discern this

We are an Easter People, and even at the grave, Alleluia is our song.

Why I March February 8, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — discernthis @ 1:14 pm

I’ve seen a lot of posts today that make the comment that we must pray for our country. Some of them even seemed chiding–instead of going to the March yesterday, I should pray for the success of this administration.

I’d like to address this. I prayed from the time my alarm clock went off at 5:45 yesterday morning until I started snoring at 11:15 last night while my husband read to me. I am exhausted from praying all day in the streets of Washington, DC, with a silly pink hat on my head. Because prayer is not just done in a pew or before sleep. Because prayer IS action. Because if all I did was sit in my house and pray with words that Donald Trump and this new Congress don’t drag this country back, I’d get whiplash from how quickly this country was snapped back in time.

That hat I made, the pussy hat, news stations and papers can’t put it to print because it violates standards of decency. Yet the man that 46% of US citizens voted for uses it casually, in what he called locker room talk but is actually sexual assault and rape culture, to talk about how he can sexually violate women simply because he is famous.

I march because I know the terror that comes from someone touching me without my permission. I march because every woman I know knows that terror in some degree or another.

I march for women like myself who go back to work when their children are still infants needing 24-hour care and their bodies are still not healed from the physical trauma of childbirth, women who go back because to stay out of work longer means more time without pay, and six or twelve weeks without a paycheck, on top of the added expenses of a new baby, is already nearly untenable (and for a great many, even six weeks is too long, and they are back to work even sooner).

I march for women (and men, and children) like me who have fought cancer but now have a pre-existing condition, who are now facing the possibility of losing their health coverage in addition to the prospect that they might lose their lives.

I march for my son, whose cleft lip at birth could now render him ineligible for health coverage, or at least be forced to endure a waiting period for coverage if the laws are changed.

I march for my son, because I do not want him to grow up in a world of hate and fear.

I march for the 18 million people currently covered by the Affordable Care Act who will lose their health coverage if this Congress and president have their way, for the billions of dollars that it will cost our country if that happens.

I march for my brother, his husband, and their son. I march for my friends and family who identify on the LGBTQ rainbow. Challenges to their health and safety are challenges to my own and to all of us.

I march for people with disabilities, who in addition to the threat to their health coverage have to live in a world where the president has openly mocked them for their challenges, and millions of their fellow citizens think that is okay.

I march for the Earth, this beautiful, amazing planet that takes my breath away every day, because this president and many in his Congress and Cabinet refuse to believe that climate change exists–or at least pretend to believe this because they don’t want to change their habits or lose money from practices that destroy the Earth.

I march for the women who depend on Planned Parenthood for their healthcare. I march for those who face difficult decisions regarding pregnancy.

I march for students, young and old. I march for children who go to school every day with underpaid and overworked teachers in overcrowded classrooms. I march for students who are over tested under ridiculous standards set by policy makers who do not understand education or how the brain works.

I march for workers, for fair wages, safe working environments, healthcare and sick days, childcare, and a living wage for all.

I march for immigrants and for refugees. This country was founded by immigrants. Our diversity is what makes us who we are. It is what keeps us great.

I march for children, widows, and foreigners–because if you knew Jesus when he was alive, you’d know those were the groups you didn’t mess with. Those were the most marginalized, the most vulnerable.

I march for this country. I was fortunate to be born here, and that fortune comes with responsibility.

I march because it is my right and my responsibility.

I march because my march is my prayer. And prayer is powerful.

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Pantalaimon October 15, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — discernthis @ 9:46 pm

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I don’t even think I knew it existed before this year. But this year, I can’t stop thinking about it. On March 15, Kevin and I had a positive pregnancy test. Overjoyed doesn’t come close to describing how we felt. We told our immediate families two days later, St. Patrick’s Day; we gave our parents cards we made with a message in Irish on the outside and the translation, “Congratulations, you’re going to be grandparents,” on the inside. On Easter Sunday, we shared our news with our extended families with eggs we’d decorated saying “Baby Brotzman Coming Nov. 2015.”

Nothing could have made me happier. Shortly after finding out I was pregnant, we nicknamed the baby Pantalaimon*, after a character in one of my favorite book series.

