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 22, 2016 Edition
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
(Barks, C. & Green, M. (1997). The Illuminated Rumi.
New York: Broadway Books.
Introduction to “Embodied”
by Jeannie Crawford-Lee
In recent months thousands of people have streamed into Europe seeking refuge from violence in the Middle East. They have met with disturbingly mixed responses. Asked why she welcomes the refugees with support, a German woman replies, “They’re human!” Times of crisis like this put compassion for our neighbor in the spotlight. But we hear the call of compassion daily in encounters with individuals in our family, our community, our workplace.
In this issue contributors ponder the meaning of compassion in the context of embodiment. “Somewhere along the way, the depth and significance of the human body as God’s chosen dwelling place has been lost,” Robert Christopher Barrett observes. Each writer provides a fresh glimpse of this reality and its implications for living as Spirit-infused children of God. As we enter the season of Lent, Regina Laroche reminds us that the touch of ashes speaks to our origin and our end: dust to dust. In her reflection she explores our bodily relationship with the earth as well as with people.
Dora Dueck’s poetic meditation on Jesus as he washes the feet of his disciples conveys both the discomfort and the gratitude that ministration engenders. Chris Barrett urges us to think more clearly about the presence of the Holy Spirit in the temple of our body, and he shares his discoveries as one whose bodily temple is tended by a medical team and friends in the face of cancer’s destructive toll.
Regina Bechtel also points us to the Holy Spirit, confessing, “The Spirit constantly invites me to sharpen my senses.” Let her keen use of the five senses inspire your own as a doorway to compassion. We do not readily embrace our body’s vulnerability and limitations. David Watson and Darla Schumm describe life experiences that require such an embrace. Their insights deepen capacity for self-compassion and empathy, which in turn allow relationships to bloom.
Wounded and lonely, Lisa Marie Rand sought something useful to do in a soup kitchen. There the words of Matthew 25:35-36 became real and liberating: “For I was hungry and you gave me food. . . . I was in prison and you visited me.” The physicality of eating together reminds us that “we all belong to God.”
Janet Johnson Anderson’s poem imagines our bodies transformed into “living prayer.” How might spiritual practices open us to such transformation? Thomas Hawkins, Melissa Tidwell, and Gunilla Norris, each elucidate practices in which the body’s movements—walking, intentional gestures and postures, breathing—can actually reshape our interior selves and our loving outreach. And, finally, John Mogabgab observes, “In the body we encounter God through the vast web of relationships that shape our identity.” Compassion flows from such tangible, embodied knowing.
Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of God,
Deepen my awareness,
of your mercy.
The Spirituality of Anger
by Julie Peters
Anger is not the most comfortable emotion to feel. It also may be the most abhorred emotional state in spiritual contexts. We often get the message that anger is what our practices should be able to get rid of, that we should be able to transform it into pure sweet compassion. What if we considered anger from another view: not as an enemy, but as a dear friend?
Anger, writes psychotherapist Robert Augustus Masters in his fantastic book Spiritual Bypassing, is “the primary emotional state that functions to uphold our boundaries.” When we feel anger, it’s an indication that something is wrong—a boundary has been crossed or a need is not being met. It’s not always just about our individual selves, either—anger is the appropriate response to oppression.
Anger is not an action, though one of its characteristics may be the urge to do something, and do it fast. Anger can help us overcome fear in order to take some action. So how do we know what action to take?
Trust the River
by Richard Rohr
Grace and mercy teach us that we are all much larger than the good or bad stories we tell about ourselves or about one another. Please don't get caught in your small stories; they are usually less than half true, and therefore not really "true" at all. They're usually based on hurts and unconscious agendas that allow us to see and judge things in a very selective way. They're not the whole You, not the Great You, not the Great River. Therefore it is not where your big life can really happen. No wonder the Spirit is described as "flowing water" and as "a spring inside you" (John 4:10-14) or, at the end of the Bible, as a "river of life" (Revelation 22:1-2). Strangely, your real life is not about "you." It is a part of a much larger stream called God.
