HERE are our final four voices!
Part 1 First 4 of our 12 responses
Part 2 Respones 5 to 8
Interview McLaren & Richard Rohr
AT ReadTheSpirit, we’re seeing fascinating patterns and connections among all 12 reader responses this week. Can you see the connections in these responses? Think about asking your small group to consider these voices along with you.
Remembering. I’d say the biggest spiritual challenge for me is remembering who I am and whose I am. Mother, wife, pastor, daughter-in-law, sister, American, Presbyterian, White, Privileged, Preacher, Teacher—and one of God’s creations. So often I am attempting to fulfill my perceptions of what is expected of me in those various roles that I forget who I am. Not often enough, I remember that I was God-created and loved. Then I drift off into working out my divine purpose and forget who I am again.
Remembering. I rarely remember to “be here now.” So often I am planning ahead about what I still need to get done and even as I do that, I’m already guilting myself about what I’ve left undone, who I’ve disappointed, and what other signpost I have erected on my road paved with good intentions leading to hell. That’s about the time when I think about how “I should pray” more often or more regularly and then to escape myself, I’ll find something to read.
Remembering. Mostly, I need to remember how to pray. Sometimes it feels like every breath is a prayer to get through the day, or not often enough, there’s a sharp intake of breath as I see God—in nature or in others.
By the Rev. Diane Hoppe Hugo of Mid-Coast Presbyterian Church in Maine. She writes: “In addition to being Pastor, I am Mom to 14-year-old Tad and 10-year-old Maggie.”
SPIRITUAL CHALLENGE: HOLDING FAITH IN EACH COMPLEX MOMENT
The biggest spiritual challenge for me is remembering it is not all about me, while remembering, indeed, that I am a child of God. How do I hold these two? It is quite easy for me to forget one or the other from moment to moment. Without both, however, I am unbalanced and lost.
I can do nothing on my own. I do not even know how I am able to know anything, to breathe, to think, to act. I just do these things without effort, most of the time. My consciousness comprehends so little.
At the same time, I must try to do what I can, to the best that I can. Each of us will die one day. And yet, I feel the need to work to become better, to help others, to learn. Why? I don’t know. But I am so grateful for that need and for the beauty, the anguish, the complexity, the fact of our collective existence on earth.
In all, the biggest spiritual challenge for me is to remember God within each moment, no matter how ridiculous or glorious the situation.
Robin Anderson “just completed the M.Div. degree at the Earlham School of Religion. A lifelong Quaker, she lives (and swelters) in Austin, Texas.”
SPIRITUAL CHALLENGE: PRAY WITHOUT CEASING
Oh, if I could pray without ceasing,
If I could stay in an attitude of connection with Creator always,
Then I would be a continual blessing to others,
And be set free to Love, Trust, and wait.
Cindy Moorhouse Fischer of Coronado, California, describes herself this way: “After teaching Sunday school and youth groups for decades, sage-burning, contemplative, dancing-yogini with 4 sons who are filmmakers, musicians, and even a cosmetologist is spreading her wings and learning to be a fitness trainer, biofeedback student, and maybe a yoga-for-everybody instructor. Oh, I play the flute and love my Bunny (who is a rabbit.).”
SPIRITUAL CHALLENGE: ‘CHALLENGE’ OVERLOAD!
What’s the biggest spiritual challenge in my daily life? To have no challenges! Years ago, I began to consider the publishing industry, and while many a book offers sane counsel and good advice, and sometimes even the gospel, most of what pass as “best sellers” are premised on meeting artificially identified “challenges.”
I am not critiquing McClaren’s latest book, but I am responding to the question. In a nutshell, I have come to realize, with a calm and certain assurance, that Jesus has fixed the Father’s love on my life, and there’s nothing that can break that bond of love, in this life, or in the life to come.
With that said, I enjoy daily life and bear the burdens of the day with equal acceptance, neither condemning myself for burdens, nor congratulating myself for the joys, with no deficit-assessments of current spiritual practices and life.
Life is life is life, with all the poetry of Ecclesiastes’ “there is a time….” Much like a rollercoaster, the highs and lows are the same ride—and one can only ride all of it to reach the end.
Prayer, reading, contemplation, writing, loving and laughing, fretting about my son in Africa or enjoying a slice of pizza with my spouse—it’s all part and parcel of the reality of life, and like most human beings, if not all, I’m doing the best I can in any given moment, relying upon the grace that chose me, and chooses me again and again.
Life is such that I see and hear each day, read Scripture and sing hymns—all of this drifting around in my spirit, under the careful, and mostly anonymous hand of God. The challenge, then, is to avoid the culturally induced “challenges” that might otherwise send me out frantically buying the latest device or book to help me meet the latest “need.”
Tom Eggebeen of California was the subject of the single most widely read story that appeared in ReadTheSpirit in 2010.
CHECK OUT our in-depth interview with both Brian McLaren and Franciscan spiritual teacher Richard Rohr about the spiritual challenges—and gifts—of aging.
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Originally published at readthespirit.com, an online journal covering religion and cultural diversity.