December 14 , 2007
Scripture: Luke 1:46-55
We noticed the goodness of God. God cares for the poor, lowly, and hungry.
We noticed the struggle between God’s way and the world’s way. Do you feed the poor or do you become more rich and powerful? We seem to get sucked into focusing on wealth and power and comfort, which contributes to ongoing and worsening poverty and powerlessness for most of the world. Sadly, even the church promotes this way of living.
We noticed God’s mercy on those who fear him. Following God applies to both the rich and poor. When the rich follow God their lives will be changed. When the poor follow God their life will be changed. Mary’s life is changed when she follows God. We make this decision to follow God over and over and over again throughout each day.
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November 30, 2007
Scripture: Isaiah 40:27-31
"Do you not know? Have you not heard?” ~ We all have experiences of God but we don’t always recognize those experiences. We over look them or we’re too busy or we forget and then we believe God is hidden or asleep or not concerned.
We need this proclamation at times. We need someone to yell out “Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard?” Kids seem to know what we adults over look. They notice God when God isn’t very obvious to us. In the movie Family Man the little girl knew that the man pretending to be her dad really wasn’t her dad. No one else catches on but she knows. It’s always good to be reminded.
“Eagles” ~ A story was shared of God’s comforting presence being confirmed by a number of eagle sightings. What’s interesting is that I just saw two eagles between our MICAH meeting and my typing this. “Wait” ~ Waiting seems to bring this passage together. Intentionally sitting and waiting and giving up our agenda, our ideas of what is good or better, our answers, our attachment to a certain outcome, etc. seems foolish to the world. But in the Kingdom of God this waiting is what the spiritual life is about.
“Renew” ~ What does this really mean? The Bible is all about the weak getting stronger not the strong getting stronger. There is a sense that when we wait we find that we are uplifted, sustained, and nourished. And this soaring on eagle’s wings and running and not getting weary is more power and lasting than the power of the worldly “young and rich.”
November 9, 2007
Scripture: Mark 10:46-52
This morning we noticed the words “arise” and “call.” One person at the MICAH meeting has this sense of being called to something but they’re not exactly sure what it is, and they’re not honestly sure if they are up to it. There is a feeling of resistance sometimes when Christ calls. Are we up to the resurrected life? Sometimes we become too comfortable in our blindness.
“Your faith has saved you” stood out to us. This is such a mysterious statement because we tend to say that God saves us or that Jesus is the one doing the saving action however Jesus says to a number of people in the Gospels, “Your faith has saved you.” There is this sense of learning to partner with God, or work with God. God doesn’t control us and we don’t live independently of God, there is a collaboration of the divine and the human. God chooses to work with us seeping into our lives. The Spiritual life is learning about and recognizing and living within this partnership with God. There is a strange sense that if we just engage with God then it starts to work. Faith is that act of engaging.
“Blindness.” We are all fallen, blind people and it seems we are getting more and more blind to God. The disciples seem very fickle when one moment they tell Bartimaeous to shut up and the next moment they’re telling him to get up because it’s his lucky day. We toss something aside but when this thing we threw away becomes popular or successful we change our mind and embrace it.
For the business part of our MICAH meeting we discussed the Health and Spirituality Program and are adding the finishing touches. We also talked about the abbreviated MICAH building. Dan showed us some design ideas. Dan spoke about the good retreat he had in Oregon. This coming week he will have another retreat in Minot, North Dakota.
November 1, 2007
Scripture: Luke 5:4-11
Our MICAH meeting opened as usual with a check in time to see how everyone was and then with Lectio Divina (scripture prayer). Typically during Lection Divina a passage from Scripture is read twice, we then enter a time of prayerful silence to listen and consider what God is bringing to our attention, then we share our thoughts. This morning our passage was Luke 5:4-11 and the following is what we noticed.
It is encouraging that God uses imperfect people. Peter seems to realize his imperfection when he says, “Depart from me.” At the same time it’s discouraging to notice how often imperfect people are shunned by the church. Why is it so hard for us to accept others? Why do institutions reject people rather than accept them? Why do ‘Godly’ people tend to tell the bad news rather than the good news?
Jesus has no problem getting ‘out of the box.’ Here he is fishing at daylight instead of at night. This is just one of many example of Jesus being unafraid to break tradition and live in an unorthodox way.
We sense the courage of the band of disciples to try one more time even though they ‘know’ they’re not going to catch anything. Even with their fishing buddies watching they throw out the nets at the advice of a carpenter. From this we sense the power of community.
