...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

Monday, February 16, 2009

More Empty Platitudes

In yesterday's sermon on Avoiding Spiritual Relapse (Matthew 12:43-45), I mentioned some of the results of non-reflective living, one being repeating empty platitudes that may do more harm than any possible good.

I meant to add: "There but the grace of God go I!" If we say this knowingly, we betray how puny our experience and understanding really is. To say we have the grace of God because we avoided some sort of suffering or evil or misap and someone else does not have God's grace because they didn't escape trouble is what that platitude really means.

Spoken vacuums can be avoided if we looked at the meaning of what we're saying before we say it. If we repeat garbage that we have heard without thinking about it, that's just as bad. Then we misprepresent our experience and understanding.

Keep in mind that we've all spoken stuff and heard stuff we shouldn't have. Other empty platitudes (stuff we don't reflect on):
  • "God won't give you anything that you can't handle." OK when speaking for yourself, but not generally helpful when trying it out on others. Speak for thyself.
  • "You'll get over it." It depends on what the "it" is. Often this is preceeded by "You're young..." Just think the trouble we would get into when we preceeded empty sayings with "Your old..."
  • Worn out: "My bad," "Not a problem," "Hard-wired," and any hyphenation with "driven." Driven as adjective is badly shop-worn.

Happy P-Day!

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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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