Category Archive: Latest from the MethoBlogoSphere

Aug 31 2014

Begin Again: Into the Fault Zone

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Throughout religious history, wilderness has been associated with sacred space. Mt. Zion, Mt. Tabor, Mt. Olympus, the wilderness outside Jerusalem, Heart Butte, Sacred Bear Butte, and the list goes on. Sacred places which attract people questing for beauty and for a glimpse into something beyond us. Jesus, in particular, has a significant experience in the wilderness as he confronts temptation and moves past it, to be transformed by his experience.

All over the world, people religious live in the wilderness–the Celtic “thin places.” Places where the realm between what is and what could be seem unified in a spiritual wild-zone. Thin places offer the potential for transformation. I’d like to invite you to travel into the wilderness of “The Earthquake Trail” with me and Colin (my son).

1-earthquaketrailThe Earthquake Trail is north of San Francisco and goes directly over the San Andreas fault. We went there after my son had surgery and had his post-surgery “clearance” checkup. This surgery was necessary for Colin to continue his path to a transformed, fulfilled, abundant life. It seems appropriate that we visit a place where sudden transformation has and will occur. And as the sign so appropriately points out, “Prepare yourself for the uncertainty of walking in the fault zone.

2It seems to me, that is what the wilderness experience is about. Confronting uncertainty and coming through it with a greater appreciation for the faults that lie within ourselves…and with others. But most importantly, recognizing the power that our faults have when they rage out of control and the beauty they hold when they illustrate our uniqueness.

4There is life in the fault zone. New life of grains, older life of majestic trees, even dried moss hanging on lifelessly-for now-waiting to be reborn during the moist days ahead. And most majestically, the California Condor–a bird rebounding from extinction in the wild. Life is abundant here, in the fault zone.

10Prickly thistles adding color and leaves hanging in the balance–proving even the most uncomfortable plant can provide beauty and buoyancy.

5But no matter where we are, there comes a point when we have to make a choice. Do we stay here? Or do we go deeper? Will we cross the bridge? Ford the stream?

6Once we cross, as before, there are boundaries. Places that are “in” and are “out.” Boundaries can be places of support and beauty as we grow and become comfortable with our faults.

7But our boundaries are not always healthy. Sometimes they need to be reset. Transformation happens in an upsetting of power that tumbles our soul pell-mell through the wilderness. What used to be a contiguous, easy, fence breaks and a new boundary is set. Opening up space for abundant love.


This fence was moved from “here” to “there” during an earthquake. It used to be one, straight fence.

And this happens within the wilderness and ancient trees that dwarf our understanding of life. But always stretching it upward and onward.

11Inviting us to further journey along the path.

12Following the inspiration that calls to us. Wherever the wind blows. Finding sacred space in the fault zone.


Weathervane at the Earthquake Zone Visitor’s Center

Shalom and Amen!


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During the week of August 31 – September 6, The Bardo Group will post essays, photos and poems on Wilderness to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act being signed into law in the U. S.

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Aug 30 2014

UMR: Wesley Bros: Asinine Assumptions

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Click image to view full screen…

The stories of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin have really helped to show the true colors of our society.  Not just because they happened, but because of the fallout of conversations in the aftermath.  This comic was the first one I was sad to write, though I still tried to make it funny (hopefully!).  Let’s pray for peace in every level and realize that the church is going to have to make some serious pro-active change to address race in America.  One suggestion I loved was having response teams that would show up to these scenes like they do at a disaster, and pray with the victims’ families and work to be peacemakers in the community.

Richard Allen was one of the founders of the AME church, the first Black church in America.  He is considered a Black Founding Father in America, having also started the Free African Society (FAS), calling for boycotts on any products made by slaves.  One Sunday, he was entering the sanctuary for worship at St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, when the pastor began to pray.  Richard and his friends knelt to pray where they were, which happened to still be on the white’s only section of the building.  The ushers removed them from worship.  Affronted by the control that continued to be enforced on the Black members of the congregation, Richard and Absalom Jones began the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

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Aug 30 2014

A Pastor's Thoughts: The Great Turning

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Contemplation is no fantasy, make-believe, or daydream, but the flowering of patience and steady perseverance. There is a deep relationship between the inner revolution of true prayer and the transformation of social structures and social consciousness. Our hope lies in the fact that meditation is going to change the society that we live in, just as it has changed us. It is that kind of long-term thinking that God seems to be involved in and kindly invites us into the same patient process.

I know the situation in the world can seem quite dark today. The negative forces are very strong, and the progressive development of consciousness and love sometimes feels very weak. But the Great Turning is indeed happening, as people like Joanna Macy, David Korten, Byron Katie, and Thomas Berry believe and describe.

In his Letter to the Romans, Paul has a marvelous line: “Where sin increases, grace abounds all the more” (5:20). In so many places, there are signs of the Holy Spirit working at all levels of society, almost in tandem with the emergence of unbelievable violence, fear, and hatred all over the world.

Carl Jung

Carl Jung from Getty Images

It seems to me that true progress, or the hope that we have, is not naively optimistic, a straight line, or without regression. Spiritual progress, ironically, develops through tragedy and through falling. As C. G. Jung said, “Where we stumble and fall is where we find pure gold,” the gold of the Gospels, the hidden gold of our own souls, and then the beautiful soul of the whole creation.

——Richard Rhor

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Aug 30 2014

Allan R. Bevere: Ten Rejected Sects of Christianity

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While there are a number of different sects of Christianity today, from Roman Catholic to Seventh-day Adventist, there are even more that were put down by mainstream Christianity. Many of them can be classified as Gnostic, which is normally characterized by the rejection of the material world and embrace of the spiritual world, often in direct conflict with the established religions of the time.

The ten are listed with commentary here.

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Aug 30 2014

Commmonplace Holiness blog: A Prayer for Today

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“Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame…

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Aug 30 2014

Allan R. Bevere: Saturday at the Cinema: How to Write a Theological Sentence

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Dr. Stanley Hauerwas, How to Write a Theological Sentence from School of Theology on Vimeo.

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