Culture of Imagination

connecting spirituality to everyday life

Tag: faithful presence

Faithful Presence as a Way of Life Together

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Being raised as a Catholic, I always thought that Christianity was just an intellectual belief.  It never occurred to me that it might be possible to live out the teachings of Christ authentically as a way of life.  I had never heard of community, listening, formation and the importance of place.  So I have been on a journey for the past decade to reimagine the body of Christ in our time within the twenty-first century.

  • Practices are important

Christ practiced his way of life in a local community of friends and followers who did not have the New Testament to guide them.  So practices, place, relationships were much more important than mere doctrines that had not developed until later after Jesus’ death and resurrection.  What are some of the practices that we need in our world of the twenty-first century?  Practices are so important that I think they have to do with relational connection, deep interior listening to the life of Christ in us, giving up a sense of upward mobility, rooting ourselves in the parish and linking to other places for new learning.

  • Routines, patterns and everyday habits

My dear friends Paul Sparks, Tim Soerens and Dwight J. Friesen of the Parish Collective say, “Personal practices are simply the routines, patterns and everyday habits you carry out in the neighborhood that give you the opportunity to engage with what’s happening.  In a very real sense this is about your public presence in the parish.  Most of your presence in the neighborhood is incredibly ordinary, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be intentional.”

  • Slowing down to root ourselves locally

While we live in a highly fragmented culture where we are running around a lot of the time in all different directions, it would do us good to just slow down and start rooting ourselves locally as much as we can.  This might take some deep listening to our lives and reimagining our context as a place to practice the teaching of Christ to love our neighbors.  Isn’t Christianity about love and nothing else?

  • Love dominating all we do

How can we be alive in our world without love dominating all we do through the actions of our faithful presence and care?  The poor are being abandoned because we often do not live with them, among them, for them in the parish.  There is little hospitality and works of mercy on their behalf.

  • A way of life one practices

The Catholic Worker Movement which was co-founded by a young single mother by the name of Dorothy Day in the 1930’s has practiced hospitality, care, faithful presence in poor neighborhoods throughout North America for over 80 years now.  Caring for the poor is central to their mission of community and justice.  It is more about a way of life one practices than just believing certain intellectual doctrines.  When you love the poor and are inclusive, you might find yourself questioning what you thought love looked like in everyday life.

  • Constantly changing, evolving and mysterious

It is constantly changing, evolving and mysterious.  Every situation is different and contextual.  We need to be constantly asking ourselves what does an expression of love look like in the here and now of this context in the present moment.

How can we see Christianity as a way of life?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412409923&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

Offering Our Awareness, Participation and Willingness

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When I was in my 20’s, life was very lonely and difficult at times.  I tried to find a sense of connection with others, but it just didn’t happen that much.  As churches I attended promised community, in everyday life I could not find anyone around to mentor or encourage me.  I felt God was real to me, but the church was not capable to provide for my needs around friendship, community or spiritual formation in everyday life.

  •  Being present to others out of love

We never know what will happen as we are faithfully present.  Jesus is teaching that the way to be present to him is to be present to others out of love.  We will miss out on all kind of wisdom and relational revelations in the parish if we are not present to others.

  •  Wisdom is the freedom to be present

Richard Rohr states in one of my favorite books The Naked Now, “Wisdom is not the gathering of more facts and information, as if that would eventually coalesce into truth.  Wisdom is precisely a different way of seeing and knowing those ten thousand things. I suggest that wisdom is precisely the freedom to be present.  Wise people always know how to be present, but it is much more then that.  Presence is wisdom!  People who are fully present know how to see fully, rightfully, and truthfully.  Presence is the one thing necessary, and in many ways, the hardest thing of all.  Just try to keep your heart open, your mind without division or resistance, and your body not somewhere else.  Presence is the practical, daily task of all mature religion and all spiritual disciplines.”