God gets our attention in varied circumstances and ways. Sometimes it’s natural, sometimes it’s supernatural, sometimes, like this story, it’s the two combined. What would we see if we just looked, observed, watched?
For the business part of our MICAH meeting we went over our Health and Spirituality Program. Jo is working on putting the program information on the web site. Dan is leaving for Oregon Friday through Tuesday to lead a retreat.
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October 26, 2007
Scripture: Jeremiah 1:4-8
But the Lord said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a child.'"
God can do anything in our lives. Sometimes we feel something cannot be accomplished because of our lack insight, education, strength, resources, etc. This phrase is a reminder that with God we have no excuses. God helps us to accomplish what we cannot accomplish on our own.
God creates us with purpose and validation. There is a wonderful sense that we have all been consecrated. Sometimes various forces in life prevent us from experiencing that sense of consecration. Poverty is one force that is a roadblock for many people. Does poverty keep people from living out their purpose? What can we do to end poverty?
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you"
God is the One who knows what will happen before it happens. Just like prophets in the OT knew things that were about to happen before they happened we also at times experience a deep sense of knowing something before it is real. What is happening? God is speaking to our lives continually. It¹s important to seek out God¹s presence and keep in touch with God.
"Do not be afraid"
The fear of speech is one of the most common fears we have. Confrontational speech, truthful speech, deep sharing, etc. is prophetic speech. There is an idea that prophets were special little groups of people centuries ago but we are all prophets in a sense. When we believe we are not prophets we let ourselves off the hook to speak the truth to others. We are all given the gift of speaking truth, speaking deep, speaking confrontationally, speaking prophetically. We don¹t have to be afraid.
October 18, 2007
Scripture: Romans 4:13-17
We were glad to welcome Paul from Minneapolis to our MICAH meeting this morning. After our initial check in, Dan read Romans 5:13-17.
We noticed the connection of faith and discernment with the life of MICAH. The word ‘law’ reminded us of all the details of the new building we’re considering while the word "faith" reminded us of the building itself or the overall project. Another analogy was with health and spirituality. The law correlates to the basic sciences and the physiology of health but faith relates to the natural therapies and the spiritual side of health and healing.
The phrase “where there’s no law there’s no transgression” caught our attention. What does that really mean? If we have tons of laws to help us to live moral lives will we be moral? When we live as Christ do we really need laws? We were reminded of the movie K-Pax when he said “No laws, no lawyers.” The boundless grace given to us is hard to accept. There is a powerful liberation that comes with grace.
“God calls into being that which does not exist” was a reminder of the creation account in Genesis.
“Inherit the world” brought to our attention the care of the earth and how one might live and think if they believed God had given the earth to them as a gift.
For the business part of our meeting we discussed the Health and Spirituality yearlong program and our kick off date of Nov. 1. We also discussed the estimate we received of the building project, which was far more than we were first told.
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September 28, 2007
In this passage we noticed our need to simply pay attention to God and Jesus. There are a lot of details in this story as well as in our lives. These details are interesting but also distracting. What everyone is really looking for is Christ. No matter what one believes or doesn’t believe all of humanity has a desire to connect with the source of life.
Jesus of Nazareth was an actual historical person who existed two thousands years ago. It is encouraging to know Jesus is still with us today as “Jesus of Turtle River” or “Jesus of Crookston.” When are the times we remember glimpsing Christ, being aware of God’s presence, making momentary but profound connection?
When Jesus said, “I am he” they fell to the ground, which seems to be a metaphor for us today. When we are free to stand up to evil and be our authentic selves evil cannot stand against us. This falling down of the evil forces of the world may be visible to us or it may be invisible but we can be assured that evil will not win.
For the business part of our meeting we discussed a retreat we’re hosting next weekend and the progress of recruiting an acupuncturist. We also continued to revise and discuss the Health and Spirituality Program.
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September 20, 2007
Scripture: Mark 7:1-8
This morning we were glad to welcome Kevin Olson to our meeting. Kevin is on retreat while at MICAH.
The word gathered caught our attention. The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law gathered around Jesus not to listen to him or learn from him or to build relationships with him but they gathered to grumble. Gathering is important. But why gather in the first place if grumbling or complaining or tearing down in on the agenda?
Traditions caught our attention. Traditions can be good, even gifts from God to help us on our spiritual journey. But there is a sense of bondage in traditions. They often gain an amazing amount of power over us. Why are traditions traded in for the heart of the matter?