On April 2, the last day of school before Spring Break, I was rear-ended in the parking lot, and after I experienced some spotting that evening, the doctor asked me to come in for an ultrasound to make sure everything was okay. The next day was Good Friday. Kevin came with me to the appointment, and I’m so glad he did. The ultrasound showed our baby was smaller than expected. The doctor told us there was about a 50% chance I would miscarry. They would repeat the ultrasound in a week. We decided to go ahead and tell our families as we planned, and it was wonderful. We also asked for prayers. I spent my break anxious as I’ve ever been, terrified I’d lose the baby.

The following week, we had the ultrasound, and there was still no fetal pole. Our baby had stopped growing, and miscarriage was inevitable. We went home, heartbroken and devastated.

Next Tuesday will be six months since I miscarried. One month from tomorrow should have been my due date. It has been harder than I could have imagined. It’s not all bad, but I shed tears pretty regularly. I have fought depression, sought counseling, and tried my damnedest to take as good care of myself as possible.

One of the most difficult things has been having to pretend everything is fine, to act like my world didn’t turn upside downand smack me in the face. Very few people knew I was pregnant, not even all of our closest friends, and so very few people know that I lost the baby. Of those who do know, many have told me they’ve experienced the same. So many people. Did you know it’s one in five pregnancies? I certainly didn’t. I am telling my story now, because I know I am not the only one, even though I have often felt so alone. I am telling my story now, because I know how desperately I have needed to hear others’. I am telling my story now because it isn’t something to be ashamed of, despite what the whispers or the silence surrounding miscarriage tell us. I am telling my story now, because though Pantalaimon did not make it into this world, Pan is forever in my heart and my mind, and my soul. And I need people to know.

 

 

*In the books, Pantalaimon can take the form of any animal, though he finally settles as a pine marten. This is a picture of a pine marten. If you did not squeal with the cute, I don’t know that we can be friends. Pan

 

6th Sunday of Easter A May 25, 2014 May 25, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — discernthis @ 5:45 pm

I have a favorite person in the Trinity. Maybe I’m not supposed to, but I do. I’ve always felt especially drawn to the Holy Spirit. I think often when I’m praying, I am half subconsciously directing my prayers towards the Holy Spirit. I may use the name God, but it’s the Holy Spirit that I’m picturing. It isn’t that I don’t pray to or value or love the Creator and Jesus; I think it’s because that is the person in the Trinity whom I can most closely feel in my life.

As we prepare for Communion every Mass, a critical part is sharing peace with each other, remembering that we are called to share in the peace of Christ and share it with each other. But as we do so, we recall Jesus coming to the terrified disciples and offering each of them peace, and doing so through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Christ Jesus said, “Peace, Peace be with you” and the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit.

I love that image so much. Sometimes, as I mediate, I can feel the Presence flowing over and around me and through me, and I imagine it’s what the apostles felt when they were hidden away in that locked room. I may not emerge speaking tongues or curing illnesses or forgiving sins, but I am certainly filled with the Spirit. That Spirit brings hope, brings love, brings joy, brings the umph that I need to go through life.

I was confirmed on Pentecost Sunday; that year the bishop of the church I attended back then gave permission for priests to confirm students on Pentecost throughout the diocese, to underscore the meaning of receiving the Holy Spirit. As Catholics, we confirm and ordain through the laying on of hands, the passing of the Holy Spirit from one to another, as was done in the earliest days of the church.

We carry that tradition with us two thousand years later, recognizing the gift Jesus gave to us in the calling down of the Holy Spirit, whom we hear Jesus today call the Advocate. The Holy Spirit works in our world today through each of us, through our actions and interactions.

In Peter’s letter, we are urged to recognize the Holy Spirit in our lives, to have ready an answer for when people ask why we do what we do, why we are Christ-followers. The journey is not always easy; indeed, it sometimes feels impossible. But we have the ever-present Holy Spirit, constantly with us, working “magic” in the world around us, lighting the way, easing the way, comforting and supporting us on the journey.

This is the gift of the Holy Spirit: that even though Jesus ascended to Heaven, which we remember in a special Mass this coming Thursday, we were not left alone here on this earth, to fumble around for a lifetime. No, the Holy Spirit came into our lives then and remains with us constantly.

As the disciples said to one another after meeting Jesus on the Road to Emmaus: Were not our hearts burning within us? Were not our hearts burning inside?

