March 4, 2019
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. Archives Here ...
Pastoral Care Day Apart: May 16, 2019
Wellington Reservation, Lorain Co. Metro Parks
“Be Peace: A Retreat”
Watch for details
A Way Forward
To be in a true and mature relationship with a spiritual teaching requires you to apply it, not simply believe in it. Belief leads to various forms of fundamentalism and shuts down the curiosity and inquiry that are essential to open the way for awakening and what lies beyond awakening. A good spiritual teaching is something that you work with and apply. In doing so, it works on you (often in a hidden way) and helps reveal to you the Truth (and falseness) that lies within you. Adyashanti, The Way of Liberation: A Practical Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
Why Do We Find Sexuality Scary?
by Michael Ventura
Today, sexuality still seems to be a territory as private and filled with fear as ever it was. You might argue the opposite, because so much about sexuality these days is fearlessly public—and that's true, if by "public" you mean the merely visible. But privately, we haven't advanced far in our ability to talk of our own sexuality, one with another.
As in days of yore, we embark on our individual sexual journeys with minimal guidance—zip, really. There's scant discussion about being a sexual being: how it feels, what we do, who we are sexually, and what that means to us as we go about our lives. We don't have much idea of what sex is for, even. (If it were only for reproduction, wouldn't we rut seasonally like other mammals?) Rarely can couples in long-term relationships expand the scope of their shared sensuality. Psychotherapy has gone from viewing sex almost mystically, like Freud, to making sex something so clinical it's almost boring, in the tradition of Masters & Johnson and their many descendants. Much of contemporary psychotherapy seems to have minimized sexuality to something that's no more than an element of relationship, rather than a force in itself, a realm all its own.
Human beings are such powerful receptors and radiators that you quite literally change what I'd call your "imaginal body" in sexual intimacy with another, and the other changes in turn. This is so far from the model of sexuality presented by and to mainstream society that it took me some time to entertain the notion that perhaps it was society in general, and not me, that was sexually freakish. Society says you're one thing or another—male or female, straight or gay, young or old, human or animal. But the deeper you venture into the realm of the senses, the more you encounter the shape-shifting reality of your in-betweenness in feelings and sensations that are male and female, straight and gay, young and old, human and animal. This can get more than a little confusing.
I've been with a woman whom I'll call Zoe. She's a bisexual who usually prefers women and who's as often as not related to me sexually as though I were what she calls "a femme"—a designation that has nothing to do with my daily, walking-around, heterosexual persona, which I'd define as sort of tough-streetkid-growing-old-but-don't-mess-with-me. It's a persona I'm more than comfortable with, even sort of addicted to, yet being "femme" doesn't bother me. It interests me.
Sexuality is scary because it's where we meet ourselves most directly, without filters, without verbiage, and, if we go far enough, without fixed roles. It's where we meet ourselves with and through the Other—this Other with whom we journey into the realm; this Other, a partner as fluid we are.
The 6 Most Common Biological Sexes in Humans
by Joshua Kennon
There was a news story about a 66 year old man who discovered, during a trip to the doctor, that he was really a woman. If you don’t have a biology or genetics education background, or never really took an interest in reproductive strategies of various animals and plants in nature, that might seem absurd, or even impossible. Of course, it’s not. It’s far more common than the general population realizes.
Today, we have genetics and DNA that allows us to examine karyotype. We know, without question, that humans are not just born male and female. There are at least six biological sexes that can result in fairly normal lifespans.
The Six Most Common Karyotypes:
When you consider that there are 7,000,000,000 alive on the planet, there are almost assuredly tens of millions of people who are not male or female. Many times, these people are unaware of their true sex. It’s interesting to note that everyone assumes that they, personally, are XY or XX. One study in Great Britain showed that 97 out of 100 people who were XYY had no idea. They thought they were a traditional male and had few signs otherwise.
