The most destructive trenches and foxholes are not necessarily in the war torn regions of the world. At least those foxholes are visible. The most destructive trenches and foxholes are the invisible ones we silently dig in our own hearts and minds.
This is where the trench warfare begins that tears apart relationships, families, churches, communities, and the world. Here we dig defensive lines against science or religion, against conservatives or liberals, against feminists or patriarchs, as the case may be. Here we dig defensive lines against people who bring up our father or mother wound or our other baggage, which we refuse to acknowledge within ourselves and so project outside ourselves. And the list goes on and on.
One of the primary functions of the Gospel is to fill in these trenches and call a cease fire. Jesus’ parables most often address our mental and emotional state—our underlying value system, biases, and prejudices. But, the trenches in our hearts and minds are dug so deep and they have such a long history in our family of origin and culture that sometimes the Gospel isn’t enough to fill in the trenches or to call a permanent cease fire. When trenches have been dug in early childhood and reinforced by cultural scripting over and over for decades, dismantling them requires varied means.
Contemplative arts such as centering prayer and the study of nondual theology gives us the interior resources and tenacity to hold up Gospel values no matter the cost.
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The Way of the Wisdom Jesus: Going Beyond the Mind to the Heart of His Teaching – If you put aside what you think you know about Jesus and approach the Gospels as though for the first time, something remarkable happens: Jesus emerges as a teacher of the transformation of consciousness. In this online course, Episcopal priest, teacher, and retreat and conference leader Cynthia Bourgeault serves as a masterful guide to Jesus’s vision and to the traditional contemplative practices you can use to experience the heart of his teaching for yourself. Based upon her book the Wisdom Jesus.
Our friends at Contemplative Light are offering Contemplative Practices. This course examines in-depth traditional practices of the Christian mystics, including: The Examen, Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, The Jesus Prayer and Christian Meditation.
Prayer is a core Christian practice, but for many, this means “saying prayers” or asking God for various favors. In this course, we will review a variety of methods of prayer that have been used for centuries in Christianity. Whether you’re a beginner who is just learning how to pray, or a more mature Christian who has been at it awhile, this course will offer specific guidance, encouragement and support for practicing several time-tested methods of prayer. Enjoy a review of this course by Rich.
Enjoy Rich’s post: My Favorite Centering Prayer Books
Enjoy Rich’s review of Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice – Book Review