Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Kingdom is empty but far from worthless

David Elliott describes the continuing study of Thomas Moore’s Writing in the Sand with his post, "A New Way of Imagining Human Life" on 23 November 2010. Elliott admits:
"For a left brain person like myself, I was worried that the imagery of Thomas Moore would be difficult to approach and talk much about. Boy/Girl was I wrong. You picked up on the images from the parables as if the most natural and meaningful way to search for meaning in life. Our conversation about the parable of the woman who walked home as her jar of food was emptying was telling. The kingdom is empty but far from "worthless." The Kingdom is transparent to the mystery, "more an attitude toward life than a religious institution, more a quality of mind than a formal church" (p. 5).
Writing about the group’s response to their chosen book, Elliott includes:
"Some of us struggled with the concept of myth. We are like many still thinking that myth is fantasy or fairy tales, not to be relegated to any importance. Moore would like to use the word Kingdom as a new myth of human life ... "mythology is the story or narrative, sometimes unspoken, by which people find meaning and make sense of their world. When taken seriously myth speaks of the very heart of religious life." (p. 10) But if Kingdom is empty, transparent, translucent then how can it be our story? Moore talks about being in the Kingdom or not. Of course, this is throughout the Gospels but we often don’t listen carefully."
Elliott introduces Moore’s next topic, metanoia, as "the change of mind, necessary to enter the kingdom of heaven."

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

How to obtain soulful meaning from work

Between Oct. 30 and Nov. 15, Barque follows Andre Milteer blogging about Thomas Moore’s book A Life at Work. Now Milteer loads a video on YouTube to share his three major learnings from Moore’s book.

Milteer describes the video's setting on Nov. 20.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Group studies Moore's Writing in the Sand

Last month Barque reported that David Elliott’s adult seminar group plans to study Thomas Moore’s Writing in the Sand: Jesus and the Soul of the Gospels. Elliott shares the group’s initial discussion about Moore’s book in today’s post, "Writing in the Sand ― Introduction". After Elliott writes, "This first week of the study we basically wanted to get inside Thomas Moore’s head and let his words wash over us," he lists eight quotes from Moore’s introduction that resonate with the group; some with responses from group members. The last quote:
"Breaking free of reasonable, standard, but unconscious patterns of thought is what Jesus is about ... Jesus talks as a visitor unfamiliar with this reasoning and offers a way out of our stupidity. He assumes that we don’t have to live with wary paranoia, demonic violence and self-destructive narcissism ― three kinds of personal and cultural neuroses that threaten our existence." (p.xx).


Awaken to a spirituality that values diversity

Under "Holistic Spirituality" today on the Whole Spectrum Healing Blog, Catherine Campbell writes, "One of the positive things happening in today’s world is a groundswell in grassroots spirituality. A spirituality that is neither competitive nor claiming to be the 'right way': a spirituality that is characterised by an inner experiencing of the sacred and a willingness to do personal transformative work: a spirituality that embraces and values a diversity of paths, whilst honoring the universal." As she considers the role of religion in this opening spirituality, Campbell quotes Thomas Moore’s Dark Nights of the Soul and includes Moore’s suggestion:
"Maybe your dark night is a gestation, a coming into being of a level of existence you have never dreamed of. Maybe your dark night is one big ironical challenge, just the opposite of what it appears to be — not a dying, but a birthing."
Campbell observes, "First thoughts revolve around two commonly misused phrases, 'awakening the spirit' and 'how to be spiritual'. One simply cannot awaken what is a priori; neither can one be anything other than what one already is – Spirit in human form. What we can do is awaken TO Spirit, then act in ways that allow us to BE, as one of my professors was fond of saying, 'alive and awake to being alive and awake,' as good a definition as any of what 'being spiritual' means. Journalist and man of faith Bill Moyers wrote, 'Any journalist worth his or her salt knows the real story today is to define what it means to be spiritual. This is the biggest story — not only of the decade but of the century.' Today, more than ever, the human world requires such an inquiry, burdened as it is with anxieties, fears, violence, and an overall soul-sadness. And the natural world, inseparable from the human, is deeply, loudly pleading with us to move ever more intentionally into this soul work of waking to the Spirit that lives in and behind every thing.”

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Study Moore's book in Woodstock, Vermont

The North Universalist Chapel Society in Woodstock, Vermont offers the course in adult religious education, The Wisdom of Jesus that includes Thomas Moore’s book Writing in the Sand: Jesus and the Soul of the Gospels. The schedule is five Sunday evenings starting at 5:00 p.m.: January 16, 23, 30, Feb. 6, 13, 2011. The course description includes:
"This course is for those who struggle and would like to be at peace with their own or others’ Christian heritage and need to de-mythologize or re-mythologize a little of what has been passed down through the centuries as the Christian tradition. We will look at what "myth" is. The class will incorporate time for some of our own personal stories, experiences and mythos."
Rev. Daniel Jantos, minister of the North Universalist Chapel Society since 2000, facilitates this program. For more information, visit the Society’s website.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Connect soulfully with nursing home residents

A woman who blogs about her mother’s dementia and life in an institution posts The butterfly that lands on your shoulder at the beginning of November. She mentions Thomas Moore’s recent book, Care of the Soul in Medicine and his descriptions of "service":
"Moore describes what he terms the psychological side to service; when you truly serve people, instead of merely doing a job for them, you connect with them. You meet them at a common level or interest.

It is easy to observe which employees and which visitors make the effort to connect with patients of the ward."
The anonymous writer describes interactions with a resident she nicknames Feisty Lady: "In the 60 hours I have spent in the dining room near this woman so far, I have seen one person connect with her in a personal way for 5 minutes, twice. The man who sometimes gives the showers and baths, is taken by Feisty Lady as well. I have seen him come and pull up a stool beside her, and affectionately ask her how she is doing. She sparkles softly." Our nursing homes are catchment ponds for soul.