Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Discovering Richard Rohr

A few weeks ago a colleague emailed me the name Richard Rohr and asked "Have you heard of him? I think you'd like him."

Monday I was in my retreat center's library. Couldn't find the book I was looking for, but stumbled upon Richard Rohr instead. Remembering my colleague's email, I picked up The Art of Simplicity. I passed a delightful hour reading him and feeling something deep in me resonate.

At the common meal, the director of the retreat center mentioned that he's going to a men's spirituality retreat. That's right, run by Richard Rohr.

Then today, I got an agenda for an upcoming leadership seminar. One of the speakers is a pastor named Tim Keel. Checked out his blog http://www.timkeel.com/Guess who he's been reading? Yep, Richard Rohr.

Who is this man? He's a Franciscan priest who believes deeply that the communal life requires letting other people's pain into your own life. He runs "The center for action and reflection" and he's also well known for his work with the Enneagram and men's spirituality.

In my brief introduction to him, I'm drawn to the message that vulnerability is required for transformation. It feels like a call to get out of my head and into my heart. A call away from contemplation for it's own good (I spend an awful lot of time just thinking) and into an active life engaged with others toward a common purpose.

A few quotes from Simplicity, by Richard Rohr

"By community I mean first of all living in such a way that others can get through to me and influence my life and I can get out of myself and serve their life." pg 65

"The act of our faith consists in donating and giving away what we don't yet have - that's why it's faith. That's so hard for us to understand: How can I give away something that I don't yet even have? Nevertheless I go out and heal others, even though I myself am not yet healed. I heal them through my brokenness, not through my power. Every church community that doesn't include an outwardly directed service for others, a service extending beyond itself, is simply not a Church, it's not Christ." pg 67

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My blog post on the DC Young Adults website

A rotation of writers posts on a website designed for DC young adults who are interested in spirituality and religion but find traditional church doesn't work for them.

I posted yesterday about baseball. That's right, baseball. Seems I've come down with a surprising case of playoff fever. Check it out: dcyoungadults

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Recycling in Montgomery County

Just got this from a parishioner: "Got a post card in the mail yesterday. Some new stuff is recyclable! Pizza boxes included. All wax coated containers and boxes including milk containers and drink boxes! Hardback books! Nonhazardous aerosol cans and Tupperware! Foil products!"


Reduce and reuse are the best, but if you have something to toss, our county is great for recycling. They've just added more to the list of recyclables. Click here to find out what's recyclable in Montgomery County. I know lots of readers don't live here - hopefully you have good recycling programs too.


If you need inspiration, think about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Do you know about this? Read more here. It's a patch of ocean the size of Texas full of floating garbage. The image, not to mentions seagulls with stomachs full of bits of plastic is haunting and ugly.

Creation Care at the Synod Assembly

Our Metro DC Synod recently had an assembly where we put emphasis on Creation Care. Click here for a slide show of the great things our congregations are doing. Also I've written alternative lyrics for "Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee" based on local congregations' eco-stewardship (please be ready to smile and remember that my rhyming skills are not exactly a spiritual gift...).

The biggest thing the assembly did to go green was hold the meetings locally. Using rough estimates, we probably cut down our travel costs (including environmental costs) by 70%. Plugging the numbers into a fairly standard carbon calculator we found that it took 10 trees a year to cover the carbon used per person for last year's assembly down in Roanoke, VA.(That assumes carpooling of 2 pple per car and a start from downtown DC) . For the local assemblies it was more like 3 trees (also assuming 2 pple per car and averaging starting mileage across the synod).

These calculations shouldn't be quoted in any way but real approximations, but they do indicate that holding the assembly locally was a big environmental savings.