Sunday, February 12, 2006

All the World Together

We can each listen deep, we can each strive to follow God on the deepest level we believe we are able, and sometimes even deeper. We can each have deeply transformative experiences, find our own testimonies to the world and then resign ourselves, content to think, "I am working so, so hard, doing all these good works and listening to God; I am a good person, and this is more than enough," leaving the matter at that.

But it is not enough to follow God just in our personal journeys. We are missing the deepest, most difficult calling if we stop there. We are called to suffer together. Together we must help each other build the Divine Community, and together we must enter into it. All our judgements of each other, of ourselves, big or small, all our blame, accusations, hatred, violence, toward friends and strangers alike, all of it tears at our foundation, shaking us further apart, further from God.

We cannot ignore it. We cannot remove ourselves from the crimes of our fellow humans. We are all responsible. We must all suffer together, leaving no one behind. No one in the world. This is what it means to truly love, and to truly live in the Power of the Spirit.

So look to your neighbors, friends and foes, and declare "You, too, are coming with me," for none of us will make it there alone.

Love and Light,

Monday, February 06, 2006

Saving the World by Coming Alive

What is my ministry to the world?

Everyone ministers to the world in some form or another, whether implicitly or explicitly. A somewhat well-known quotation comes to mind. It's perhaps cliche, but don't get hung up on that:

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Harold Whitman

All of our activism - protests, donating to charity, writing to government officials, re-building neighborhoods; all of it - is a way of tending to the world. I need to point out that such activisim is not the only way of tending to the world.
Activism means nothing if it is done out of guilt or pity. True actions are sprung from the deepest call, and bring us only joy even through the hardships encountered. We act out of love and only love. When we "come alive" we are tending to the world. If such activism does not make us come alive, then we must re-examine what it is to which we are truly called, where the Spirit is leading us rather than guilt or some other outside obligation. No one should feel guilty if they are not called to drop everything and join the Peace Corps or go to a protest (or ten) or be active in a committee for some form of activism or another.

We all have different gifts, Friends, and we are meant to use them in different ways.

This is ministry to myself as much as anyone else. As a full time college student, it is easy for me to begin overthinking and feeling guilty, afraid that I am not properly tending to the world. I have a passion for chemistry - chemistry in its purist form has very little to do with peace and justice or politics. What good is it if I can prove that putting these two chemicals together under certain conditions produces some other chemical, right? Surely that can't be important in the real world. I even catch myself feeling guilty about wanting to do chemistry. If I'm not out in the field working with people who have so many hardships or rebuilding houses in broken down communities and am instead studying something about which I can be happy and excited, then I am selfish and not properly tending to the world, right?

Then, though, I remind myself that chemistry makes me come alive. Chemistry feels like a calling, one of the main directions in my life. And it's far from useless in the so-called real world. Then I remember that the research project I worked on this summer contributed to finding a faster way to diagnose a horrible autoimmune disease (Anti-Neutrophil Cytoplasmic Autoantibodies - ANCA). I remember that I'm applying to work this summer in a lab doing research about one of the biochemical causes of Type 2 Diabetes - and working toward making a better medication. There are people who are not necessarily being bombed who need help in our own back yard, and I have already worked - and am looking to continue working - to help them using the very thing that makes me come alive: chemistry. The most important message here, though, is that I first recognize and do what makes me come alive, where I am truly led, and after the fact I come up with reasoning about how it tends to the world. Truly living in the Spirit means listening first, and reasoning second.

While I cannot say that my ministry to the world is solely chemistry, I can say that part of how I minister to the world through chemistry. To take this even a step further, I minister to the world when I experience and share any form of joy (chemistry brings me joy, which I do share). I minister to the world when I am upset (ministry is not always fun). I minister to the world by being me, not who I think I should be, and by acting as I am called without feeling guilty about not saving the world in the most obvious way.

By listening to our inward callings and by being truly ourselves, we each do our part in saving the world.

Love and Light,

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Words of Wisdom from Yoda

There are days when I catch myself taking myself too seriously. I start thinking too hard and overanalyzing, and many things I start trying to do just aren't good enough. It's sort of like trying so hard you can't. A quote from Yoda comes to mind, though: "No! Try not. Do or do not. There is no try." Perhaps I should quit trying to be grounded or focused, trying to listen; maybe all I need to do is let go, and just do.

Some of the times I am least centered are the times I'm trying my hardest to be.

Love and Light,

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