Mini-sabbatical: Gone to school (Part 2)
Hello Lovely Readers!
I’m on my way to Arizona for the second half of my training in spiritual direction. Just like last time, I’ll be posting daily reflections on Of the Garden Variety.
NOT like last time, I have a special treat for you! While I’m gone, I’m beginning a new series of guest postings called “Five Questions on…”
So lots to see here over the next couple of weeks. Come by and check out the variety of perspectives on HBTB issues like food, exercise, dating, church, and more!
Forward Friday: Double Belonging
I ran across the term double belonging during my training in spiritual direction in Arizona. If you’re not familiar (I wasn’t), it’s a relatively new term used to describe people who ascribe to one particular religious tradition (e.g. Christianity) but also learn from another tradition (e.g. Buddhism).
You may have even heard people describe themselves as Jew-Bus (Jewish Buddhists) or Buddha-palians (Episcopalian Buddhists). What would a Presbyterian Buddhist be called? Buddha-terian?
While I’m not advocating synchronicity, I do believe we have a lot to learn from each other, both within our own tradition and from people of other faiths. Particularly with people whose spiritual paths involve meditation, there are many similarities between different religious practices. Thomas Merton, for example, was well known for being influenced by Buddhist meditation techniques as he practiced and taught Christian contemplative meditation.
So let’s try a very simple and open-ended Forward Friday:
This weekend, take some time to explore other faith traditions in your area.
You could attend a Jewish temple or try a yoga class. If you’re not sure how to get started, try picking up a book from your local library on comparative religion or a specific tradition you’ve always been curious about.
Remember, this exercise is not designed to encourage you to embrace a new set of beliefs in place of your own or to create opportunities for proselytizing. Just be curious, courteous, and conscious of what pieces of truth you might pick up along the way.
Happy weekend, lovely readers! Come back and tell me all about it.
I’m Back! When it doesn’t feel like Lent…
I know, I know. I promised new posts for last week and didn’t deliver. Getting back into the swing of things after being in Arizona for two weeks proved more time-intensive than I expected. But now I’m back and ready to write!
If you’re wondering about my experience in Arizona, you can read my daily reflections over at my old spirituality blog: Of the Garden Variety.
This week I have a few disconnected thoughts to share with you lovely readers. Let’s dig into it.
We are just under two weeks away from celebrating Easter. How is your Lenten season going?
For me, I’ve been so preoccupied with preparing for Arizona, being in Arizona, recovering from Arizona, and looking ahead to my next trip, that I’ve pretty much lost sight of Lent this year. Rather than a season of reflection, contemplation, and experiencing the disconsolation of being without, I’ve been rushing, working, and experiencing sensory and information overload.
So what do we do when our season of life does not match up with the church calendar? What do we do when the sermons and sharing of our community of God don’t resonate with our current experience?
I think we run into this dilemma more often than we like to admit. We experience loss, but our community is full of celebration. We experience rest, but our community expects more participation. We experience peace, but our community is full of unrest. We experience doubt and distance with God, but our community seems threatened by our questions.
Sometimes it’s so much easier to walk alone.
But community is central to our Christian faith for a reason. Yes, we need the freedom to be who we are and where we are on our spiritual journeys, but we also need the experience of community to help us grow and change. Community can be challenging, but it can also be revealing and healing.
When I think about participation in the community of God, I always return to Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
We can never achieve this “wholeness” simply by ourselves, but only together with others. – Letters and Papers from Prison
(If you missed it, you can find our 4-part series on community in Bonhoeffer’s writings here.)
We need each other not only to fully experience God but also to become fully whole in ourselves. I may not be in a season of life or a frame of mind to really engage in Lent this year, but being surrounded by a community of God that is engaged in Lent helps keep me linked to the seasons of the church year and reminds me that there is more to life than my momentary experience.
And who knows? Maybe next year I will be the one reminding my community just what the season of Lent brings to our experience of God.
That’s what community is all about.
Mini-sabbatical: Gone to school
Hello, my dear lovely readers!
Well, I’m off to Arizona for a short certificate program in Spiritual Direction. Because of the schedule while I’m away, I won’t be posting anything new on HBTB for the next two weeks. I’ll be back to the regular schedule on March 11th.
But don’t worry! If you miss me, you can follow my experience on Twitter and over at my old spirituality blog: Of the Garden Variety. I’ll be reflecting daily on my classes and what God is stirring up, whatever that may be!
Be sure to follow that blog if you want email updates while I’m away.
You can also sign up for the monthly newsletter to get exclusive updates, book recommendations, suggested meditation exercises, and more. If you sign up before the end of the month, you’ll get the link to an exclusive guided meditation video for Lent when the newsletter arrives in your inbox. Newsletters come out the last day of the month. Best part is, it’s free!