Edition: January 15, 2015
Thinking about retiring? At an age you could be retired?
John Wimberly ask, “When is the appropriate time to retire?” and shares some helpful thoughts on the subject.
Read article ...
Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life
By Fr. Richard Rohr
Falling Upward is a fresh way of thinking about spirituality that grows throughout life. Here Fr. Richard Rohr seeks to help readers understand the tasks of the two halves of life and to show them that those who have fallen, failed, or "gone down" are the only ones who understand "up." Most of us tend to think of the second half of life as largely about getting old, dealing with health issues, and letting go of life, but the whole thesis of this book is exactly the opposite. What looks like falling down can largely be experienced as "falling upward." In fact, it is not a loss but somehow actually a gain, as we have all seen with elders who have come to their fullness.
Here Fr. Rohr explains why the second half of life can and should be full of spiritual richness. He offers a new view of how spiritual growth happens--loss is gain. And he explores the counterintuitive message that we grow spiritually much more by doing wrong than by doing right.
“The value of this book lies in the way Richard Rohr shares his own aging process with us in ways that help us be less afraid of seeing and accepting how we are growing older day by day. Without sugar coating the challenging aspects of growing older, Richard Rohr invites us to look closer, to sit with what is happening to us as we age. As we do so, the value and gift of aging begin to come into view. We begin to see that, as we grow older, we are being awakened to deep, simple, and mysterious things we simply could not see when we were younger. The value of this book lies in the clarity with which it invites us to see the value of our own experience of aging as the way God is moving us from doing to being, from achieving to appreciating, from planning and plotting to trusting the strange process in which as we diminish, we strangely expand and grow in all sorts of ways we cannot and do not need to explain to anyone including ourselves. This freedom from the need to explain, this humble realization of what we cannot explain, is itself one of the unexpected blessings of aging this book invites to explore. It sounds too good be true, but we can begin to realize the timeless wisdom of the elders is sweetly and gently welling up in our own mind and heart.”
—Jim Finley, retreat leader, Merton scholar, and author of The Contemplative Heart.
In the stillness of retirement
By Bill Laramee
In the silence that comes after a busy career, reinvesting in life -- and in your life -- is an act of faith that produces hope, not despair, says a retired vice president of Berea College.
“Reflecting on and writing about retirement, I remembered Henri Nouwen’s admonition to “live larger,” and in those words I found the familiar. . . That is what my friend and I were feeling. We want to live large again, but in a different way than before. Living larger, I now realize, does not mean accumulating more or indulging in hobbies. Living larger is not about scale but about focus, which is at the heart of the stillness that is my new normal. The retirees I most admire, the ones I have either read about or met, lived larger, but in smaller ways. They did not focus on proving themselves but rather shared themselves, doing good works with and for others. They shifted from a lifetime of acquiring goods and power to giving them away.”
Retired UMC pastor Rev. Gilbert Caldwell views the movie and reflects on his experience of the Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights march, the church’s role in the movement and how this film can help the church deal with racial issues of our day. Read Online Article ...
Happy New Year dear friends,
The year’s beginning is a good time to deepen your spiritual practice and our Spiritual Formation/Meditation groups can be a great ancillary to that practice.
In addition to the main contribution of meditation, deepening your spiritual journey and connection with God, it has been proven to be a great self-care tool. Just ask Dan Harris, an anchor for "Nightline" and "Good Morning America" and author of 10% Happier, who had an emotional break on national TV and now talks about how mindfulness meditation has changed his life. Here is a link to an NPR interview that might interest you. Listen to the Story ...
You might also be interested in Harris' book, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works
By Dan Harris
“The voice in my head can be a total pill. I’d venture to guess yours can, too. Most of us are so entranced by the nonstop conversation we’re having with ourselves that we aren’t even aware we have a voice in our head. I certainly wasn’t—at least not before I embarked on the weird little odyssey described in this book.
“To be clear, I’m not talking about “hearing voices,” I’m talking about the internal narrator, the most intimate part of our lives. The voice comes braying in as soon as we open our eyes in the morning, and then heckles us all day long with an air horn. It’s a fever swamp of urges, desires, and judgments. It’s fixated on the past and the future, to the detriment of the here and now. It’s what has us reaching into the fridge when we’re not hungry, losing our temper when we know it’s not really in our best interest, and pruning our inboxes when we’re ostensibly engaged in conversation with other human beings. Our inner chatter isn’t all bad, of course. Sometimes it’s creative, generous, or funny. But if we don’t pay close attention—which very few of us are taught how to do—it can be a malevolent puppeteer. . .
“For the past four years, I’ve been road testing meditation in the crucible of one of the most competitive environments imaginable, television news. I’m here to tell you, it’s totally doable. More than that, it can give you a real advantage—and, not for nothing, it might even make you nicer in the process.
“Meditation is simply exercise for your brain. It’s a proven technique for preventing the voice in your head from leading you around by the nose. To be clear, it’s not a miracle cure. It won’t make you taller or better-looking, nor will it magically solve all of your problems. You should disregard the fancy books and the famous gurus promising immediate enlightenment. In my experience, meditation makes you 10% happier. That’s an absurdly unscientific estimate, of course. But still, not a bad return on investment.”
Meet: monthly 1 ½ hours
Where and when:
Alliance: Christ UMC, 470 E. Broadway – Third Thursdays, 1:00 PM
Ashland: Christ UMC, 1140 Claremont Ave. – Second Wednesdays, 1:00 PM
Cleveland: East Shore UMC, 23002 Lakeshore Blvd., Euclid – First Thursdays, 1:00 PM
Medina: Granger UMC, 1235 Granger Rd. – Third Wednesdays, 1:00 PM
New Philadelphia: First UMC, 201 W. High St. – Second Thursdays, 9:00 AM
(February’s Group will convene at Baldwin Wallace for their Faith and Life Lecture Series. See details below.)
