Prayer is Friendship

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is a ” seminal book on the subject of creativity. An international bestseller, millions of readers have found it to be an invaluable guide to living the artist’s life”.  One of the major exercises in the book that Julia gets you to do is called “Morning Pages”.  This is where you wake up and write out three pages of your stream of consciousness.  Just get everything and anything out on paper.

It is a form of meditation.  The premise being that after you have emptied your mind of all the details that you are often distracted or consumed by, then you are free to begin to think creatively.  This discipline really helps to increase your creative output.

Recently I have been navigating a painful experience in my life.  Very dear friends of mine, who were concerned for my wellbeing, kindly made their home on the Gold Coast in Queensland available to me for a week.

Their exact words were, “Get out of here and work your head out”.  Lol.  So,  I tucked  myself away in silence and solitude, for a week and created space within the storm to  think, process, pray and reflect. A large part of that week was writing out my “Morning Pages”, my stream of consciousness and all of my negative feelings.  I recorded my nightmares in my journal, making notes, processing them and them releasing them to God.

By recognising and acknowledging my feelings, good, bad and painful, I was able to then communicate with greater intimacy with God.  By getting rid off all the white noise in my head I was able to be still.  I created a space to hear from Him and to listen to what He had to say to me. Prayer is simply friendship with God and friendship requires two-way communication.   Richard Rohr in his book ‘Simplicity’ says it this way:

“I don’t advise you trying to master your fears.  You can’t fix the soul…We have to ask, who is the ‘I” that has these feelings?

But most men and women in the west have never encountered it.  Instead they identify with their stream of consciousness, with their feelings… you should not suppress your feelings, you should name them  and observe them.  But don’t fight them and don’t identify with them.

Teaching this art is teaching contemplative prayer in its first stages”(P 45).

You may be wondering how this relates to prayer.  What Richard is suggesting is that prayer is firstly about getting ourselves out-of-the-way.  We don’t have to wait for God to come he is already present.  But our inner world is often full of worries, fears, ideas, plans, tasks, all clanging and bumping into each other.  We need to get these onto paper and out-of-the-way.

“All you can do is become quieter, smaller and less filled with your own self and its flurry of ideas and feelings.  Then God will be obvious in the very now of things.  It is so simple that it is actually hard to teach”(Rohr, R. 1991 p45).

You may feel that your experience is too personal or confidential to write down in a permanent place.  If so then write it out on a sheet of paper and then burn it.  Very cathartic.  I can’t stress how important it is to release these feelings that we often think are too big, too bad, too hard, too sad, too shameful.

Repress Repress Repress – It catches up with you.

If we continue to suppress and repress our feelings then sooner or later we will blow up.  It’s not a pretty sight.  When teaching on this I often use the analogy of a foam surfboard that I had as a child. In our backyard pool as kids we would practice standing up on this tiny foam surfboard.  It was incredibly buoyant.  This trick was to keep the surfboard submerged under the water and balance on top for as long as you could.  Obviously the winner was the one who could stay on the longest.

However, inevitably you would lose balance, tip off and the surfboard would rocket up into the air. Suppressed feelings are a lot like that.  We can keep them under the surface for so long but eventually we run out of energy and bam….. out it comes in an explosion.

Surf Wipeout Much better to put it on paper.  I have been doing this exercise for a couple of decades now.  It has helped me dramatically  with three things:

1:  My intimacy and relationship with God and others.

2:  My creative outflow. Fountain pen

3:  My emotional health – peace of mind.

In my journal I write out pages and pages of my worries, prayers, thoughts, fears, hopes, dreams.  Sometimes I draw them, or doodle them.  I have been known to use black nail polish if I’m really upset, or even black texta.  Sometimes I will draw  a picture, write down a  feeling or make a list. Then I write down the things that I am thankful for.

“As you begin to befriend your inner silence,

one of the first things you will notice is the superficial chatter on the surface level of you mind.

Once you recognise this, the silence deepens.”

( John O’Donohue Anam Cara: P146 )

After I have got ‘ME’ out of the way I go very still and very quiet.  I wait.  Often a flow of writing just starts as I begin to hear the Spirit of God speaking to me.  If I am still distracted I begin to write again,  I often start with a letter.  Dear Lisa,  ……..  and then I just begin to write.   Let me tell you, if we make time to listen, God actually has a lot to say to us.

Remember, a friendship is two ways, talking and listening.  How often do we listen to God?

I have been journalling for about thirty years.  It’s faith building to look back over the years and see the progress that has been made. IMG_2593 This is a picture of one of my journal pages.  You can see that I’ve written out on my journal page,  “Looking for a chance to breathe”.  Only a week later  my girlfriend suggested that I go up the coast and take some time to ‘catch my breath’.   This is a simple example of what I have been describing.  You may just want to write out your thoughts in bullet points, or do a mind map.  Whatever works for you.

Peter says this “Throw all your cares, worries and anxieties on Jesus because He cares for you” 1 Peter 5:7

I would really encourage you to start a journal if you haven’t already.  If yours is a bit dusty and unused it’s never too late to pick up a pen or laptop and get started.  Take some time for yourself, to unburden, to release and let go of your cares. Give them to someone higher than yourself, He does care for you and He knows that we can’t function properly when we are so consumed with worry and cares.  Even 5 min a day will make all the difference.

