February 8, 2018
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 ...
Over the last few months and going forward, we are including A Way Forward section in the Pastoral Care Resources page. It is our hope that these selections will advance the conversation for A Way Forward as our beloved church struggles with the issue of inclusiveness of LGBTQ persons in the United Methodist Church. These materials do not always directly name the concerns but are meant to add thought to the discussion and discernment.
Different religious traditions [read, theological perspectives] can engage in dialogue with one another in a true spirit of ecumenism [read, oneness]. Dialogue can be fruitful and enriching if both sides are truly open. . . . Peace will be a beautiful flower blooming on this field of practice. —Thich Nhat Hanh
The Perennial Tradition includes truths within Catholic, Franciscan, Episcopalian, Calvinist, Lutheran, and other Christian denominations and orders… In fact, if we’re honest, each of these faith traditions share something in common… We need to honor truth and wisdom’s authority in all its forms. If it’s true, it’s true everywhere. That should make us happy—not defensive or aggressive.
In discerning truth, our first question should not be, “Who said it? Did a Catholic, Methodist, or Hindu say it?” That should be of little concern. Of greater importance is, “Is it true?” Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), a Doctor of the Church, held that if it was true, it was always from the one Holy Spirit.
Scripture gathers together cumulative visions of the divine. Jesus befriended and affirmed Samaritans, Roman citizens, pagans, and Syrophoenicians, which was shocking to many of his Jewish compatriots. But what’s even more shocking is that, in the name of this entirely inclusive Jewish man, Jesus, we created an exclusionary religion that ended up repeating what he condemned in his lifetime.
Thomas Merton believed the world could not survive if religion remained at the clannish level. This false competition doesn’t serve anyone. On the other hand, openness to other traditions can and should deepen our commitment to our own faith and practice. This is one of the primary fruits of obeying Jesus’ simple command to “love our neighbor.” I presume loving others means listening to them and respecting them as brothers and sisters.View online ...
Why We Lie
National Geographic, by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee
Honesty may be the best policy, but scheming and dishonesty are part of what makes us human.
The history of humankind is strewn with crafty and seasoned liars like Hogue. Many are criminals who spin lies and weave deceptions to gain unjust rewards—as the financier Bernie Madoff did for years, duping investors out of billions of dollars until his Ponzi scheme collapsed.
Some are politicians who lie to come to power or cling to it, as Richard Nixon famously did when he denied any role in the Watergate scandal.
Sometimes people lie to inflate their image. . . People lie to cover up bad behavior, as American swimmer Ryan Lochte did during the 2016 Summer Olympics by claiming to have been robbed at gunpoint at a gas station . . . Even academic science—a world largely inhabited by people devoted to the pursuit of truth—has been shown to contain a rogues’ gallery of deceivers, . . .
These liars earned notoriety because of how egregious, brazen, or damaging their falsehoods were. But their deceit doesn’t make them as much of an aberration as we might think. The lies that impostors, swindlers, and boasting politicians tell merely sit at the apex of a pyramid of untruths that have characterized human behavior for eons.
Lying, it turns out, is something that most of us are very adept at. We lie with ease, in ways big and small, to strangers, co-workers, friends, and loved ones. Our capacity for dishonesty is as fundamental to us as our need to trust others, which ironically makes us terrible at detecting lies. Being deceitful is woven into our very fabric, so much so that it would be truthful to say that to lie is human.
The Changing Reasons Why Women Cheat on their Husbands
by Kim Brooks
One of the more interesting facts in Esther Perel's new book comes near the beginning.
Since 1990, notes the psychoanalyst and writer, the rate of married women who report they've been unfaithful has increased by 40 percent, while the rate among men has remained the same.
More women than ever are cheating, she tells us, or are willing to admit that they are cheating -- and while Perel spends much of her book examining the psychological meaning, motivation, and impact of these affairs, she offers little insight into the significance of the rise itself.
So what exactly is happening inside marriages to shift the numbers? What has changed about monogamy or family life in the past 27 years to account for the closing gap? And why have so many women begun to feel entitled to the kind of behavior long accepted (albeit disapprovingly) as a male prerogative?
The Illusion of Separateness
by Pastor Patty Humphress, Chatham Community Church
Each morning, my husband Howard and I sit together and read a meditation from Fr. Richard Rohr of the Center of Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque NM. The one Fr. Rohr sent on December 17 of last year particularly stuck with me and seems apropos for this time of Lent when we reflect on how we feel we have fallen short. Here is just a paragraph from that reading:
“Objectively, we cannot be separate from God; we all walk in the Garden whether we know it or not. The branch that imagines itself to be separate from the Vine (John 15:1-8), acts as if it is separate from God. We call the result sin, but the real sin is the imagined state of separation. It is our own delusion and decision! We came from God and we will return to God.”
For me, this means, as written in Romans 8:39b: Nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This offers great assurance and comfort! When I get upset with the way things are going and react to negativity, I can “come to myself” and reconnect with God. When I speak harshly or even think unkind thoughts, I can “come to myself” and reconnect with God. When I fail to do all the things I imagined I could do in a day’s time, or in a week’s time, I can “come to myself” and reconnect with God.
