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The Spiral of Violence
The Spiral of Violence

Struggling with Christianity: Weekly Summary

Saturday, May 28, 2022

If Jesus himself says the church is falling into ruin, I guess we can admit it also without being accused of being negative or unbelieving. Maybe we have to admit it for anything new and good to happen. —Richard Rohr

To state the obvious: Jesus never tortured or killed or ruined the life of anyone, but the same cannot be said for the religion that claims to follow him. —Brian McLaren

Was Jesus a fool to keep faith through his dying breath, to translate his feeling of forsakenness into a prayer? Was he a fool to think that the legacy of the prophets, the legacy of his cousin John, and the legacy of his mother, Mary, were worth staying for?
—Brian McLaren

Today many people talk a lot about people leaving churches, giving up on Christianity, and rejecting Jesus. In reality, they have given up on the white supremacist brand of Christianity that cares more about power than Jesus. —Danté Stewart

Whatever happens, I hope none of us will ever forget the Jesus we have met in our own lives who has been with us in fear and confusion and loss, in forced isolation and the surprising moments of joy, and through the ministrations of our shared human priesthood. —Diana Butler Bass

Whatever you choose to call yourself, Christian or not, I hope you will aspire to be a humble human being . . . religiously. Religiously, as I’m using the term, means with a sense of the sacredness of everything and a commitment to reconsecrate everything.
—Brian McLaren

The Shining Word “And”

Father Richard offers a contemplative practice of embracing “and.” We encourage you to read these words slowly, allowing for a “both-and” space to emerge within:

“And” teaches us to say yes

“And” allows us to be both-and

“And” keeps us from either-or

“And” teaches us to be patient and long suffering

“And” is willing to wait for insight and integration

“And” keeps us from dualistic thinking

“And” does not divide the field of the moment

“And” helps us to live in the always imperfect now

“And” keeps us inclusive and compassionate toward everything

“And” insists that our action is also contemplative

“And” heals our racism, sexism, heterosexism, and classism

“And” allows us to critique both sides of things

“And” allows us to enjoy both sides of things

“And” is far beyond any one nation or political party

“And” helps us face and accept our own shadow side

“And” allows us to ask for forgiveness and to apologize

“And” is the mystery of the paradox in all things

“And” is the way of mercy

“And” makes daily, practical love possible

“And” does not trust love if it is not also justice

“And” does not trust justice if it is not also love

“And” is far beyond my religion versus your religion

“And” allows us to be both distinct and yet united “And” is the very Mystery of Trinity

Experience a version of this practice through video and sound.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (New York: Crossroad Publishing, 2009), 180–181.

Explore Further. . .

Image credit: Chaokun Wang, 墙 wall (detail), 2020, photograph, China, Creative Commons. Yoichi R. Okamoto, Munich’s Large and Beautiful Fussgangerzone (detail), 1973, photograph, Munich, Public Domain. Chaokun Wang, 树 tree (detail), 2019, photograph, Qufu, Creative Commons. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge the image.

This week’s images appear in a form inspired by early Christian/Catholic triptych art: a threefold form that tells a unified story. 

Image inspiration: Sometimes the wall cracks or the tree dies. We ponder and question what we profess to believe. It’s a healthy practice that undergirds a maturing faith.

Prayer for our community:

God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough,  because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Listen to the prayer.

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This year’s theme

A candle being lit

Radical Resilience

We live in a world on fire. This year the Daily Meditations will explore contemplation as a way to build Radical Resilience so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or burning out. The path ahead may be challenging, but we can walk it together.

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Our theme this year is Radical Resilience. How do we tend our inner flame so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or out? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.