  •  Giving and receiving right now

Rohr says elsewhere, “Let me describe the effect of presence in this way.  The mystery of presence is that encounter wherein the self-disclosure of one evokes a deeper life in the other.  There is nothing you need to ‘think’ or understand to be present; it is all about giving and receiving right now, and it is not done in the mind.  It is actually a transference and sharing of Being …”

  •  Faithful presence can be a harsh and dreadful love

Presence has been a hard lesson for me to learn even though I have lived in the same place, locality and neighborhood for a number of years now.  The love that is demanded in order to be faithfully present to others in everyday life can be harsh and dreadful.  It requires a sharing of my very being with someone.

  • This is how we love and are shaped 

But this is how we love.  And this is how we are shaped.  This is how we experience the gospel in everyday life.  We cannot love without being present.

  •  Being attentive to what is happening here and now

“True presence,” states Gunilla Norris, “requires that we be attentive to what is happening here and now.  It is an offering of our awareness, our participation, and our willingness.

How can we cultivate a faithful presence in every life together?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412169084&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

Top 5 Things that I Learned Through the Summer of 2014

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Now that the summer is over and the fall is here another season in my life has gone by.  As I reflected back on the last three months, it seems God is moving in me in many different ways.  There are so many things I could share, but these are some of the themes that I am coming to a deeper understanding in.

1. A deeper understanding of the importance of gratitude.  Gratitude is not always easy for me.  In fact, it is probably one of the most difficult practices as I live in the North American culture of consumerism where we are always wanting more all of the time.  I have had to discipline myself to be content in the present moment.

It is very easy for me to see what is not and forget about what is, the good gifts that life has brought me in this stage of my life.  I am alive.  I can breathe, walk, run, sleep, enjoy relationships and good food as well as many other things.  I have another year to experience the sacredness of all of life.

2. A deeper understanding of what faithful presence means to me.  This personal practice of faithful presence in the local community or parish where I live has shaped me tremendously.  After a decade of faithful presence in Downtown Tacoma, I am learning to appreciate the small things.  I am learning to experience the hidden yet present God in everyday life.

I am understanding that the kingdom of God lives within me.  And I am becoming an expression of love through my years of faithful presence. Faithful presence is bringing an awareness within me of God’s presence in everyday life within me and around me in all situations.

3. A deeper understanding of contemplative spirituality.  I have been so encouraged by the work of Phileena and Christopher Heuertz who started a center for contemplative activism in Omaha, Nebraska around two years ago called The Gravity Center after working twenty years with the poor around the world.  Their work revolves around the idea that community is not enough to sustain what God is calling us to in the world, we need to develop a contemplative spirituality of silence, solitude and stillness.  Encountering their work has been affirming and inspiring to me as I have thought about this kind of stuff for awhile now.  

4. A deeper appreciation for community.  I am learning to not take my relationships for granted.  Reimagining what love, grace and humility mean for me in my relational context is forming me to be a gentler person who is more mindful and aware of the people in my life who have loved me day by day.  This deeper appreciation for community is a desire in me that will grow more and more as the years pass.

5. A deeper understanding of my own personal vocation.  I think I am getting more clarity around my vocation as a reader, writer, local practitioner, contemplative activist as well as a neighbor and friend to the poor.  It seems that God is grounding my life and shaping this personal vocation for me in ways that are producing more awareness of my true self in the world in the context I live in.

What is one thing you grew in deeper understanding of this summer?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411563221&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

Top 10 Reasons Why Faithful Presence Will Bring Value To Your Life

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This personal practice of faithful presence has become what I have based my life on for over a decade now.  I think that this practice is the essence of spirituality in the twenty-first century.  It always seems to subvert the dominant themes of upward mobility, consumerism and individualism.  Here are 10 thoughts on why I feel faithful presence can bring value to your life as it has mine:

1. You become known in a local community.  Being faithfully present will relieve some of the loneliness that is so common within our culture.  It is nice to have lots of connections and friendships in the place you live.  How can life have any meaning outside of relationship with others?

2. You learn to see God in your everyday context.  We cannot reduce God’s presence to some spaces in our lives and not others.  God is present in our everyday lives all of the time, but we are not always aware of this sometimes.  Faithful presence helps us with our awareness of God in our local context.