Let me know how you go. xxx Love Lisa.

Recommended Reading: 

The Artist’s Way Starter Kit includes Cameron’s two most important Artist’s Way tools: The Artist’s Way and The Artist’s Way Morning Pages Journal-bound together for a bargain price. This attractive package-shrink-wrapped and with a bellyband-will inspire anyone contemplating beginning the Artist’s Way program to plunge right into this life-changing twelve-week program!


The Artist’s Way Starter Kit
Anam Cara Discover the Celtic Circle of Belonging – this book will captivate you.  I can’t put it down. John O’Donohue, poet, philosopher, and scholar, guides you through the spiritual landscape of the Irish imagination. In Anam Cara, Gaelic for “soul friend,” the ancient teachings, stories, and blessings of Celtic wisdom provide such profound insights on the universal themes of friendship, solitude, love, and death as:

  • Light is generous
  • The human heart is never completely born
  • Love as ancient recognition

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people.Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

https://www.patreon.com/SundayEveryday

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

The Rise of Rich Face

Have a look at this picture.  Have a good hard look.  What do you see?

old lady guadalajjara 2

I see a woman who has lived a full and rich life hiding behind a mask of youth.

Is this mask demanded of us?  Do we place it upon ourselves?  Are we so ashamed and afraid of getting older that we hide behind false youth and cosmetic procedures?

I took this photo recently whilst on a trip to Mexico.  It was hanging in the Cultural Institute of Cabanas in Guadalajara.  Undoubtedly the finest place for art in Jalisco.  Once a home for orphaned children, it is now home to several art galleries.   Unfortunately, I forgot to take down the name of the artist and I wish I knew the year that this was painted.

Once upon a time,  growing old was seen as honourable.  The elderly were revered and held positions of honour in the community.

Today Growing old gracefully is increasingly seen as a failure to make the best of yourself – and even shows a lack of respect for the self and or for others. Some might say that you have “let yourself go”.

One day when I was walking arm in arm with an Aunt, I would have been about 22.  I can clearly remember thinking, “I can’t wait to get old…. I will be wise… I will be able to help people… I will be respected and revered”.

Now getting old is seen as a fate worse than death.  For the first time in human history, 

“The young have become a model of emulation for the older population, rather than the other way around,” Richard Harrison

The problem does not stop here.

It is not enough anymore just to have youth on your side.  We don’t just worship youth,  we worship the youth of the medias imagination.   Now the pressure is on us to be a ‘perfect youth’.   One that hopefully looks a lot like Jenna Kardashian or Barbie.

Recent studies have revealed how much this is affecting people – particularly girls of a young age. The Girls’ Attitudes survey has shown how body image worries affect many aspects of young girls lives – stopping them wearing the clothes they like, having their pictures taken, taking part in sport and speaking up in class.

The survey reports that 47% of girls aged 11 to 21 say the way they look “holds them back”, while 69% of girls age seven to 11 feel like they are not good enough.

A recent pilot study has found girls as young as 11 are seeking cosmetic surgery for their genitals. What’s going on?  Andrew Trounson, University of Melbourne

When I was 11 I was obsessed with wanting to be Heidi and living on a mountain with goats, eating cheese and hard bread.  I vaguely recall thinking I had two bottoms but that was the end of it.  I certainly would not have know what a labia was.  

This new pilot study is aimed at understanding why a growing number of Australian girls, as young as 11, are seeking cosmetic surgery on their otherwise normal genitals.

University of Melbourne health researcher Emma Barnard says: “Pictures in textbooks and magazines are stylised or airbrushed, and there is a real lack of understanding about the real range of genital diversity.”

I am sorry, I must live under a rock, but how are tween girls getting access to stylised or airbrushed pictures of their genitals?  

The desire to look picture perfect in today’s camera culture fuels this over-the-top approach to grooming and has extended to our genitals.  The rise in pornography has also given rise to the desire for highly sexualised body shapes and images.

1400489662-StarsDeniedPlasticSurgery_i

 “The selfie has turned an extreme aesthetic that wouldn’t normally be acceptable; into something people want on a daily basis,” explains Melissa Gibson, a senior artist for M.A.C Cosmetics. “It doesn’t appear very natural outside of a photograph, but for some women, that synthetic look is now part of the appeal.” Some choose to make their exaggerated features more permanent with the help of injectables.

A recent study by the University of Macquarie has linked the time women spend on Instagram per day with the level of body dissatisfaction they experience. Women are also likely to experience more body image issues when they use social media to compare themselves to celebrity.

These cosmetic procedures have produced the term Rich Face.  This is where women and girls are proud to wear their over exaggerated features as a badge of wealth.  Much like wearing or showing off $500.00 bag or shoes.  It is now a status symbol.

The most common cosmetic procedures sought out by teens:

If teens are facing this pressure,  imagine the pressure on the ancient 30 plus-year-olds.  

Did you know that Australia has leaped ahead of America regarding cosmetic surgery?  Australians love plastic surgery. That’s $1bn-worth of love.

