...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, October 21, 2013

Mask- Dropping and Our Spiritual Self

What a wonder that God knows us- and loves us!
Jesus seemed to know what motivates human beings. His insights are all over the four Gospels: "Be careful that you don’t practice your religion in front of people to draw their attention...don’t blow your trumpet as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets so that they may get praise from people. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get...Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you." from Matt. 6:1-5 (CEB) 

The Father's reward is more life, love, light. Clergy of all kinds are at risk of gaining the recognition, praise, adulation, "to be seen" in our nice garb, by many thousands, on cable, on the networks, at the cost of what we need most: seeking and receiving God's presence in the secret place.

Part of what draws me to Matthew is the sense of caution and warning it contains from Jesus for those who want to be right, mainline, conformist, and those who want to be considered properly religious. These are things that are important for those who want to be seen, to be praised. After all, how can Levi, the tax collector, really be a follower of Jesus? What right does he have to have a Gospel named after him? 

Nowhere does Jesus indicate that numbers, huge or otherwise, is a way to evaluate his mission, his work, or his person. Nor yours or mine. We confuse and distract when we replace dashboards of results with the cause of movement and transformation.  Instead, following Jesus begins and ends with what moves us. And what empowers us first works in us because of the life, love, light that the Father gives! 

That gift is found in the secret place, not with any words spoken in public- in the spotlights of arenas and sanctuaries. Unlike your latest shred of favorable data for corporate success, it's treasure that cannot decay, nor be stolen. (Matt. 6:21) 

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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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If you want a formula for making the best of the less-than-perfect and making the most of what you have been given, then begin to compare your lot to what you were before you were born, and it will empower you with wonder every time. John Claypool

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