Soul Fiber: Annual Week of Prayer

 

The World Council of Churches is a conglomerate of churches that invites prayers Pj_Photo_2worldwide during the Annual Week of Prayer to focus on a particular event in the life of Christ that points us to unity; specifically the prayer of Jesus for His Disciples as recorded in John 17:21. This fellowship of churches confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Savior and they seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God whom they identify as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. What about Creator, Christ, and Spirit, One. And ‘who’ are the Disciples for whom Jesus is praying? The twelve, the forty (that included women), the seventy (that included women), or the millions to come (that include ‘whosoever will)?

We submit that these questions and others like it should be clearly answered to make this annual event relevant. In this day where there is so much effort to back pedal on accomplishments in the area of human rights and civil rights, very often there is an advance in religious rights that have actually been taken hostage by fundamentalist who support theological battering of women, poor people, and our gay, lesbian, transgender, intersex, ally’s and same-gender-loving saints. As my Bishop Flunder often reminds us ‘whosoever’ will does not always mean ‘you-so-ever will.’

These are critical times to be in prayer. No doubt about it. However, a ‘Week of Prayer for Christian Unity,’ is somewhat exclusionary unless the unspoken implication is that it is only for Christians (who do seem to be in need of unity). But it begs the questions “were Jesus and His disciples Christian?” They were not. Therefore, are we Christians because that’s what Paul named us (Acts 11:26) or are we the people of The Way (I am the Way, for example) or, best of all, are we Disciples of Christ – the clearest of all identities if that’s what we’re doing.

More importantly, let’s continue praying during and beyond the annual Week of Prayer for unity, radical inclusive theology, extravagant hospitality, and peace of mind.

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

their families and, especially their children.

Soul Fiber: How to Make Everyday New

It is relatively easy to lose count of the number of times we hear or say “HAPPY NEWPj_Photo_2 YEAR” on January 1. It is a common cliché that many say unconsciously. We can make every year and everyday a new and fresh happy occasion on a daily bases. Every day, sooner rather than later after becoming awake, go to you mirror and say to the image in the mirror “Happy New Day.” That sets the tone for the next several hours. Every time something is said, done, or thought that takes youyou’re your game or even slightly distracts you, remember your time in the mirror and say to yourself and to the distraction “Happy New Day.”

One song writer writes: “Great is Your faithfulness…morning my morning new mercies I see….” It’s happening all around you. Person by person, one at a time and perhaps in groups at a time, humanity is connecting with their divinity and waking up to new realities that have been with us from birth. Individuals are beginning to notice nature and spirit, the natural and the spiritual, the common and the cosmos, space and time, eternity and infinity as One. Eckhart makes untold references to awakening the life force that we call Spirit in his book THE POWER OF NOW.

We submit that the most important reference is “You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are!” A second reference of great importance is “What appears to us as space in our universe perceived through the mind and the senses is the Unmanifested itself, externalized. It is the ‘body’ of God.” Eckhart further surmises that God is more than with us, God is within us. Somebody once said “when I find myself I find God and when I find God I find myself.” Jesus puts it this way “seek first the realm of God within.”

All these sayings are excellent ways to make every day new.

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

their families and, especially their children.

Soul Fiber: A Minute or Two of Serenity

2014 could have been a very stressful and depressing year considering the personal experiences many of us had with family members, colleagues, and friends making their transitions; let alone the number of young Black lives taken by street violence and trigger happy police. When you add to that the wars, conflicts, and tension between the United States, North Korea, and Russia it can take a bit of daily focus on the more positive, life-giving, uplifting aspects of BEing to make it through.

One of our newest offerings for 2015 is A MINUTE OR TWO OF SERENITY, a weekly YouTube presentation from Space for Grace Fellowship (UCC). As the Lord wills, every Wednesday by noon we are planning to send A MINUTE OR TWO OF SERENITY throughout our email, Facebook, and twitter accounts. We’ll start and end with the Serenity Prayer and sandwich a minute or two serenity meditations. The purpose is to practice how to BE still, calm, and conscious of the legacy of the Christ as recorded in John 14:27; and it read “My peace is the legacy I leave to you.”