Roughly 500,000 cosmetic procedures were carried out last year. That includes 20,000 boob jobs, 8000 breast argumentations, 30,000 liposuction procedures and $350m dollars’ worth of Botox injections. (Reference)

The fastest growing area of cosmetic work is in non-surgical enhancements. In Australia, we know that procedures like dermal fillers for cheeks and lips, or anti-wrinkle injections such as Botox, are fast becoming the most popular choice for people looking to enhance their appearance.

In 2015, Australians spent over $1billion on non-surgical cosmetic procedures  – up from $773 million in 2012. (Reference)

The top five most popular procedures are an anti-wrinkle injection, fillers, laser and IPL, breast augmentation and reduction and liposuction.  At the same time, the cosmetic surgery industry is booming, eating disorders are the number one killer of any mental health disease in Australia. (Reference)

I am exhausted just writing this article.  The pressure to keep up, look better, look younger is horrific.

Don’t get me wrong,  I indulge in beauty procedures.  I have my eyebrows tinted, my hair dyed, my body and facial hair plucked and waxed.   I spend money on cosmetics and moisturizer.  But how far is too far?  When are we able to feel happy and safe in our own spotty, wrinkled skin.

What happened to the days when wrinkles and flabby skin were a sign of wisdom and respect.  Why are we repulsed by the road map of life etched upon the faces of our elderly? I used to love sitting on my nanas knee and playing with her flappy skin and looking for the red lights on her arms.

Red lights which I now have.

Red lights called cherry angiomas or senile angiomas.  Senile... that is a very strong word.  I will continue to call them red lights.

What happened to the love of fresh faces and clean skin?

In 1970 – this was the face of cover girl.

15302009095_d24c779f76_b

Move into the 1980’s and 1990’s – clean and fresh becoming replaced by sophisticated party looks.

2000 fresh skin is still looking good……..

59d93a9ee71d4334651b3b13a4296937--makeup-ads-angela-lindvall

Fast Forward to 2016 and Cover Girl has its first guy as a spokesperson and we also begin to see the shift to contouring and shape changing in makeup.

2018 and Cover Girl is now fully into face shaping, contouring and full features.

What am I trying to say?  

Fashion always comes, goes and turns around.  However, what was once used to enhance the features you were born with, is now being used to distort and stylise your features into those that resemble cosmetic procedures.  Actually into those that resemble a mask.  None of this is bad in itself, as long as you have a good grasp of who you are and actually like who you are.

Returning the original photo.  What happens to the woman under the mask?

old lady guadalajjara 2

What happens to her at the end of the day when the makeup comes off and when the procedures expire.  Is she happy with the person underneath?

Thus comes the saying. BE happy in your own skin.  

I have become a person obsessed with being happy in my own skin.  I am not sad about getting old.  I have worked bloody hard to get old and have the stripes and scars inside and out to prove it.  I feel like a warrior.

I also at times feel insecure and flabby and bumpy.  But I want to enjoy my later years and find joy in who I am within and without.  I want my daughters and my granddaughters to feel safe and happy in their own skins.  To know that they are beautiful because of the light that shines out of them and the brains and the thoughts in their heads, not the makeup on their faces.  I want them to know that kindness, grace and mercy are worth more than youth and good looks.

Beauty truly is only skin deep.

Like a flower, the beauty of our youth will fade.  But it will be replaced with many stunning sunsets,  reflected in our wisdom, humor and grace.  The joy of being perfectly at peace and safe in our own skin.  Of rocking grandbabies and holding family close and being able to say,  “It’s okay,  this will pass.  I know for I have been there”.  You are safe and you are beautiful.

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

The Rise of Rich Face

Have a look at this picture.  Have a good hard look.  What do you see?

old lady guadalajjara 2

I see a woman who has lived a full and rich life hiding behind a mask of youth.

Is this mask demanded of us?  Do we place it upon ourselves?  Are we so ashamed and afraid of getting older that we hide behind false youth and cosmetic procedures?

I took this photo recently whilst on a trip to Mexico.  It was hanging in the Cultural Institute of Cabanas in Guadalajara.  Undoubtedly the finest place for art in Jalisco.  Once a home for orphaned children, it is now home to several art galleries.   Unfortunately, I forgot to take down the name of the artist and I wish I knew the year that this was painted.

Once upon a time,  growing old was seen as honourable.  The elderly were revered and held positions of honour in the community.

Today Growing old gracefully is increasingly seen as a failure to make the best of yourself – and even shows a lack of respect for the self and or for others. Some might say that you have “let yourself go”.

One day when I was walking arm in arm with an Aunt, I would have been about 22.  I can clearly remember thinking, “I can’t wait to get old…. I will be wise… I will be able to help people… I will be respected and revered”.

Now getting old is seen as a fate worse than death.  For the first time in human history, 

“The young have become a model of emulation for the older population, rather than the other way around,” Richard Harrison

The problem does not stop here.

It is not enough anymore just to have youth on your side.  We don’t just worship youth,  we worship the youth of the medias imagination.   Now the pressure is on us to be a ‘perfect youth’.   One that hopefully looks a lot like Jenna Kardashian or Barbie.

Recent studies have revealed how much this is affecting people – particularly girls of a young age. The Girls’ Attitudes survey has shown how body image worries affect many aspects of young girls lives – stopping them wearing the clothes they like, having their pictures taken, taking part in sport and speaking up in class.