Washing of hands caught our attention. Washing your hands is good especially in ancient times. To the people hearing this first hand Jesus' words must have seemed completely unreasonable. But maybe Jesus was teaching nonattachment. Maybe he was helping them draw closer to God by giving up their traditions. Traditions don't bring us closer to God but we think they do. We believe following little formulas or lists somehow makes us holy. We begin to rely on how carefully we follow man made lists. Traditions like "never miss Sunday school" or "don't cuss" or "don't work on Sunday" become our measure of faith and thus they become our faith. What would happen if we held our traditions lightly? What would happen if all our traditions vanished?
For the business part of our meeting we discussed the Health and
Spirituality yearlong program.
September 14 , 2007
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
We began our MICAH meeting as usual with check in to see how everyone has been doing. After a few minutes of sharing Dan read the Corinthians passage two times. We then spent time in silent reflection. Here's what we became aware of:
God's grace in our lives
That God moves the mountains of foolishness in this world
Our need to trust in God
Worldly wisdom creeps into the church
Formulas don't tell us about God
The poor state of affairs of our world
The power of God
We continue to discuss detail of the Health and Spirituality year long membership with hopes to kick off the program later this year.
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August 24, 2007
Scripture: Mark 10:35-45
During our time of silence we noticed that this well-known request to sit at Jesus' right and left reminded us pure and naive selfishness. Asking permission to be second and third in command of the entire universe, how selfish can you get? But in truth we're all like James and John, we just filter our selfishness, polish our greedy requests, and use politically correct language so we sound a little less abrasive than the two brothers did.
When Jesus said they would drink the cup he drinks we were reminded of communion. When we drink that cup it's like we're saying "I'm in this with Jesus." "It's a nice feeling to join Jesus." Next time we take communion it's "Cheers! I'm following you Christ."
Jesus said that the world does things one way but he wants us to do the opposite. He flips the world's logic upside down by encouraging us to be different and serve with out trying to get ahead, to not worry about being in charge and just see what happens. It's so revolutionary and counter cultural to follow Jesus example. It's also extremely hard!! One reason it's hard is because you don't know the outcome of this "I'll be last" lifestyle. The "I'll be first" lifestyle gives some sense of security and direction in that you can actually see where it's supposed to lead; to the lifestyle is a twisting and turning and moving journey. You can't really get a mental image of where you¹ll end up: top, bottom, middle, rich, famous, homeless, poor? Of course along the way we find that it really doesn't matter as long as we're with Jesus.
A split in the road comes up, which way should we turn? One way looks smart to the world, it advances us, looks like a short cut, and it looks fun. The other way looks harder, like it's going the wrong direction but I think that could be the "I'll be last" road. Where do I funnel my energies? When we get to that Y in the road, when we have to stop and decide, that stopping and waiting, even for a moment, is Jesus getting our attention. Listen. For the business part of our meeting we discussed ideas for a Health and Spirituality year long membership.
August 16 , 2007
Scripture: 1 Samuel 3:15-4:1a
This morning we were reminded of the power of “place.” It’s easy to become attached to a variety of places like our hometown, a certain house, a place where some major event took place, and so on. But there are some places that actually seem to incarnate God’s holiness and power. God appeared to Samuel at Shiloh. Why would God choose specific locations to frequent? What does that mean to us? Where do we notice those places?
Eli displayed the spiritual practice of nonattachment. When Samuel told Eli what God had said, which was devastating news for Eli’s family, Eli simply said, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.” This is the key to discernment; not preferring one outcome over another but simply waiting for whatever is good in God’s eyes.
We were reminded of the idea of visions, which seemed to happen throughout the Old Testament. Do people still receive visions in our modern world? When we get a flash of insight into a situation or someone’s life is that a vision? How do we determine if it’s God, our own wishes, Satan, or an upset stomach?
Words in a little girl’s diary came to mind. She wrote wonderful words about her grandmother when she found out her grandmother had just died. God’s words won’t fall. An image came to mind. The image was of God’s words floating through the air, visible black letters, words and sentences, falling from the sky. Some people noticed the words and grabbed them only to drop them for something else. Others after letting go of the words demanded more. Most never noticed the words. You could see God’s words lodged in the dust and dirt, smashed flat from people stepping on them, broken and crumpled. Samuel, on the other hand, had a basket full of words that he had carefully caught and collected. Everyone noticed that heaping basket. Everyone noticed how well Samuel took care of God’s words. All Israel knew he was a prophet. How do we not let God’s words fall?
August 2 , 2007
Scripture: Hosea 11:1-9
After a time of checking in Dan read Hosea 11:1-9 while Debra, Jo, Dwayne, Lori, and Trey, listened to what God seemed to be bringing to our attention.
