When you hear or see something that strikes you as racist, sexist, classist, homophobic, Islamophobic, or cruel in any way, do you feel tempted to just be silent, for fear of discomfort? Or do you feel ready to speak up, but you’re not sure how? Jesus was never silent, and when he spoke up, he’s described as being “full of grace and truth”, or, we might say, “full of humility and courage”. Kyle offers some ideas on how we might pursue that balance.
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The American Religious Right’s conflation of faith and partisan politics has been bad for the country and for faith... But, while Vince used to feel the best response to that was to strive to pursue an politically neutral faith (“both sides are equally bad/good when it comes to the model of Jesus”), he now feels that to be just as unsatisfactory... so what now?
This is one of the most true-feeling phrases we’ve come to discover in our experiences following Jesus and trying to put one foot in front of the other in life. Kyle shares about the life-change he’s experienced leaning into the way the Eastern Orthodox church has historically taught people how to pray and approach life, and how that’s different (in a good way) from what a Western American like him is used to.
From the hero’s journey of Harry Potter to the natural world of seasons and plant life to how all people grow and experience life-change, the pattern of loss & renewal — or, on Jesus’ terms, death & resurrection — shows up again and again in life. Vince take us through examples from his own life, tells us about crying listening to a podcast about Harry Potter, and suggests ways we might find Jesus an incredible companion in the losses we’re experiencing right now.
BLV’s resident counselor and spiritual director, Nader Sahyouni, passes on wisdom — from his own therapy and his practice of therapy with others — about how working with a therapist can be an incredible benefit to our lives and our relationships with God.
This week we learned about and tried our hands at contemplative prayer, from one of the foremost experts on it: Fr. Richard Rohr (in video form). This kind of prayer is not about solving problems, making judgments, answering questions, or processing stresses. It’s about — in Fr. Rohr’s words — “a long, loving look at the Real” of our lives.
What’s the difference between bad authority and good authority? Fake news and journalistic integrity? Misappropriation of the Bible and appropriate use of the Bible? It’s the difference between unquestioned authority and interactive authority. Vince unpacks this difference by looking at some personal stories, an episode from the life of Jesus, and the broad brushstrokes of church history.
In a jumble of plenty of negative experiences with church, there has been a noteworthy thread through Kyle's life of experiences of feeling unconditional loved by something outside of himself. What has that taught him? What can that teach us?
It's hard work emotionally and psychologically to navigate the families we came from and their impact on us personally. Jesus has lots of help.
BLV's Sunday prayer team leader Laura Doo shares her story, and encourages us on the benefits of surrendering (yes, surrendering!) our lives to Jesus