Archive for the ‘Disciplines’ Category

Forgiveness

January 18, 2019

How often should I forgive someone?

Peter the apostle in training thought he’d show Jesus that he was learning. He thought most people might say once. Or maybe twice. Peter thought, how about seven times. That should be lots.

But Jesus the sage and master always raised the bar to impossible heights.

Seventy times seven, he replied.

When I lead the Yoga class and I want to do six Sun Salutations to finish warmup, I often lose count.

Do you think I could remember seven times forgiveness?

How about 77 times (some translations) or 490 times (other translations)?!

Some teachers riff off this theme and try to add qualifications and complex psychological theories. Do not do that.

Jesus is describing a lifestyle. A way of living from the heart. And the heart is forgiving at all times.

Belief or Knowledge

January 17, 2019

“Believe? No, I don’t believe. I know.” –Psychologist Carl Jung’s response when asked toward the end of his life if he believed in God.

Some people believe in things. It seems that they believe so that they can argue with people who do not believe exactly with them.

There are still people who believe that all that moon walking stuff was staged in Hollywood. And I mean Neal Armstrong, not Michael Jackson’s moon walking.

Why do we “practice” spiritual things?

Maybe we got a nudge from God. And we began to pursue.

And then we experienced.

And reflected experience backed up by study and prayer (meditation) leads to knowledge. Which leads to wisdom.

Which leads to a decrease of arguing. And deeper understanding.

Community

January 16, 2019

When our enemies are about to kill us, they do not ask what kind of Christian we are. They just ask if we are Christian. Why, then, do we Christians spend so much energy fighting against each other? (My paraphrase from Albert Tate’s report of an audience between the Pope and Evangelical leaders.)

I scan the podcast universe for good teachers. Good meaning they will expand my knowledge and understanding.

Albert Tate, a black pastor from Southern California, spoke at Willow Creek last weekend teaching on 1 Corinthians 12–the body that is the church. He relayed this story from the Pope.

Consider that thought from the Pope (I’m not sure if John Paul or Benedict).

I live in what people on the coasts would call the Bible Belt. In my county of about 60,000 people, there must be 100 churches. On any given Sunday perhaps 20% of the population is in church. And that is The Bible Belt!

And just try to get all 100 churches to get along. Long ago when I was involved with the Church League softball league, it was hard to get agreement about ground rules for the league let alone anything really meaningful. (There was a woman who I wanted on our team. Several churches didn’t like the idea. But then when she, playing outfield, threw out a guy running home, well, that surprised a few!)

Just think of the difference we would make in the world if all 100 churches operated as the one body of Jesus like Paul describes in chapter 12 using the love he describes in chapter 13.

“What a wonderful world it would be.”

[Updated with link]

Requirements for Achieving Balance

January 15, 2019

We will now practice balance through Tree Pose. First, we root our right foot into the mat. We bring our left foot to the ankle to prepare. We bring our hands together at heart center. Now we focus on an object that doesn’t move, clear our minds, relax our shoulders, then bring the left foot up to press against the outside of the right calf or thigh…

A version of leading the class into balance in Yoga.

I talked about using personality trait analysis as a means of coming into balance–becoming a whole, integrated, spiritual person–yesterday.

We come to balance through these elements:

  • Focus on the proper object
  • Clear our minds of detritus
  • Relax
  • Act

We study our personality in order to balance our positive impulses and negative ones bringing our personality into an integrated whole.

Getting Into Balance

January 14, 2019

Personality type testing once again becomes a fad.

Are you and “ISFJ” or a “9”?

(The former being one of the types on the Myers-Briggs Types Indicator; the other one of the 9 types on the Enneagram.)

One use of the Myers-Briggs I have seen is for leadership teams to take the evaluation in order to figure out how to work together. [I have never seen that actually work…]

I took the test as part of someone’s doctoral research on how school board members work together. It didn’t help us any, but the guy received a doctorate.

Once I walked into my pastor’s office. “Our Emmaus team just took the Myers-Briggs to help us work together. We are all ‘FJs’ “(feeling-judgementals-look it up). I replied, “I’m a ‘TP’ ” (thinking-perceptive). He said, “How can you call yourself a Christian and be a TP?”