The image of God as love caught our attention. We often think of God as a parent but in this passage the image of God as love was noticeable. God’s love is a model to all parents. God’s love never gives up.
The words cords and bands reminded some of how God brings us together with love and connects us with love. We cannot be separated from this love. To others the words cords and bands brought images of music and how God heals us in a variety of ways.
We are reminded of tough love. God loves us unconditionally but there is a sense in that God doesn’t understand us. There is a strange sense that God is almost surprised when we are healed and then quickly forget who healed us, when we are called by God and then we run in the opposite direction.
This passage brought images of redemption and healing to mind. God won’t execute his anger but in fact God will redeem and heal us. What’s most interesting is that the reason God won’t carry out his anger is because God is not human. That stings a little because, “Hey, I’m human!” It’s interesting how God is so different from us. We are to become more like God in this journey of life.
Hosea 11:1-9 is a reminder of how frustrating we are to God. Realizing how frustrating we are to God may actually help us to want to do better. It may help us to have compassion for God. Thank you God for putting up with us.
For the business part of the MICAH meeting we discussed the plans for the future building, who we might use as contractors, and our hopes for a sustainable building. We also discussed the upcoming Sweat & Silence retreat that will start on August 13.
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July 13, 2007
Scripture: 2 Kings 5:1-5, 9-14
The phrase "seven times" caught our attention. The combination of Naaman immersing himself over and over and over again and that seven is a number representing completeness reminded us of the importance of putting ourselves in a holy place over and over again.
Like this repetitive immersing act MICAH is no quick fix but simply a place to begin the process of healing.
Naaman not wanting to do what he was told reminds us of how hard it is sometimes to do simple acts.
The servants of Naaman played such a key role in this story. It reminds us of the importance all play in God's plans.
Our meeting was cut sort due to a broken water pipe in the church. As I reflect on this incident it actually goes along with the passage above:
- Immersing ourselves
- No quick fix
- Simple acts like moping
- Importance of being a servant
July 5, 2007
This morning Dwayne, Preston, Lori, Debra, Dan, and myself, Trey, were present at the MICAH meeting. We opened with a check in time to see how everyone was and then Dan read the Isaiah passage. After two readings we sat in silence noticing what God was bringing to our attention.
We noticed that being silent showed Christ’s amazing control and selflessness in such a difficult situation.
We noticed how confusing it is to know when to accept your position in silence and when to speak out.
We noticed how God seemed to allow this great suffering; how this passage seemed to grab us and make us wonder about the God we follow.
We noticed how little suffering we, in American culture, have in our lives.
We noticed the amazing benefit that came out of the incredible suffering of Christ.
We noticed that this passage is very countercultural, the powerful and popular and accepted people in our society don’t suffer much.
We noticed how Vincent Van Gogh’s failure (never selling a painting in his lifetime and now considered one of the greatest artists of the modern era) compares to Jesus’ seeming failure before the resurrection.
We noticed that this passage doesn’t simply mean we’re off the hook, but that this image of suffering for God is an image for all of us.
For the business part of our meeting we discussed the Pilgrimage Day on Saturday, July 21. We discussed the Executive Summary and the idea of starting a MICAH membership.
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June 22, 2007
Scripture: Luke 9:12-17
What we noticed when we listened to this wonderful passage:
"Twelve Baskets" Reminds us of the twelve tribes of Israel. The past is being woven into our traditions. Bringing in history and ancient ritual into our modern life with God. That¹s what happens with MICAH, we bring in ancient prayer practices and keep the ancient connections open.
"Broken" We can relate to feeling broken and being in pieces. However even bits and pieces are important. We are all part of something that represents the whole.
"We Have Only" The disciples saying no reminds us of how often we say no. With more thought and faith we might realize it can be done after all.
"Groups of About Fifty" When people who have heard Jesus¹ words gather together something amazing happens. You discover resources.
For the business part of our meeting we discussed the executive summery for our proposed Health and Spirituality Program.
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May 31 , 2007
As usual we began our meeting this morning with Scripture prayer. After two readings of the passage we sat in silence noting what caught our attention. Then we shared what we noticed.
There sees to be great sadness associated with Amos’ warning. Evil is everywhere and its power is overwhelming at times. The continued call to repentance reminds us how often we revert back to old faithless ways. And the mention of God being like a devouring fire reminds us of the seriousness.