We can say to each other now and always: Are not our hearts burning within us? Are not our hearts burning inside?

 

The Walk to Emmaus: Third Sunday of Easter May 4, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — discernthis @ 2:44 pm

The Walk to Emmaus

 

The Tomb is empty! Is empty! Come and see!

Sing a few lines. Oh, what a joyful song! How wonderful! We proclaim it on Easter morn and throughout the Easter Season. We sing delightedly at the shared memory of women in mourning, going to the tomb after the Sabbath to keep their Jewish traditions around death but finding it empty. We sing, inviting everyone to come and see what we see! The tomb is empty! Sing Alleluia!

The disciples were not singing.

Now, two our disciples are walking to a town called Emmaus. They may have even been running away, escaping from all that was happening in Jerusalem. It was The Easter Sunday, though we know this with 2000+ years of hindsight. The disciples are mourning, terrified, overwhelmed with grief, astounded at the news from some women that hung out with them that THE TOMB IS EMPTY. This is not a thing that should be happening. They were not singing; they were crying.

A man walking the same way joins them and asks what they were talking about. Our friends are taken aback that the man had no idea, and they tell him about their friend, their prophet Jesus, whom they thought was their savior and their everything and who was going to fix all that is wrong with the world…but turns out now he isn’t even in the tomb where they buried him, and WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN ANYWAY?!

Now we know that this man is Jesus, and Jesus knows what’s going on, of course. As he approached the disciples, Jesus had clouded their eyes so they wouldn’t recognize him. This gives Jesus a chance to see what the disciples thought of everything that has happened and talk to them about it.

Disguised Jesus begins to explain the scriptures, drawing the parallels between the Scripture and what happened with the disciples’ friend Jesus. He chides them for not recognizing it on their own, and he answers their questions and amazes the disciples with his knowledge of a man they lived with for three years but did not understand.

When Disguised Jesus acts like he is going to continue on, the disciples realize how much they like this stranger, and they want to spend more time with him. They ask him to stay and have dinner with them and rest the night before continuing on in the morning.

They sit down to dinner. Disguised Jesus picks up bread. He says a blessing. Disguised Jesus breaks the bread, and he is no longer disguised. The disciples recognize their friend instantly, and then Jesus is gone.

This is what I had a hard time understanding for a long time. Why Disguised Jesus? Why would Jesus wait so long to allow them to recognize him? Why wouldn’t he just appear as himself and explain to the disciples what was happening?

The disciples wouldn’t have been able to handle it. They weren’t ready. It took that long walk to another town, time to share what happened with a ‘stranger’, time to hear what the scripture meant, time to rekindle that longing for more—to learn more, to know more, to hear more, to see more, to feel more—to prepare them to find out who Jesus was. The disciples had more immediate needs that had to be met before they would be ready for all they were to hear. Disguising himself gives Jesus a chance to see what the disciples thought of everything that has happened and talk to them about it.

When they are ready, they recognize Jesus through broken bread. They see their friend for who he truly is, not just the prophet they’ve followed for years, but the Messiah. They say, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us? Were not our hearts burning inside? How did we not recognize him? How did we not know what we were seeing, to whom we were talking?’

Each of us is on the journey to Emmaus. Every day, we struggle to understand what is happening and why. We want to know why it can’t all be fixed, why everyone can’t just get along. We do not understand. Our sisters and brothers in this world are on a similar journey. The trauma and pain they are working through is not the same as ours, but it is similar.

When things are going poorly, we often say things like, I just want it better. I just want my hip fixed…yesterday. I just want to be finished with school and be able to move on to the next part of my life. I just want to it to be the weekend. I just want my kid not to be in the Terrible Twos (or Threes or Thirteens). We know it’s going to take a lot of work to get there, and we don’t want to have to go through it. We just want the Good Parts Version, without all the mucking about in hyperspace suffering or hard work to get there.

But so much comes from the journey that without it, we wouldn’t be ready. Or we would miss out on so much that happens in the meantime that we wouldn’t be the same person on the other side. One thing I remind myself of pretty regularly is that I wouldn’t be who I am and doing what I do if I hadn’t gone through the things I have. My walk to Emmaus has brought me from place to place, life event to life event, job to job, stressor to comfort, depression to joy, fear to contentment. Each step prepares us for the next, and when we are ready, the cloudiness over our eyes and over our understanding lifts and allows us to see what we have been waiting for.

