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.
March 21, 2016 Edition
The Life of Pi
by Yann Martel
A great story of a boy who meets Christ. A great Easter message can be found within its pages: "I was fourteen years old-and a well-content Hindu on a holiday when I met Jesus Christ ..."
Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living
by Krista Tippett
“I’m a person who listens for a living. I listen for wisdom, and beauty, and for voices not shouting to be heard. This book chronicles some of what I’ve learned in what has become a conversation across time and generations, across disciplines and denominations.”
Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and National Humanities Medalist Krista Tippett has interviewed the most extraordinary voices examining the great questions of meaning for our time. The heart of her work on her national public radio program and podcast, On Being, has been to shine a light on people whose insights kindle in us a sense of wonder and courage. Scientists in a variety of fields; theologians from an array of faiths; poets, activists, and many others have all opened themselves up to Tippett’s compassionate yet searching conversation.
In Becoming Wise, Tippett distills the insights she has gleaned from this luminous conversation in its many dimensions into a coherent narrative journey, over time and from mind to mind. The book is a master class in living, curated by Tippett and accompanied by a delightfully ecumenical dream team of teaching faculty.
The open questions and challenges of our time are intimate and civilizational all at once, Tippett says – definitions of when life begins and when death happens, of the meaning of community and family and identity, of our relationships to technology and through technology. The wisdom we seek emerges through the raw materials of the everyday. And the enduring question of what it means to be human has now become inextricable from the question of who we are to each other.
This book offers a grounded and fiercely hopeful vision of humanity for this century – of personal growth but also renewed public life and human spiritual evolution. It insists on the possibility of a common life for this century marked by resilience and redemption, with beauty as a core moral value and civility and love as muscular practice. Krista Tippett’s great gift, in her work and in Becoming Wise, is to avoid reductive simplifications but still find the golden threads that weave people and ideas together into a shimmering braid.
One powerful common denominator of the lessons imparted to Tippett is the gift of presence, of the exhilaration of engagement with life for its own sake, not as a means to an end. But presence does not mean passivity or acceptance of the status quo. Indeed Tippett and her teachers are people whose work meets, and often drives, powerful forces of change alive in the world today. In the end, perhaps the greatest blessing conveyed by the lessons of spiritual genius Tippett harvests in Becoming Wise is the strength to meet the world where it really is, and then to make it better.
The Liturgies We Live By
by Debra Dean Murphy
As Lent moves toward its end — both in the sense of its conclusion and its purpose — I think of this powerful poem by Ariel Dorfman, entitled "Sun Stone":
They put the prisoner
against the wall.
A soldier ties his hands.
His fingers touch him—strong,
gentle, saying goodbye.
—Forgive me, compañero—
says the voice in a whisper.
The echo of his voice
those fingers on his arm
fills his body with light
I tell you his body fills with light
and he almost does not hear
the sound of the shots.
Its subject matter is the execution by firing squad of a political prisoner, inspired by events during the brutal dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in the 1970s in Dorfman's native Chile.
In the violent world in which we currently live (violence in our politics, in our speech, in ourselves), these affinities with the anti-liturgies of fascism have never been more apt. In settings of frenzied excitement for this or that political candidate, fear is stoked and exploited; exclusion — and worse — is the unquestioned stance toward outsiders. These orthodoxies are what unite the devotees in their adoration.
As Lent moves toward its conclusion and its purpose, Christians journey toward resurrection where we will enact the liturgy of hope not fear, of embrace not exclusion. This liturgy is "political" in the truest sense of the word: the gathered community, the polis, enacting a counter-story to the world's politics.
If our deepest Easter metaphors have mostly to do with butterflies, we will miss this. The Easter proclamation, as Fleming Rutledge has noted, "is not a cheerful message about longer hours of sunshine. It is a world-overturning announcement about the reorientation of our entire existence."
The Church's liturgy creates a people who do not flinch from the tortured body of Jesus, but who also know that the marks of violence borne in his broken body are now signs by which we claim resurrection as a counter politics to any violence — state-sponsored, homegrown, or candidate-incited — that denies the dignity of any human body anywhere.
Forgive us, indeed, our compañeros.
by Richard Rohr
Resurrection is simply incarnation come to its logical, certain, and full conclusion. It demonstrates, for those who are ready to see, that this world, this flesh, this physicality is part of the eternal truth and forever matters to God. The early church seemed to get this movement of incarnation as the pathway to divinization much more than we have in later centuries. Read, for example, St. Irenaeus and St. Athanasius in their classic texts from the second and fourth centuries. Irenaeus said, "Jesus Christ became what we are that we might become what he himself is." Athanasius, who is called the Father of Orthodoxy, put it similarly: "For he was made man that we might be made God."
Now please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying we are God. We can't live up to that, and we don't want to have to live up to that. I am not saying, "We are the Divine One," however, I am saying that we participate in a very real and objective way in the Divine. That's the whole point of religion: to let us know that what we are drawing upon is already planted within us. We don't create it by good moral behavior or by going to church on Sunday. We may awaken it that way, but we don't self-create it.
Resurrection is saying that matter and spirit have been working together from the first moment of the Big Bang and they are moving toward a positive consummation. Frankly, Christians should have been leading the way in all notions of evolution. It is sadly revealing that we often opposed it instead, showing there was no active sense of the Indwelling Holy Spirit, especially among many fundamentalists who talk about the Holy Spirit the most. Theirs is still a static and inanimate universe and God is still "out there"!
Resurrection is not a one-time miracle to be proven; it is a manifestation of the wholeness that we are all meant to experience, even in this world. Eternal life is not "chronological moments of endless duration" but time as momentous and revealing the whole right now. When "time comes to a fullness" (e.g., Mark 1:15, Galatians 4:4, Ephesians 1:10) as in moments of love, childbirth, union, death, prayer, or exquisite beauty, you have experienced a moment of eternal life. Without such moments, it will either be very hard for you to imagine resurrection or, conversely, you will long for it like no one else, which is surely the meaning of the virtue of hope.
The Risen Christ is the standing icon of humanity in its final and full destiny. He is the pledge and guarantee of what God will do with all of our oppressions, abuses, and crucifixions. This, frankly, allows us to live with hope, purpose, and direction. It is no longer an absurd or tragic universe. Our hurts now become the home for our greatest hopes. Without such implanted hope, it is likely that we will be cynical, bitter, and tired by the second half of our lives. I am afraid this is much of Western civilization, which feels very tired and even in love with futility and death. The amount of mental and emotional illness, addiction, anger, depression, and basic unhappiness is the price we are paying for living in such an empty and meaningless world. The soul cannot live without purpose and meaning.
Meet: monthly 1 ½ hours
Where and when:
Alliance: Christ UMC, 470 E. Broadway – Second Tuesday, 2:00 PM
Ashland :Christ UMC, 1140 Claremont Ave. – Second Wednesdays, 1:00 PM
Cleveland Heights: Church of the Saviour, 2537 Lee Road – Third Thursdays, 1:30 PM
Medina: Granger UMC, 1235 Granger Rd. – Third Wednesdays, 1:30 PM
Painesville: Painesville UMC, 71 North Park Pl. – Third Thursdays, 10:30 AM
Sandusky: Trinity UMC, 214 E. Jefferson St. – Second Thursdays, 2:00 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
Karen Hollingsworth – email@example.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
How to Live Happily?
Pursuit of happiness and well-being is a certain exhuberance of life energies. Depression means low life energies. Happiness means exhuberant life energies. We all experience happiness but issues arise from people not being able to maintain the happiness.
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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