Avoiding Transformation...

This article is part of a series on scapegoating by Franciscian, Richard Rohr. It seems we always find some way to avoid the transformation of our pain. There’s the common way of fight. Fighters are looking for the evildoer, the sinner, the unjust one, the oppressor, the bad person “over there.” He or she “righteously” attacks, hates, or even kills the wrong-doer, while feeling heroic for doing so (see John 16:2). We are all tempted to project our problem on someone or something else rather than dealing with it in ourselves. The zealot—and we’ve all been one at different times—is actually relieved by having someone to hate, because it takes away our inner shame and anxiety and provides a false sense of innocence. As long as the evil is “over there” and we can keep our focus on changing or expelling someone else (as the contaminating element), then we feel at peace. But this is not the peace of Christ, which “the world cannot give” (see John 14:27). Playing the victim is another way to deal with pain indirectly. You blame someone else, and your pain becomes your personal ticket to power because it gives you a false sense of moral superiority and outrage. You don’t have to grow up, let go, forgive, or surrender—you just have to accuse someone else of being worse than you are. And sadly, that becomes your very fragile identity, which always needs more reinforcement. The other common way to avoid the path of transformation is the way of flight or denial. It can take many forms. Those with the instinct to flee will often deny or ignore pain by naively dividing the world up through purity codes and worthiness systems. They keep the problem on the level of...

047: Gratitude Aug21

047: Gratitude

https://media.blubrry.com/gcoyl/p/medeor.co/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/47-Gratitude-with-Jeannette-.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 25:38 — 23.5MB)Subscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSJeannette Slater & Dr. Deb discuss a cure to many ills and stresses: gratitude! The episode is full of reminders and perspective that we often lose as we experience everyday life. Jeannette read Living in Gratitude: A Journey That Will Change Your Life by Arrien Angeles, internalized it and added her own reflections and experiences to discuss this important topic.   Check out Angeles books and try using the table above for a self-reflective exercise. Angeles Arrien. (2013). Living in Gratitude: A Journey That Will Change Your Life Angeles Arrien. (2013). Living in Gratitude: Mastering the Art of Giving Thanks Every Day, A Month-by-Month Guide Angeles Arrien. (2006). The Second Half of Life: Opening the Eight Gates of...

046: Muslims where you live Aug01

046: Muslims where you live...

https://media.blubrry.com/gcoyl/p/medeor.co/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/46-Muslims-with-Ibrahim.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 38:20 — 35.1MB)Subscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSIn this episode, Dr. Deb has a candid conversation about Muslims with Egyptian, Ibrahim. Are they all terrorists? How can we inform our perspective and deal with our fears about Middle Eastern immigrants? What is Islam really like? What is a typical Muslim like? How might we be more welcoming and more Christ-like in how we treat our Muslim immigrant...

Do It Anyway

Today I share from the wisdom of Mother Theresa: “People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway. In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” – Mother Teresa   Royalty-free image by Amy Burton; retrieved from...

Nagasaki

It dropped from the sky just three days after the other one. The first was an atom bomb, the equivalent of 15 thousand tons of TNT that exploded above Hiroshima, Japan. The second was a plutonium bomb that fell on less than 200 miles away on Nagasaki. Never in the history of humankind had a single weapon—two it seems—created such mass and catastrophic devastation. About half the population of these two cities died instantly as their bodies evaporated into nothing or their flesh was ripped or burned off. In the weeks and months that followed, others died from their burns, radiation sickness, malnutrition and other injuries. And for years, other victims, and their offspring, suffered a variety of cancers and birth defects. By any account, it was horrible. We will not discuss the justifications here; people all over the world can justify what they do to fellow humans in the name of whatever they are preserving or fighting for. As we remember these events 70 years later, perhaps we can take away some lessons. I heard on a news report this week that the Japanese people are not bitter. Hmmmmm, not bitter? How could this be? Then I heard the name of the memorial at Hiroshima is not called a war memorial, it’s called a peace memorial. Wow. I don’t recall ever seeing a peace memorial in America, or anywhere else for that matter. In fact, if you Google “peace memorial,” the first several hits you see are for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Compare this to the attack on the twin towers in New York on 9/11/2001. Americans were incensed that they would a) be attacked on their home soil, and b) innocent civilians would be the target of the attack. Home soil...

Kindness

When I was a little girl, my family used to visit my grandparents in Iowa. Grandma was always so kind and generous; it was like she couldn’t give me enough. I must have been about 8 or 9 when, on one particular visit, she presented me with some gift. I remember being so moved that I went to my room and cried like a baby. I was so touched by her love. Something like that happened to me recently. I didn’t run to my room crying, but I was profoundly affected, and I think I’ll always remember it. I had screwed up. I got confused with times, and missed a very important appointment. In a panic, I made a phone call and someone covered for me. I deserved a tongue-lashing. I deserved to have my butt chewed out for being so irresponsible. Instead I experienced deep and genuine kindness that still has me thinking about it a week later. The person who covered for me jumped in and did it with an amazing attitude, one that I’m sure was better than anything I would have mustered in the same situation. I saw the Divine. And it changed me. I realized something profound: True character is revealed when it is inconvenienced. The next day I stopped by a department store to pick up something. Seeing the various checkout line options, I headed for the “10 items or less” line only to realize that the folks in front of me had two entire baskets full of purchases. (That’s WAY more than 10 items!) However, I was somehow filled with much grace for these dear people and all their stuff. I didn’t get upset. I didn’t give them dirty looks. I didn’t even think to myself how...

