that cannot be objectified or analyzed, it is not, strictly speaking, something that is believed in. Rather it is lived. Indeed it can easily be lived and not believed in. The evidence of such a miracle is in the way in which it transforms the individual’s inner world, changing the entire trajectory of that person’s life in a positive, healing way. How one names this miracle, or even if one wishes to baptize it with any name, is irrelevant. What matters is the occurrence. It is this miracle that the church is there to affirm by engaging in creative acts of remembrance concerning this immemorial event. However, instead of these acts of humble remembrance, much of the church has emphasized the importance of what we think…”

7. A deep and sustained questioning arises

“The affirmation of an intervention amidst all our doubt and uncertainty concerning its source thus represents the Christian idea that we have been marked by a life-giving event that invites us to passionately respond with our entire being. It is out of this that a deep and sustained questioning arises.”

Do you live with a deep and sustained questioning?

Purchase The Fidelity of Betrayal: Towards a Church Beyond Belief

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist

Something I’d Rather Not See In Myself – 6 quotes from Nadia Bolz-Weber’s book – Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People

accidentalsaints1. A fear of being really known

“I often think that the effort we put into trying to pretend something about us is true – that we are less than we are or more than we are or that one aspect of ourselves is the whole story – is based in a fear of being really known, of being truly seen, as we actually are. Perhaps we each have a wound, a vulnerable place that we have to protect in order to survive. And yet sometimes we overcompensate so much for the things we are trying to hide that no one ever suspects the truth… and then we are left in the true aloneness of never really being known.”  

2. Something I’d rather not see in myself

“Whenever people annoy me beyond reason, I can guarantee it’s because they’re demonstrating something I’d rather not see in myself.”

3. Risking an openness

“Sometimes I wonder if that is what faith is: risking an openness to something bigger than ourselves…”

4. We get to believe in each other

“And this is it. This is the life we get here on earth. We get to give away what we receive. We get to believe in each other. We get to forgive and be forgiven. We get to love imperfectly. And we never know what effect it will have for years to come. And all of it… all of it is completely worth it.”

5. The best shitty feeling in the world

“And receiving grace is basically the best shitty feeling in the world. I don’t want to need it. Preferably I could just do it all and be it all and never mess up. That may be what I would prefer, but it is never what I need. I need to be broken apart and put back into a different shape by that merging of things human and divine, which is really screwing up and receiving grace and love and forgiveness rather than receiving what I really deserve. I need the very thing that I will do everything I can to avoid needing.”

6. Changed by loving someone

“My spirituality is most active, not in meditation, but in the moments when: I realize God may have gotten something beautiful done through me despite the fact that I am an asshole, and when I am confronted by the mercy of the gospel so much that I cannot hate my enemies, and when I am unable to judge the sin of someone else (which, let’s be honest, I love to do) because my own crap is too much in the way, and when I have to bear witness to another human being’s suffering despite my desire to be left alone, and when I am forgiven by someone even though I don’t deserve it and my forgiver does this because he, too, is trapped by the gospel,… and when I end up changed by loving someone I’d never choose out of a catalogue but whom God sends my way to teach me about God’s love.”

What is the one thing that you’d rather not see in yourself?

Purchase Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist

So Interconnected – 8 quotes from Grace Lee Boggs book – The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century

512UxM1s9JL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_1. So interconnected

“I cannot recall any previous period when the issues were so basic, so interconnected, and so demanding of everyone living in this country, regardless of race, ethnicity, class, gender, age, or national origin. At this point in the continuing evolution of our country and of the human race, we urgently need to stop thinking of ourselves as victims and to recognize that we must each become a part of the solution because we are each a part of the problem.”

2. A new concept of citizenship

“’We have the power within us to create the world anew.’ We need to see that we can solve our health and education problems only by first creating a new concept of citizenship – one that will also cure our failing political system.”

3. Cooperative relations with one another

“My hope is that as more and different layers of the American people are subjected to economic and political strains and as recurrent disasters force us to recognize our role in begetting these disasters, a growing number of Americans will begin to recognize that we are at one of those great turning points in history. Both for our livelihood and for our humanity we need to see progress not in terms of ‘having more’ but in terms of growing our souls by creating community, mutual self-sufficiency, and cooperative relations with one another.”

