Saturday, September 21, 2013

I'm making a note that I've taken a sabbatical from the Adult Spirituality Group while you folks read the current book. Please let me know when you finish and what books you plan to read next.

Just as I have found taking notes of and reflecting upon our group discussions of great help to remember and consolidate the scintillating gems into my life, I can recommend the process for others.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Adult Spirituality Group notes

Pastor Dan noted, "The author is right now trying to explore different prayer modalities, how many ways there are to come to God."  For example, in response to our earlier request, Thea offered to the group her heart reflections, What Prayer Means to Me, from a lifetime of refinement of prayer practice:
"Prayer is a habit of awareness; a joy of praise and gratitude; warm communication with God; is meant to be part of our lives like breathing, thinking, and talking; a joyous meeting with God; an uplifting experience of spiritual nature; the love of God and fellow man; is love; active work on God's side; moves God; fulfillment and enrichment; happy habit of companionship, and compassion.  Prayer is the soul's sincere desire and need; connecting with an embracing spirit that fills you completely with a better you."
This led into a rich talk about the nature of God, that one's trying to relate to.  How is communicating to God different than speaking with a psychological therapist?  How is God part of my essential self, versus, how is God another like a counselor?  How is prayer cognitively active problem solving & dialogue, versus, how is it lowering the volume of the surrounding static through silent bonding & merging?
For next week, read Chapter 5 (p. 56-69), which will end the first section of the book, "Keeping Company With God".  Also, please try to set aside a time/space for a nugget of concentrated alone time with prayer. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

What an inspiring spring light brightened our church service through our windows today!  It provided perfect context for Pastor Dan's sermon, entitled Earth-Friendly Conversion.  When he was growing up, one of his favorite parts of the Bible was the "Book of Acts".  He inquires of us personally -> "Have we heard God's call this week?"

You can participate to help our church reach three goals.  To get started, please check out the United Church of Christ website - that is entitled "For One Earth: 50 Great Days | April 1 - May 19".  It gives inspiring and practical creative suggestions for Planet Earth during 50 great days of greening up, powering down, and shouting out.  It also gives a way to log one's Earth-Friendly Conversion hours, trees, and advocacy letters. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Adult Spirituality Group notes, 4/7/2013

This week, we all shared our initial hopes what we'll get out of the book Prayer-Does it make any difference?, which we've started to dive into:

We could generally agree that prayer is spending time practicing the relationship with God, more than any particular set of practices.  Participation in our group will help us to articulate, what is otherwise private prayer.  Some feel natural praying, whereas others desire to further develop this habit of attention.  We all expressed openness and interest in the group's feedback and to explore some tools & techniques.  This will help us pray more consciously and productively. 

In prayer, often we're looking for something, beyond merely accepting the muddle of good & bad of our present private moments.  We're supposed to live up to some standards in life. Inquiring within is a way to imbibe divine feedback and stretch beyond, to try to imagine the bigger picture. 

In Psalm 46:10 is written, "Be still and know that I am God."  Sometimes, prayer is not a verbal conversation asking for our selves & dealing with our perceptions at all, but coming back to center to revere God's magnificence and trans-personal plans.  The Bible New Testament also says to pray without ceasing.  This means that prayer is not only through language.  The "wow" part of prayer is through contemplative praise and gratitude.

For next Sunday:  We will be wading through Chapter 3 (p. 30-43).  You are welcome to join our conversation at any time!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Adult Spirituality Group notes, 3/31/2013

We're reading a new book, entitled Prayer: Does it make any difference? (2006), by Philip Yancey.  I transcribe from the back cover -->


"In his most powerful book since What's So Amazing About Grace? and The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey probes the very heartbeat--the most fundamental, challenging, perplexing, and deeply rewarding aspect--of our relationship with God.
Does prayer work?  More personally, does it work the way we think it should?  What can we really expect from prayer?
Written by one of the most significant Christian thinkers of our generation, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? explores the questions surrounding prayer that many of us wonder but few of us know how to express."

As we start the book, the group had some fun trying to throw out terms to describe the body/mind psychology in prayer -->
"Prayer is being openly receptive. Echoing. Serenity. Coming back to center. Going deeper.  Getting cleansed from inside and out by inundating oneself in the 'water' (a place of solitude, warmth, & freedom).  Prayer brings expansive feelings.  It's like paying attention to the flow of a river to become aware of the timeless present moment."

FOR NEXT WEEK:  Please read Chapter 2 and contemplate to discuss, "What is it we are hoping to get from this book?"