Our challenge today as Christians in this crazy-scary world is to join with others as we Walk to Emmaus. We meet people where they are, from where we are. We are challenged to take the time to look at our neighbors and remember their journey is full of uneven ground and potholes and detours and sometimes even collapsing retaining walls. We are called to recognize the stranger among us as a friend, as a person whom we need and who needs us. We are called to recognize that burning inside us as our souls recognizing the divine in the soul of another, the Divine in me recognizing the Divine in you, seeking the Christ in one another. We walk together on the Road to Emmaus, waiting in anticipation for what is to come.

 

5th Sunday of (Extra)Ordinary Time February 9, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — discernthis @ 2:40 pm

As I listened to the readings to prepare for this, all I could think was this is why I am who I am. This is why I do what I do. This is what it means to be Christian, to be Catholic.

Care for the poor. Care for the ones who have little, the ones who have noting. Do it without judgment or reservation or complaining. This is what we are here for. We are meant to be proclaimers of the Word, examples for the Lord.

Jesus tells us we are salt for the earth. What does that mean?

Every one of us here has salt in the kitchen. We use it when we prepare meals, when we bake, when settle in to eat. It seasons, it preserves, it flavors, it enhances. It’s a dietary necessity, a requirement for our bodies to function.

When salt cannot be used for flavor, it gets used for manufacturing and other industrial functions. This winter, we’ve seen a whole lot of it on our streets. In ancient times, soldiers poured salt into the fields and tramped it into the soil, ruining the land for use in growing crops.

We are salt for the earth. We are a requirement for the earth to function, and when we do not fulfill our role as enhancer and preserver, we are no longer being useful.

There is a book series I read years ago about a man named Joshua. They center around a man who lives very simply, who comes one day to a town and quietly begins to transform the people within it. He is revolutionary, but not in a 6 o’clock news way. In one of the books, his carpentry skills are commissioned by two separate churches, each requesting a statue for their sanctuaries. He agrees, carves the pieces completely by hand, and delivers them to the pastors. Each pastor is shocked—the piece is not what they expected. The Pentecostal church’s statue is of Peter in a strong authoritative role, gesturing, leading. The priest’s statue is of Peter caring for a dying man. The two pastors agree they are more comfortable with the other church’s piece, so they decide to exchange them. Problem solved.

But within a few days, one pastor called the other. This statue, I know the message and I like it. but it doesn’t speak to me the way the other did. Would you consider trading back? The other pastor feels the same way.

Each realizes the message that Joshua carved into that piece was designed for his church. They had part of the message Jesus intended, but they were missing some of it—the uncomfortable part. And yet, when they tried to avoid the discomfort, they found something lacking.

After calling us salt of the earth, Jesus calls us light for the world. Instead of hiding our gifts, we must share them.

Oftentimes, I am a lot more comfortable doing the good things and not talking about them. I don’t do them for the attention or the glory; I just do it because it’s the right thing to do.

It’s easier for me to do this, to just be who I am and try to make a difference in my own small ways. It’s harder for me to stand up here and talk about it. It’s harder for me to put into words the way I feel and the way I believe. It’s easier for me to be salt than to be a light on the lampstand, drawing people in and getting others to be salty too. I’m shy. I’m an introvert. Talking up what I’m doing, even when it means that others can benefit from my knowledge and experience and belief, is a struggle for me.

Other people find it easier to talk. They enjoy standing up and talking about God and are comfortable posting about it on Facebook and knocking on doors and inviting everyone they meet into the conversation.

Salt for the earth means that we are full of the potential for good works, and light for the world means that our lives can enlighten others.

Next month, we will have our parish council meeting to make some decisions about how we will move forward as a community.

Both are important. Both are necessary as we work to bring justice into the world. Together, they will guide us to our Next Right Thing.

