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Showing posts from January, 2014

Wheeler Avenue Baptist Reviewed

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Located in the Third Ward of Houston, and adjacent to both the main campus of University of Houston and Texas Southern,  Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church's worship is an experience of infusion with joy. I visited this vibrant church at a recent 1:00 PM Sunday worship. It was upon the invitation of the Lawson family, and Bill Lawson, who, as pastor, founded this church in 1960's.
 Wheeler Avenue has four services that run pretty close together, and there seemed to be real efficiency in getting folks in and out of the parking lot and main building. Upon driving in, I was greeted and told to hang out in my car, and a space would open soon, and it did. As I made my way up to the main entrance, I was guided to the real entrance, where I waited in line for a short time before going into the sanctuary. 
I was one of the very few over 50 in this gathering of mostly African Americans under 40, and many were in the 20's.  A few  parents brought their young children with them. The t…

The Fun Sin

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“Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back--in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.”  Fritz Buechner

At some point, the pendulum swings on anger. It's when anger ceases to be fun. I remember one friend saying to me, "I'm just tired of being angry." There's energy depletion, exhaustion, depression, fatigue. 
Is it when you realize the toll it takes on your mind, body, and spirit? The Big Book mentions painful "resentment" or "being burned up" as not only very destructive to spiritual health, but the number one offender in drinking again.
The physical costs are well documented i…

Will my healing ever be finished?

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I'm indebted to mentor and friend, Dr. Elaine Heath, who has given survivors of abuse and those who help them a framework for healing that is based in reality, and not denial. When we deny reality, we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit.
Some of the expectations for recovery are unreal, implying that "getting over it," or "moving on" or forgetting the past is even possible, much less  advisable. Abuse is one of those traumas from which psychological closure is simply not the same as healing and spiritual wholeness. 
What Heath says about recovery from sexual abuse, I find to be instructive about survivors of abuse of all kinds, that survivors' own experiences set the framework instead of some other agenda: Recovery [from sexual abuse] is a gradual, spiraling journey, one in which we heal from a memory or a consequence, then circle around, and when our souls are ready, heal again at a deeper level. Our healing brings us freedom and compassio…

Epiphanies

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God's life is in us, but we hinder the movement. What of the gifts and people that are already in our lives?  They, too can be epiphanies for us.

As surely as God is in the waters of our baptism and in the bread and cup, so God is engraved on each proton of this space we inhabit- and share:


And truly, I reiterate, nothing’s small!
No lily-muffled hum of a summer-bee,
But finds some coupling with the spinning stars;
No pebble at your foot, but proves a sphere;
No chaffinch, but implies the cherubim;
And (glancing on my own thin, vein├Ęd wrist),
In such a little tremor of the blood
The whole strong clamour of a vehement soul
Doth utter itself distinct. Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware
More and more from the first similitude.

from "Aurora Leigh," Elizabeth Barrett Browning