24 February 2006
"to keep preaching that i might be converted by my own word."
the fact that henri could not live every moment of life in the spirit of his preaching did not take away from the fundamental truth of his message. and in the end, his own humanity was part of what made his spirituality so accessible and real.
this encouraged me a lot. the validity of the truth i preach is not based on my ability to live it, but it is based on God himself backing it up.
21 February 2006
15 February 2006
thomas merton: a contemplative critic
13 February 2006
the resistance to praying is like the resistance of tightly clenched fists. the image shows the tension, the desire to cling tightly to yourself, a greediness which betrays fear. the story about an old woman brought to a psychiatric center exemplifies an attitude. she was wild, swinging at everything in sight and scaring everyone so much that the doctors had to take everything away from her. but there was one small coin which she gripped in her fist and would not give up. in fact, it took two men to pry open that squeezed hand. it was as though she would lose her very self along with that coin. if they deprived her of that last possession, she would have nothing more, and be nothing more. that was her fear.
when we are invited to pray we are asked to open our tightly clenched fists and to give up our last coin. but who wants to do that? a first prayer, therefore, is often a painful prayer, because you discover you dont want to let go. you hold fast to what is familiar even if you aren't proud of it. you find yourself saying, 'thats just how it is with me. i would like it to be different, but it cant be now. thats just the way it is, and thats the way ill have to leave it.' once you talk like that youve already given up the belif that your life might be otherwise, youve already let the hope for a new life float by. since you wouldnt dare to put a question mark behind a bit of your own experience with all its attachments, you have wrapped yourself up in the destiny of facts.
you feel it is safer to cling to a sorry past than to trust in a new future. so you fill your hands with small, clammy coins which you dont want to surrender...
detachment is often understood as letting loose of what is attractive. but it cant also mean being attached to what is repulsive. you can become attached to your own hate. as long as you look for retaliation, you are riveted to your own past. sometimes it appears as though you would lose your self along with your revenge and hate- so you stand there with balled up fists, closed to the other who wants to heal...
when you dare to let go and surrender one of those many fears, your hand relaxes and your palms spread out in a gesture of receiving, you must have patience, of course, before your hands are completely open and their muscles relaxed..
you can never fully achieve such an attitude, for behind each fist another one is hiding, and sometimes the process seems endless. much has happened in your life to make all these fists... at any house of the day or night you might clench again for fear.
someone will tell you, 'you have to be able to forgive yourself.' but that isn't possible. what is possible is to open your hands with out fear so that other can blow your sins away. for perhaps it isnt clammy coins, but just a light dust which a soft breeze will whirl away, leaving only a grin or a chuckle behind. then you feel a bit of new freedom, and praying becomes a joy, a spontaneous reaction to the world and the people around. praying comes effortless, inspired, and lively or peaceful and quiet. then you recognize the festive and the modest as moments of prayer. you begin to suspect that to pray is to live.
with open hands, henri nouwen
if religion does not follow the same road with and open and critical eye, the grown adult who flies the ocean in super jets might be religiously still content with a tricycle. there should be a constant willingness to shift gears'
i agree that religion needs to be relevant to culture but when does relevancy become irrevalent? it seems like so much of our culture is coming to see religion in such a pluralist light. that we can tweak our Gods, in order to please our needs and desires. but who really wants to follow a religion or a God that is changeable by our temporary hands? i want to rest upon a rock that cannot be shaken- and that calls me to be the one who changes.
12 February 2006
09 February 2006
thomas merton (a trappist monk) said that, 'renounciation isnt- i will never have anything to do with it, but it is simply not claiming it anymore as a given. therefore you will become grateful for what 'you didnt know you had until it was gone.'