4. The way we have been thinking and living

“In this decade, slowly but surely, we recognized that our catastrophes are not acts of nature but the consequences of our own ideas and actions. Therefore, we can bring an end to them by transforming the way we have been thinking and living.”

5. We are the leaders

“…we are the leaders we are looking for.”

6. Many cultures, movements, and traditions

“…we need the wisdom that comes from many cultures, movements, and traditions.”

7. Transformed into consumers

“In the past few decades, once productive Americans have been transformed into consumers, using more and more of the resources of the Earth to foster ways of living that are unsustainable and unsatisfying. This way of life has created suburbs that destroy farmland, wetlands, and the natural world, as well as pollute the environment. The new economy also requires a huge military apparatus to secure global resources and to consume materials for itself, at the same time providing enormous riches for arms merchants and for our otherwise failing auto, aircraft, and ship manufacturers.”

8. Listening to one another

“What we urgently need are impassioned discussions everywhere, in small groups and large, where people from all walks of life are not only talking but also listening to one another. That is the best way to begin creating an understanding of the next American Revolution, which I believe is not only the key to global survival but also the most important step we can take in this period to build a new, more human, more socially and ecological responsible, and more secure nation that all of us, whatever our race, ethnicity, gender, faith, or national origin, will be proud to call our own.”

How interconnected do you believe we are?

Purchase The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty First Century

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist

Mending Our Souls – 7 quotes from Kathy Escobar’s book – Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart

97816014254301. A natural part of spiritual growth

“All things considered, you have to wonder why it can be so hard to find communities of faith shifters. After all, faith shifting is not a new phenomenon. The Christian mystics and desert mothers and fathers knew that seeking something deeper was a natural part of spiritual growth. They weren’t afraid of questions and doubts. In fact, they embraced them…”

2. The thread that links

“The thread that links affiliation and conformity is certainty…”

3. Can’t handle our changes

“Because our church structures are built so fervently on right belief, our… friends frequently can’t handle our changes. Relationships we felt were based on intimate connection and deep love for each other actually were based upon function, conformity, and the comforts of shared beliefs. When we stop playing by the same rules, we end up not just on the sidelines but out of the game completely.”

4. Mending our souls

“This is a time when we need to take care of our tender hearts. Severing can be like a spiritual cleanse, a chance to empty out all of the toxins that have built up over the years. When we’ve been through a war, our souls can be beat up and broken. Many have experienced spiritually abusive systems and been crushed under oppression, legalism, and religious control. Recovering from spiritual abuse is possible, but we may need a specific period where we disengage completely in order to heal. In other words, Severing can be a healthy protection mechanism that isn’t about bitterness or anger, but actually about mending our souls. God is big enough for all the ways that we sever. And instead of fearing the process, we can respect that sometimes it’s our best hope.” 

5. A dark night of the soul

“For some, Severing can look and feel like a dark night of the soul, where after shedding all our formerly held beliefs, we are quite certain that we’ve either been completely abandoned by God or that maybe there is no God at all…”

6. Whatever works

“Finding ‘whatever works’ for a Rebuilder means discovering anything that will help us open up our hearts to God again.”

7. A time to embrace my voice

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity… A time for quiet strength to be born, and a time for insecurity to die. A time to plant courage, and a time to harvest peace. A time to kill self-hatred, and a time to heal from fear of abandonment. A time to tear down walls that protect me, and a time to build up hearts that love me. A time to cry about how hard it’s been, and a time to laugh about how hard it’s been. A time to grieve over the loss of my once-certain faith, and a time to dance because my soul is coming back to life. A time to scatter people who can’t handle me being me, and a time to gather people who can. A time to embrace my voice, and a time to turn away from worrying about what other people think. A time to search for balance, and a time to quit searching for the finish line. A time to keep what’s important, and a time to throw away all the rest. A time to tear apart ‘right doctrine,’ and a time to mend what I deeply believe. A time to be quiet about what isn’t, and a time to speak about what is. A time to love slow and steady transformation in myself and others, and a time to hate impatience. A time for war against resistance, and a time for peace in the chaos.”

How have you been mending your soul in this season of life?

Purchase Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist

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