The survey reports that 47% of girls aged 11 to 21 say the way they look “holds them back”, while 69% of girls age seven to 11 feel like they are not good enough.

A recent pilot study has found girls as young as 11 are seeking cosmetic surgery for their genitals. What’s going on?  Andrew Trounson, University of Melbourne

When I was 11 I was obsessed with wanting to be Heidi and living on a mountain with goats, eating cheese and hard bread.  I vaguely recall thinking I had two bottoms but that was the end of it.  I certainly would not have know what a labia was.  

This new pilot study is aimed at understanding why a growing number of Australian girls, as young as 11, are seeking cosmetic surgery on their otherwise normal genitals.

University of Melbourne health researcher Emma Barnard says: “Pictures in textbooks and magazines are stylised or airbrushed, and there is a real lack of understanding about the real range of genital diversity.”

I am sorry, I must live under a rock, but how are tween girls getting access to stylised or airbrushed pictures of their genitals?  

The desire to look picture perfect in today’s camera culture fuels this over-the-top approach to grooming and has extended to our genitals.  The rise in pornography has also given rise to the desire for highly sexualised body shapes and images.

1400489662-StarsDeniedPlasticSurgery_i

 “The selfie has turned an extreme aesthetic that wouldn’t normally be acceptable; into something people want on a daily basis,” explains Melissa Gibson, a senior artist for M.A.C Cosmetics. “It doesn’t appear very natural outside of a photograph, but for some women, that synthetic look is now part of the appeal.” Some choose to make their exaggerated features more permanent with the help of injectables.

A recent study by the University of Macquarie has linked the time women spend on Instagram per day with the level of body dissatisfaction they experience. Women are also likely to experience more body image issues when they use social media to compare themselves to celebrity.

These cosmetic procedures have produced the term Rich Face.  This is where women and girls are proud to wear their over exaggerated features as a badge of wealth.  Much like wearing or showing off $500.00 bag or shoes.  It is now a status symbol.

The most common cosmetic procedures sought out by teens:

If teens are facing this pressure,  imagine the pressure on the ancient 30 plus-year-olds.  

Did you know that Australia has leaped ahead of America regarding cosmetic surgery?  Australians love plastic surgery. That’s $1bn-worth of love.

Roughly 500,000 cosmetic procedures were carried out last year. That includes 20,000 boob jobs, 8000 breast argumentations, 30,000 liposuction procedures and $350m dollars’ worth of Botox injections. (Reference)

The fastest growing area of cosmetic work is in non-surgical enhancements. In Australia, we know that procedures like dermal fillers for cheeks and lips, or anti-wrinkle injections such as Botox, are fast becoming the most popular choice for people looking to enhance their appearance.

In 2015, Australians spent over $1billion on non-surgical cosmetic procedures  – up from $773 million in 2012. (Reference)

The top five most popular procedures are an anti-wrinkle injection, fillers, laser and IPL, breast augmentation and reduction and liposuction.  At the same time, the cosmetic surgery industry is booming, eating disorders are the number one killer of any mental health disease in Australia. (Reference)

I am exhausted just writing this article.  The pressure to keep up, look better, look younger is horrific.

Don’t get me wrong,  I indulge in beauty procedures.  I have my eyebrows tinted, my hair dyed, my body and facial hair plucked and waxed.   I spend money on cosmetics and moisturizer.  But how far is too far?  When are we able to feel happy and safe in our own spotty, wrinkled skin.

What happened to the days when wrinkles and flabby skin were a sign of wisdom and respect.  Why are we repulsed by the road map of life etched upon the faces of our elderly? I used to love sitting on my nanas knee and playing with her flappy skin and looking for the red lights on her arms.

Red lights which I now have.

Red lights called cherry angiomas or senile angiomas.  Senile... that is a very strong word.  I will continue to call them red lights.

What happened to the love of fresh faces and clean skin?

In 1970 – this was the face of cover girl.

15302009095_d24c779f76_b

Move into the 1980’s and 1990’s – clean and fresh becoming replaced by sophisticated party looks.

2000 fresh skin is still looking good……..

59d93a9ee71d4334651b3b13a4296937--makeup-ads-angela-lindvall

Fast Forward to 2016 and Cover Girl has its first guy as a spokesperson and we also begin to see the shift to contouring and shape changing in makeup.

2018 and Cover Girl is now fully into face shaping, contouring and full features.

What am I trying to say?  

Fashion always comes, goes and turns around.  However, what was once used to enhance the features you were born with, is now being used to distort and stylise your features into those that resemble cosmetic procedures.  Actually into those that resemble a mask.  None of this is bad in itself, as long as you have a good grasp of who you are and actually like who you are.

Returning the original photo.  What happens to the woman under the mask?

old lady guadalajjara 2

What happens to her at the end of the day when the makeup comes off and when the procedures expire.  Is she happy with the person underneath?

Thus comes the saying. BE happy in your own skin.  

I have become a person obsessed with being happy in my own skin.  I am not sad about getting old.  I have worked bloody hard to get old and have the stripes and scars inside and out to prove it.  I feel like a warrior.

