Tag Archives: Marriage

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!

I am reminded again that relationships with God and others take practice.

 

When I was a child and took music lessons my parents would constantly prod me to practice. Any musician or athlete knows that it takes lots of practice, sometimes tedious practice to develop any sense of ease and freedom in playing. Being a musician I know this and only wish that I had spent more time in practice! We may initially resent our parents or others who lovingly prod and push us to be the best that we can be. In retrospect we may find that they have given us a great gift!

 

I know it takes lots of practice to develop a talent, but why is it that I think my relationship with God and others should just come automatically? Those skilled at relationships take time working at them. How often do I take the time to resolve an issue in a relationship? Sometimes we just go on, never really talking through or resolving the issue. In terms of our relationship with God, it also takes practice. They don’t call it “spiritual practice,” or “practicing faith” for nothing! But sometimes I get so tired of practicing – taking the time to meditate and pray whether alone or with others. It seems like such a waste of time. There’s so much else to be done!

 

It is only in daily practice that I gain any skill, depth and freedom  as a musician or an athlete and it takes daily practice to gain that same skill, depth and freedom in loving relationships, whether with people or with God. What practices do I have in place that develop my relationship with God and others?

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THE MOST AWESOME ORGASM!

NOTE: I AM FINDING IT DIFFICULT TO POST EVERYDAY, LET ALONE A FEW TIMES A WEEK. FOR THOSE WHO READ THIS BLOG, I WILL TRY TO POST EVERY SUNDAY, THEN PERHAPS SOME DAY OR DAYS DURING THE WEEK, BUT AT THE MINIMUM I WILL TRY TO POST EVERY SUNDAY. Enjoy the journey!

We all chase after it, in one way or another. We somehow expect that in this life we will find total fulfillment and happiness whether it be through our spouse/partner, that “perfect someone,” through our work, our house, our car, friends, our children, our church, synagogue, temple or mosque, our guru – our favorite self help writer, our minister, priest and the like. Somehow all of us expect perfect happiness on this side of life, whether we’re aware of it or not.

Think about it. We place high expectations on our boyfriend/girlfriend, our spouse, friends, spiritual path, church and even ourselves to bring us happiness and fulfillment. Somehow we expect that one day we will arrive, we will find perfect serenity, perfect consummation, perfect happiness – the perfect orgasm through one of these means.

We all feel a fundamental sense of disconnection – from our Source and from one another.. And this very incompletion makes us continually reach beyond ourselves to find completion, be it in a person, place, thing or philosophy/spirituality. And this is good. But the sooner we realize that none of this will EVER make us FULLY complete, connected, happy, etc – the more peaceful we will ultimately be. Our expectations of one another, our spouses, of possessions and even of our spiritual path become realistic.

Ronald Rolheiser, in his book The Holy Longing: The Search for A Christian Spirituality, has a great chapter on sexuality – this Divine energy which drives us to seek completion and fulfillment outside of ourselves because we all feel a sense of incompletion. Yet, he says, the truth is, we all live with the “frustration of a lifelong, unfinished symphony” (c.f. p.205ff). On this side of life we will never find the perfect orgasm, the perfect person, or constantly live in a state of total fulfillment. The good news is, the sooner we accept this, the sooner we will stop expecting people or things to bring us the total fulfillment that only Divine fulfillment can. And, consequently, the happier we will be. Much pain and sadness in life comes from disappointment born of dashed expectations that this person or thing will completely fulfill us.

So face it, we’re never going to have the perfect orgasm. Ironically, when we realize this, the more connected and fulfilled we will feel.


Does God Really Care About Religion?

I question myself more and more as to whether God really cares about religious structures and institutions at all.  Does God really care about all these humanly created laws?  Does God really care about how this or that Worship Service or Liturgy is done?  Does God really care about what kind of music is used?  Does God really care about restricting people from access to the Table?  Does God really care about not eating meat on the Fridays of Lent?  Does God really care whether food is kosher or not?  Does God really care about proving whether one was “actually” married or not through an annulment before getting married again?  Does God really care about barring gay people from marriage, anymore than God would care about eating shrimp (which nobody listens to in the first place, even though it’s listed in the “abominations” in Leviticus – not to mention a woman being put to death who cheats on her husband, conveniently with no mention as to what is to happen to the man!).  Does God really care about ANY of this? 

 

In the end, does any of this matter?  Some I have met who are into enforcing religious law are among the most judgmental, mean spirited people I have ever met.  Conversely, those who have had the law inflicted upon them and internalized it live with the most abject fear of their acceptability in the eyes of God that I have seen.  Indeed, isn’t it “sinful” to have instilled such fear in the hearts of these good people?  What is of greater importance?  Living the letter of religious law, or building people up by being a loving, self giving person? 

 

Yesterday in my church, we heard the story of the man born blind from John’s Gospel.  In the end, who was really blind?  Were the blind man and Jesus the “sinners,” as accused by the upright religious folk in the story; or was it the religious folk themselves, intent on the letter of the law?  I can only imagine that the spirit of evil rejoices when people get all caught up in religious law!  Ironic that those who are not caught up in it, those who do not abide by it, or those who question it are the very ones called “bad.”

 

What’s more important in life?  I believe that sometimes religious law serves only to blind us to what is really important in being a person of God. 


What A Jerk!

“No prophet gains acceptance in his native place.” (See Luke 4: 24)

Ain’t it true?

I know of a minister who voluntarily left a large church at which he served as Pastor for a number of years. He no longer could agree with the teachings of his church, especially regarding women, gay people, divorce and re-marriage and, in his case, mandatory celibacy as a requirement for ministry. He no longer could agree with official teaching on who was acceptable at the table and who was not, who was acceptable as a minister and who was not, who could get married and who could not, who could adopt and who could not. He left, and hearing the call of a number of people to continue his ministry, he started his own church. It is a small, fledgling church in a humble chapel, but one can calmly feel the presence of Spirit in that gathering of people. Unfortunately, this very minister, whose compassion and genuine interest in people is palatable, and whose desire is to someday be a good husband and father – in addition to being a minister – is being called a “sinner” and people are being warned of his “grave error.”

Prophets are indeed not accepted in their own place. I pray for this man and admire his courage in the face of religious officials who now shun him.

OK, let’s bring it home. It’s easy for me to admire someone who stands in agreement with my opinions. But let’s take someone in my life who has had the courage to lovingly, but firmly, challenge me to get back on the path and deal with an issue in my life. My first reaction usually isn’t that good. Those of you who have a partner (friend or other family member) know that sometimes your partner can challenge you – hopefully in love. And oftentimes our first reaction isn’t so loving in return. BUT, if we sit back and take the time to reflect on what they are saying – we just might find that instead of being rude, insensitive, arrogant jerks – they may have been speaking the truth out of love and concern. And maybe if I heed their call and make some changes, I just might be a happier, more fulfilled person.

Who are the prophets in your life? Instead of demonizing them, can I step back and hear the truth that they are speaking to me in love?