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, 1:30 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
(This group will not meet in April)
Sandusky: Trinity UMC, 214 E. Jefferson St. – Second Thursdays, 2:00 PM
(This group will not meet in April)
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
Sue Palmer - firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon Seyfarth Garner – email@example.com
Valerie Stultz - firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol Topping - email@example.com
James Finley: The Axial Moment of Healing: Insights at the Edge
Podcast with Tami Simon
James Finley is a clinical psychologist and the author of books such as Christian Meditation and The Contemplative Heart. With Sounds True, James has created several audio learning programs including Meister Eckhart’s Living Wisdom and Transforming Trauma (with Caroline Myss). In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon and James discuss the concept, history, and direct experience of “the dark night of the soul.” They also speak on the possibility of healing trauma through spiritual practice. (54 minutes)
Get Your Spirit In Shape: When We’re Bad at Being Good
J. Brent Bill
I was pleased to have the opportunity to talk to author and self-proclaimed “bad Quaker,” J. Brent Bill. When we examine our lives, most of us can confess that we are bad at being good, as Bill does in his new book, Life Lessons from a Bad Quaker: A Humble Stumble toward Simplicity and Grace.
Several weeks into New Year’s resolutions we have broken or forgotten, it is good to be reminded of the grace and love of Jesus, even when we fall short.
I am not recommending you buy into this program but think its concepts can be helpful for planning for your future.
LearnVest Planners: Ad for Budgeting Program
Whether you're a parent with two kids or a recent college grad working your first job, our 50/20/30 guideline can help you assess your budget. LearnVest Planners often use this approach working with new clients to help illustrate the big picture of where their money is going.
Our guideline breaks your budget down into three buckets (rather than the seemingly infinite categories of some traditional budgeting). It’s designed to help you figure out how much you may want to allocate to each area every month, and can also help you determine the order in which your money can be allocated.
1. Fixed Costs
These are bills and expenses that don’t vary much from month to month, like rent or mortgage payments, utilities and car payments. We also include subscriptions, such as gym memberships and Netflix accounts, in fixed costs because you’re committed to paying them on a monthly basis.
When it comes to fixed costs, our Planners generally suggest that you aim to keep your monthly total no more than 50% of your take-home pay.
2. Financial Goals
LearnVest Planners typically recommend putting at least 20% of your take-home pay toward important payments or contributions that will help you secure your financial foundation. We believe there are three essential goals everyone should strive for: paying down credit card debt, saving for retirement, and building an emergency fund. But your financial goals can also include larger savings priorities, like a down payment on a new home.
3. Flexible Spending
Finally, consider budgeting no more than 30% of your take-home pay toward flexible spending. These are day-to-day expenses that can vary from month to month, like eating out, groceries, shopping, hobbies, entertainment, or gas.
We include groceries in flexible spending because even though food is a necessity in your budget, how you spend on food can vary. Some weeks you might eat out more, while others you may buy more groceries to cook at home. At LearnVest, our Planners often say that it doesn’t really matter what you spend your money on each month in this category, as long as you're aware of your spending and not going over your total flex budget each month.
One Note About Retirement
As you might have noticed, the 50/20/30 guideline applies only to take-home pay. Any contributions you make to retirement before your paycheck hits your bank account are not included. For that reason, you may actually be contributing more toward your financial goals than this breakdown would suggest. And you may find that it's a good thing to keep that retirement money out of sight, out of mind!
If you’re just starting to put together a budget, the 50/20/30 Guideline can serve as a useful benchmark for how to divvy up your paycheck. When it comes down to it, though, how you spend (and save) your money depends on your specific goals and lifestyle.
As part of the LearnVest Action Program, you can work with a dedicated Planner who can give you a clear plan of action for your money, including helping you to create a budget that has the right balance for you. If you’re curious, you can get started by trying out our online budgeting tool for free.
If you have any questions or issues you would like for us to address or would like to get email alerts when new reources have been posted please contact Howard Humphress at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our quick contact form.
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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