I also at times feel insecure and flabby and bumpy.  But I want to enjoy my later years and find joy in who I am within and without.  I want my daughters and my granddaughters to feel safe and happy in their own skins.  To know that they are beautiful because of the light that shines out of them and the brains and the thoughts in their heads, not the makeup on their faces.  I want them to know that kindness, grace and mercy are worth more than youth and good looks.

Beauty truly is only skin deep.

Like a flower, the beauty of our youth will fade.  But it will be replaced with many stunning sunsets,  reflected in our wisdom, humor and grace.  The joy of being perfectly at peace and safe in our own skin.  Of rocking grandbabies and holding family close and being able to say,  “It’s okay,  this will pass.  I know for I have been there”.  You are safe and you are beautiful.

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

The Way

A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God’s people; no Traveller , not even fools, shall go astray. 
Isaiah 35:8.

The Christian movement was referred to as ‘The Way‘.  Ancient Christians were known as followers of ‘The Way’.  They did not follow a Church or a denomination.  They followed the teachings of Jesus.

This is a description written  to describe these new followers of Christ from The Epistle to Diognetes, c. AD 130..

They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all others; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring.

They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death and restored to life.

They are poor yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things and yet abound in all; they are dishonored and yet in their very dishonor are glorified. They are evil spoken of and yet are justified; they are reviled and bless; they are insulted and repay the insult with honor; they do good yet are punished as evildoers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred. To sum it all up in one word — what the soul is to the body, that are Christians in the world.

This post was written by Ray Simpson for Way Marks Of Life.

Traveller  1    How can I follow this way when I’ve had two still births, my one baby that survived has a chronic condition, and I feel drained day and night?

Guide             This way has lodging places that exactly meet the needs of each person. Jesus said ‘In my Father’s House are many lodging places (John 14:2). The Greek word suggests that Jesus had in mind the lodging houses that were familiar to people who walked along the trade routes.  By being fully present to your child just where you are, you show you are in fact on the right way. Your baby is also on a journey. Take each day at a time. Each day take a step of love.

Traveller  4    I am a mother of five children.  My life is taken up with household duties. I love my family and Jesus, and I welcome my neighbours to drop in, but everything revolves around relationships and the changing needs of people. I could not keep to a regular rule or routine. Surely that’s for people with a high level of energy and organising ability?

Guide             God has designed his Way for people of all types and circumstances. In today’s Scripture Isaiah points out that everyone can travel it, even fools; only the unclean will be unable to make it. Everyone who has begun to love their children and their neighbour has begun to walk this way. However, Jesus said ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself’ (Matthew 22:39). In order to love yourself and others you need to renew the springs of care. Otherwise you burn out and cease to be a life-giving parent and neighbour. If you refuse to rest and to snatch moments for prayer and reflection you are disobeying Jesus who said ‘If you love me, keep my commandments’ (John 14:15). If you disregard the way your body is made you are disregarding Jesus. If you disregard the way the days and weeks are made you are disregarding Jesus. Jesus has built rhythm into the fabric of your being and of the earth.  So being mindful of the sun rising and setting, being aware of how the food on the plates came to get there, is not an impossible extra burden, it is intrinsic to you being a good human being, a good mother and a good neighbour.

It is true that you will not travel this Way in the same manner that a commando officer or an elite athlete would, but God does not want everyone to be like that. So relax. Breathe in God, take a step, and share the journey with a soul friend.

Traveller  5    Isaiah says the unclean can’t walk this way. I have unclean thoughts, my room is in a mess, I’ve broken up with my partner and I’ve got into debt, so even though I believe in God, I can’t walk this way until I’ve sorted everything out, can I?

Guide             Jesus enlisted a prostitute (John 8:11), he knew that everyone has unclean thoughts (Matthew 5:18), and he explained what people with messed up relationships and debt could do about these (Matthew 5:23, 24; 18:23-35).  The first New Testament followers of the Way did not include many big wigs and egg heads, for God chose people who looked foolish in their eyes to be followers of the Way (1 Corinthians 1:27).

———————

Into reflection

Jesus, you are ahead of me, I come to you just as I am.

Anthology on Prayer: Part Two

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of gratitude. James 5:13

Anthology on Prayer:  Part 2

A few weeks ago I contacted several of my friends and asked them to comment on two questions about the topic of prayer.  They were kind enough to send back their responses for us to read. These were the questions that I asked.

1:  What is prayer to you?

2:  Does prayer work?

In Anthology on Prayer Part 1, we had guests Nicole Conner, Dr Ps John Drane and Cameron Semmens.  You can read their thoughts here:  Anthology on Prayer Part One.

Today our guests on the blog are Joel McKerrow and Mark Conner.

Let me introduce you to Joel McKerrow.  Joel is one of the most beautiful and deep souls you will ever meet.  He is a safe place, a harbour of peace and a wonder with words.

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Joel McKerrow  is a writer, speaker, educator, community arts worker and one of Australia’s most successful internationally touring performance poets. Based out of Melbourne, Australia he is the Artist Ambassador for the aid and development organisation ‘TEAR Australia’ and currently teaches at Whitley College.  Accomplished author and poet, Joel is passionate about discovering a new way to live outside the system of the Empire of Greed and spends much of his time trying to match his actions with this belief.

