Archive by Author

Quittin’ Day

17 May

Do you know the Author Bob Goff? He is a dreamer and writer who wrote, Love Does and now has a new book out called Everybody Always.

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I read his first book a couple years ago while I was in the middle of life transitions and sorting out some twenty-something stuff in my own life. His writing is a collection of joyful, uplifting, and real stories that help to bring perspective to everyday life.

My favorite lesson that I picked up and continue to carry with me, is to quit something every Thursday.

That is a lot of quitting.

“Something every. single. week?” You might be asking. And YES, I say! Try for something every single week!

This is going to look different for all of us, as we are all finding ways to use our time and gifts and talents and challenges differently, but sit and think for a moment. What is something (an activity, a meeting, an assumption, a bias, a club, a piece of clothing, anything) that you could quit to free up space for more love in your life? For more joy? Can you think of one thing? Can you quit it today?

This lesson from Bob feels similar to the parable of the Vine and the Branches that Jesus tells us in John 15:1-8. Jesus is telling us that God prunes the branches to make room for new life. God prunes that which has died away, and also, God also prunes the branches that DO produce fruit. God is pruning the branches of Jesus’s vines that produce fruit so that they may produce MORE fruit.

What can be pruned in your life to produce more fruit? What had its season and now is time to be trimmed back?

I think what Goff is trying to tell us, is that we have to free up some space in our life. He follows his command to quit something by adding, “You can’t be open to new opportunities if your life is full.
So, what newness could lie ahead that you don’t currently have room for?

What can you quit today to join us in self-discovery, vocational discernment, spiritual formation, and building community during a year of service through Confluence Year? 

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Spring Cleaning

19 Mar

This past week I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the changing weather. I am a warm-weather person– I could stay out all day, shoes off and in a hammock, from sun up to sun down, if I could, when the weather warms up.

That is why I find it especially difficult to be from Ohio where you have about 2 months a year where that is feasible… and then a sprinkling of days throughout the rest of the year where you can shed your jacket and umbrella (and if you are incredibly lucky: both!!).

With the spring, in my mind, comes this transition of bringing the outside world to the inside.

In my life that looks like opening all the windows and bringing fresh air in to sweep out the winter stuffiness. At the Confluence House, that means Spring Cleaning! Back in January we started some construction and updating to make the house more comfortable for our Corps members.

Left: Rev. Reat taking a crowbar to that tile backsplash. [It didn’t even do anything to her!] Right: The “finished” before pic. Kitchen updates in full swing!

Here in March, we are wrapping up those renovations, clearing the dust as it has settled, and preparing the house for a new cohort of young adults!

Spring Cleaning gives us the opportunity to transition an old space for a new use and to see with clear eyes again. Over the cycle of the winter it is easy to settle in to life as we know it. But spring cleaning allows us to dust off our lens and find a fresh way of being in the world.

In a few short months, our Confluence House will become home to a new cohort of young, passionate, and excited adults who will come in with clear eyes. Our preparation in the meantime will help transition the space to new life.

Next month, we will bless our fresh space and we will share pictures of the new life we have created an opening for!

What parts of your life need a good spring cleaning?

How can this fresh, brisk air of an on-again-off-again springtime bring new life to you?

What is love today?

14 Feb

This year, as you’ve probably heard 100 times already, Ash Wednesday falls on St. Valentine’s Day. While these two may seem at odds, to the theological church nerd’s among us, they line up quite beautifully.

Ash Wednesday is about God bringing us in closer to God’s heart and making us new. Forgiving us and creating in us clean and beautiful hearts.

I don’t really know what Valentine’s day is about in our culture anymore, but what if we took today, instead of filling it with heart-eye emojis to those we love, but rather, thinking about the ways in which those whom we love fill our hearts? What if we took today to forgive the things we’ve held on to about our friends, loved ones, and significant others, because today God makes us clean again?

It’s a weird intersection, but it’s also kind of perfect. What if we remember to whom we belong, and pour love out of that to those we care about, and also those whom we don’t know yet.

Below there is an amazing Ash Wednesday Prayer by Shawna Bowman, a pastor in Chicago.

Prayer For Ash Wednesday
Jesus was one of those strange mystics who always seemed to know
the need of the one standing in front of him
Lost, found, hungry, fed, afraid or joyful – one look and he just knew,
like a soul-reader,
who you are and what you’re lacking, or hoarding, or harboring.
As we embark on this Lenten journey let’s tell the truth about ourselves:
Some of us have more than we need.
If we have more than we need let us release the extra and the excess back into the world trusting our fullness will be enough.
Some of us are overwhelmed.
If we’re filled up so full we’re bursting let’s stop. Stop eating or drinking. Stop moving. Stop yessing every question and request. Just stop. Rest. Pray. Repeat.
Some of us have nothing left to give and nothing left to give up.
If we’re empty then let’s get fed, but let’s choose wisely, let’s fill ourselves on something that will sustain us. Bread sure, but how about deep and abiding love? How about a giant-ass spoonful of grace?
Some of us are lost.
If we’re lost and spiraling or buried under rubble then let’s put our arms around one another and lament.
Lament the lost and the left behind,
Lament the darkness,
Lament the dead and dying,
Lament at the borders and in the borderlands.
Let’s cry out for help and human connection and for the soul-reader to find us, to see us and to feed us too.
Some of us are found.
If we are standing on solid ground,
If we know who and whose we are,
If we have glimpses the beauty of the soul-reader’s wild and redeeming grace then we also know it’s not our own doing and we didn’t get here on our own.
We know the road can be hard and long
and we know we must reach forward and back to bring one another along
To pick one another up
To become soul-readers and rehumanizers ourselves,
So when we look into one another’s eyes and paint one another’s faces with ashes we will remember that we are both
fragile and resilient,
we are living and we are dying,
And in life and in death we all,
no matter who we are,
belong to God. Amen.