Friday, February 12, 2010

The kingdom of God is where we tell our stories

Where is the kingdom of God?
According to Jim Goodmann, "In the circumstances that are unacceptable or which challenge our view of the perfect world there is the kingdom of God. We begin to dwell in that kingdom by paying careful attention. Our stories, told in all their color and dimension deserve a hearing — not least by ourselves. And like passages of Scripture, they require a compassionate exegesis, the careful attention of other listeners."

Goodmann draws on Thomas Moore's writings in his post, "Story-Telling as Care of the Soul" in which he suggests care may be more nurturing than heroism. Goodmann writes, "What we need most from each other may be our simple attention, the kind that comes with no hidden motives of fixing or re-drafting. It is in these small spaces of listening that we may be most clearly identified as the body of Christ."

He quotes Moore's observation, "Many religious rites begin with the washing of the hands or a sprinkling of water to symbolize a cleansing of intention and the washing away of thoughts and purposes. In our soul work, we could use rites like these, anything that would cleanse our minds of their well-intentioned heroism."

Goodmann is Regional Director, Calling Congregations, The Fund for Theological Education.

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