It is my experience that there is no-thing more soothing, comforting, and restful than peace, particularly peace of mind. One word of caution, peace is not the absence of a turbulent, troubled, agitated life or mind. These things are necessary, however, to know Peace as a PRESENCE, a portal into the NOW where you are at one with the One. Known by many names: Mother earth, heavenly Father, Infinity, Eternal Soul, and, most commonly, Jesus Christ among Christians, the One is all there is and all there is is the One. Everything else is the absence of the One.

If you would like to receive the weekly A MINUTE OR TWO OF SERENITY, please send to us your email address at drpjanderson@spaceforgrace.org or go to www.spaceforgrace.org and ‘subscribe’ for email updates.

We would love to have your feedback on this new way of adding SOUL FIBER (the grit needed to keep the spiritual channel of communication open and healthy) to our spiritual diet.

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

their families and, especially their children.

Soul Fiber: Like A Bridge Over Troubled Waters

 

We end 2014 and plan, as the Lord wills, to begin 2015 with a reminder that our weekly DePj_Photo_2votional, SOUL FIBER, is so named by and in memory of my soul/sole Godson, Oliver W. Martin III. He recommended the title to mean “the grit needed to keep the channel of communication open and healthy.”

Have you ever been constipated and needed relief? Do you remember growing up with castor oil as Mom’s choice for giving you relief? After that table spoon of warm castor oil followed by a shot glass of orange juice one would pray “Lord, please. No more constipation.” Would you agree that society is spiritually constipated and in need of a good dose of spiritual assistance without spending money on products that bring relief or gagging at the thought of taking castor oil?

One of Change.org recent petitions was for a young man who was fired from his job for showing compassion to animals. I signed it and offered “Showing compassion is a much needed balm (another word for relief) that can heal our broken homes, homeland, and hearts.” If you are unable to show compassion, you are spiritually constipated.

All spiritual tools are designed for relief of some kind and they are all directly connected to the Spirit of Grace. Grace, a virtue coming from God, is undeserved – and often perceived as unfair – divine assistance that helps us look within for internal forgiveness and relationship building (internal, vertical, and horizontal) designed to draw us closer to God and to one another.

You may agree that 2014 has been a year filled with troubles on every hand. As we look back, let’s admit that whether we have acknowledged it or not, Grace has been like a bridge over troubled waters. More importantly, let’s acknowledge and give thanks in 2015 for the times when Grace continues to be our bridge through, in, and over troubled waters.

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

their families and, especially their children.

Soul Fiber: Host of God/Hostage of Ego

The Rev. Dr. James Moos, Executive Minister, United Church of Christ’s Wider Church Ministries writes in his article titled Witness for Justice: “Human” Rights:

Why have we not made more progress in the human rights arena? Part of the answer is that, while there is a broadly shared understanding of “rights,” our understanding of “human” remains ill formed. As long as rights remain abstract ideals, they are non-threatening. But when we try to apply rights to this or that group of people it becomes more difficult. The fact is that some people are considered to be “less human” than others.     When our nation’s founders penned the Constitution, slaves of African descent were only counted as being 3/5ths of a human and, therefore, not entitled to “in alienable” rights. Native Americans, women, the poor, immigrants and religious minorities were similarly seen as possessing lesser degrees of human worth and dignity. They, and other marginalized groups, continue to be assigned a lesser value.

Clearly there are authorities (political, religious, law enforcers, legal, physicians, faith-based leaders, psychiatrists, guardians, military/para-military, etc.) who still hold to the idea that there is no ethnicity better than, as good as, or equal to the one percent or minority power brokers. Any time a Black man is sent to jail for dog fighting and White men are set free for killing Black people there seems to be is a pathological resurgence in the idea of who’s more human. Only Black people can effectively address their distresses and only White people can effectively address their issues. Many, not all Black people are homophobic and many, not all White people are xenophobic. However, the minority power brokers do have the influence to address their cultural insensitivity and not lose their god (money).

