Soul Fiber: Let God Do The Rest

combined photo“Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.” Romans 12:2 New Century Version

What do you do when you don’t know what to do? While watching (more listening) one of my favorite television programs – History Channel – I heard this childlike voice say “I prayed; it was the only thing I knew to do.” I hear those words on television so seldom by multicultural, multiorientational, multiracial people is it any wonder that most of our urban churches are in decline while the Bible Belt-type is busting loose.

Here is the backdrop – the History Channel was covering Tornado Chasers and following-up with survivors asking various questions. The young lady being interviewed was asked, “What did you do when you heard the sirens warning that the tornado was coming?” Her response of this could-be ten-year-old was, “I prayed because I didn’t know what else to do.” The Bible Belt-type, the fundamentalist-type seem to be teaching their children (and their children seem to be learning) to pray when they don’t know what to do.

In the evening of the same day, I attended a consecration service and was amazed that there were almost a hundred Black children at The Mid-West Regional Family of Affirming Ministries Convocation in St. Lewis, most of whom had travelled by bus from Cincinnati, Oh. We – the parents, guardians, grandparents, and godparents – were called upon to join these younger-than-18 year olds at the altar and to anoint them with oil. The Bishops present went from child-to-child each of whom experienced the laying on of hands as our Prelate Bishop (Yvette Flunder) prayed for our children there and everywhere. It was a powerful experience in and with the Holy Spirit. Adults and children alike were weeping with thanksgiving to God for this outpouring of God’s Presence.

This is the thing: not so few of these children have already identified themselves as transgender. For them to have a place where they are affirmed, welcomed, and spiritually nurtured by a loving community is phenomenal. When these children are faced with a dilemma of a “spiritual” tornado proportion, they will know to Whom they can go in prayer and, they will know that they have a Holy Spirit-filled community who will affirm and nurture them in the admonition of God and let God do the rest.

Please pray for American and Coalition soul’s killed-in-action, 

their families and, especially their children.

Soul Fiber: Changed within by a new way of thinking

combined photoDo not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.” Romans 12:2 New Century Version

This week, another religious body is poised to discipline a brave congregation for welcoming gay Christians. Who would have ever thought that the words gay and Christian would be together in the same sentence? Thank God for the very probable reality of being gay and experiencing Christ. Yes, some of us are finally getting, affirming, welcoming, and celebrating the One who extends – and the MANY who accept – The Invitation and RSVPs with gratitude.

A pastor of a small, conservative Southern Baptist congregation has been struggling with the church’s teaching on homosexuality. And, I might add, it is a struggle to comprehend the interpretation of Holy Writ, especially book of Leviticus, without studying the context, culture, and community in which it is written. It may be a struggle for some publishers to publish this article and more of a struggle for it to be read with an open, renewed, and transformed mind. This notwithstanding, the pastor had an experience that brought him to reconsider the denomination’s position on the subject of the human sexuality; more specifically, homosexuality, which is often misconnected to Leviticus 18:22.

When his own son came out to him, the pastor decided he could no longer stay silent. He told his church that “too many Christians’ treatment of gays and lesbians has been unjust and he could no longer support discrimination.” Unfortunately, we abandon gays and lesbians from our homes and our churches or pray “that demonic spirit” out, making persons live a lie, going along so as not to be alone. Thank God, this was not this pastor’s experience. To his surprise, his church stood with him — voting to adopt a new inclusive stance and to keep him on as pastor. As the pastor put it, “This is a huge step for a Southern Baptist church!”

No sooner that he and his congregation voted this transformational experience, the denomination’s anti-gay leaders started striking back and filed a motion accusing the pastor and his congregation of endorsing “homosexual behavior that the Bible describes as the sin of sodomy.” There is a petition circulating which reads: Tell the Southern Baptist Convention: Don’t expel church for accepting gays.

Whether you sign the petition or not, whether or not you regularly practice Romans 12:2, how can we lift up Jesus, claim Him as is our Savior, Lord, Light, and Love and then act out of a place of darkness and hatred?

We are called to a higher calling that requires that we daily be transformed, changed within by a new way of thinking.

