May 29, 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 ...
God works best underground and, in our unconscious, by rearranging our assumptions and presuppositions—frankly, when we are not in control. The work of grace and healing mostly happens “in secret” as Jesus himself seems to say (Matthew 6:1-13).
by Diana Butler Bass
The headlines are clear: religion is on the decline in America as many people leave behind traditional religious practices. Diana Butler Bass, leading commentator on religion, politics, and culture, follows up her acclaimed book Christianity After Religion by arguing that what appears to be a decline actually signals a major transformation in how people understand and experience God. The distant God of conventional religion has given way to a more intimate sense of the sacred that is with us in the world. This shift, from a vertical understanding of God to a God found on the horizons of nature and human community, is at the heart of a spiritual revolution that surrounds us — and that is challenging not only religious institutions but political and social ones as well.
Grounded explores this cultural turn as Bass unpacks how people are finding new spiritual ground by discovering and embracing God everywhere in the world around us—in the soil, the water, the sky, in our homes and neighborhoods, and in the global commons. Faith is no longer a matter of mountaintop experience or institutional practice; instead, people are connecting with God through the environment in which we live. Grounded guides readers through our contemporary spiritual habitat as it points out and pays attention to the ways in which people experience a God who animates creation and community.
Bass brings her understanding of the latest research and studies and her deep knowledge of history and theology to Grounded. She cites news, trends, data, and pop culture, weaves in spiritual texts and ancient traditions, and pulls it all together through stories of her own and others' spiritual journeys. Grounded observes and reports a radical change in the way many people understand God and how they practice faith. In doing so, Bass invites readers to join this emerging spiritual revolution, find a revitalized expression of faith, and change the world.
Contemplating Your Own Death To Stay Motivated For Life
by Leo Gura of Actualized.org
Contemplating Death - A guided visualization that helps you get in touch with the shortness of life and gets your back on track with your innate wisdom.
While there are certainly more meditations out there that are harder to do, this one is one of the hardest to do well, even for experienced meditators. This meditation, in fact, is more or less insight focused, since it can't be developed very far by means of concentration or be much use for relaxation, but the scope of benefits is vast. Indeed, what seems such a grim and depressing meditation has such a beautiful and enlivening aspect that a wise practitioner will examine and put into fruition. Can you master this complex technique?
Grow-IN an Internal Journey
by Kellie J. Wright
Sponsored Content from Internal Journeys.
“Sometimes, it only takes one person to change your life. One to be there for you, to push you, to believe in you. It only takes one ~ You.”
I decided to grow in not up. Growing up holds one to a set system of ideals built on building blocks of time in increments of wished desired growth created by a mass that needs to follow certain time lines. Growing up accompanied by following rules of societal expectations lends nothing to evolving unless in a monetary way that is class structured.
Growing in, on the other hand, leads to a deep understanding of self and self-worth. Time to sit with ones thoughts and traverse one’s own time line while looking back and placing pin-marks in the chart of growth to see the self as it was when certain life altering occurrences happened. Figure out how the “you” then was affected, and more importantly, adapted or learned to cope. Once old behaviors are acknowledged we can start to replace old coping mechanisms that we have simply outgrown.
Love yourself in a way only you can. Treat yourself as you would your most adored person, place, or object. Why not? You are you, and how you treat yourself and talk to yourself matter so much more than anything else. All of these actions reflect the mental state of mind that will manifest the reality that is your life.
Internal Narcissus is about loving yourself internally and growing in, so you can be the person you were born to be not the person you thought you should become or ended up. The “you” that is calling from distant corners of your mind and beckoning from deep down inside your soul, and loves you so much more than you are accepting. You are waiting for you to begin…you are the only one holding you back. Internal Narcissus is about the journey within to heal and free mind, body, and soul. I am IN are you?
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
Dying is a Sacred Act
by Frank Ostaseski
Mirrors reflect the truth of what strikes their surface. The eyes of a dying patient are the clearest mirrors I have ever known. In their gaze, there is simply no place to hide. Over the years, the habits of my life have been reflected in those eyes.
Once while washing the back of a hospice patient named Joe he turned toward me and said, "I never thought it would be like this." I asked what he had thought it might be like. He answered, "I guess I never really thought about it." Death had taken him by surprise. Perhaps we are not so different.
In the sacred, Hindu epic poem the Mahabharata there is a question that speaks to this tendency. "In all of the worlds what is most wondrous?" The answer that is given is; "That no man no woman though they see people dying all around them believes it will happen to them."
We make an enormous effort to keep death at arms-length. We spend more than 50% of our healthcare dollars in the final six months of life, literally throwing money at death. We shut away our elders in nursing homes to avoid confronting their pain and our destiny. We have a multi-billion-dollar cosmetics industry that tries to keep us all looking young. We even put rouge on people in the coffin.
Death is the fulcrum issue of our life and yet we can barely use the word. People don't die they "pass away" or they “expire” like credit cards. We make plans for all sorts of activities; when to get married, the number of children we will have, where to go on vacation, which career moves to make or how we will spend our retirement—all of which may never happen. But death, the one event that is certain to occur, barely receives a sidelong glance.
Dying is at its heart a sacred act; it is itself a time, a space, and process of surrender and transformation. The sacred is not separate or different from all things, but rather hidden in all things. Dying is an opportunity to uncover what is hidden.
What Death can Teach us About Living
by Frank Ostaseski
What have I learned from companioning 1000 people on the precipice of death?
Death is not primarily a medical event. Believing the most we can hope for is to make the best of a bad situation lacks imagination. Too many people die in distress, guilt, and fear. We can and should do something to encourage another possibility.
Many people, ordinary people, develop profound insights and engage in a powerful process of transformation near the end of their lives. One through which they emerge as someone larger, more expansive, more essential and real than the small, separate selves they had previously taken themselves to be. This is not a fairy-tale happy ending that contradicts the suffering that came before, but rather a recognition that transformation is possible even in tragedy. The discovery of this capacity regularly occurs for many people in the final months, days, or sometimes even minutes of life.
“Too late,” you might say. And I might agree. However, the value is not in how long they enjoyed the experience, but in the possibility that such transformation exists.
If that possibility exists at the time of dying, it exists here and now.
Death is not waiting for us at the end of a long road. Death is always with us, in the marrow of every passing moment. She is the secret teacher hiding in plain sight. She helps us to discover what matters most. And the good news is we don’t have to wait until the end of our lives to realize the wisdom that death has to offer.
To imagine that at the time of our dying we will have the physical strength, emotional stability, and mental clarity to do the work of a lifetime is a ridiculous gamble. And so, I want to extend an invitation—five invitations, actually—to sit down with death now, to have a cup of tea with her, to let her guide you toward living a more meaningful and loving life.
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.
© EAST OHIO CONFERENCE. All Rights Reserved.