Here are some questions that [we] still need to address and consider:
Research the interesting phenomenon that discrimination against those who are not traditionally male or female are often treated with respect if, and only if, they “pass” and are attractive. In other words, the power of beauty capital is so enormous, it exceeds and overcompensates for inherent discrimination. We, as people, will forgive almost anything if a person is beautiful.
The Truth about Pansexuality
by Ritch Savin-Williams
Pansexuality as a concept goes back to the time of Freud, but has achieved new currency as celebrities and an increasing number of millennial youth have claimed a pansexual identity. Whether it connotes a sexual/romantic orientation in addition to an identity is unclear; who is pansexual rests on a proverbial slippery slope.
Pansexual could refer to someone who is sexually and/or romantically attracted to a person regardless of that person’s biological sex — It’s not their biological equipment that is most critical. Sociologist Emily Lenning expanded this definition by centrally including gender. Hence, pansexuality is “a sexual attraction to all people, regardless of their gender identity or biological sex.” Others extend even this broad definition by delineating pansexuality as being not about the sexual equipment of the individual or how feminine or masculine the individual is or feels (gender identity), but about the person as an individual — inclusive of just about anything.
As a working definition, though, most researchers would follow Morandini and colleagues:
“Pansexual is often conceptualized as a label that denotes sexual or romantic attraction to people regardless of their gender expression (masculinity or femininity), gender identity, or biological sex.”
They reported that among nonheterosexual pansexual individuals, five times more women than men identified as pansexual. Also more likely to identify as pansexual were nonheterosexuals from younger generations and those who have a gender identity, gender expression, or gender role that society considers inappropriate for the sex one was assigned at birth (aka “noncisgender”). Finally, pansexual individuals “overwhelmingly represented their sexual/romantic attractions as falling within the bisexual range of the sexual continuum.”
This last point has been problematic for many, including the singer/actress Miley Cyrus, who recently came out as pansexual. In a 2016 interview with Variety, she said:
"I always hated the word ‘bisexual,’ because that’s even putting me in a box. I don’t ever think about someone being a boy or someone being a girl… My eyes started opening in the fifth or sixth grade. My first relationship in my life was with a chick… I saw one human in particular who didn’t identify as male or female. Looking at them, they were both: beautiful and sexy and tough but vulnerable and feminine but masculine. And I related to that person more than I related to anyone in my life." I agree that we should be very careful to distinguish pansexual from bisexual individuals, even though many pansexuals have “bisexual” attractions and behaviors. However, as Morandini and colleagues pointed out, pansexuality per se “explicitly rejects attractions based on binary notions of sex (male versus female) and gender (man versus woman).” Lenning noted, “Whereas bisexuality implies a dichotomy, pansexuality suggests the possibility of attraction to a spectrum of gender identities.”
Pansexuality is a real thing with repercussions and importance among millennial youth who are searching for identities that adequately reflect where they are with their internal sexual and romantic compass. Pansexuality offers teenagers an opportunity not to rule out anyone solely because of their sex or gender (Papisova). It explodes traditional categorical identities, such as straight, bisexual, and gay.
Walking In Oneness: My Experience of Non-Dual Consciousness
by Kip Mazuy
I always go for a walk in the afternoon. No matter how much work I have, I always go for a walk. A walk is more important than work. Walking meditation brings me back to what is real. Web statistics are not real. Google algorithms are not real. Those things only exist in thinking.
But when I go walking, I experience life itself. I feel the one life that is the essence of everything. And this is deeply nourishing.
I like to park along a lagoon, where the birds are singing their evening song, walk the bridge over the stream that flows into the ocean and marsh where ducks and Pukekoes wander about searching for food.
Then I walk a beautiful wooden walkway that goes between beach houses, and windblown bushes and trees. I cross the road and walk over the sand dunes on to a wild west coast beach of the Tasman sea; the cool wind blowing off the sea and filling my lungs with air that has traveled miles over the ocean.
I see all of these things, experience all of these things but from the place of non-dual consciousness, the essence of life. It is all one and I feel them, experience them from that oneness.
