Edition: July 20, 2015
The Fiction of the Self
By Ron Siegel
Why are people unhappy?
Ask Ron Siegel—coauthor of Sitting Together: Essential Skills for Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy and professor at Harvard Medical School—and he answers with a favorite quotation by ancient Taoist scholar Wei Wu Wei:
“People are unhappy because 99.9 percent of all of their thoughts are about themselves and there isn’t any self there.”
Ron loves this quote because it highlights our shared human condition in which a constant preoccupation with “self” fuels most of our stress and unhappiness.
In this video clip, Ron shows us a way out. He explains in clear, accessible language why and how regular Mindfulness practice can transform our everyday experience of selfhood.
Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life
A review of religious historian Karen Armstrong's step-by-step guide.
With all the violence and incivility in our world these days perhaps it’s again time to look at Karen Armstrong’s Twelve Steps to a Compassionate. If we were to apply the lessons spelled out in this book we would live safer and more peaceful lives. In the 2011 shooting of U.S. Representative in Tucson Armstrong would have us feel compassion for Jared Loughner, the accused killer of six. She would have Democrats feel compassion for Republicans, and vice versa. Indeed, writes Armstrong, as denizens of the global village we must "make allies of our enemies" around the world.
Fuzzy thinking from a misguided idealist? Hardly. Armstrong, a historian of religions, has written more than 20 books. She has studied and critiqued Christianity, Buddhism and Islam, and her scholarship shows on every page of Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, wherein we find her quoting the ancient Greeks, Shakespeare, the Koran, the Hebrew Bible and Socrates, among others.
Compassion is not the same as pity, Armstrong points out. She examines the word’s Greek and Latin roots to reveal why compassion means “to put ourselves in somebody else’s shoes, to feel her pain as if it were our own.”
In the end, Twelve Steps is not merely a prescription for being more tolerant and loving (though that would be an accomplishment in itself). It is also a call to action, and “a lifelong project.” Armstrong is pleased to help show the way — and those about to set foot on this difficult but important path may find her book a useful first step of its own.
Here are Karen Armstrong's "12 Steps to a Compassionate Life":
Joan Mooney is a Washington, D.C.–based writer. Her reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun and many other publications.
Spiritual Formation/Meditation Groups
Our Spiritual Formation/Meditation Groups will not be meeting at our regular time this summer and will resume in September. Please take note and plan to take part in the upcoming Second Annual Summer Spiritual Formation Retreat. See details below.
Summer Spiritual Formation Retreat
With Liz Nau, Spiritual Director
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 - 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Wooster First UMC
As we look forward to the Fall and the starting up of fall programing, EOC’s Program in Pastoral Care has set aside a time and place for pastors to spend a day to refresh, renew and spend time with God.
Our retreat is based on Psalm 27:8-9 “’Come,’ my heart says, ‘seek God’s face!’ Your face, Lord, do I seek. Do not hide your face from me.” In many ways this song of David speaks to our own lives as we seek to lead and live our lives centered in God’s hope and promises. During our retreat, we will explore some scriptures that speak to seeking God’s face, pray, and have some time to share our experiences. There will be time for silent reflection and silent prayer. Come away to a quiet place and be refreshed.
To Register or for More Information Call 866.456.3600 or Email email@example.com
Spiritual Discovery, A New Title in Alban Catalog
“Congregational groups of various sorts are at times tasked with making decisions on behalf of the whole body. Even congregations with a more hierarchical form of governance involve groups that govern themselves and make their own decisions. These groups may unintentionally find themselves making use of a secular business model to guide their decision-making. A church governing council may open and close its meetings in prayer, but what happens in between can appear more like a business meeting with participants debating choices as if in the secular world. Somehow, the presence and voice of the ultimate or the Holy is left out of the process of arriving at decisions, a process that would in a faith community ideally be spiritually grounded. It may in fact be that council leaders and members are lacking in knowledge of how to go about making spiritually grounded decisions.
“Catherine Tran and Sandra Boyd have been training congregational groups in use of a spiritual way of decision making. As they watched these congregational groups over time, they observed that groups faithfully using their ‘Spiritual Discovery Method’ experienced significant transformation and spiritual growth. Individuals in the groups transferred the Method into their personal lives, developing practices of prayerful discernment which helped them make spiritually grounded choices about education, careers, relationships, and faith-life participation. They also became aware of new ways of listening, speaking, seeing, and participating in their everyday lives.”
Spiritual Discovery: A Method for Discernment in Small Groups and Congregations
By Catherine Tran and Sandra Boyd
“Spiritual Discovery is a practical guide for groups desiring a prayerful approach to decision-making. The discernment method developed by authors Catherine C. Tran and Sandra Hughes Boyd begins with the prayer model—a process for guiding prayer in small groups created by Jane E. Vennard. This model brings elements of silence and spiritual reflection to the entire decision-making proceeding. The prayer is followed by a time of thoughtful exploration and discussion, resulting in decision-making that draws on both the spirit and the intellect.”
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
Don’t Move the Way Fear Makes You Move
By Will Donnelly
I wonder: are there really only two ways to deal with life—either through fear or love?
I think the answer is much more complex than responding with black and white answers. But if this saying is even remotely true, what does that mean for those of us who wish to create a remarkable life, follow our bliss, even in the face of frightening challenges?
We all know people who constantly work from a place of fear, and maybe some of us would have to admit that we’re that person sometimes, too. Because our primal body is wired to use fear. Our body is wired to use fear for our own good, and it works really well in the short run (think: being chased by a tiger.) But for a long term approach, tackling life as though it were a constant crisis does more harm than good.
When creating your life, it’s important to remember to build it from the inside out. It’s getting a life instead of getting a career, for example. We must learn to recognize our own depth and power, and use it to bring our gifts forward.
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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