God does not expect perfection – we do. We put so much on ourselves that, for the most part, we cannot live up to our own expectations. It is OK! We are human and created in the wonderful image of God! Through growth and spiritual maturity, I believe we can “move on towards perfection” as John Wesley said, or move more into the likeness of God.
I pray as we continue to travel through our Lenten journey as a community of faith that we will be mindful of the ways God connects with us on a daily basis. Amen.
The Living Word of God
by Richard Rohr
Fundamentalism is a growing phenomenon, not only in Islam and other religions, but within Christianity as well. Fundamentalism refuses to listen to the deep levels of mythic, metaphorical, and mystical meaning. It is obsessed with literalism and exclusion. The egoic need for clarity and certitude leads fundamentalists to use sacred writings in a mechanical, closed-ended, and quite authoritarian manner. The ego rarely asks real questions and mostly gives quick answers. This invariably leaves ego-driven, fundamentalist minds and groups utterly trapped in their own cultural moment in history. Thus they miss the Gospel’s liberating message along with the deepest challenges and consolations of Scripture.
There is an especially telling passage in Mark’s Gospel where Jesus becomes angry with his disciples, who are unable to understand his clearly metaphorical language. He tells them to watch out for “the leaven” of the Pharisees and “the leaven” of Herod. Taking him literally, they began looking quizzically at one another because they did not have any bread (see Mark 8:14-16). Is Herod Bread a new brand that they had not heard about? Is Pharisee pumpernickel something to be avoided?
I can imagine Jesus responding with a bit of impatience and frustration: “Do you think I am talking about bread? You’re still not using your heads, are you? You still don’t get the point, do you? Though you have ears, you still don’t hear; though you have eyes, you still don’t see!” (see Mark 8:17-18). They do not yet know that the only way to talk about transcendent things is through metaphor! But early stage religious people are invariably literalists, and not yet poets and mystics. It takes inner experience of the Holy, and your own attempts to describe it, to finally move you toward a necessary reliance upon symbolic language.
Jesus consistently uses stories and images to describe spiritual things. Religion has always needed the language of metaphor, simile, symbol, and analogy to point to the Reign of God. Note how frequently Jesus begins teaching with the phrase: “The Kingdom of God is like. . . .” There is no other way to speak of the ineffable. Against conventional wisdom, this simple, seemingly childlike approach actually demands more of us—not just more of our thinking mind, but more of our heart and body’s attunement. Maybe that is why we so consistently avoid sacred story in favor of mere mechanical readings that we can limit and control.
The final and full Word of God is that spiritual authority lies not just in ancient texts but in the living Christ of history, church, community, creation, and our own experience confirming its truth. The mystery is “Christ among you, your hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27)—this is the living Bible! Keep one foot in both camps—the historical text and the present moment—and in your fullest moments you will find yourself also saying “it is like. . . .” Words are fingers pointing to the moon, but words are never the moon itself. Not knowing this has kept much religion infantile, arrogant, and even dangerous.Read online ...
Monthly Live Online Spiritual Practice Groups are being provided by East Ohio United Methodist Program in Pastoral Care and Counseling using ZOOM. The ZOOM format is very easily used by just responding to an invitation email and following the links; no subscription or downloads needed. These groups will be limited to 8-10 participates and will be added as they are populated. Current groups are meeting 1st Thursdays at 1:00 p.m. and 2nd Thursdays at 2:00 p.m.
The purpose of these groups is to create space for our souls to be nurtured by exploring a variety of spiritual experiences, spending time in meditation and through the fellowship and encouragement of other sojourners. We use the term “Practice” to indicate that these are groups engaged in the practice of spiritual formation.Please contact the Office of Pastoral Care for any questions and to be added to one of the groups. Phone: 330-456-0486. Email: 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
Joyce Gordon - email@example.com
Karen Hollingsworth - firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Nau – email@example.com
Hazel Partington – lakehavenministries.com
Jennifer Olin-Hitt – firstname.lastname@example.org
Judy Ringler -- email@example.com
Sharon Seyfarth Garner – firstname.lastname@example.org
Valerie Stultz - email@example.com
Carol Topping - firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura Tradowsky -- email@example.com
Laurie Tucker - firstname.lastname@example.org
How Beliefs about Ourselves Affect Relationships
with Tara Brach
What’s the best way to feel closer to others?
According to Tara Brach, it begins with our beliefs about ourselves.
Insecurity and self-judgment can really hurt the chances of forming deep, satisfying relationships.
“What we don’t often realize is how directly our self-judgments undermine our ability to feel close or intimate with someone. It’s biologically impossible to feel critical of ourselves and to make an open-hearted connection at the same time. They are mutually exclusive.”
So what’s one way to start changing these beliefs?
That’s what Tara gets into in her free video, courtesy of NICABM.
Tara is one of the world’s most beloved mindfulness teachers. And in this video she highlights the crucial first steps toward letting go of self-judgment and a sense of unworthiness.
Now it won't be available for long, so please be sure to join it right away.
Watch for the follow up video in the next edition of Pastoral Care Resources Webpage!
If you have any questions or issues you would like for us to address or would like to get email alerts when new resources have been posted please contact Howard Humphress at email@example.com or use our quick contact form.
Or contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 330-456-0486.
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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