Sunday, December 20, 2009

4th week of Advent Adult Spirituality Group notes

BCUCC Adult Spirituality Group notes: (Sunday, 12/20/09, 4th week of Advent)

9 people attended.

At first we discussed the Bible, Luke 1:39-56:
When 3 months pregnant, Mary sought out an older woman named Elizabeth for assistance & community with Mary's incarnate "real" experience of God.
1. In Spanish, giving birth is called "a dar luz", which means to give light.
2. When Day's sister was pregnant with twins, she was busy with the practical reality of the growing fetuses in her womb. I helped her to give broader attention to her process or birthing the universe.

Later, we discussed the 12/20/09 readings, entitled "Morning with Mary's Song" (p. 52)
1. All of the Old Testament is fairly strictly from a Jewish perspective. The New Testament opens the message for all peoples of the world.
2. Nowadays, the U.S. gives more aid to Israel than anywhere else in the world, which illustrates the strong Jewish influence on us.

Anthony B. Robinson, former Pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church (downtown Seattle), wrote readings for Advent, about the higher law of love.

Respectfully submitted,
Day Murti

Monday, December 14, 2009

BCUCC Adult Spirituality Group Notes 12-13-09:

(Sunday, 12/13/09, third week of Advent)
A. Why do we find it so hard to change even though change is the stasis; change is the norm?
-> We want things better, but often don’t want to give anything up to change. Change isn’t so difficult if we understand the cost/benefit analysis. Envision the positive outcome from the change and be present to the joy of process.

B. What “daring” practices can open us up to change?
-> Move ego out of the closet. Let go of “perfection.” Keep in mind that the goal is to improve something.

C. How to inwardly motivate ourselves to make changes:
“The fruit of silence is prayer, prayer is faith, faith is love, love is service, and service is peace.” - Thea Ward
“It is more important to search than to find – so keep searching.” - Ingrid Fjellander (Day’s grandmother)
“Everything you do or feel has to do with God. Everything you do has consequences....” - Bible

D. How to sustain a flexible outlook:
-> When we change, it opens up too many possibilities. Thus, it’s important to keep stability in life, while undergoing change.
-> Be open and receptive to changes in other people in reunions with them. Respect how they are different just as I am aware of how much I’ve changed over time and in different situations.
-> Be in tune with the joy in the present as it makes one flexible. Practice the discipline of spontaneity to be flexible to making changes.

Change is itself the promise. A point made in “The Bucket List” (movie):
-> At the end of life, Egyptians are asked the following question by God:
“Have you found joy for yourself and have you provided joy for others?”

December 20th Readings

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sunday Adult Spirituality Class Notes 12-6-09

(12 people attended)

In this session, we explored Dan Stern’s question, "Do we enjoy getting ready for Christmas?"

We read December 6 readings, (on p. 38) as grist for discussion, from which we pulled out the following:
1. "Live a life - circumspect & exemplary, a life that is like Jesus."
- Phillipians 1 (Supplemental Readings)
2. "Be prepared, get repaired." - John the Baptist, who was filled with the Holy Spirit.
3. "God's sunrise will break in promise." - Luke, who sets everything in historical context.

The ritual of Christmas preparation can often seem overbearing and cumbersome. We discussed that heavy preparation is not necessary to enjoy the season, but can add in important ways to the season's richness:
1. For Day, spending the day baking with his family is a rewarding bonding experience.
2. Dan Stern clearing his house for guests has become a spiritual practice, making a ginger bread house, e.g.
3. We can learn from participating with children to decorate a Christmas tree as children aren't concerned with a conceived perfect outcome, but are more in the present process.
--To get ready for Christmas truly is a process of being in the present, whether as newly exploring kids or as "good can be better" mature adults. Kids help adults to see through new ideas with flexibility and humor.
--Transformation can be hard, but if one is present and open to the process of learning and inner growing it makes it easier and more meaningful.

"Change is itself the promise. God of transformation, help me to..."
--Are You Still Listening? A Stillspeaking Advent Devotional, by United Church of Christ

FOR NEXT WEEK: Read, Week Dec. 13 (pp. 50 & 44) “

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Adult Spirituality Class Notes 11-29-09

"Tidbits" from Sunday, 11/29/09 meeting:

Today is the first day of Advent, the first day of the new year in the Christian calendar.

For the most part, there is no humor in the Bible.
A summary of Psalm 25 (1-10) -> "We're led by a God who is fair and just."

- How is the Bible a book of hope for humanity? -
* Jesus Christ's birth being on the date of December 25 seems seasonally adjusted for the Northern Hemisphere.  Since the darkest day is December 22, his birth represents the kernel of hope and love for the world.
* The physical time and place of his birth isn't what makes Jesus so important.  His message about the essence and kernel of love is key, not the average of the sum that one does.  How we live matters, both to do and pause in an integrated way yields the greatest positive influence.
--In the book of Daniel in the Bible, the kernel is of hopeful expectation of the oppressed; not just death and despair.

- In summary -
* Be aware of signs of hope as you look all around in this dark time.  The allows one to be fully perceptive of the many complex problems that abound, yet remain lovingly and hopefully constructive.

FOR NEXT WEEK, read through the December 6 readings.”

Sunday Adult Spirituality Group Notes 11-22-09

" Our Adult Spirituality Group will meet Sunday mornings (11/29 -> 12/25/09, from 8:45-9:45 AM) to read, consider, and discuss tangible stories and themes related to Advent that will follow the Lectionary.

We want you to participate!  For next week, the first Sunday of Advent, we'll try to have read the first page of the readings handed out last week by Charles Cressey entitled, "Sign of Things to Come".  We'll help each other negotiate these concepts by telling how we're each acting on our framing stories.  To help prepare for this discussion, we'll think though how our homes are imbued with our life narrative guiding symbols of the media.  Here is an opportunity for show and tell!  Please bring some objects or concepts. "