Friday, October 29, 2010

I'm b-a-a-a-a-ck again. . .

and wondering where to take this effort. I pick up bits and pieces and practices to share, but there's so much more real content to explore, isn't there?

Just found It's a ministry of the British Jesuits
and definitely worth a look.

I've never written for an anonymous audience before. It's a little terrifying. In a classroom or church setting I enjoy the wonderful "loop" of communication that appears as restless minds and bodies engage challenging ideas with me. Faces tell me whether they've "got" it or now. And all questions are valid. Like Rainer Maria Rilke, I love and cherish the questions. The more difficult the better. I'm not interested in answers any longer. They, like so much of my religious training, comes from the past. And, in my humble view, the past ain't gonna get us to the future.

Years ago I was outside church working the crowd after a Sunday morning liturgy where I'd been homilist. Over the rustle of voices I heard a woman's voice call my name in a thick Richmond, VA, accent. It was that slow intonation that women of her generation and stature saved when they wanted to get their son's attention for something specific. (There's a different one for husbands I later learned.) It was clear Betsy had something that needed my immediate attention.

"That was one of the best sermons I've ever heard." Pause. Her tone was exasperated. Then she started to pound on my chest with her index finger. "You'd have made a wonderful bishop, you know. But you simply won't follow the rules."

That's pretty much the summation of my life and spiritual journey. I won't follow the rules. My years in a religious community were a disaster. I will respect a tradition as long as I'm allowed to question it. Perhaps that's why the solitary life is so appealing to me.


  1. Glad to have you back. You seem to suggest that one's Religious Vocation is a matter of personal choice. But, It is not our Vocation, rather it is God's Vocation for us. Perhaps, you were led to exactly where you were supposed to be, to do the most good for God's kingdom. No, of course God does not want automotons. We do have choice, to follow or not, where we are Called. Then, the spiritual homework is to actually do (and accept) God's Will with love. I am struggling through the acceptance part, but it is a Goal. How do others feel on the subject of Vocation, and God's Call?

  2. Gentle Porter, I've thought (in my own perception perhaps)
    I was one who followed... with blind obedience and still had been asked to leave religious community, as was told "it was not God's will". Who could argue to do anything contrary other than that? and yet, oh how hard it was for me to really understand and come to acceptance of that. Not my will, but thine be done was uttered in the agony of the garden. What a blessing to have felt the pain, what a blessing to love and be grateful for this present moment, un- cloistered, yet still searching for God. Our vocation is, to love as St. Therese puts it. God's call , our sanctification, where He wills, when He wills, however He wills, so be it. So glad you're back.

  3. It's a basic tenet of Buddhism to examine for yourself everything it teaches. We learn by questioning. I don't think Truth needs Faith, it just needs honest pursuit.
    I think I'd have similar problems in a religious community. I couldn't follow rituals & regulations that seem empty to me. (Mind you, most of mainstream society seems empty to me and I put up with that!)

  4. Just followed the "Growing into Silence" link and realised it's the tv programme I'm currently watching which has been a breath of fresh air, and highly unusual to see on a mainstream (UK) channel. It must be anathema to their schedulers to air it at 7pm on a Friday evening as it does everything wrong as far as today's attention-grabbing, ratings-obsessed tv is concerned but it's great to watch as it quietly points out the flaws underlying our busy-busy-busy consumer culture.
    The last part is being broadcast next Friday (5th November) for any latecomers.

  5. Have just found your blog. Have courage. All you write about your nervousness was also known to me when I started my own blog...but it is a very friendly and appreciative community; and wonderful to share each others journies. My blog is called livinginthemonasterywithoutwalls, a wordpress blog if you want to visit. I look forward to your future posts. Stephanie