In the book THE POWER OF NOW, the author talks extensively about living in the now. To live in the past makes you absent from the now. To live in the future denies you the present called now. To live any place other than the now makes you a hostage of ego. To live in the now makes you a hostess/host of God.

Which are you – HOST OF GOD/HOSTAGE OF EGO?

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

their families and, especially their children.

Soul Fiber: Black Lives Matter Sunday

There is an evolution going on and this evolution is called BLACK LIVES MATTER. The evolution began the day Africans were brought to America and enslaved for profit. Slaves were neither paid nor given credit for their labor in building America’s infrastructure and the hundreds of inventions that made life easier for all parties concerned; cotton gin, traffic lights, and electricity, as examples.     Many Americans believe that we entered into a post racial era at the election of an African American President. Seeming, not even the recent incident of police brutality leading to no-indictments has changed the minds of post racial proponents since the most recent police have been set free from any indictment for choking a Black man to death. The protests against such foolishness appear to be on the increase as well as the number of Black persons being released from wrongful imprisonment after serving twenty, thirty, forty, years for a crime they did not commit. So, what’s up with the grand juries and prosecutors and the police bullies?

Just two weeks ago we began emphasizing and proactively advancing words and behavior to show how much our Black man are loved and appreciated. Further, we are asking them to become self-aware, count themselves special, worthy, and smart. We are also reminded them to seek, find, and live out their purpose and heart’s desire. Everyone is born with purpose – the one thing that only they can fulfill. We likewise reminded Black people that from the beginning the system’s intention is to diminish/destroy the poor, disabled, and especially Black people through our religious mis-beliefs, mis-education, pipeline to prison, dismantling of the family, and systemic isms – here and abroad.

We are mobilizing and holding town hall meetings with enforcement agencies and we are asking our constituents to buy Black throughout the holidays and, most importantly, on January 14, 2014, there is a national request evolving asking persons to be in solidarity by wearing black on BLACK LIVES MATTER SUNDAY.

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

their families and, especially their children.

Soul Fiber: Tell Our Black Men That They Matter

I came to give life with joy and abundance. John 10:10 The Voice

While grocery shopping Wednesday, I would extend my hand to every Black man I saw and say “be encouraged. You are loved, worthy, and smart. Don’t let the system get you down. Live your heart’s desire. We’re praying for you.” Every one of them said “thank you. I appreciate your words of encouragement.” I shared this idea with several of my colleagues one of which said she was going to start doing the same thing. That is what needed – that we all support our Black men with encouragement. Encourage them to wear condoms (you know they are going to have sex), to practice self-love and awareness, to join the military when they cannot find jobs, to know their rights and otherwise keep their mouths shut if stopped by the police. Don’t you know the system is still trying to diminish the esteem of Black people – by any means?

My colleague and friend, Reverend Madison T. Shockley, Pastor of Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Carlsbad, CA, is a regular commentator for the Huffington Post. We are reposting excerpt from his recently posted article about Ferguson. Please read the article at http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/6216458?utm_hp_ref=tw.

PictureI so wanted to believe that this time would be different; that this time a black man would get the benefit of justice. But I was wrong. There would be no indictment of Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown….[Although] Witnesses had testified that Brown was in the act of surrendering. How could the officer not be held accountable? “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” became the mantra of those calling for justice for Mike Brown. It is an expression of the utter futility felt by black people in this country that there is anything like “equal justice under the law….” Some have responded to the ruling with rage. That’s what we see in the burning, looting and rioting in Ferguson. Incredulous commentators, reporters and others ask the perennial yet irrelevant question, “Why do they burn down their own community?” Rage is not rational. Rage only asks, “How do I make you understand the pain that I am feeling?” Rage burns where it lives; it does not travel well. Rage is more a form of self-flagellation than a strategic attack on injustice.”

“I asked my son, Madison III, how he felt about the verdict. He said, “I feel like I’m wearing the jersey of the losing team the day after the Super Bowl.” The jersey, of course, is black skin. A jersey we can never take off.”

We all can also have a tremendous impact by encouraging and telling our black men that they matter.

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

their families and, especially their children.