 

 

The Second Sunday of (Extra)Ordinary Time January 19, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — discernthis @ 7:06 pm

Readings from: IS 49:3, 5-6; PS 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10; 1 COR 1:1-3; JN 1:29-34

A friend’s quote on Facebook had a lot to do with this week’s sermon. That quote fits better in, as my husband put it, the director’s cut (see the very end). It came from Oswald Chambers, who was a Scottish evangelist and teacher in the early 20th century. I spent a lot time mulling on that quote, which eventually led me to look him up and read a bit more about him. There, I found this quote, which I like even more, so I’d like to share it with you:

Service is the overflow which pours from a life filled with love and devotion…Service is what I bring to the relationship and is the reflection of my identification with the nature of God. Service becomes a natural part of my life. God brings me into the proper relationship with Himself so that I can understand His call, and then I serve Him on my own out of a motivation of absolute love. Service to God is the deliberate love-gift of a nature that has heard the call of God. Service is an expression of my nature, and God’s call is an expression of His nature. Therefore, when I receive His nature and hear His call, His divine voice resounds throughout His nature and mine and the two become one in service. The Son of God reveals Himself in me, and out of devotion to Him service becomes my everyday way of life. –Oswald Chambers

Cool, right? Inspiring. But as a social worker in a secular setting, by necessity and ethical guidelines, I keep my own religious beliefs under wraps. They guide what I do and who I am, but they are not overtly present. No one I work with knows that I am Independent Catholic. No one I work with knows I am a deacon. I don’t talk about it because it has potential to alter my position as a social worker and therapist, because it may interfere with my ability to provide the services I am there to perform.

I had a session last week with a client who is struggling with her religious beliefs right now. Her father is Muslim, and he is beginning to put pressure on her to be Muslim as well. But she spends most of her time with family and friends who identify as Christian. She wants to make both sides happy, and she is stuck. We talked about what it means for her, about how to be one or the other, and after careful consideration—and stating that it was one viewpoint that many do not share–I shared with her my personal belief on how religions coexist.

I said that I believe that God exists. I said it’s an important part of my life, as it is for many people. I said that I worship in a particular way in large part because of how I was raised. I explained that the way I worship fits who I am. I said that others worship with different services, different styles, even different names, and that doesn’t mean that one of us is right and the others are wrong; it’s just different.

I gave a bit of history about Judaism and Islam and Christianity, how they all agree on the person of God but how they have split off in different ways, depending on which prophets they recognize and how. It’s all the same God, just different names, different worship styles. I told her I know how much strife and violence and pain has been caused through all of this, but I said I really don’t think that God cares how we worship God, just that we do.

If I’m doing good things, I need to remember why I’m doing them. I need to remember that my purpose here on earth is to glorify God. My purpose here is to help people share in the peace that I have found comes in knowing God.

I’m not much on evangelizing, which sounds weird to say, and which I’ll admit comes with a twinge of guilt. At the same time, however, the God I believe in, the God I love, the God I worship knows that I am trying to do the right thing.

I have a prayer card with a prayer from Thomas Merton: “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

What’s the takeaway from this?

John the Baptist knew his role. He was born with a call to ‘prepare the way.’ He grew up eating locusts and wild honey and wearing clothes from camel hair (it’s not the softest out there). He lived in the desert. He devoted his entire life to helping everyone he met do whatever it took to ready themselves to meet Jesus: “the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.”

Every action he took, every act of service, was for Christ—and he did it without the benefit we have today of knowing the rest of the story.

I might not always do the right thing. I might royally screw up some things. Some people may be hurt because of the things I do. But if I do things with a pure heart, with good intention, with constant seeking to do the right thing and constant seeking and effort to learn more and do better next time, then I’m doing the right thing.

When I serve, I am following my path. When I think about the things I do, when I think about how I live my life, I hope that I am acting in ways that demonstrate my beliefs.

Tomorrow, we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This day has become known as a day of service, a fitting tribute to a man who lived each day acting upon his beliefs. There are organized service activities throughout the state that we can join with, or we can do a little bit on our own, picking up trash in our neighborhoods or putting together kits with toiletries and food for the homeless men, women, and children we try not to see as we drive around the city.

As a church, we have a particular calling to service, and it’s one we have begun talking out in earnest. My challenge to us all for tomorrow and for the weeks leading up to our parish council meeting on March 23rd is to consider the ways in which we may use our collective skills and gifts to improve the world around us. Shall we focus our efforts on working with LGBTQ youth? On working with homeless men, women, and families? On people imprisoned or returning to the community after serving time in prison? On people with addictions or mental illness? Think about it. Pray about it. Talk about it.

Let’s find our mission together, and let’s act upon it, using as our guide what St. Francis told us: Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.

Amen.