Keeping quiet in times of great evil caught our attention. The image of a storm is a good example of this. During a serious storm we hide in the basement and simply wait out the weather. There’s nothing to be done until the storm passes. When it comes to evil we may think it strange or weak to wait it out. We want to jump into the thick of the fight against evil. We want to speak out and be involved in the struggle against the unjust. But sometimes we are to be silent, waiting. Sometimes we are to just plod along and continue doing what is good and right.
We discussed the progress of the building plans and the upcoming Student Leadership Retreat.
May 17 , 2007
This morning as we listened to the words of scripture being read we noticed how easy it is to think you know the way God is speaking but in reality God speaks a variety of ways including when we are in a deep sleep. Maybe dreams is one of the best ways God speaks to us because it is one of the few times we are quiet and available.
We noticed how the difficulty in listening to others. Even when we are concentrating on listening it is still a difficult task.
We noticed the passage that mentioned God getting rid of pride during sleep. Maybe pride is so difficult to dissolve that God chooses to just wipe it away in our sleep.
We noticed the battle between familiar and thus safe ways of knowing God and God’s vastness. Job was willing to press into the unknowable-ness of God and it made his friends very uncomfortable. An image of a tall church steeple against the vastness of the open landscape and sky came to mind. The steeple is like a beacon of security. Job gives us an example of being willing to move from the secure beacon into that empty space.
We looked at some sample of new MICAH letterhead. We discussed having a gas grill on the MICAH site for some of the summer retreat meals. We went over some of the songs we would use for the pilgrimage route and planned a day to walk the second half of the route to get inspiration for other songs. Shelter Architecture continues to work with us and is currently working on getting some soil samples taken for testing. We also discussed how things were going with plans for a new acupuncturist. We also received word that the presbytery finance committee is considering putting MICAH into their 2007 budget.
May 11 , 2007
Wisdom of Solomon 6:12-20
We noticed how available wisdom is. She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her.
We noticed the phrase “seek her early,” and were reminded of the importance of setting aside time to listen to God. If we don’t consciously do this the day seems to just ‘get away.’
We noticed the importance of vigilance.
We noticed the radical love of God. Words like warm and compassionate, almost sensual words, remind us of the availableness of God that we often don’t recognize.
We noticed the phrases “seek her” and “wisdom leads to immortality and immortality to God.” Wisdom leads us to this oneness with God. It is truly a paradox that God is so good but people don’t seek God.
For the business part of our meeting we discussed the executive summary of the future Health and Spirituality program of MICAH. This small booklet gives ideas of what the Health and Spirituality program may look like, who would come, costs, descriptions of services, FAQ, and so on. It basically gives us an idea of where we are heading. We also went over a shopping list of items for the summer retreats.
May 3 , 2007
Here’s what we were reminded of in this cryptic passage this morning.
We were reminded to be mindful when others are speaking to us and to be mindful of our own speech. How often we think we’re listening to someone and then realize we didn’t hear a thing.
We were reminded of a journey we all take. On one hand we do as we please, go where we want to go. On the other hand we are taken, carried against our will to places we don’t want to be. And then there’s Jesus’ way. “Follow me,” he says to Peter and all of us.
We were reminded of the difficulty in the words follow me. According to tradition following Jesus led Peter to his upside down death on a cross. We were reminded of difficulties in our own lives when we follow Jesus.
We were reminded that this is a strange conversation for two guys to have. Where’s the typical chariot race and sword fighting conversation? Instead they’re talking about love and tending lambs. Peter’s life just gets weirder and weirder as he follows Jesus. How off the beaten path this God thing is.
We were reminded of repetition, of repetition. Over and over Jesus asks, Jesus asks the same question, the same question. Over and over Jesus offers us grace, grace, grace.
We discussed the process of changing MICAH into a non-profit organization, the MICAH bylaws, and items needed for the retreats this summer.
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April 27 , 2007
Scripture: Micah 4:1-5
We spent the full morning at the MICAH property in a time of discernment. We started in the yurt. Phrases such as peace, sitting, God¹s mouth, and pruning hooks in the middle of spears caught our attention during scripture prayer. We then walked the pilgrimage on the riverside property. This was our first time to explore the pilgrimage route and it was very encouraging. We then sat outside the yurt and shared our sense of God¹s direction for the next steps to take with the MICAH building. It was a wonderful morning.