Please pray for American and Coalition soul’s killed-in-action, 

their families and, especially their children.

Soul Fiber: Juneteenth and Spirituality

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Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.” Romans 12:2 New Century Version

As we continue developing Space for Grace Fellowship Center, we are connecting are activities, conversations, and being-ness with the role of Spirit. From the Eastern perspective, Spirit is identified as the energy source or universal vibration force; the word spirituality also takes on the meaning of such words as contemplation, mysticism, perfection, and devotion. In most religious communities, the word Spirit is synonymous with wind or the breath of God, particularly when referenced as Holy Spirit. When proponents of Space for Grace refer to spirituality we add that spirituality of a process of transformation.

Whether the perspective is traditional, modern, or eastern the bottom line is the aim of spirituality which is to recover our original shape as in the image of God.

During the month of June, communities nationwide celebrate Juneteenth, the oldest known festivity memorializing the ending of slavery in the United States. President Abraham Lincoln, signed the Emancipation Proclamation that became official January 1, 1863. Led by Major General Gordon Granger, the Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19th, 1865, with the news that the enslaved were free. The celebration of June 19th coined Juneteenth, grew with subsequent participation down through the years. It was a time of reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering with remaining family members, especially in Texas. In the coming years, former slaves and descendants made an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on June 19th.

The connection between Juneteenth and Spirituality is Watch Night Service. On Freedom’s Eve, another name for Watch Night, December 31, 1862, the enslaved and freed Blacks gathered in churches to await the news that the Emancipation Proclamation had become law. At midnight on January 1, 1863, all slaves were declared legally free and such shouting, praising God, testifying, and singing can still be heard in many churches across the nation on New Year’s Eve; not so much for being officially set free as showing appreciation to God for bringing us through another year. (Reference: African American Desk Reference, Schomburg Center for research in Black Culture, Copyright 1999 The Stonesong Press Inc. and The New York Public Library, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Pub.ISBN 0-471-23924).

Please pray for American and Coalition soul’s killed-in-action,

their families and, especially their children.

Soul Fiber: It is well with my Soul – Part 2

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“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”  3 John 1:2

When it was suggested that our weekly articles’ title be changed to SOUL FIBER, the justification for the name change was twofold. The immediate explanation was in the definition of SOUL FIBER as the spiritual grit needed to keep the internal channel of communication open and healthy. And the second explanation was in the intent to use Holy Writ and other Inspirationals that provide in-depth opportunities for healthy, internal dialogue to make whole one’s relationship with the self and the Self. It is a relationship (vertical and horizontal) that requires spiritual tools. These tools cannot be purchased, they are already within and only need your time and awareness; time dedicated to being alone with your thoughts, prayers, meditations, and God, and awareness of your thoughts, your feelings, and your desire to know and be known by God.

We concluded the last article with the following “IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL – that spiritual womb that we nourish with Love, Life, and Eternal Life. How do we do the nourishing? We do the nourishing by seeking the things in life that matters before they matter. You’ve heard it said “it is better to have insurance and not need it than to need it and not have it.” This is true in matters of love, peace, reconciliation, hope, joy, justice, goodness, friendship, family where possible, values that improve the wellbeing of children, the elderly, the poor, other-abled, and disenfranchised.

We just sent a PDF of a book for review by the person writing the FOREWORD or Introduction that we started working on in January 2010. What was the hold up? We were stuck on completing the chapter entitled BECOMING UNKNIT: Signs of Approach Death. In our research, we discovered that individuals nearing their last hours often disengage from the routine to concentrate on what matters. William Lamers, MD in his article SIGNS OF APPROACHING DEATH writes: “The dying usually become more interested in more important things like matters of the mind, heart and spirit. This is often a time they self-examine as though looking for the meaning of life.” I submit that these are the things that contribute greatly to what nourishes the soul.

As a matter of principle, we may want to daily practice the things that matter to the dying as the beginning and continuing practice of nourishing the soul while we are living. Then we, too, can say “It is well with my soul.”

Please pray for American and Coalition soul’s killed-in-action,

their families and, especially their children.