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Showing posts from April, 2019

Societal Regression and some theory behind it....

For a few years I have been thinking about Murray Bowen's Family Systems theory concept of societal regression. Bowen studied families of schizophrenics and recognized intergenerational patterns of emotional transmission, patterns in which certain family members carried the dis-ease of the family and the ways that other family members participated in that transmission process. From these studies he developed his family systems theory which, for those of us who study and apply it, emphasizes personal accountability by taking clearly defined, principled stands based on one's values and belies. Taking these stands however is not done to defend or justify and certainly not to diminish another. One does this simply to be less anxious because one is being mature. Bowen called this, "Self-differentiation." Clearly defined people fall on a spectrum from 1-10, with one being less defined and 10 being fully defined, and no one is ever a 10, except maybe Jesus.

Most of us are  …

You will always have me...

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On Ash Wednesday we are invited to observe a Holy Lent by taking on a series of practices including: prayer, fasting, repentance, meditating on God’s holy Word, self examination, and self denial. Last week I spoke about self examination as we reflected on the reading in the Gospel of Luke known as the Prodigal Son. This week let’s look at this reading from the Gospel of John when Jesus has dinner at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in Bethany. 
Just a little bit earlier in the story Jesus was summoned to Bethany by Mary and Martha because their brother Lazarus was ill and dying. But Jesus delayed his trip to Bethany and Lazarus died. When Jesus finally arrived Lazarus had been dead for four days and Mary and Martha were furious with Jesus and deeply grieving. Jesus became remorseful, and weeping, he asked the people to roll back the stone that blocked the tomb where Lazarus lay. Mary and Martha protested, the stench of the dead would be great, opening the tomb would serve no purpo…

The Oratory: A space to seek God

"Americans, of course, have made of God a casual circumstance. We have prayer meetings with coffee cups in our hands and listen to psalmody with our legs crossed and our arms spread eagled on the back of our pews. We avoid churches and say that since God is everywhere, any place is good enough. All of which is true, at one level. But Benedictine spirituality says also that to know God in time and space we must regularly seek to find God in one time and space that enables us to recognize God more easily in every other one." - Joan Chittister, "Rule of St. Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century

When I was nineteen years old, attending college in a small town in southern Illinois, I learned how to meditate. Transcendental Meditation was a new thing in those days, and disciples of TM were in town proselytizing and recruiting followers. I followed. I remember the instructions clearly and even the mantra they gave me. Meditate twice a day for 20 minutes. Use the mantra…

Who am I in this story?

For the third time in three weeks I found myself engaged in a Bible study on this story:
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 All the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to Jesus. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, "This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them."
So Jesus told them this parable:
"There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.' So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him…