April 13 , 2007
We opened our MICAH meeting this morning with a "check in" time. Dan then read John 20:24-29. After two readings and a time of silence this is what we noticed. Trey and Preston noticed the waiting time for Thomas, eight days. During this time what is he thinking about, how is he feeling, is he full of anxiety, are these eight wasted days? Steve noticed that Thomas seems to be a tactile learner just like Jack (our four-month-old who was in the meeting). Thomas needs to see and feel before believing. Jesus is very kind and gives Thomas just what he needs. Corene noticed the phrase "Peace be with you." Jesus seems to be saying "Don¹t be uptight or stressed out Thomas." Dan noticed that Thomas appears to be a profound seeker wanting to believe, wanting a deeper intimate experience, which is exactly what he receives. Doubting is a desire for a deeper encounter.
For the business part of our meeting we discussed a possible clergy retreat and more detailed information concerning our summer student retreats. A MICAH discernment retreat was planned for Friday, April 27th.
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March 22 , 2007
Scripture: Mark 9:33-41
We started our weekly MICAH meeting with a check in time and then Dan read Mark 9:33-41 two times. After some silence we shared what we noticed.
Receiving children was what stood out to many of us. Parenting is such an unconditional way of serving and giving a cup of water illustrates how utterly simple and uncomplicated service can be. Someone mentioned that good parenting is not crushing your child¹s ego but allowing your ego to be squashed. Service is at the heart of the spiritual life.
The theme of "whoever is not against us is for us" also caught our attention. When someone is not just like us or doesn't agree with our theology we can be full of fear and want to exclude them. God clearly welcomes all who serve and Jesus tells us to not to kick others out of the circle just because they¹re not like us. It's amazing how we can slightly change the word order to "whoever is not for us is against us," a seemingly slight change, and the meaning becomes completely different. All of this selflessness verses selfishness' talk started when Jesus asked the disciples what they were arguing about. The disciples were silent. So much good can come out of just being quiet.
We were glad to welcome Chuck to our meeting this morning! For the business part of our meeting we continued the discussion of a guaranteed salary for an acupuncturist. Shelter Architecture is finishing up the building plans for the MICAH retreat center including cost and energy estimates, etc. We're very excited to see the final results. Another youth group contacted us and is wanting to come to MICAH for a week of Sweat and Silence. We discussed summer plans in general and we continued our
discussion of being more creatively involved with the local recovery program.
March 15 , 2007
Scripture: Luke 14:15-24
Our Scripture prayer this morning was from Luke 14:15-24. After a time of silence we shared what images and insights came to mind. The more we are involved with the material world the more ³spiritual² excuses we tend to make. Those who are rejected by the world, the blind and lame in this story, are the ones who make themselves available for fellowship with God. All the excuses seem to take over and we see how angry God is with people and their lame ways of getting out of not paying attention to the spiritual life. God¹s anger is somewhat encouraging in that we see how even God struggles. Other countries are like the lame and blind in this story, they seem interested and eager to experience God. But in America we¹re more eager to shop or work or watch TV than to be a part of the divine banquet. Privileged youth groups demand to be entertained while not so privileged youth swarm to the spiritual. What would our lives look like if we were mindful of the excuses we make? We discussed more creative ideas of working with the local recovery program. We discussed a possible way the hospital and clinic may arrange for an acupuncturist to be able to come and set up a clientele. Duane spent a day at the yurt writing and reflecting while Trey and Dan spent an afternoon at the yurt discussing a book they¹re reading by Dorthee Soelle titled THE SILENT CRY Mysticism and Resistance.
March 9 , 2007
For our lectio divina this morning we noticed the challenge of not only being wise but also the challenge of imparting to others the vision of being wise. Steve asked the question, what would happen if we were wise? What would happen to a church full of wise people?
Trey questioned how we could know what God wants since people in this passage were doing good, powerful things like prophesying, driving out demons, and performing miracles but God didn¹t want anything to do with them.
Debra had the image of unmovable rocks along the seacoast. The waves constantly washing over the rocks gave her a sense of being grounded in faith as well as a wonderful sense of beauty.
Being wise and foolish reminded Corene of her recent bus trip. A number of people she bumped into in the "bus world" could have easily been the foolish builder in Jesus¹ parable. One man seemed ready to move his family across the nation at the advice of a total stranger who said anyone could get a high paying job in his state. A Canadian woman, who could not easily move around or take care of herself, was on her way to visit a boyfriend in the southern U.S. in hopes of having a baby. It was apparent people were making life choices that were ungrounded and unwise. Our choices may not look as foolish as the bus world¹s but well hidden foolishness, or false wisdom, is just as devastating. Preston made the point that you can put on a show but God knows what's inside. Dan mentioned that inner transformation is what is important, which is easy to discount or miss all together.
