August 7, 2017
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 ...
River’s Edge Center for Reflection and Action, Rocky River, OH
Healing Spiritual Wounds
by Carol Howard Merritt
An effective plan to help those suffering from wounds inflicted by the church find spiritual healing and a renewed sense of faith.
Raised as a conservative Christian, minister and author Carol Howard Merritt discovered that the traditional institutions she grew up in inflicted great pain and suffering on others. Though she loved the spirituality the church provided, she knew that, because of sexism, homophobia, and manipulative religious politics, established religious institutions weren’t always holy or safe. Instead of offering refuge, these institutions have betrayed people’s hearts and souls. “People have suffered religious abuse,” she writes, “which can be different from physical injury or psychological trauma.”
Though participation and affiliation in traditional religious institutions is waning, many people still believe in God. Merritt contends that many leave the church because they have lost trust in the institution, not in God. Healing Spiritual Wounds addresses the church’s dichotomous image—as a safe space and as a dangerous place—and provides a way to restore personal faith and connection to God for those who have been hurt or betrayed by established institutions of faith. Merritt lays out a multistage plan for moving from pain to spiritual rebirth, from recovering theological and emotional shards to recovering communal wholeness.
Merritt does not sugarcoat the wrongs institutions long seen as trustworthy have inflicted on many innocent victims. Sympathetic, understanding, and deeply positive, she offers hope and a way to help them heal and reclaim the spiritual joy that can make them whole again.
Carol Howard Merritt: I needed community to be able to heal my spiritual wounds
by Faith and Leadership
Carol Howard Merritt grew up in a conservative Christian family. It was also an abusive family, and she has struggled much of her life to heal from the wounds sustained in childhood.
Yet the writer, teacher and speaker has remained committed to the church -- and has even become ordained in the PCUSA.
“Christianity was and is part of the problem, the cause of much suffering, anxiety, and pain in life; but Christianity has also been my cure, my solace, my center,” she writes in her new book, “Healing Spiritual Wounds: Reconnecting with a Loving God After Experiencing a Hurtful Church.”
In the book, Merritt shares her personal experience and offers help to others who love the church but have been wounded by it.
― Joseph Campbell
Holding the Tension
by Fr. Richard Rohr
The future of mature Christianity will be practice-based more than merely belief-based, which gives us nothing to argue about until we try it for ourselves.
Jesus praises faith even more than love. “Your faith has saved you” is often his concluding word (for example, Luke 8:48). Why? Because typically, wisdom, love, or further growth will not go deeper without another opening up or letting go. For some reason, each time you have to learn it again and “reopen.” Faith enlightens the path behind you, but as a rule, in front of you it is still dark. Now, however, not so threatening or impossible, because for you “a light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overpower it” (John 1:5).
Are you ready to open yourself—to vulnerability, to risk, to relationship? If so, let’s begin!
Think of one controversial issue that you are “suffering” with and acknowledge two or more possible outcomes or realities. Try to not take sides, but hold the pain of contradictions and seeming impossibilities. Notice where this tension appears in your body. Observe it with tenderness and send warmth and love to that place. Ask God to hold you since you cannot hold yourself.
As with contemplative prayer or meditation, whenever you get caught in thinking through the pros and cons or are drawn to choose a particular side, simply return to holding the tension. Rest in God’s presence which holds you and this paradox.
Emerging from this spaciousness, you can now be taught by the Holy Spirit. It might just be wisdom you receive, instead of only knowledge.
God is in the Details
by Thomas Nelson
And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. . . So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. — Genesis 1:9, 21
And God saw that it was “good.” It sure is — especially when you have an ocean-front view!
Grasp that for a moment. The sea, the sand, the rocks, the birds, the fish, the waves — God created every detail. Every molecule, every grain, every crevice, feather, and gill — He made the entire scene… And then, He went even further: He gave us His Son, who provided a way for us to live forever.
Whew! That’s a lot to absorb. And it’s all nice, and we certainly believe all that, but some of us live on planet earth and have our daily realities to face. Realities like a lost job. Or a broken marriage. Or a failed class. Or a missed opportunity. Or… or… Yes, God may have provided the way for us to have eternal life, but what about the groceries we need for this week? the unexpected bill that came in the mail? our child’s rebellious attitude? those little, day-to-day details that nag and aggravate and weigh us down? How would He have time to deal with that and — better yet — why would He care?
From our vantage points, life can seem overwhelming and even out of control, but He who loves us with a steadfast love is as into the details of our lives as He was when He created the details of bringing together the water and the sandy shores. As Christ said in Matthew 6:26, the Father knows every bird and He cares for them. How much more He cares for us as His prize creation!
God is in the Details
So, have you given your details to God to figure out? Yes, He knows them already, but when we hand them over to Him, something wonderful happens. He arranges them into a bigger picture — with a broader view — to help us work our way out of our futile processes. He’s got this plan. It’s purposeful. And we may not see the bigger picture as clearly as His oceanfront views, but we can trust that He sees it, and He is working it out. And we’ll see that it, too, is good.
Lord, sometimes I forget that while You’re “up there,” You’re also “down here.” You know my needs, my cares, my desires — whether it’s for wars to end, for a way to pay the orthodontist’s bill, or for wisdom in relating to my teenager. Help me release any distrust and doubt, so that I may fully know Your love and care.
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
Joy 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
10 Benefits of Rising Early, and How to Do It
by Leo Babauta
This article lists 10 of the many benefits of rising early and how to establish the habit rather painlessly. But, “if you are a night owl, and that works for you, I think that’s great. There’s no reason to change, especially if you’re happy with it. But for me, switching from being a night owl to an early riser (and yes, it is possible) has been a godsend. It has helped me in so many ways that I’d never go back.”Read the details of the list ...
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