...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Prayed for or Preyed on?

So many are turned off by hypocrites.

It may begin with realizing some who call themselves real Christians are not real people. There is the disappointment that comes with knowing that the ones who use all the right religious words can also be the ones who can cause the most harm and injury to others. That is more serious than just pretense or hypocrisy. I have heard lately about secular employers, as well as churches, letting their employees or staff go, and in an effort to soften the blow and to claim that they are somehow "christian," these same folks who are cutting a person's job will claim they have prayed about the decision, or that they are praying for the soon to be departed.

One word for those who would want to use religious words to sugar coat a painful situation or to cover guilt, or to look good. Please don't do it, even if you happen to be sincere! Don't bring God into the pain of that moment. If you do, you not only injure that person's sense of God, if there was one, but also you can make prayer an instrument of harm. God is not the cause of this action and your referencing God has no place in what may feel like, or may be in reality, being thrown out on the street.

In my opinion, much of what we do in taking God's name in vain is not just ugly or hurtful language (see Exodus 20:7), it is also using God's name to minimize, not to bless others. The CEV reads, "Do not misuse my name." If everytime I hear God and I am manipulated or lied to, then I begin to associate God with being manipulated, lied to, or even abused. So misusing God applies to people who take the name Christian and use it to degrade.

We would be healthier if we just owned it ourselves. Be healthy.

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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