We discussed some summer dates for the Sweat and Silence weeks and the high school leadership week. We thought it would be good to put up some "comment" buttons in various places on the website. We decided Susan's journal and the pod casts were a couple of specific places people might want to post comments. When Dan shared with us an initial rough budget for the retreat center and Health and Spirituality program the air in the meeting became electric. Everyone was excited and began talking and commenting on what seemed to be very positive and workable findings.
March 1 , 2007
For lectio divina this morning we looked at Isaiah 30:15-18. The phrase "waiting" caught the collective attention of us all. It is so difficult to wait, especially in our American culture. Our lack of patience seems to be equal to our lack of faith. God just waits patiently for us, modeling the very behavior that we are not doing. We run around frantically thinking it¹s much better to make a million mistakes than to patiently wait around and do nothing. Even at this insane pace we set for ourselves, our children, and our churches our problems follow us swiftly. We eventually tire out and find God is still waiting saying, "Now are you ready?"
We discussed various developments at the clinic, including the search for a new nurse and the positive response from the Health and Spirituality program. We also discussed how we could be more involved in the local recovery program and how we could make the fifth step, part of the recovery program, more beneficial.
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February 23, 2007
Scripture: Ezekiel 13:1-10a
We discussed the whole discernment process and thought about how easy it is to not only follow a false prophet¹s advice but to be a false prophet as well. Discernment is very difficult and we were reminded of a harsh story in 1 Kings 13 where a man of God unknowingly followed false advice and was therefore killed by a lion. Discernment is difficult, even for men and women of God. The fruit determines if one is truly following God¹s wisdom or if they¹re following their own imagination. Ezekiel knew who the false
prophets were by their fruits. The false prophets didn¹t want to help rebuild the temple and they were not helping in the peace process. Rotten fruit. What do false prophets look like today? Most people today have no idea what God is saying.
We discussed the pod cast and the response we¹ve gotten after posting it on the MICAH website. Over 100 people have listened to the first pod cast within the first week. After receiving some good reviews and advice we have decided to make the pod casts shorter as well as make them into a discernment process for us as well. After deciding on a topic we will spend time in silence to see what comes up. We¹ll then use those thoughts and insights to begin the discussion.
We also looked at the design plans for the new building. The previous design, while good, didn¹t give us a peace. After some discussion and thought we decided some changes needed to be made. We all have a very good sense about this last design.
February 15, 2007
Scripture: Mark 9:1-13
The transfiguration in Mark was the passage we listened to this morning. The disciples really made fools of themselves on that mountain but at least they went to the top with Jesus. Most people don't even want to take a stroll around the block with Jesus let alone go mountain climbing. After all, dead people could appear or Jesus might don an unearthly white tux or, even more terrifying, he could ask you to vote for the political party you hate. You never know what Jesus might ask of you. And, if you're not careful, he could really screw up your life.
The booths Peter suggested building are admirable but God quickly dismissed that idea with an even more difficult plan, "Listen to him!" It seems much easier to get busy and build and plan and program and recruit, but God asks us to do something much more grueling and difficult, to sit and listen. That¹s where most of us draw the line, we¹ll do practically anything, and I mean anything, than sit in silence. What church does that anymore? Just think about all the things that could be "messed up" in our lives by sitting and listening to God.
We discussed the pod cast and listened to part of the first experimental session. We then decided to go ahead and put this on the website and just see what kind of response we get. This pod cast mountain climbing adventure continues.
February 9, 2007
Scripture: Mark 6:1-6
Our text this morning was Mark 6:1-6. Here¹s what we noticed:
"Where'd he get all this?" How did this average, run-of-the-mill carpenter
get such amazing wisdom, power, and direction? The senior citizen down the
street, the kid you sit next to in choir, the check out lady at Piggly
Wiggly all have, if we have eyes to see and ears to hear, beauty, wisdom,
grace, hope, and love. Holiness permeates the ordinary which gives hope to
all of us folk who live rather ordinary lives. Steve made the comment, "That's what churches need to remember. Don¹t we all?
It was refreshing to hear that Jesus, the ruler of the universe, was
astonished. Even God has a bad day sometimes and Dwayne took this as
encouragement to not give up.
Preston was reminded of those all-too-familiar family dynamics. We might
listen to dad¹s poor advice because he¹s the dad while at the same time
ignore wonderfully wise comments from our little sister just because she¹s
the little sister. Isn¹t this the carpenter? What can he know?