Father Richard Rohr talks about Joel here: 

“The old windows are not letting in much light. Nor do they allow people to look out, through and beyond. We see it everywhere: in the cynicism of politics, the machinery of the market, the intransigence of religion passing for faith, and the ravaged quality of so many human lives. Light is not getting through. We have always waited and asked for better windows, a truer lens, some ways to see the brightness and goodness that we somehow know is there. It is to this deeper, already knowing, that Joel McKerrow appeals. He draws us through a much better window.”

~ Father Richard Rohr, The Centre for Action and Contemplation ~

Joel, what is prayer to you?

1. Prayer is a movement of the self toward the divine. It is, in the everydayness of life, a choosing to be present and a giving of ones attention to the God who is always present and attentive toward us. It is an opening up of ones cognition, emotion and physicality toward this God.

Prayer is the thin place between the invisible world and the visible. It is the turning of the ache and the wound and the desire and the shadow toward the sacred one and in doing so being transformed.

Does prayer work?

2. The term ‘work’ might be problematic when we come to prayer. Especially in our Western understanding of progress and production and fast-food gratification. Most often prayer does not feed our expectations, which can feel as though it is therefore not ‘working’. However, prayer is never about the destination of an answer, of something that ‘worked’. It is more a re-orientation of the self, it offers a way to know the presence of God regardless of what the reality of life might about to be.

If the point of prayer is simply a movement of the self toward the divine, then it works every time.

Mark Conner is one of the kindest people you will meet and is a family friend.   Mark  has been involved in church leadership for over three decades. He is a gifted leader, author and speaker who brings a wealth of wisdom and life experience to whatever he engages in.

Mark has a genuine love for people and a passion to help them grow and change. He has a Masters of Arts degree in theology from Ridley College and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary.  You can follow Mark here on his blog: Mark Conners Space

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1. What is prayer to you?

To me, prayer is simply conversation with God. It is endeavouring to live all of life with a constant awareness that he is with me and for me. It includes speaking to him – audibly but also just in my thoughts at times – but also listening for him – not always speaking through tangible words to me but also through thoughts, promptings, feelings and sometimes simply through an amazing sense of peace. Like our very breath, to me prayer is meant to be like the air that we breathe, not something we merely do at the beginning of the day in a ‘quiet time’ or in a formal church meeting.

2. Does prayer work?

I don’t see prayer as a way to manipulate God to do what I want him to do. Much of the formulaic methodologies of how to pray in order to twist God’s arm to act as I think he should smells of magic incantations to me.

To me, prayer works in that it makes me more aware of God and it reminds me that I am not in charge of the world, which is good news.

Thank you Mark and Joel for your insights and your wisdom.

Our prayers are precious to God. They represent His promises to us, and His relationship with us. If you are going through a really challenging time at the moment and you feel like there is no hope.  Or that prayer is just a waste of time.  I will leave you with these words from N.T.Wright. Taken from an interview with Dargan Thompson on August 18 2015. 

So what do you say to people who are in a rough period and they’re waiting for something to happen and it just isn’t coming?

In that period of waiting, it’s like when you sow a seed in the ground in the fall, in the autumn, and you want to be impatient. You want to say, “I planted the seed, I want something to grow straight away, please.” But you have to wait through the winter.

During the winter, it isn’t that nothing is happening, it’s that the seed is germinating out of sight underground. It needs to be there. In the spring, when the new shoots happen, it looks sudden to us, because we haven’t seen anything going on until then, but actually, stuff has been going on underground.

Again and again, God works underground in our lives, in our imaginations, in our personal circumstances and in the wider world, and then suddenly something new happens, a new project, a new moment in our lives, and we’re astonished at it. T.S. Elliot had that wonderful poem that’s part of his four quartets where he says, “Wait without thought, for you are not yet ready for thought.” In other words, don’t even try to figure out what’s going on. If God has kept you in the dark at the moment, it may be because you have to go through a winter season in order that the spring, when it comes, will find those new plants well rooted and well bedded in.

That’s very difficult, because the darkness looks just dark. But that’s where we cling onto the teaching and promise of Jesus. Jesus taught those parables about seeds growing secretly and so on precisely in order that people could latch onto the promise that even when it looks dark, looks as though nothing is happening, God is at work and the seeds will indeed produce fruit at the right time.

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If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on-line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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Does Prayer Really Work? The Power of a Mothers Prayer.

Does Prayer Really Work? The Power of a Mothers Prayer.  by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

I was born under an umbrella of matriarchy, steeped in prayer and giggles.

My Nanna was a woman who prayed constantly for her family.  She had each of their pictures in frames on shelves in her little room and every day she would pray for each of her children and grandchildren.  I knew that I was the luckiest little girl in the ‘whole world’ because when I was about 10 my Nanna came to live with us.  There was nothing better in the universe than being close to Nanna.  She was sweet and cheeky.  Even her name was like a cloud of Spring Sunshine –  ‘Violet’.

She loved a cup of tea but she detested dirty feet.  Oh ouch ouch !!!!!  My little sister and I would sit in two inches of lukewarm bath water at the end of the day with our feet in the air while Nanna scrubbed our feet clean with a flannel and we tried not to squirm or she would scrub harder.  “Dirty little heathens” she would mutter.  ‘These dirty little feet wont be getting into my clean sheets’.