[Mis]use of the profile, for sure.

The Enneagram is getting popular in some Christian circles right now. It’s not “what’s your sign” but rather “what’s your number”.

Another [mis]use of the evaluation.

I’ve studied both Western and Eastern philosophy. I got rather deep one time into Ayurveda. It does “mind-body” types.

The thing of it is, you don’t study it to find out your type…and then stop. You study it so that you can change some ways you eat or exercise to bring your mind and body into balance. If you are a “pitta” then maybe eat some “kapha” foods to bring yourself into balance.

If you read deeper than your M-B or number, you find a lot of ambivalence. No one is 100% a “9”. There’s a little of every number in all of us. Maybe you are called E (extroverted) but you’re maybe only 16 out of 31 on the scale. One question differently answered and you’d be labeled “I” (introverted).

If you are going to go this route, do yourself a favor and use the tool to bring your personality (and your life) into balance.

Ego and Pride

January 11, 2019

These are attitudes that will lead to your fall.

It may be sooner. Maybe later.

As you are crushed by the fall from grace and presumed adulation, you leave a trail of abused people. Some physically. Some emotionally. Just the same.

Wisdom tracing back farther than 3,000 years warns us.

But we don’t listen.

When we are filled with ego and pride, rules and wisdom don’t apply to us. We embody wisdom and rules.

Pray every day that we don’t fall into that trap. It’s there. Right beside us. Ready to suck us in. But we can avoid it.

People Are Simply Amazing

January 10, 2019

I talk with people at times about being a disciple of Jesus. Then, I run across stories like this one.

Part of my day is devoted to scanning hundreds of news sources. These are mostly in my field of technology, but some are political news or other generally useless items.

I couldn’t read more than the headline and lede, but it was enough. Enough, that is, to send me running back to studying physics rather than people.

Where do some Christian people go for values education?

Seems this guy is a pastor of a Christian church. Gained some notoriety by praising the guy who shot up a bar that was a noted hangout for gay people. The shooter killed many people.

Pause to consider.

A Christian (or at least someone who self-identifies as one) praises killing innocent and unsuspecting people.

OK, back to the story.

Seems this pastor was recently fired from his job. The reason? Not for advocating killing people he doesn’t like. No. It was for being caught hiring prostitutes (I quit reading, but I assume they were female–male ones would have been too ironic).

Killing? OK. Sex? Not OK.

I know this from many sources, but let’s just check the beginning chapters of Paul’s Letter to the Romans. We all have the capacity for sin. For thinking and doing bad things.

Pointing fingers at other people’s sins or rejoicing when tragedy strikes people we don’t like should be a signal to pause and reflect on our own shortcomings. Of which I have many. Just ask my wife… 😉

The Practice of Giving

January 9, 2019

“For it is in giving that we receive.” From St. Francis’ prayer.

A recent “study” revealed that people who give live longer than people who don’t.

I don’t know if that is true. But there is evidence any way.

I read that as the thought after Yoga class last night. It struck a chord with many. Shortly after I was in a meeting where the study was cited. It’s amazing how these thoughts come in bunches.

Giving is a spiritual practice. Richard J. Foster may not have it listed, but it’s there.

The act of giving–money, time, talent–turns our focus from ourselves to others. It’s part of the salt I talked about yesterday.

And it is in giving that we receive. It’s a paradox, but it’s true.

Salt of the Earth

January 8, 2019

You are the salt of the earth, we are told.

Salt?

When used in small quantities, salt enhances the flavor of food.

It only takes small quantities of us in every interaction to enhance the lives of other people.

That is the key–it’s not about us. It’s all about how we help bring out the best in others.

How do we practice Love God and Love My Neighbor (see yesterday’s post)?

Try enhancing each person you meet today.

Want To Change Your Life

January 7, 2019

I was sitting in contemplation and a vision came to me.

Practicing two things every day will change your outlook, attitude, relationships, and life.

Practice Jesus’s commandment–Love God and your neighbor.

All the time, practice this. Practice it until it’s an integral part of life.

And two, practice mindful meditation twice a day.

Reach out with one practice; reach inward with the second.

Practice this every day in 2019. When 2020 comes, you will look back and marvel at how you changed.