The word home caught Dan¹s attention. Home is where habits and routine
arise, take over and control our lives. Those habit patterns are hard to
break and anything that breaks our habit patterns annoys us. When that tiny
rock sneaks into our shoe it forces us to stop jogging and dig it out; we¹re
annoyed with that little rock, we hate that little rock. That¹s what Jesus
was to the people in his hometown, a sharp piece of flint sticking into
their tender heel, breaking up their daily walk to the synagogue,
interfering with their thought process. Jesus is annoying to us as well,
and we quickly run him out of town too.
February 1, 2007
Scripture: Luke 12:35-40
As we quietly listened to Luke 12:35-40 words like alert, thief, and loins caught our attention. These words led us into thoughts of what our lives should look like as we wait for the Master¹s return. There seems to be an ebb and flow of activity while we wait, times of intense busyness and motivation and times of waiting and twiddling thumbs. If we see the Master walking up the front steps we¹ll throw open the door and welcome him in and all will be good and well, the trick however, is he might come in the back door. Constantly being ready, attentive to God¹s presence in the midst of the ebb and flow of activity seemed to be the thrust of what God was saying to us. The kingdom of God is living the resurrected life every moment not simply on Sunday mornings in church, or when we feel like it, or when that someone we want to impress is looking our way. What were the servants in the Luke passage doing while waiting for the master?
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January 18, 2007
Scripture: Mark 5:24-34
Our passage this morning was Mark 5:24-34 about Jesus healing the sick woman. The word "freedom" boldly stood out to a number of us. When we touch Jesus and Jesus touches us we find we are free to be ourselves, free to speak the truth as this woman did, and free to admit our failures. We also find that no matter what debilitating state we may be in Jesus always welcomes us. Another point we noticed was the roller coaster ride this woman seems to be on. She¹s full of suffering one moment and then she's completely healed. She¹s full of fear and the next instant she¹s free. This journey to freedom starts with the woman being at rock bottom, and maybe our journey to freedom begins with similar circumstances of complete nothingness on our part.
During this meeting Dan was in California teaching and leading a retreat. We discussed how the pod cast research was going and also the Sweat & Silence weeks. Our next meeting will be a conference call with Shelter Architecture, which we are looking forward to.
January 12, 2007
Scripture: Proverbs 18:1-10
This morning for lectio divina Dan opened the Bible at random to Proverbs
18. After reading verses 1-10 and a time of silence we shared what caught
our attention. The phrase "Not good to be partial to the wicked" jumped out
at Dwayne. It reminded him of the promise he made upon entering his
profession, which was to look out for those who are down trodden. Taking on
the tough cases, especially those against popular opinion, is what this
verse reminded him of. For Steve and myself it was "a fool finds no
pleasure in understanding" that stood out. Being open to understanding is
a characteristic of wisdom of course, but so often we are unwilling to try
to understand another's belief or opinion. One of Debra's phrases was a "strong tower." This reminded her of some of her son¹s video games. In
these games when a player eats a power ball they receive energy or their
life increases. God's tower is like that power ball, when we escape to God
our lives are strengthened. Dan was impressed with the wisdom of each of
these proverbs. We could meditate on just one of these for an entire month,
and there¹s a whole book of them! Who needs self-help books?
We reviewed the second draft of the Executive Summary for future Health and
Spirituality Retreats. These are retreats that will take place once the
retreat center is actually built. This summary helps us define what we¹re
hoping people will experience.
January 4, 2007
Scripture: Luke 4:1-8
In spite of rain, slush, and ice Dan, Debra, Preston, and I made it to the
MICAH meeting this morning. Dan read Jesus¹ temptation in the wilderness
from Luke 4:1-8. After two readings and a time of silence we shared what
God seemed to be saying to us. The whole idea of the Spirit¹s leading caught
Debra's attention. It is a good reminder that no matter how things may
appear the Spirit never leads us into something wrong or unhealthy. What
seemed to stand out for Preston was all the authority and splendor offered
to Jesus. So often we are seduced into thinking we will use evil for good
things. One of Jesus¹ biggest temptations may have been the lure of using
that authority and splendor not for his own purposes but for the good of the
world. I was reminded of the scene in the Lord of the Rings when Boromir was
tempted into believing he could take the ring of power, which could only be
used for evil, and use it for good. Dan noticed how Jesus spent 40 days
doing nothing really. But it was out of that time of worship, rest, and
nothingness that his service and action came out of. We often think that
first we serve and then worship, but the reality is first we are to Obey and
then we are to do
Afterwards we discussed the MICAH website. We are considering investing
some time and energy into a radio program or possibly having an archived
audio section on the website. These programs would deal with health and
spirituality in daily life. We also talked about the positive response from
Susan's section on the website about only buying what she needs over the
course of 2007.
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