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Friday, July 29, 2016

Quotes, Quests, Quandaries

This has been a very full week for me as I finish up my sixth summer of interns. What a lovely lot! I pinch myself at the thought of getting to do what I feel like I was built to do. What a creative, generous God we have!

In the midst of that, I also worked through some helpful resources... here are some highlights:

Quotes that Feed My Brain, Heart & Soul. One of my very, very small contributions in daily life is to post thoughtful, challenging, convicting, encouraging, uplifting, wise quotes on social media... rather than cat videos (though I love cats) or what I've accomplished in Pokemon Go.

Two came into my view yesterday, and they were strangely resonant, though from different sources:

It is my opinion that art lost its basic creative drive the moment it was separated from worship. 
It severed an umbilical cord... 
In former days the artist remained unknown and his work was to the glory of God... 
Today the individual has become the highest form and the greatest bane of artistic creation. 
(Ingmar Bergman)

Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get—only what you are expecting to give—which is everything. What you will receive in return varies, but really has no connection with what you give. You give because you love and cannot help giving. If you are very lucky, you may get loved back. That is delicious, but it does not necessarily happen. 
(Katharine Hepburn)

The interesting connection for me was in the sources -- both artists, but speaking deeply spiritual, even theological truths. I will confess mostly unfamiliarity with Bergman's work, but I am aware that he had a father who was a Lutheran pastor, and his films contain profound spiritual questions and themes.

Hepburn's words capture the stunning beauty and difficulty of truly unconditional love. Which I have found is only possible when God's Spirit inhabits my love. As an eternally recovering English major, I am grateful for these gentle reminders of the power of art and how it is a powerful (though often neglected) means of grace.

If you want to receive daily surprises for your devotional and thought life, these are what I turn to each morning (along with scripture):
  • Christian Quotation of the Day: never cheesy, sometimes a little dense, but often surprising. Drawn from Christian history.
  • Common Prayer: An excellent devotional guide that is thought-provoking, occasionally off-putting, always earnest.
  • Henri Nouwen Society: His writings have blessed my life for decades. I read things that I underlined years ago and they still capture me as if I'm reading them for the first time.
  • Inward/Outward: I like this one because it draws from a very wide range of sources. I don't always "get" them, but when I do, I am often rattled to the core.
  • Pray the Hours: I sometimes go to this when I want a guide to prayer during my day. This whole website is an excellent resource for contemplative practices.
New Podcast Addiction. As I have mentioned in an earlier post this month, I've started learning more about Enneagrams. Not only have I read Discovering the Enneagram by Richard Rohr, but I've also happened upon a new podcast that I am enjoying greatly: The Road Back to You. Hosted by two experienced folks who lead retreats and serve as spiritual directors, the first few episodes have been interviews of people who help to describe each one of the nine Enneagram types. Super engaging conversations! So far, I'm seeing that Enneagram could serve as a tremendous tool for those who want to press in further in their quest of ongoing intimacy with God and understanding of self and others.

Resources for Families. In my many years of working with youth and their families, something that came up often was the reality that whatever program or event I was running could never substitute for the deep foundations that needed to be provided at home. Yet when I would meet with parents about how to do that, we would often be boggled together! Not having grown up in a home with "family devotions" or a regular life in the church, I sure had no experience in this arena. Yet when I started digging for resources to recommend, I also found slim pickings. Most stuff was ridiculously cheesy and overly simplistic.

Yet this week I've come across two interesting possibilities:
  • Parents' Major Role in the Religious Lives of Young Adults. This first one is rooted in research, but I feel that it sets the context for the "why" of this conversation. This really made sense to me: "Yet the assumption that parents are irrelevant in the religious lives of teenagers – replaced instead by peers – is a myth, research shows. Several studies have shown that the religious behaviors and attitudes of parents are related to those of their children."
  • 10 Tips for Family Worship Time. I have not test-driven this, but it looks promising. Perhaps gather a few families to do it together for a few weeks and then discuss? 
Final thought. This flew by me at some point this week. I sort of like it!

I must be a Mermaid:
I have no fear of depths
and a great fear of 
shallow living. 

Get some rest this weekend, OK?

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