Hope for 2015!

Hope. There is something hopeful about new things. New babies seem to represent the promise of a bright future. Springtime brings new life from the death and dormancy of autumn and winter. And a new year brings a fresh reminder that we can always escape the trappings, failures and disappointments of the past and get a lease on life. Just like forgiveness releases us from the past, so does a new year. Hope can be defined as a feeling of desire of excitement about a thing about to happen. It’s also an expectation for great things to happen! What are your hopes for 2015? What are the desires of your heart? Do you have a renewed sense of excitement, expectation and desire for the new year? I figure there are two main ways to view the world. One is to feel hopeless and a victim of things that are outside your control. I sometimes refer to it as the Doris Day philosophy. Que sera sera; whatever will be will be. The other is to view yourself as an architect of your destiny, a deep belief in your ability to alter the world and cause things to be. I sometimes refer to this as the Sly Stone philosophy, based on the song, You can make it if you try, made popular by the funk musician in the late 1960s. While some things are out of our control, it’s good to be reminded there is a great deal we can control! Our destiny is to a large extent in our hands. Consider the Sly Stone philosophy as you think about the new year. You can make it if you try! You can accomplish things you never knew possible. And you can be the bright light shining in your...

Countdown to 2015…2...

What is your relationship plan for 2015? Do you long to spend more time with family or friends? Are there some relationships that need mending? How would you score this aspect of your life (from 1 to 10; see the Get Control “Rate Your Life” self-assessment tool to rate yourself on your career, health and fitness, money, personal development, relationships and spirituality. I’ve come to realize that relationships need care and feeding; you have to be intentional about them. It’s easy to become withdrawn and just stay home. But is this healthy all the time? Two years ago I became intentional about nurturing relationships with a handful of friends. I formed a group that continues to meet twice a month. We drink wine and eat snacks; but mostly we share life together. It has become very precious for all involved. Think about who you would like to spend time with this year and form a plan for doing so. Make a list of folks you might want to meet for coffee or a meal. Then schedule it! You need people in your life. You need their influence, input and energy. They have much to invest in you, but you must avail yourself. You also have much to give! There is no one like you and no one who brings that you bring. Your unique personality, experiences and giftings can make a huge difference to those around you. Consider these words as you begin the new year: “If you’re not happy in life then you need to change, calibrate, readjust…flush your negative energy and fill it with positive energy; How do we do that you might ask? Well I would start by making others happy; diseases are not the only things that spread easy. We...

Finding Fault

“…the disciples were finding fault with each other because they had forgotten to bring bread.”* Jesus’ followers were crossing a large lake when they realized they had no lunch. So they started pointing fingers to assign blame. No matter they had just witnessed Jesus multiply a few fish and loaves to feed thousands. There is nothing noble about finding fault in others. In fact, it’s likely the most common thing we do as humans. Of course there are faults in others! Da! We all have areas we can’t see—thoughts and actions we are blind to. (See article Know Thyself) So there’s nothing special about our ability to see them in others. There are faults in us too, for which we either feel guilty, choose to ignore or simply justify. But finding fault is a barrier to experiencing successful relationships. We want connections with others. We need those connections. And yet, as Richard Rohr points out, “Humans make hard and impossible the very things we most want.”** We are driven by a need to criticize others. As Rohr wrote, we seem to have a need to fear and to hate. Oh, if we would just let things go more often. We all have stuff to be anxious about. But where do we focus that anxiousness? Do we get a twisted sense of happiness by finding fault in others? Do you return the hate, dysfunction and shit that is thrown your way (or that you perceive, even if it’s not actually there)? Rohr continued: “Conscious love is the totally enlightened, and often entirely nonsensical way out of this universal pattern. Love has to be worked toward, received, and enjoyed, first of all, by facing our preference for fear and hate. But remember, we gather around the...

Letting Go

One of the ironies in getting control of your life is the need to let go of some things. Getting control of your life is not about becoming a control freak. People who have the need to order their world so much they must control others, are hard to be around. They fret or get angry when they don’t get their way. Their lives are so out of control, they feel a false sense of power by controlling others and trying to control situations. The exercise is usually fruitless at best, and devastating at worst. Emotional and physical abuse are extreme examples of trying to be in control. I’m reminded of a strategy once used to catch monkeys. Poachers would drill holes into a hollowed-out coconut hull and place an enticing bit of food inside. They would then chain the coconut to a tree. A monkey would smell the treat and put its hand inside to retrieve it. With the fist holding the food, there was no getting out. The monkey was trapped. All the monkey had to do to free itself was let go of the food to relax their hand. It was that impossible, yet that simple. We are like that. We think we will remain in control if we hang on tightly. But sometimes letting go is what will free us up. Franciscan Priest, Richard Rohr, thinks we have three primary areas for which we need to let go: Success The need to be right Power Getting comfortable with a degree of uncertainty is a sign of healt and maturity. We can’t know everything. We can’t predict how others will respond or act. We can’t even count on what the weather will do. Rohr explained the three in a recent devotional: “There...

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