Category Archives: spiritual formation

Discipline, Action, Suffering, Death

Stations on the Road to Freedom
Dietrich Bonhoeffer; July 21, 1944
Written the day after his failed attempt to assassinate Hitler

Discipline

If you set out to seek freedom, then learn above all
discipline of soul and senses, so that your passions
and your limbs might not lead you confusedly hither and yon.
Chaste be your spirit and body, subject to your own will,
and obedient to seek out the goal that they have been given.
No one discovers the secret of freedom but through self-control

Action

Dare to do what is just, not what fancy may call for;
Lose not time with what may be, but boldly grasp what is real.
The world of thought is escape; freedom only comes through action.
Step out beyond anxious waiting and into the storm of events,
carried only by God’s command and by your own faith;
then will freedom exultantly cry out to welcome your spirit.

Suffering

Wondrous transformation! Your strong and active hands
are tied now. Powerless, alone, you see the end of your action.
Still, you take a deep breath and lay your struggle for justice,
quietly and in faith, into a mightier hand.
Just for one blissful moment, you tasted the sweetness of freedom,
then you handed it over to God, that he might make it whole.

Death

Come now, highest moment on the road to freedom eternal,
Death, put down the ponderous chains and demolish the walls
of our mortal bodies, the walls of our blinded souls,
that we might finally see what mortals have kept us from seeing.
Freedom, how long we have sought you through discipline, action, and suffering.
Dying, now we behold your face in the countenance of God.

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Rohr – Christians have a phd in “either/or”

Thank you for your words, once again, Richard. Here, he talks about the all-too-common dualism in Christianity (about the 7:00 mark). From the Evolutionary Christianity website.

Richard Rohr on Evolutionary Christianity

Other highlights…

  • how did we go from the inclusive son of God, who spends time with tax collectors, sinners, and prostitutes into an exclusive religion in his honor? (44:00)
  • all creation is incarnation, not just in us, or in Jesus, but all the way back t0 15 billion years ago.
  • If it’s compassion, it’s universal compassion.
  • If only we can stop seeing ourselves merely as a religion in competition with, and see ourselves as a gift, as all religions are a gift to us. If we can just be Jesus to the world and let the cards fall where they may (as Mother theresa said). If Christians could just be Jesus, rather than making him into a product or an opponent, always one who builds boundaries instead of bridges… that would be the evolution of Christianity and a much more gracious world. (54:00)

Life is SIMPLE even in the changes

I’ve moved into a new place… a new place, a new place. Many, many things changing and a new, fresh perspective on self.

Not thinking so much, feeling more, listening more. Heart space holding, care for the community… less directing, less trying to make things happen for myself.

Link to photographer

Went through the Men’s Rites of Passage, through the Center for Action and Contemplation.
Grieved unresolved grief, felt death
Learned the importance of ritual and experience
Heard from my soul and felt what it is like to get out of my head
Felt drumbeat in my heart and gut… new practice with the drum
Called a man… an initiated man
Fasted… isolated in the wilderness
A new connection with my dreams… the subconscious

And life is simpler. I know what I need to do. The questions I need to ask… what kind of friend will I be? What kind of dad will I be? How to listen? How to lead from my depth? I focus on my personal practice now… less need to say, more just being. Less time emailing, facebooking, blogging, googling, surfing, distancing… more time face to face in each other’s company. I will make good scones and muffins and do my thing… you know where to find me.

To tell or not to tell…

A mystic returned to his community after months of being in the desert in contemplation.

“Tell us about your encounters with the Divine,” they said. “Tell us what God is like.”


The mystic hesitated to tell them anything. How could he put such experiences of the heart and soul into words? He knew they wanted a formula… something that he could not accurately give them. But he gave them a hint, however… a few words, in the hope that they would be inspired to seek for themselves.

But, the people made sacred texts out of his words. They built shrines, temples, churches to celebrate his experience. They created programs where they could tell others about his words. They spread his message far and wide.

And none of them had the experience themselves.

All the while, the mystic wished he had told them nothing at all.

When it comes to vision, just do it!

I have lately found myself “consulting” for a number of friends regarding matters of community, vision, and spiritual growth. There is a sentiment that consistently comes up in our conversations. People have ideas, they have visions for something better, they have intentions… and they wonder how to get there from here. My answer is very often, “Just do it. It’s not that complicated.”

How do I make this restaurant more like a community? Just do it… be a community. How do I commit more time to my spiritual growth? Just do it… commit more time. How do I develop a community that it going to be motivated to change the world? Just do it… be that community that changes things. How do I live more like Christ? Just do it… live like Christ.

Many people might say, its not that simple… and I would say, it’s not that complicated! Life is not that complicated! It’s important to remember that all vision is a journey, a process. All transformation is never complete. We are always moving… and if our vision is finally complete, it is not a vision that is going to motivate people into the future. It was a plan all along, not a vision.

With this awareness, we must remember that vision very often cannot be explained, it must be experienced. So rather than asking how can this vision be accomplished (through some strategy, tactic, or effort), we have to ask how do I live in this vision right now? What decision to I make for this growth path that I am on right now? It’s all a choice folks. It’s all a choice.