3. You commit to personal growth.  Faithful presence pushes us to growth as human beings.  We have to choose to value the others around us in the place we live.  This causes us to be the change we want to see in the world.

4. You start to value your neighbors and see them as your greatest teachers.  Faithful presence is a more refined definition of love.  And love is about learning from others as if they were your greatest teachers in life.  My neighbors become revelations of God to me.

5. You learn to listen which helps relationships become healthy.  Listening is the fruit of faithful presence.  We will have to stop talking so much and learn to pay attention to the small, ordinary experiences that our relationships bring to us in everyday life.

6. You become less fragmented and find more peace.  Faithful presence centers us together in the place we live.  We are no longer running around in all directions chasing everything that seems like life to us while becoming more tired and rushed.  Instead, we find peace in being with others who are our neighbors.

7. You become more graceful, kind and compassionate.  We really learn to show a creative compassion to those in our context.  Being faithfully present has a way of grace and kindness about it.  We become human in the process.

8. You practice being the church where you share life together with others.  With faithful presence, you start being the church together.  You start to live your life with intentionality and purpose.  Your dreams become aligned with the dreams of God for the place you live.

9. You collaborate more than compete.  Faithful presence allows you to have a mindset of collaboration with others.  Competition becomes less important.  Love becomes more natural to us.

10. You start to look at scripture through a relational lense.  Faithful presence helps us to see scripture through a lense of relational connection in everyday life.  We start to see scripture through a way of life in community with others.  This will bring us greater clarity.

Which point resonates most with you?  Please comment!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1409420633&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

Has Your Neighbor Become Your Greatest Teacher?

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When I first moved to my neighborhood ten years ago, I didn’t know very many people.  As the past decade has gone by, I am coming to know and connect with my neighbors more.  I am coming to learn from others around me in my relational context, especially the poor who don’t have much.  My neighbors are revealing to me more of God’s goodness and beauty if I have the imagination to listen by becoming faithfully present in everyday life.

  •  Called to beauty, connection, goodness and love in the parish

If we do not steward our faithful presence, we will not be able to listen and bring incarnational expressions of Christ into our world through the parish imagination.  We are called to be incarnational expressions of the body of Christ together in everyday life by the stewarding of our faithful presence.  We are called to give expression to the life of Christ in our world within the place we inhabit together.  We are called to beauty, connection, goodness and love as the body of Christ in the parish.

  •  Becoming Christ’s hands and feet in the place we inhabit together

Isn’t this what Christ came to bring to the world?  Isn’t this the purpose of the death and resurrection of Christ?  Isn’t this the reason for his teaching, wisdom and incarnation?  We are to be the body of Christ by becoming his hands and feet in the place we inhabit together in everyday life.

  •  Our neighbors become our greatest teachers

When we are stewarding our faithful presence, we become dependent on our neighbors who we love in everyday life.  Our neighbors become our friends.  Our neighbors become our greatest teachers.  We learn and receive just as much from our neighbors, if not more, than we have to give.

  •  Risking vulnerability and uncertainty

Stewarding our presence does not mean we preach the gospel with propositional statements thinking we have all the answers to everything.  In fact, it is almost the opposite.  We begin to listen deeply to our neighbors and risk vulnerability and uncertainty in the place we inhabit together.

  •  Learning and receiving from our neighbors

John B. Hayes states, “We expect to learn from our neighbors and to receive from them.  This is a pivotal point.  In fact, let me go one step further: We expect to become dependent upon our neighbors.”

  •  Listening to our neighbors

As we become dependent on our neighbors, we create more trust, good will, patience and humility toward one another.  It is amazing the reconciliation that can happen when we begin to listen to our neighbors instead of impose on them something they don’t want.  Our neighbors shape our embodiment in the parish.  Valuing our neighbors is how we honor God through the parish imagination.

