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.
October 24, 2016 Edition
Will this work make me sick?
by Gretchen Ziegenhals
Our discernment processes don’t often consider the physical sustainability of our work, but Christian leaders have a theological obligation to explore this question, writes a managing director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.
Those of us involved in Christian institutions and churches often work to protect other people whose bodies are oppressed, abused, trapped in violent situations or discriminated against. But we don’t often stop to think about how well our own bodies sustain the work we are called to do.
In a recent conversation with a friend contemplating a career move, we carefully examined all the angles: What work is she called to do? What work is she most gifted to do? What is her passion?
But later, it occurred to me that we had missed a crucial question: What work can shephysically sustain? What work and how much work can her body take?
Like so many Christian leaders I have met over the years, this wonderful friend is serving God to the fullest -- in an institution, a church and the academy at the same time. She is using all of her talents. She is young enough that she may not yet have considered this question of physical sustainability, but in time, she will need to.
As Christian leaders and as creatures in God’s creation, we have a theological obligation to ask the question, “Will this work make me sick?”
Celebrating our creatureliness means celebrating and caring for the bodies we are in and recognizing when our work is harming those bodies.
Must we keep the church out of politics and politics out of the church?
by Laura Stern
For several hours on Election Day, there will be no separation of church and state at our church. Ballots will be handed out like bulletins, poll workers will serve as ushers, and “I voted” stickers will pronounce benedictions upon all who go out into the world.
In elections when high voter turnout is expected, our church sanctuary flips from a place of worship to one of civic responsibility. Polling stations replace the handbell tables. Lines of people stand where rows of worshippers sat the Sunday before.
Some might find this jarring; others, downright offensive. A violation of the sanctuary. A conflation of the sacred with the secular.
The setup is a practical matter, because the sanctuary is the largest room in the building. But I also find this sanctuary-turned-polling place an appropriate metaphor.
Despite all our attempts to keep religion and politics apart, they do come together in the church. What we say in church on Sundays impacts what we do at the polls on Tuesdays.
For a church leader, this is dangerous talk. Christians are, after all, followers of the Lamb, not the donkey or the elephant.
Pod-Cast Essential Conversations with Rabbi Rami: Strengthening Faith
with Gabrielle Bernstein
In her talk with Rabbi Rami, Gabrielle Bernstein shares the mantra her mom bestowed on her in her youth and other useful practices, the power of global meditation, as well as discusses her new book The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith.
The Trinity as Divine Dance, Interview
with Richard Rohr
(RNS) Catholic theologian Karl Rahner once wrote that Christians behave as “mere monotheists.” That is, if Christianity ended up dropping the doctrine of the Trinity, he suggested, the day-to-day lives of Christians would remain largely unchanged.
Richard Rohr wants to change that.
His premise is that God is relational and the Trinity is the model to which we are called to emulate and by which we are called into relationship with God.
Meet: monthly 1 ½ hours
Where and when:
Ashland: Christ UMC, 1140 Claremont Ave. – Second Wednesdays, 1:00 PM
Canton: Faith UMC, 300 9th St. NW—Second Thursdays, 10:30 AM
Sandusky: Trinity UMC, 214 E. Jefferson St. – Second Thursdays, 2:00 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
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 Batchlor-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
Sharon Seyfarth Garner – firstname.lastname@example.org
Valerie Stultz - email@example.com
Carol Topping - firstname.lastname@example.org
Transcendental Meditation Changed My Life
by Chuck Otto
Like so many members of our boomer generation, I walked away from organized religion long ago. Baptized and confirmed Episcopalian in childhood, my last steady churchgoing experience involved attending “youth services” in my teens, where we stood around in a prayer circle in our jeans and sandals, singing contemporary hymns in a fog of incense. In recent years, my presence in any house of worship largely has been confined to weddings, funerals, a few bat mitzvahs and the occasional Christmas Eve service.
So, what’s it like to meditate? Speaking personally, it’s a calming, welcome break I look forward to ideally twice a day, but one that requires a constant, gentle nudging away from intruding thoughts.
My process is simple: I set the 21-minute timer on my iPhone — I always need a minute to settle in — close my eyes, and start to silently repeat my mantra. Per my TM teachings, I don’t try to maintain a steady rhythm to the sound, although it usually coincides loosely with my breathing.Read full article ...
Your index and ring fingers hold clues to your health and personality
by Kathryn Drury Wagner
Dr. Carl Pintzka, A researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, found that by comparing the lengths of a woman’s index finger and ring finger, he could predict if she was likely to be more anxious or a good athlete.
To conduct the study, researcher Dr. Carl Pintzka photocopied the hands of women and used that flat image to measure their index and ring fingers. . . . [H]e had the women solve mental tasks, including navigating a virtual maze and mentally rotating three-dimensional objects. His goal: to test a theory about finger length, testosterone, and how the human brain works.
The established theory is that an index finger that is short or shorter compared to the ring finger means a woman has been exposed to a large amount of testosterone in the womb, while a longer index finger means a lower exposure to that hormone. Higher levels of testosterone are linked with better capabilities in tasks related to spatial abilities, and lower levels are associated with greater skill at verbal memory, like remembering lists of words.
More study is needed. But the results suggest that hormones we are exposed to in utero are as important as the ones we produce in adulthood. Let’s see... I predict you’re checking your fingers right now, but I didn’t need a crystal ball for that.
The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World
by Adam Gazzaley and Larry Rosen
*Be sure to watch the 2 minute video for helpful info and tips to living more abundant lives!
Most of us will freely admit that we are obsessed with our devices. We pride ourselves on our ability to multitask—read work email, reply to a text, check Facebook, watch a video clip. Talk on the phone, send a text, drive a car. Enjoy family dinner with a glowing smartphone next to our plates. We can do it all, 24/7! Never mind the errors in the email, the near-miss on the road, and the unheard conversation at the table. In The Distracted Mind, Adam Gazzaley and Larry Rosen—a neuroscientist and a psychologist—explain why our brains aren’t built for multitasking, and suggest better ways to live in a high-tech world without giving up our modern technology.
The authors explain that our brains are limited in their ability to pay attention. We don’t really multitask but rather switch rapidly between tasks. Distractions and interruptions, often technology-related—referred to by the authors as “interference”—collide with our goal-setting abilities. We want to finish this paper/spreadsheet/sentence, but our phone signals an incoming message and we drop everything. Even without an alert, we decide that we “must” check in on social media immediately.
Gazzaley and Rosen offer practical strategies, backed by science, to fight distraction. We can change our brains with meditation, video games, and physical exercise; we can change our behavior by planning our accessibility and recognizing our anxiety about being out of touch even briefly. They don’t suggest that we give up our devices, but that we use them in a more balanced way.More online
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