The Prayers of the Faithful, which I stole because I really liked them, and which I am sharing, again because I really liked them:

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” With these words of Martin Luther King, Jr., let us come to God in prayer:

God of all races and nations, we praise you for all your faithful servants who have done justice, loved mercy, and walked humbly with their God. For apostles, martyrs, leaders, and saints, and for humble folk whose names were never in the news, but are recorded in your book of life, we give you thanks. Hear us as we name, aloud or in silence, the servant-leaders who have touched our lives:

In Christ’s name, we pray.

We thank you especially for Martin Luther King, Jr, for his courage and conviction, for his passion for peace, and for his tireless quest of a nation that keeps faith with its promises. Hear us as we pray for our nation.

In Christ’s name, we pray.

We cry out for children, women, and men of every race who are denied education, health care, jobs, housing, and hope in our land. Hear us now as we pray for those in our won community and around the world, who are lonely and desperate, who are sick in body and soul, who are weary from pain and in need of your healing touch.

In Christ’s name, we pray.

We grieve together for nameless multitudes who suffered the tortures of slavery and the tyranny of oppression, who were beaten, raped, and lynched; and for the multitudes today whose lives are stunted and cut short by economic and social structures of brutality. Hear us as we pray for those in the world who suffer from injustice.

In Christ’s name, we pray.

And now unto him who is able to keep us from falling, and lift us up from the fatigue of despair to the buoyance of hope, from the midnight of desperation to the daybreak of joy, to him be power and authority, forever and ever. Amen.

 

Director’s Cut

The theme of this homily came about in large part because of specific quote that stayed with me. Finally, I sat down to journal about it to figure out some thoughts. Here is a (slightly) edited version of the thoughts that didn’t make it into the sermon. I don’t usually post these, but today I wanted to.

A friend often posts quotes on Facebook about God and her relationship with God. She is devout, more demonstrative in it that many people I know, and she talks about it a lot. She often posts quotes from Oswald Chambers, who was a Scottish evangelist and teacher in the early 20th century. I usually skim them and move on to see what the next person in my Facebook feed had for dinner or the latest Instagram entry for The Cutest Cat Award. Recently she posted a quote that stuck with me. I read it several times right then, and I kept thinking about it and going back to it until I finally got around to writing my sermon. And the theme of it took over.

Beware of anything that competes with your loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of true devotion to Jesus is the service we do for Him. It is easier to serve than to pour out our lives completely for Him. The goal of the call of God is His satisfaction, not simply that we should do something for Him. We are not sent to do battle for God, but to be used by God in His battles. Are we more devoted to service than we are to Jesus Christ Himself? — Oswald Chambers

So it’s very exclusive, this club of Oswald Chambers. All of everything we do should be for the glory of God. But what of people who are good people, who do good works, who do all the service, but don’t do it because they are Christian? What of people who practice Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, traditional religions, or no religion at all?

But if I am not doing the good things I do for the glory of God, why am I doing them? Would I still be a good person if I didn’t believe in God? Of course I would. But what would be my motivation to do good in the world? I could ask a number of the good people I know who are agnostic or atheist and yet continue to do good things in their lives. We do good things because it’s the right thing to do.
St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” Is this what I can take away from Mr. Chambers? When I do good things, I am following my path. When I think about the things I do, when I think about how I live my life, I hope that I am acting in ways that demonstrate my beliefs.

 

On dreams and work November 14, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — discernthis @ 8:52 pm

I woke up this morning from a dream where I was in a giant snow sled going down a red track sort of like a luge or a crazy water slide. There were a dozen or so people in my sled. Something went wrong, and we tried to correct the course of the sled so we wouldn’t fall off (you know, like in Mario Kart, only without the cloud official to rescue you with a fishing pole).

Somehow, I caused the sled to veer completely off course. We left the track, fell hundreds of feet to the snow-covered ground below, and five or six people died.

I can picture five of them after they died. I was sort of the sixth. Initially in the dream I did die, but then I remember things after the crash, and I remember talking to people about the crash and wondering if I was a ghost. I also remember feeling immense guilt.

Maybe this has something to do with all the kids I’ve had in crisis this past week.  I think I need to practice more of the relaxation techniques I teach my clients. And also stop reading suspense novels before bed.

 

PS: Since I was here, I uploaded some sermons from the last few months.