  •  Stewarding our faithful presence

Stewarding our faithful presence is about the good will of our neighbors in the parish.  Our neighbors cannot be ignored or harmed when we steward our faithful presence together.  In the stewarding of our faithful presence, we can no longer show apathy to our neighbors in the place we inhabit.

Do you think that stewarding our presence in the place we live is important? Please share and comment!

http://www.amazon.com/Communal-Imagination-Finding-Share-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409322862&sr=1-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

The Inspiring Story of Mary’s Faithful Presence

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The place I live in Downtown Tacoma is becoming the context where I practice being the church together with others.  I love listening to the stories of scripture and learning about how different people stewarded their faithful presence throughout their lives.  It is inspiring to think that I can follow in that path myself as I seek to live out an authentic way of life in my local community.  I have recently been thinking about the story of Mary giving birth to Jesus into the world and how that came about through a young women who was faithfully present through listening.

Maybe we could learn more from this story as God is communicating in the world all around us all of the time.  God communicates in small, ordinary ways through our context and relationships in the parish where we live.  I have been experimenting with listening to my faithful presence through the context that I live.  It has turned out to be fun and a source of joy in my life even though sometimes it is difficult.

  •  A longing for connection and rootedness

The parish becomes like food, water and education that we need to survive.  Stewarding our faithful presence stirs a longing for connection and rootedness in the parish.  We are born into a conversion of place as we steward our faithful presence.  We need the surrounding place that we inhabit together.

  •  An incarnational way of being

We become one with the surrounding place and can no longer be content with a rootless lifestyle.  Stewarding our faithful presence is about an incarnational way of being through the parish imagination.  Stewarding our faithful presence is not about our independence from place, but our integration and collaboration within it.  The life of the body of Christ depends on this solidarity with place.

  •  The story of Mary and the birth of Jesus

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David.  The virgin’s name was Mary.  The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored!  The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.  But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.  You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God…  For nothing is impossible with God.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered.  “May it be to me as you have said.”  Then the angel left her (Luke 1:26-35, 37-38).

  •  Mary practiced stewarding her faithful presence

Mary was one who practiced stewarding her faithful presence in everyday life with her soon to be husband Joseph.  She must have been a young woman of deep listening and love for others in the place she inhabited.  She must have been a seeker of God in everyday life.  She must have lived in solidarity with God, others and her local community.

  •  Bringing something beautiful into the world

And out of this stewarding of her faithful presence, she became the mother of Jesus.  She brought something beautiful into the world.  God used her to bring Christ into the world as a human being through the incarnation.  If Mary had not been someone who practiced stewarding her faithful presence; she would not have had the ability to listen deeply, to sacrifice her life and marriage, to risk being marginalized, to act with courage in an unknown situation where she simply had to trust the God she believed in.

  •  If it wasn’t for Mary there would have been no early church

It must have been frightening for her.  Joseph may not of even understood her.  If it wasn’t for Mary we wouldn’t have a Christianity today.  There would have been no early church.

  •  Mary didn’t understand how everything would work out

There wouldn’t have been much of anything.  Mary stewarded her faithful presence and believed that God could do what she might have thought was impossible.  As Mary stewarded her presence, she lived with an embodied trust that she would follow the mystery of God even though she might not have understood how everything was going to work out.

Do you believe that Mary understood everything that was going on in the birth of Jesus?  Please comment and share!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1409249341&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=the+communal+imagination

Being the Church In and For Our Local Community

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It seems that whenever I am having a bad day, I always try to return to a sense of deep listening while keeping my own responsibility of faithful presence within me. This keeps me in touch with my own love, grace and humility in everyday life. It keeps me from becoming frustrated and treating others with disrespect. I seem to need this to live my life in an intentional way that is good for the world around me.

  •  Deep listening in the parish

Stewarding our presence is about a deep listening in the parish. Deep listening could shape us tremendously. The Spirit is calling us to listen again and again in everyday life together. Our everyday lives should be characteristic of listening. Listening becomes like a sacrament of new wine being poured into new wineskins that Jesus taught about.