My Nanna loved tea, ‘Lan Choo Tea’.   Lan Choo tea because The LAN-CHOO Bonus Plan offers you a choice from over 500 useful gifts in exchange for the Bonus Labels on the end of each LAN-CHOO packet.

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“Next time you are in town visit the LAN-CHOO ‘Bonus Showrooms’ and inspect the useful and interesting range of Bonus Presents awaiting LAN-CHOO customers”.

I’m not sure that we ever went to those magical  ‘Bonus Showrooms’ in Flinders Street Melbourne, but she was passionate about saving those labels.  She even had a special tin for them.

Often I would creep into her room and kneel with her by her bed and listen to her pray.  I remember her saying to me,  “Lisa, we don’t ever need to fear.  Sometimes things may go wrong in life, we may be haunted but we’ll never be daunted”.  She was a funny lady, full of mischief, a wicked sense of humour and a woman of prayer.

She smelled like lavender and washed my hair with curly pet.  ‘Curly Pet’ the wonder of wonders was ordered every month.  The label stated that it was “guaranteed to give your baby curls”. My head was liberally smothered with it which is hilarious because I actually have naturally curly hair which of course was attributed to the wonder working powers of ‘Curly Pet’ and not my DNA.

She used Curly Pet on my hair and the magnificent Dippity Do on hers.  I’m not sure what excactly dippty do did, but as a young child I loved nothing more than to get into all the magical pots and formulas on Nanas dressing table.  Dippity Do was also a great standby if you ran out of clagg.

Nanna taught me how to tap dance, how to play pranks, how to play scrabble and how to pray.

Nanna had three daughters and two sons.  The eldest child, my mother, and my two aunts Carol and Bev, have also inherited this mandate of prayer and my Nanna’s wicked sense of humour.  Although our families have been through some traumatic times, two thing stands firm in their lives:  prayer and an irreverent sense of humour.

Prayer and humour have helped us navigate some dark days.  Somehow we always bounced back because:

1:  The Lord is good and He answers prayer

2:  We were never allowed to be daunted

I didn’t really know what daunted meant as a child. Today I finally looked up what daunted means. It means to: “take aback, shake, throw, demoralise or dishearten.  AND if ever we were thinking about being a little tiny bit daunted, there was always a strong cup of tea with lots of sugar to knock that nonsense out of us.

I learned from my Nan that Prayer is simply a conversation with God.  The bible tells us that prayer brings peace, and wisdom and that it is effective and powerful.  ‘So we…petitioned our God about this and he answered our prayer’ (Ezra 8:23).

Today I have asked my mother Lauris and my two aunts Aunty Bev and Aunty Carol to answer some questions for me about prayer.  My Mother is 87 this year.  I can’t tell you how old my aunts are because I’m still scared of them and they could kill me for telling you.  Or ‘slap me over the wrist with a tram ticket’ as my Nana would say.

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Aren’t they beautiful they are so precious:  Aunty Bev on the left, Aunty Carol in the middle and Mum (Lauris) on the right.  Standing outside the home they grew up in Abbotsford.

To this day each of my siblings and 19 cousins know that at any time of the day or night,  they have an open line to either of these three women for prayer requests.  They pray regularly and often pray  together over the phone.  Many times I have joined these matriarchs in times of prayer.

In the movie ‘The Castle’, presents go straight to the pool room.  In our family prayer requests go straight to the ‘hot line’.

From: The Sisters about their mother

Mum used to get up very early in the morning to pray and then would return to her room several times during the day to pray some more.  She called her bedroom her ‘prayer closet’ or her ‘sanctuary’.  Prayer was very important part of mums life and she would receive prayer requests from friends and family daily.  You would often hear her on the phone praying with someone.  She was a warrior woman and would never give up.

As sisters we do a prayer reading everyday.  Prayer is a major part of our lives too.  We do a reading together every day so that we have read the whole bible through each year.  We pray in the morning and at night and there are many times when we are woken up in the middle of the night to pray – or have a burden of prayer.  When we are worried about one of our kids or grandchildren we say “Well there no use worrying about it,  Lets Pray!”

We have seen our prayers answered so many times that there are too many to mention.

Does prayer work?   Of course prayer works.  Bev could not have children and Mum got us together to pray.  Mum said to Bev “you are not barren” and we will pray believing.   A few months later Bev was pregnant.

We feel so happy and excited when we pray.  We feel really free in our spirit and Bev really gets revved up (don’t put that bit in cause she’ll get mad).  Sometimes we cry and laugh for joy at the goodness of God and how good he has been to our families.  We are truly blessed.

Even when there seems no way out or ‘no answer’, prayer bring us peace, joy and an assurance that we can rest knowing that God cares for our families and we can trust Him.  He has never failed us.  God is Good.

This testimony from Bev concerning her friend Kirsten and the power of prayer.

Kirsten’s husband Sam was destroying his life on ice and had become abusive to the family so he left her. Kirsten needed prayer as her two young sons were being hard to handle.  They did not want to go school, they were sleeping in her bed  and generally not coping with the situation.