Sandusky: Trinity UMC, 214 E. Jefferson St. – Second Thursdays, 2:00 PM
(February’s Group will convene at Baldwin Wallace for their Faith and Life Lecture Series. See details below.)
If you are interested in being part of one of these groups, it would be helpful if you let us know for planning purposes. For questions and to receive information about a particular group, please call our office 330-456-0486 or email us at email@example.com
The Program in Pastoral Care and Counseling encourages the spiritual formation of our pastors believing a strong spiritual base is the greatest resource a church leader can possess. It helps us weather the many storms of ministry and deepens the incredible joys ministry provides. Following is a list of Spiritual Directors in our area. We encourage you to take advantage of this rich resource. This listing will appear in each edition of our bi-monthly webpage updates and new names and contact information will be provided as we learn of them and have permission to include them. If you are a director or know of a director that is not included here please let us know.
Debbie Baker - firstname.lastname@example.org
Bruce Batchler-Glader – email@example.com
Harry Finkbone - Finkbone1@gmail.com
Liz Nau – firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Olin-Hitt – email@example.com
Sharon Seyfarth Garner – firstname.lastname@example.org
Clergywomen’s Retreat at Wanakee with Sharon Seyfarth Garner
Monday will be time for settling in and letting go. Tuesday we will be led by Sharon Seyfarth Garner, In the Belly of the Whale: lessons of spiritual renewal from a rebellious prophet. Join us for this meaningful day of spiritual renewal and self-care. Each session will be based on one of the four short chapters of Jonah and will weave together scripture with simple spiritual practices. Wednesday morning will offer the opportunity to choose two options for self-care from a sampler of possibilities.
Registration Deadline January 26
To Cynthia Theobald
Baldwin Wallace University Faith and Life Lecture Series
Lindsay-Crossman Chapel, 56 Seminary St., Berea
Baldwin Wallace University Faith and Life Lecture Series with Sr. Kathleen Deignan presenting: "Meeting the Masters of Cosmos and of Soul: Thomas Berry and Thomas Merton," and “Finding Our Way to an Ecological Age: Berry and Merton as Guides.”
Merton and Berry are two of the most remarkable 20th century spiritual masters. As prophets and culture critics, both wisdom teachers announced the perils and crises of our moment. As visionaries and poets both saw the new frontiers of human spiritual evolution, languaged them into clarity, and charted revelatory maps to guide us forward from our wasteland worlds into regions of greater vitality, depth and solidarity with all life. As midwives of the New Creation, both labored in the Great Work of our time: to birth the new human person for an ecological age.
“Thousands of churches and hundreds of thousands of individuals reclaimed the general rules of Do No Harm, Do Good and Stay in Love with God through the little brown book. He put the most foundational and profound into 10 words that we could understand and then spent a lifetime trying to achieve,” said Susan Salley, associate publisher of ministry resources at the United Methodist Publishing House. Salley worked with Job on “Living Fully, Dying Well” and “Three Simple Rules” in addition to other books published by Abingdon Press.
Healthy Body, Unhealthy Mind
By Pico Iyer
“I was, in short, what I’d call an externalist — a person who’ll exercise great care over what he puts into his body and never think about what he puts into his mind. Who will dwell at length on everything he can see, in order to distract himself from the fact that it’s everything he can’t see on which his well-being depends. Who will fill his head with so much junk that he can’t remember that wolfing down Buffalo wings is not the problem, but a symptom.
“An externalist makes a point — even a habit — of cherishing means over ends, effects over causes and everything that fills him up over everything that truly sustains him. He interprets health in terms of his body weight, wealth in terms of his bank account and success in terms of his business card. He’ll go to the health club, and never think of the mental health club, like someone who imagines the only arteries to be unclogged are the ones that course with blood.”
What's the One and Only New Year's Resolution That People With Low Self-Esteem Should Make?
By: Anneli Rufus
“I resolve to accept the idea that I need not change anything about myself this year (or maybe ever) except the way in which I judge myself. I need not change anything about myself except the harsh criticisms I chronically unleash upon myself. I need not change anything except the warped lens through which I watch my every move. I need not change anything except the funhouse mirror which I carry with me everywhere and whose distorted reflections I believe are real.”
Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself
By Anneli Rufus
“For more than forty years, I hated myself unreservedly, as if it was required. Why? . . .
“I hated myself because Mom hated herself and, meaning no harm, taught me how. Self-loathing spreads that way, from heart to heart and hand to hand. For decades, I avoided mirrors, called myself the worst words you can think of, skipped meals, and stared jealously at strangers, wishing I was anyone but me. Spectacles of my eighteen thousand days of hate.
“I’ve seen what self-loathing can do. I’ve seen it steal the light right out of eyes. I’ve watched it drive the beautiful, the brilliant, and the kind to places from which they could not come back.
“What would you do today if you did not despise yourself?
‘This book is about setting down the weapons we use on ourselves—just for a minute at a time and shhh, no one need see—and pondering the possibility that they are not required, not justified, not right—and never were. That they were thrust into our arms by others long ago. That we are wielding them by accident, through deceit, by mistake.
‘This is a book about healing and hope. I just need you to know that. It includes strategies and tactics and lessons to lead us out of here. But first we need to understand how we fell into this predicament and how it looks and feels and sounds. We need to realize where we are before we can move on.
”This path starts in the dark.”
The East Ohio Conference Pastoral Care Office:
1445 Harrison Avenue NW · Suite 301
Canton, Ohio 44708
Toll Free: 866-456-3600
Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
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