June 20, 2014
One of my favorite things to do on summer vacation used to be hitting an amusement park. I loved the roller coasters that looped and corkscrewed and turned me upside down. The forces and the the velocity-charged changes in perspective was the attraction. However, my age and the accompanying fact that the function of my inner ear balance mechanism is apparently fossilizing keeps me from riding these coasters 5 or 6 times in a row like I used to growing up.
Nevertheless, I do still enjoy being turned upside down by a writer, theologian, dramatist, or artist who dramatically changes my perspective. As together we read through our summer congregational book, How Can I Find God, I wanted to point out the perspective-changing offering of Stanley Hauerwas which appears roughly half way through the book, on page 75 and 76. Hauerwas, is a Christian ethicist, author, and professor at the Divinity School of Duke University where our own Amy Grizzle-Kane studied with him. He turns the book’s central question around writing that “God is not easily found because we cannot ‘find’ that which is so near to us as our next breath…”
He asks if perhaps the better question therefore is, “What do I do now that God has found me?”
He goes on to teach that one can fully discover that God has already found them by seeking out a person who is an adept follower of Christ, writing that such apprenticeships are readily available by simply going and getting involved at a local church. So, even as you are away this summer, stay close to your church home and your co-followers of Christ. And if you are nearby this summer, come to church, where you will discover how near God already is as you worship each Sunday. As Professor Hauerwas puts it, “…nothing can be more important than simply turning up and placing one’s self amidst people who are praying to and praising the One know as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
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Posted by jenngribble
June 9, 2014
Sister Helen Prejean answers the question in our summer book, How Can I Find God? and writes how she finds God in the faces of the poor and struggling people of the world. She has spent a lifetime serving the least of these and her service has evolved into a special passion for persons on death row and in prison and their families. Guilty or not guilty, it’s not for her to say. It’s her calling to love no matter what.
I have read her book, Dead Man Walking, and I have heard her speak here in Houston. She is truly a phenomenal woman of God’s grace and strength. I think sometimes our temptation is to almost immediately say, “well, I could never do that, so how will I find God if that’s how she did it?”
As we read through this book this summer, we might all have moments where we say, “Well, I’ve never experienced God that way” and it’s important to remember that’s ok.
Even Sister Prejean says, “I can’t function if I don’t have that sense of being at the center of myself and in the soul of my soul, so that I am truly operating from the inside out.”
She reminds us that each of us is created in the image of God and each of us has a gift and a passion that God gives us. Perhaps in finding that and staying true to who each of us is as a child of God (operating from the inside out) is part of the journey of “finding” our God, who is, actually, always present.
Do you find you have a sense of wholeness, a centeredness in God, when you operate from the inside out? What does that mean to you?
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Posted by jenngribble