  •  Join with what the Spirit is doing in our communities

“This might sound counterintuitive, but it is important to realize that by listening carefully we may be able to discern where we can join with what the Spirit is doing in our communities,” says Alan J. Roxburgh. “This practice of joining with the Spirit… will give us the capacities to discover fresh ways of being the church in and for our communities…” 

  •  Leading us to an awareness

The Spirit is leading us to an awareness of Christ’s ongoing work in the parish. Stewarding our presence together helps us to discern and partner with what is going on in the place we inhabit. If we listen, we will slowly start to see relational revelations in everyday life happening often all around us in the place we live.

  •  Becoming the church in and for our local community

We become the church in and for our local community as we listen, as we steward our presence. We become listeners together through the parish imagination. The parish imagination joins in with what the Spirit is doing in the place we inhabit together.

  •  Taking the risk of interdependence

“Becoming incarnate will mean the same for us as it did Christ. We will have to experience being small and defenseless, requiring nurture from our host world just as Christ needed Mary’s milk. We cannot and must not remain rootless people or rootless churches. Christ needed water from the earth, food from the ground, education from his elders; yet we too often experience church as an organization that has absolutely no need for its surrounding community or area,” writes Kester Brewin. “It is too often an appendage, something slightly apart and independent, not needing the neighboring culture in order to survive. To admit our need as a church, our dependence on our host culture, is a risk. Yet like Christ we must take this risk of interdependence, this risk of being born, this risk of life.” 

What comes to mind when you hear the words faithful presence?

 

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

How Can We Embody Our Presence to God?

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Sometimes I am convinced that God has left and abandoned me to be alone in the world to figure things out by myself.  I have this idea that sometimes God comes and goes.  I have this idea that I can come in and out of God’s presence at times.  This duality is ruining my life and is damaging me.

  • I am the one who is absent

I am coming to understand that it is not God who is absent from life, but I am the one who is absent and not faithfully present to God in the context of the place that I live.  I have forgotten my own presence.  I have lost my own voice in the midst of everyday life.  My own responsibility to be present to the realities of life, God and culture have slipped away from me somehow.

  • It is not God who is absent, it is you who are absent

Lauren F. Winner writes, “Another thing you think, when you have come to God’s absence, is this: it is not God who is absent at all, it is you who are absent…”

  • The most forming thing we can do in everyday life

God’s absence is a perception that I have developed to keep me from taking responsibility to my own faithful presence.  Responsibility is one of the hardest things to learn and can be difficult.  Our practice of presence will be the most forming thing we can do in everyday life.  It entails love, grace, humility, listening, awareness, solitude and embodiment.

  • God is revealed constantly to us through our ordinary moments

I need to become aware of God’s presence of beauty and goodness in everyday life.  We say that God is omnipresent, but do we believe this living with an intentional awareness to become present ourselves to this reality.  God is revealed constantly to us through our ordinary moments.  Will we live blind to this fact or cry out to God to heal us from our blindness that causes dualistic thinking and fragmentation?

  • Our human experience is where we experience God

Our human experience is where we experience God.  It is in our body, in our breath, in our flesh, in our movements, in our words, in our listening, in our resting, in our playing that we become present to God.  The bodily experience of our humanity is where God is revealed to us.  This cannot be devalued and ignored!

  • Flesh and blood and time and space

“What a paradox: that we connect with God,” states Anne Lamott, “with divinity, in our flesh and blood and time and space.  We connect with God in our humanity…”

  • Our identity, our passion, our purpose, our life’s intention

Through our flesh and blood, we find union with God.  Throughout our lives as we experience more we evolve through wisdom, love and grace.  Our humility develops as we become aware of our presence to God in everyday life.  Our presence to God becomes our identity, our passion, our purpose, our life’s intention.

What causes us to lose sight of our responsibility to become present to God in everyday life?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408452226&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

How Can We Restore Faithful Presence in Our Lives?

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My journey of faithful presence has been one of a slow transformation over the past decade of my life.  Because of the power of faithful presence in the parish, I am understanding how to love more.  I am starting to understand humility in ways I didn’t understand before.  I am coming to work out my redemption in everyday life in a local community where I seek to embody the ways of Christ in the world.

