Thursday, February 14, 2013

From the Back Porch

The view from the back porch of the church, instead of within it's four walls, is the analogy that Jerry Wright uses for his individual spiritual journey.  He writes about it here:   The article is fantastic, and really sits well with my psyche right now, as I too feel like I'm on the back porch (by choice) of the church looking out into the vast fields before me that I couldn't see when I was inside.  I'm seeking fellow travelers on this journey.  Over the past few weeks, the transference that was  part of a current friendship was made conscious (thanks Guild for the work we are doing around shadow and transference!), and I began to see how I've been trying to force someone out of the paradigm that they wish to stay in.  I apologized, and it's all good, but it does highlight what Jerry says at the end.  He rephrases a quote from Jung during his Terry Lectures on psychology and religion, to talk about those he seeks to help.  I feel the same.  Here are both quotes (Jung's and then Jerry's re-phrasing):

I am not...addressing myself to the happy possessors of
faith, but to those many people for whom the light has gone
out, the mystery has faded, and God is dead. For most of
them there is no going back, and one does not know either
whether going back is always the better way. To gain an
understanding of religious matters, probably all that is left
us today is the psychological approach. That is why I take
these thought-forms that have become historically fixed, try
to melt them down again and pour them into moulds of
immediate experience. (CW:11:par 148)

My version of that address, as I sit on the back-porch of
the Church, is: I am not addressing those for whom the
traditional interpretations of the Christian story remain
vital and life-giving, but to the growing number of those
for whom the old, old story has been so literalized that it
has lost its power to stir and feed the soul; those for whom
the creeds no longer roll easily off the tongue; those who
hunger and thirst for God who has innumerable names,
and unlimited manifestations, a God to whom all can bow
and none can possess.

Yes, Jerry, I agree.  I wish to find those in that growing second category to come along side, so we can learn from each other and the vast community of those out there on a similar journey to find the God none can possess!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Church planting vs. Love fellowships

I could never quite put my finger on why much of evangelical/emergent/whatever church planting methodology just didn't sit right with me.  R Jay Pearson, a new favorite blogger of mine, nailed it pretty good, and offers an alternative.  Check out the post here:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Love and emotion

Elizabeth Esther continues to speak truth, from her experience, against the emotionally repressive ideas that kept her (and still keep many others in the church) in bondage.  Thank you EE, and continue to speak your truth.  Here's her latest blog post:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


One of the things that I've come to learn through my inner journey over the past 6 years is that feeling emotions is not only a good thing, it is a healthy and authentic way to live.  For years, I was told by people that I was "too emotional", that I should "choose to not feel....insert emotion...", that I should "pray about it", etc.  Sadly, the church for me was/is one of the most emotionally stifling places.  If we feel, we may doubt, and doubt is bad...or if we feel we may not be happy happy joy and that is unbecoming a the thinking goes.  I came across this old post from a blog I've really started to love.  Elizabeth Ester talks about her experience of feeling emotions.

Thanks for the courage to share this story Elizabeth!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Jung, Religion, Unconscious

This is an excerpt of a paper I'm writing for my first year at the Guild.  This is about the role of Jungian thought to my spiritual journey.  

What I’m wrestling through is this: is there an Other/God/Sacred Mystery that we come into contact with at the depths of our being, or do we continue to dive deeper into the self….and are those things one in the same? Is the quest for deeper Self (Self in the Jungian sense of that which encompasses our being, and the driving archetype of wholeness) and the quest to experience God the same? I’m coming to believe that as I make more of the unconscious (shadow) conscious and integrated into my life, my self-awareness will continue to increase, I will become a more authentic and loving human being able to serve the world from my depth, and I very well may come in to contact with the Sacred Mystery/God (or stated differently, my God consciousness will also increase).  I also am beginning to feel a sense of deeper connection to the anima mundi, the soul of the world.  I’ve started to view events and cultural conditions through a depth perspective, which does not see us/them and easy answers, but complexity, connection, and shadow.  I also am starting to see that this is a lifetime journey that is never complete.  It is a choice to experience the emotional depth and fullness of life, as opposed to seeing life through only the eyes of ego awareness.  If we make the choice for depth, as I have (I don’t think I really had a choice) we realize that the unconscious is always expanding, and always in need of reflection, illumination, awareness, and integration.  And so the journey continues. 
We have not really discussed the role of archetypes that much to this point, but it seems to me that this inner journey that I am called into is trans-cultural, trans-historical, and is aided and described in metaphor, symbol, myth, and story by both religious traditions and the work of depth psychology (as well as in other disciplines).  Of course the mystical and religious traditions pre-date depth psychology, but the work of Jung and others has given me another lens, another set of metaphors and images with which I can try and make sense of the reality of the inner journey towards God/wholeness, a journey that I believe has existed since humanity evolved into conscious awareness.  I very much appreciate the struggle Jung details in Memories, Dreams, Reflections, where the image of God he grew up with and that was/is still dominant in Western culture just did not make sense of his experience and those of his patients.  He was bold enough to “individuate” from the religion of his father, and in a sense felt sympathy for the struggles his father had as a Protestant minister who had no place to explore his doubts.  Jung, as well as other places outside the church, has been a place for me to explore my doubts about the God image I grew up with.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Death of Religion?

Beyond Literal Thinking in Religion by David Tacey.  Link to article

This is one of the better things I've read this year.  Tacey proclaims literalism as the greatest sin of religion, the ultimate demise of religion that is wed to literalism, and proposes a return to the metaphoric/mythic if religion is to survive.  Some may say that is an extreme position, but I don't think he's that far off.  I may blog through the article in the near future.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dreams, inner work, spirituality

Another fantastic post by Jean Raffa.  It's called Ruling the Inner Chamber, and she deals with dreams, inner work, and the spiritual journey.  I especially love this:

Contrary to popular belief, authentic spirituality is not just a function of how many souls we save or how well we know scriptures or how hard we pray or how many rules we keep or what we believe or how often we attend our place of worship or how much money we donate to the poor. Likewise, spiritual maturity is not limited to a particular religion or set of beliefs. Rather, it is a function of our willingness to further the unfolding of our capacity for full living, endless loving, and authentic being.

We’re supposed to discover our true selves and connect with the sacred Mystery within. We’re supposed to learn how to accept and love ourselves because that’s how we learn to accept and love others. Every religion has spawned mature spirit persons whose mystical experiences and intuitions taught them that God indwells the soul. This means that our spiritual growth is not just a function of searching for God outside ourselves but also of honoring the “kingdom” within.

Thanks Jean for continuing to be a friend on the journey!