Find tips and resources for self-care, material to assist you in providing pastoral care, and general information to help you in your practice of ministry. Information will be updated every two weeks concurrent with the East Ohio E-news.
February 8, 2016 Edition
Heal the Healer – A Day of Renewal for You
with psychologist Tom Holmes of Winged Heart
Friday, February 19, 2016
North Canton Faith UMC
More information and registration here.
Do You Understand What You’re Signing Up For?
by Mike Slaughter
“The Lenten season marks a time for soul assessment and realigning with the priorities of God. Just as the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness for 40 days to confront temptation, the 40 days of Lent require us to do our own fearless moral and spiritual inventory of our internal landscape. As I note in ‘Renegade Gospel: The Rebel Jesus,’ it’s an opportunity to ask ourselves, ‘Do I understand what I have signed up for?’”
'Faith is the great cure for fear': President at National Prayer Breakfast
by Laura Koran, CNN
"Fear can lead us to lash out against those who are different or lead us to try to get some sinister 'other' under control," said Obama, making a veiled reference to divisive rhetoric on the presidential campaign trail.
"Alternatively, fear can lead us to succumb to despair or paralysis or cynicism," he said. "Fear can feed our most selfish impulses and erode the bonds of community."
However, he said, "Faith is the great cure for fear."
These fears, Obama said with a hint of regret, include the fear of children growing up "too fast."
"They're leaving!" he said, smiling. The Obamas' oldest daughter, Malia, is heading off to college in the fall.
Obama also praised faith groups for their work on a variety of issues, from combating trafficking to welcoming and supporting refugees, and celebrated the return of pastor Saeed Abedini, who was recently released from an Iranian prison.
"Last year we prayed that he might be freed and this year we give thanks that he is home safe," said Obama.
The prayer breakfast, co-chaired by members of Congress, provides an opportunity for people from across the political spectrum to come together and speak about how faith has shaped their lives.
House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke about "a growing impatience with prayer in our culture."
"You see it in the papers or on Twitter," said Ryan. "When people say they're praying for someone or something, the attitude in some quarters seems to be, 'Don't just pray; do something about it.' "
"But the thing is, when you are praying, you are doing something about it," he said.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi read from the Gospel of John, saying the Golden Rule expressed there holds true across religions.
Helping Traumatized Clients Heal Their Inner Parts
by Richard Schwartz
According to Dick Schwartz, creator of the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model, all people have within them multiple “inner parts,” each with distinct emotions, beliefs, and roles adapted to help us cope with life’s challenges. With trauma survivors, however, these parts—in an effort to protect a person from further hurt and pain—can often stand in the way of genuine recovery.
In this video, Dick explains how to work with clients so they can manage their responses and deal with the root of trauma by having a dialogue with these different parts.
“The central task of IFS therapy is to work with these parts in a way that allows deep emotional healing to take place,” Dick says in his Networker article (“Learning to Manage our Fears”). “If each part—even the most damaged and negative—is given the chance to reveal the origin of its burdens, it can show itself in its original valuable state, before it became so destructive.”View video
Lenten Practices 101
Presbyterian Church USA
The season of Lent leads up to the most holy of Christian days, Easter Sunday. The forty days of Lent begin Ash Wednesday and end at dusk the Saturday before Easter, not counting the Sundays in between. The Sundays during Lent, like every Sunday, are considered weekly celebrations of the resurrection. Many denominations encourage disciples to renew and strengthen their faith during Lent. Plans are made for community-wide Lenten preparation through the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study, fasting, and service.View online
Grace Is Key
by Richard Rohr
The following three paragraphs came to me very clearly in a very short time while I was walking along the Pacific Ocean during my Lenten hermitage in 2012. I think they sum up why, for me, grace is the key to accepting all deaths--and experiencing all resurrections.
The goodness of God fills all the gaps of the universe, without discrimination or preference. God is the gratuity of absolutely everything. The space in between everything is not space at all but Spirit. God is the "Goodness Glue" that holds the dark and light of things together, the free energy that carries all death across the Great Divide and transmutes it into Life. When we say that Christ "paid the debt once and for all," it simply means that God's job is to make up for all deficiencies in the universe. What else would God do? Basically, grace is God's first name, and probably last too. Grace is what God does to keep all things God has made in love and alive--forever. Grace is God's official job description. Grace is not something God gives; grace is who God is. If we are to believe the primary witnesses, an unexplainable goodness is at work in the universe. (Some of us call this phenomenon God, but the word is not necessary. In fact, sometimes it gets in the way of the experience, because too many have named God something other than grace.)
Death is not just our one physical dying, but it is going to the full depth, hitting the bottom, going the distance, beyond where I am in control, and always beyond where I am now. No wonder it is scary. Such death is called "the descent into hell" in the early Apostles' Creed, while in other sources, "the pit," "the dark night," "Sheol," or "Hades." We all die eventually; we have no choice in the matter. But there are degrees of death before the final physical one. If we are honest, we acknowledge that we are dying throughout our life, and this is what we learn if we are attentive: grace is found at the depths and in the death of everything. After these smaller deaths, we know that the only "deadly sin" is to swim on the surface of things, where we never see, find, or desire God or love. This includes even the surface of religion, which might be the worst danger of all. Thus, we must not be afraid of falling, failing, going "down."