It is not that I cannot differentiate anything in the mind. It is that my attention rests in its natural place of oneness, the essence of life and from there I feel everything existing in and as this one peace. I am not doing this attention. Non-dual consciousness simply is. It is completely fulfilling. No stress or conflict exists in it.
This peace has a pure feeling to it, not in a moral sense but of a transparent sense, like a clear, fresh mountain stream. It is pure and formless. It exists perfectly transcendent of everything as infinite, pure peace and fully awake as non-dual consciousness.
My entire being rests in and as this oneness and from there I experience everything, feel everything as one peace. I can feel the enjoyment of the surfers riding the waves, the seagulls ridge soaring over the cliffs, the joy of the dogs running on the beach. But it is all coming out of one joy.
I love dogs because most dogs have so much joy they can hardly contain it. And coming in contact with them, you can feel their joy. Sometimes it splashes all over you. And they can sense your joy too. They sense everything because they have no intellect to separate them from feeling. Love is their natural expression.
It all exists as one peace. Everything is moving and playing and existing as the one peace. I am also existing, walking and breathing as this one peace.
What I am in that is not separate from the peace, the sense of being a separate me has been relaxed and therefore I can rest as peace itself, non-dual consciousness itself. But it is not impersonal, there can be thoughts or emotions and physical happenings but they are simply arising as the play of this peace. Nothing is separate from peace. It is all one.
This experience has nothing to do with emotion or thoughts or beliefs. It is transcendent of that. It is untouched by everything, yet everything is made of it.
When I am in this oneness, I have no walls to protect myself from the things around me. I am wide open yet everything that comes into me in the form of vibration returns to this essential oneness; gets reset back into peace. I can feel it happen.
But nature itself vibrates closer to this peace than most humans because it exists in harmony with the non-dual consciousness that is everything. So, when I go walking in nature, I am with family. I am with friends. The trees, the animals, the wind, the ocean, they are my home. They welcome me back into the essential oneness that is our true nature.
Jesus and Paul Panentheist
by Richard Rohr
Paul. . . took incarnationalism to its universal and logical conclusions. We see that in his bold exclamation: “There is only Christ. He is everything and he is in everything” (Colossians 3:11). If I were to write that today, people would call me a pantheist (the universe is God), whereas I am really a panentheist (God lies within all things, but also transcends them), as were both Jesus and Paul.
Focus of the Year: “Being Peace"
Considering the conflict and lack of civility in our world and communities, our churches and families, and within ourselves, the focus for the year is: “Being Peace.” Following Jesus’ practice of going into a quiet place to spend time alone with Abba, we will seek to find our center and listen for what God is calling us to, so that we may emerge as agents of transformation in the world.
Ashland—2nd Wednesdays, 1:00-2:30
Canton—3rd Thursdays, 1:30-3:00
Solon—2nd Thursday, 1:00-2:30
Vermilion—3rd Friday, 11:00-12:30
Please indicate your interest, including location preference, by email: email@example.com, or call the Office of Pastoral Care: (330) 456-0486.
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
Joyce Gordon - firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Hollingsworth - email@example.com
Liz Nau – firstname.lastname@example.org
Hazel Partington – email@example.com
Jennifer Olin-Hitt – firstname.lastname@example.org
Judy Ringler - email@example.com
Sharon Seyfarth Garner – firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol Topping - email@example.com
Laura Tradowsky -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Laurie Tucker - email@example.com
5 Tricks for a Powerful Midday
by Kathryn Drury Wagner
Turn the midday slump into a time of power and productivity.
Most people feel droopy after lunch, and there are many theories on why this is. Sleep doctors will say it’s a natural body rhythm. Nutrition experts might blame the digestive process. Some productivity experts will shrug their shoulders and say, hey, maybe it’s just not realistic to be productive for eight or nine hours straight. But whatever the reason, there is a dead zone for many of us in the midday that is just begging for an energy makeover. For this week’s Healthy Habit, here are five ways to turn the middle of the day into a power zone.
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