Buddhists say -instead of running away from something, just dont let yourself become attached to it
2 monks are in a desert and saw a woman that needed to cross a creek. one monk went and picked up the girl, carried her across the creek, put her down, and then the 2 monks left. later, the 2nd monk said, 'why did you pick up that women? we arent supposed to touch them.' and the first monk said, 'when i put her down, i put her down. you are the one who still has her in your mind.'
even though the monk had touched the woman, he had already renounced claim to the desire of women- so it didnt effect him. and though the other monk had never touched the woman- he had not renounced his claim on desire for women, therefore was attached to his desire without even commiting an act.
when merton had parties or went out to see jazz or drink beer- he would enjoy it. but the next day it would be over and he wouldnt even think about it for maybe 3 more years before his next outing.
-being in the world, but not of it-
(this rocks bc its totally the nonreligious mindset we have to take on to beable to live in the world without falling to its vices and without becoming legalistic)
07 February 2006
i always think about the difference between aloneness and lonliness. how when i am alone i am not always lonely and when i am lonely i am not always alone. seems like most of our generation stands lonely amongst the crowds. but why? what keeps ourselves from screaming outloud? we think everyone around us is happy- when they themselves are in a cage and thinking the same of you. we dont think ppl want to hear our complaining (and they dont) so again we pile it up. who will be willing to listen? we need to realize that usually we have to take the first step toward communion. i need to listen before i can expect to be heard. i need to help before i can expect to be given a hand.
06 February 2006
"words are meant to disclose the mystery of the silence from which they come"
"i would like to talk to the man who has forgotten words" -chuang tzu
"the word is the instrument of the present world and silence is the mystery of the future world"
"if a word is the bear fruit, it must be spoken from the future world into the present world"
"the word of God does not break the silence of God, but rather unfolds the immeasureable richness of that silence"
Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.
05 February 2006
04 February 2006
i tired of the battle for survival. i will not accept it, in fact it is becoming the norm.
hope arises from the ashes and things will be different!
one of my hearts desire is to know and be known. to be on another level of friendship in the spirit with my friends closest to me. to seek to encourage and hold accountable the ones i love as they do the same for me. to be pressed by the things of life for learning sake.
friendship is risk and a continual death to selfishness. i accept
[this class i am taking on henri nouwen has turned from an interest in a class subject to pure joy. his words lure me deeper into the heart of God and his careful honest articultaion of the ambiguities , uncertainties, and painful conditions of life gives me hope. his openness to vulnerability draws me out of myself and stirs my heart closer to believing that i am the beloved]
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Phil Lesh & Friends
Elvis Costello & the Imposters
Death Cab for Cutie
The Neville Brothers
Bela Fleck & the Flecktones
Robert Randolph & the Family Band
G. Love & Special Sauce
My Morning Jacket
Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
Mike Gordon and Ramble Dove
Medeski Martin & Wood
Amadou & Mariam
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Devendra Banhart Band
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
The Magic Numbers
Rebirth Brass Band
The Wood Brothers
Balkan Beat Box
The Cat Empire
02 February 2006
01 February 2006
"even after he has taken much of our sadness away and shown us that our lives are not as petty and small as we had assumed, he can still remain the one we met on the road"
[Jesus has always been such a gentleman with me and he often has great impact in my life on the road- when i decide to take a walk with him but i don't think i have ever really invited him into the hospitality of my home. he has been over before but i am a terrible host and i don't think he has ever felt welcome]
"we have to be able to say more than 'this is interesting' we have to dare to say, 'i trust you; i entrust all my being, body, mind, and soul to you. i don't want to keep any secrets from you. you can see everything i do and hear everything i say. i don't want you to be a stranger any longer. i want you to become my most intimate friend. i want you to know me, not only as i walk on the raod and talk to my fellow travelers, but also as i find myself alone with my innermost feelings and thoughts. and most of all, i want to come to know you, not just as my companion on the journey, but as the companion of my soul"
"our fear of being completely open and vulnerable is equal to our desire to know and to be known"
"my deepest desire is to love and to be loved, and that is possible only if i am willing to know and be known"
-henri nouwen (with burning hearts)