This power within me is a miracle indeed.  It leads me to love.  It leads me to give my life to the poor and marginalized.  It leads me to simplicity.  It leads me to peace.

This graceful power of faithful presence is my identity and meaning in life.  I am being shaped constantly in many ways.  I am learning how to love others in community.  This is bringing more happiness and joy into my very being.

  •  Dying to our desire to run the world

Jane Rubietta writes, “We confuse control with strength and surrender with weakness, when the reverse is true.  When we die to our desire to run the world, we come into real power…” 

  •  Giving up our need to control others

We seem to have more self-control in everyday life as we give up our need to control others.  Good power does not need to impose anything on anyone in the parish.  Good power does not originate from the intellect detached from an embodied experience of faithful presence.

  •  Embracing the good power of faithful presence in everyday life

Good power always stems from the love within us.  The parish imagination is not colonial.  The parish imagination embraces the good power of faithful presence in everyday life.

  •  The graceful power that lives within us

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile…” (Romans 1:16).  Our salvation is based on good power.  We should not be ashamed of the graceful power that lives within us as the body of Christ in everyday life in the parish.  We need to trust in this power within us.

  •  Expressions of love, grace and humility

We need to embody this power within us through expressions of love, grace and humility.  This power is more of a reality within us than our sin.  Sin has been given too much emphasis in our spirituality for too long.  When will we start exploring the good power of faithful presence within us all!

  •  The world needs more miracles of faithful presence

Words have lost power and often times lead to colonial ways of manipulation and control.  What would happen if we embodied a good power of faithful presence together beyond words that was based more on listening, love and grace?  This would be a miracle indeed!  And the world needs more miracles and less talking!

How can we embody faithful presence in the place we live?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=pd_sim_b_11?ie=UTF8&refRID=0VNCC12WD34KDP28GWNS

The Dream of Listening

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  •  My neighbors are teaching me to listen

My neighbors are teaching me to listen.  I hear the sound of their voices as revelations of God to me.  Learning to hear under the anger, pain, joy or gratitude of someone’s life is what I want to base my days on.  Becoming the servant of all who cross my path in everyday life, I want to show some love by listening deeply.

  •  What will I become?

What will I become without sharing life with my neighbors?  I am learning to step away from my computer and TV screen and make room for others as I listen to what they care about.  How can I learn from them?  What do they dream about in life?

  •  Being faithfully present without saying anything

Being faithfully present without saying anything, but just listening to the mysteries of this human being in front of me is what I was created for.  This is the essence of human connection.  Listening is recreating me for the common good of the place I live.

  •  Finding God in the act of listening

I reimagine a life where I am quick to listen.  This listening will be my life.  It will lead me to beautiful places that are unknown to me.  I am finding God in the very act of listening in everyday life.

  •  Listening is a powerful expression of the work of God

Listening is a powerful expression of the work of God in the world.  I am learning to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world through listening.  There is no greater purpose in life.

  •  Without listening it is difficult to see

Without a listening spirt it is difficult for me to see.  I lose my way on the path to life.  I mistreat others and become judgmental.  I become impatient and demanding.

  •  The simple practice of listening

I pretend to have all the answers for everyone.  I become manipulative and controlling.  I live with high expectations.  But I am ready now to give it all up and learn to embrace the simple practice of listening with compassion.

  •  Listening is my dream

May listening save me from my foolishness.  Listening is my salvation.  Listening is my dream.  Listening is the lost treasure that I will find in the present moment of human connection in everyday life together.

  •  We all have the capacity to listen deeply

We have underestimated listening in our time.  I believe that listening could change our world.  Listening is creative and alive among us.  We all have the capacity to listen deeply.

  •  Created in the image of a God who listens

We are created in the image of a God who listens.  We live life most fully when we listen.  Community and human connection will be lost without listening as a way of life.  I am learning the importance of this practice in the parish.

How can we listen more and talk less in everyday life?

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