Sunday, January 10, 2010

BCUCC Adult Spirituality Group Notes (1/10/10)

Our next reading is Common Grace, by Anthony B. Robinson, minister at Plymouth UCC and former writer of a weekly column for the Seattle P-I newspaper. (See the book's description at Amazon - .)
**Charles had passed out copies of the first chapter as he's having trouble ordering the book so far via Until he obtains books for the group, he'll continue to pass out copies of upcoming chapters we're to read.

Discussion Gems:
1. Practically, an unexamined faith doesn't exist. We must realize our faith through conscious questioning.
2. In the Old Testament, there are dramatic stories of God's active interventions in external events, such as when he parted the sea for Jews escaping from Egypt. Jesus preached the more subtle powerful ways that God intervenes in the affairs of man -> through his heart.
E.G. - Giselle brought up a traumatic experience when it hailed ruining her 700 acres of wheat fields in Nebraska. As a result, she learned that when you pray, you get the strength to be able to live through hardships.
3. When we pray, we normally expect results. The ego is the chooser, based on all influences. It is important as an element of God to keep "Heart Up", to consciously be a channel for God's varied works and love. We ought to have thanks in prayer, not just ask, if we have Jesus' higher vision that God has the whole of creation in mind, justice, and heart.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

BCUCC Adult Spirituality Group notes (Sunday, 1/3/10, 6th week of Advent)

BCUCC Adult Spirituality Group notes: (Sunday, 1/3/10, 6th week of Advent)

(9 people attended)

Reading : "Close to God's Heart" Focus Scripture: John 1:(1-9), 10-18

Two spiritual concepts were brought up:
1. The rich bounty of our Adult Spirituality Group’s discussion reminded Pastor Dan of his collegiate discussions with his mentors about the eternal nature of Grace upon Grace embodied in Jesus. In recent times, whirlwinds of thought have surrounded theological debates about the Scandal of Particularity. How could it be that a single individual man (Jesus) could be the savior for all men?
2. A related word, “Panentheism” was also brought up for discussion. Panentheism is a constructed word composed of the English equivalents of the Greek terms “pan”, meaning all, “en”, meaning in, and “theism”, meaning God. Panentheism understands God and the world to be inter-related with the world being in God and God being in the world. It offers an increasingly popular alternative to traditional theism and pantheism. Panentheism seeks to avoid both isolating God from the world as traditional theism often does and identifying God with the world as pantheism does. Traditional theistic systems emphasize the difference between God and the world while panentheism stresses God's active presence in the world. Pantheism emphasizes God's presence in the world but panentheism maintains the identity and significance of the non-divine. Anticipations of panentheistic understandings of God have occurred in both philosophical and theological writings throughout history (Hartshorne and Reese 1953; Cooper, 2006). However, a rich diversity of panentheistic understandings has developed in the past two centuries primarily in Christian traditions responding to scientific thought (Clayton and Peacocke 2004).

** Pastor Dan has not resolved this discussion in his entire lifetime. Instead, he has chosen to focus on Jesus as his beam to find God.

Dan noted that Catholics focus a lot on the Holy Spirit as that is what lives. Tuning into Grace is turning down our personal “volume”. It is making God’s reality conscious, not just living on habit and non-purposeful delusions. Grace isn’t what most people think. Grace is a higher wisdom to face and cope what one is facing. True wisdom to face and cope with what we are facing. Supplicating to God in prayer is to center and “let go and let God.”

I was enthralled by the group’s discussion! :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Adult Sprituality Group Advent notes, 12/27/09

BCUCC Adult Spirituality Group notes: (Sunday, 12/27/09, 5th week of Advent)

13 people attended.

Reading:"Who is this child? Luke 2:41-52 (Focus Scripture)

From God, mother Mary knew before Jesus' birth that Jesus was special.

It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a world to raise a God man such as Jesus! At age 12, Jesus argued with church authorities, just as nowadays teenagers first develop our own perspectives and self understandings by acquiring new experience and speaking out.
--Day's father, Ajit Murti, noted that there is little information about Jesus until the 3-4 years before his death at age 33. Among Indian & Western scholars, it is believed that Jesus came to India sometime between age 12 and 29 to acquire knowledge and develop as person.

Jane Whitmer goes to church weekly for spiritual focus. Everyday life chips away at one's spiritual confidence.

Charles Cressey highlighted the Colossians reading as a nice summary of the Advent season, because it puts the focus again on the heart.
-- "...And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's you basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it." (Colossians 3:12-17, by Paul)

NEXT WEEK (Jan 3, 2010), the last Advent reading, "Close to God's Heart" will be discussed. The focus scripture is John 1: (1-9), 10-18.