When you go to the full depths and death, sometimes even the depths of your sin, you can always come out the other side--and the word for that is resurrection. Something or someone builds a bridge for you, recognizable only from the far side, that carries you willingly, or even partly willingly, across. All that we hear from reputable and reliable sources (mystics, shamans, near-death visitors, and "nearing-death experiences") indicates no one is more surprised and delighted than the traveler himself or herself. Something or someone seems to fill the tragic gap between death and life, but only at the point of no return. None of us crosses over by our own effort or merits, purity, or perfection. We are all carried across by an uncreated and unearned grace--from pope, to president, to princess, to peasant. Worthiness is never the ticket, only deep desire, and the ticket is given in the desiring. The tomb is always finally empty. There are no exceptions to death, and there are no exceptions to grace. And I believe, with good evidence, that there are no exceptions to resurrection.
Everything is grace.
The Jesus Prayer: The Way of the Pilgrim
Readers of The Way of a Pilgrim quickly discover two levels of narration in this simple and unassuming nineteenth-century religious classic. The first level presents a heartfelt apologia for silent prayer in the Orthodox Christian tradition, namely, the "ceaseless" prayer or the so-called Jesus prayer. Cited as the authority for the Jesus prayer is the Philokalia, a literary collection of writings of the Greek-speaking Church Fathers supporting the tradition of hesychasm. Yet The Way of a Pilgrim does not pursue theological argument. It is imminently practical in its advice to simply start praying.
“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me."
In the hesychast method of prayer the person sits alone in a bodily position with his head bowed and his eyes directed toward his chest or his stomach. He continually repeats the prayer with each aspiration and breath, placing his “mind in his heart” by concentrated attention. He empties his mind of all rational thoughts and discursive reasoning, and also voids his mind of every picture and image. Then, without thought or imagination, but with all proper attention and concentration he rhythmically repeats the Jesus Prayer in silence - hesychia means silence - and through this method of contemplative prayer is united to God by the indwelling of Christ in the Spirit. According to the fathers, such a prayer, when faithfully practiced within the total life of the Church, brings the experience of the uncreated divine light of God and unspeakable joy to the soul. Its purpose is to make man a servant of God.
The Jesus Prayer (Orthodox Church in America)
Meet: monthly 1 ½ hours
Where and when:
Alliance: Christ UMC, 470 E. Broadway – Second Tuesdays, 2:00 PM
Ashland: Christ UMC, 1140 Claremont Ave. – Second Wednesdays, 1:00 PM
Medina: Granger UMC, 1235 Granger Rd. – Third Wednesdays, 1:00 PM
Painesville: Painesville UMC, 71 North Park Pl. – Third Thursdays, 12:30 PM
Sandusky: Trinity UMC, 214 E. Jefferson St. – Second Thursdays, 2:30 PM
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 - email@example.com
Bruce Batchler-Glader – firstname.lastname@example.org
Harry Finkbone - Finkbone1@gmail.com
Liz Nau – email@example.com
Jennifer Olin-Hitt – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sue Palmer - email@example.com
Sharon Seyfarth Garner – firstname.lastname@example.org
Valerie Stultz - email@example.com
Carol Topping - firstname.lastname@example.org
To Know Yourself is to Forget Yourself
by Pema Chodron
According to Pema Chödrön, we might think that knowing ourselves is a very ego-centered thing, but by beginning to look clearly and honestly at ourselves, we begin to dissolve the walls that separate us from others.
The journey of awakening happens just at the place where we can’t get comfortable. Opening to discomfort is the basis of transmuting our so-called “negative” feelings. We somehow want to get rid of our uncomfortable feelings either by justifying them or by squelching them, but it turns out that this is like throwing the baby out with the bath water.
By trying to get rid of “negativity,” by trying to eradicate it, by putting it into a column labelled “bad,” we are throwing away our wisdom as well, because everything in us is creative energy—particularly our strong emotions. They are filled with life-force.
There is nothing wrong with negativity per se; the problem is that we never see it, we never honor it, we never look into its heart. We don’t taste our negativity, smell it, get to know it. Instead, we are always trying to get rid of it by punching someone in the face, by slandering someone, by punishing ourselves, or by repressing our feelings. In between repression and acting out, however, there is something wise and profound and timeless. . . .
When we feel resentful or judgmental, it hurts us and it hurts others. But if we look into it we might see that behind the resentment there is fear and behind the fear there is a tremendous softness. There is a very big heart and a huge mind—a very awake, basic state of being. To experience this we begin to make a journey, the journey of unconditional friendliness toward the self that we already are.
Stress is Optional
by Elisha Goldstein and Stefanie Goldstein
Here are 11 ways to take time for what matters and put stress in its place
Waging a battle against stress doesn’t make much sense, does it? It’s the surest way to increase the stress: “This battle against stress is really stressing me out!” Mindfulness lets us interrupt the stress cycle and let in some space and air.
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