...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

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Visual Violence Reflection

After seeing two current films, I'd have to say, wow, I'm impressed with the level, intensity, and regularity of violence and killing and gore. Most of us are rightly concerned as parents when it comes to exposing our kids to needless violence, regardless of the media, but here, I'm wondering about the harm it may cause adults!

I expected a heavy dose of it when I went to see The Punisher with my college-aged son- it was his choice. And , of course, the title is a warning. While the plot was comic book quality, the actual violence exceeded the war epic, The 300. Is it because the technology can do so many more things or just that we are immune -or addicted- to so much destruction and killing and harm? A reflection of real life? I don't think so!

I'm not judging anyone because I was the one who suggested that my wife and I see "Quantum of Solace," remembering how we had enjoyed James Bond movies of yesteryear. With James Bond as our control, current movies are on steroids in terms of visual violence and glory gory killing. Enjoy the race scenes as always, but learn how and when to close your eyes!

I think video games have, in part, gotten us to where we are. Is it the price of progress? Better special effects and the "wow" or rush value traded off for something that is killed inside of us, like living with less violence and spiritual sensitivities like compassion?

Maybe this is all just a taste issue, or some olders like me being a little too serious. As The Godfather or The Matrix or Star Wars are some of my favorites, I admit that they are far from harmless. But is this what I really want my spirit and my world to absorb??

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tribute to a Friend

Thanks to Sr. Mary Dennison, the Founder and Director of the Spiritual Direction Institute at the Cenacle Retreat House in Houston.
  • Who, on the threshold of a sabbatical, has shared her wonderful gift of listening and empathy, of clarity and intellect to everyone she encounters
  • Who, in welcoming and accepting others, frees their gifts for joyful service and love
  • Who first told me that my love of reading and study was not weird but a valid spiritual discipline and tool for prayer and growth
  • Whose dedication and joy in her ministry these many years is not only beautiful but smart and contagious
  • Whose Midwestern spunk, good humor, and patience always brings fresh air to the seriousness and judgment of our Bible belt religion
  • Whose permission-giving, thought-provoking, and authority questioning gave me the freedom to rethink, discern, and repent
  • Who tells the stories of saints and martyrs with reverence as well as friendliness
  • You have embodied in the classroom and beyond the ideals of my spiritual heritage: "First do no harm, practice doing all the good you can, and stay in love with God."
  • Thank you, friend and sister in the Lord, for all you have done for me and for the church we share in Jesus.
  • Thank you for inviting me into this safe and healing place, and for all your encouragement in the SDI, in spiritual direction, and as a pastor!
We in the SDI third year are deeply grateful for your bringing us together! What a wonderful gift you have given the church and our city! May your sabbatical be filled with hope and rest and light and life.

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Why Clergyspirit?

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Houston, Texas, United States
Welcome! I serve Chapelwood, a United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas. Clergy are frequently present for others, but no one can offer what we don't have.. That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the 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

Making Good Decisions

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