One day Kristen came  to visit me with her two boys.   I could sense that they were very distraught so I asked the  boys if I could pray with them and they said yes.  I asked them ‘what would you like me to pray for?’   They asked if  we could pray for their dad to get better.  I said if I pray will you believe with me and they said yes.   So together we prayed for their father.   After texting the boys daily to encourage them and pray with them, we then heard  that Sam had come home and asked forgiveness for being so nasty.  He also asked if the boys would thank the ladies that had been praying for him.  He was so amazed that two ladies (Lauris and Bev) who didn’t even know him, were praying for him.

Sams recovery was a miracle.  He went and asked for professional help, he then attended every meeting needed to get well.  He ended up getting a  certificate to say he was free from drugs and is now home with his family.

The truth is that the faith and prayers of the boys was answered.  God answers prayer.

Final comment from Lauris

It is very important to pray.   The ‘big thing’ is that you pray with faith and believe God and you must believe in what you are asking for.  Speak to God as if you were speaking to your father who loves you and who wants to look after you.  Speak with an open heart like a little child because He cares about you with an everlasting love.  Get started on exercising your faith, people are always talking about how we need to exercise,  but forget to exercise their faith.  Exercise builds muscle and endurance.  It’s no different with faith and prayer.  Believe in God and you will see some mighty things begin to happen.

I hope you enjoyed this little journey into my family heritage.  I feel very blessed to have these precious women in my life.

 

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

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Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support to help pay for annual fees etc..  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

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Love Lisa

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An Anthology on Prayer: Part One

An Anthology on Prayer Part One

by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

What is Prayer?

Does prayer work?

Over the next weeks you will hear from, poets, theologians, authors, musicians, pastors and leaders from Social Justice platforms.

These posts will be done in the form of an anthology, which is a collection of writings or poems.  In this post,  ‘An Anthology on Prayer Part One’ we will be hearing from:  Dr John Drane, Nicole Conner and Cameron Semmens.

The last two decades for me have been years of un-learning. I was raised in a pentecostal fundamentalist cult. When I left the cult in 2000 I attended the pentecostal Mega Church. During that time I studied Theology at Tabor College. One of the hardest and healthiest things I have done.

I say this because we all look at life through the prisms and perspectives.  The way we have been raised usually has a big influence upon us.  My perspective was, in the past, very myopic, narrow and mostly driven by fear. There were many rules and certainties around my faith.  I have now come out into a larger space and am certainly more reflective and open about God and His relationship with us in this world. I am less dogmatic and less certain. In fact the more I know the more I realise I don’t know.

In this season of sifting, one of the topics I have been re-visiting  is Prayer.

I am letting God out of His box now. I want to hear from a range of people who view life and faith from different angles.

Along with this season of unlearning has been a growing suspicion of leaders. I don’t think I am alone in this. I believe that generally as a society we have all felt let down by pastors, politicians, sporting heroes and civic leaders.

Who do we go to for answers when there is such a feeling of disconnection?  Who can we trust?

There are still several people on the planet that I hold in high regard and whom I trust to speak their hearts with integrity.  So I decided to enlist their help on this topic.  I contacted a dozen or so of my trusted friends, colleagues and mentors and asked them for their perspective on prayer.  They come from all walks of life.

Rev. Dr John Drane is a gift to me and I am very grateful for his input on this topic. John is a theologian who is probably best known for his two best-selling books on the Bible, Introducing the Old Testament and Introducing the New Testament.  Among many other things John is founder of the religious studies program at the University of Stirling, Scotland. He is also appointed to teach Practical Theology in the Divinity School at the University of Aberdeen. Currently a self-employed consultant working with churches of many different denominations throughout the United Kingdom as well as internationally.

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An adjunct professor in New Testament and Practical theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, California, a visiting scholar at Spurgeon’s College in London and a visiting Fellow of St John’s College, Durham. John is also an ordained minister and well-known throughout the UK and western world for his academic contributions.

If you wish to follow John you can do so on his YouTube channel John Drane

These are the two questions that I asked them all to consider: 

1:  What is Prayer?

2:  Does Prayer Work?

What is Prayer?

Prayer is an attitude or environment when we live in conscious awareness that we are surrounded by the presence of the divine in every moment of life.  Martin Luther didn’t say that prayer is work, but that work is prayer – and so is (or can be) everything else.

Sometimes that awareness of God comes unexpectedly out of the blue, at other times it’s about making space for it intentionally.  Prayer can be a sense of awe and wonder in the face of something or somebody beyond ourselves, at other times it can be words and actions.  Conversations, listening as well as speaking.

First and foremost though it’s an openness to ourselves, to others, and to God.  Jesus pretty much summed it up with talking about loving God with heart, soul, mind and strength, which is a pretty holistic vision.

Does it ‘work’?  

Depends what you mean by ‘work’.

Researchers have concluded that living in an attitude of prayerfulness can improve your health and help you live longer, and there’s evidence from the Harvard prayer project that suggests being prayed for by others can improve your chances of recovery from serious illness.

There’s a lot we don’t understand, and though prayer never seems to get us the parking spaces that others claim, we would say that yes, prayer does work – in all its many forms.

Nicole Conner

A bit from Nicole: Perhaps what you need to know about me is that I am a story-teller. I love stories. I always have. I have devoted my life to stories – as a writer and public speaker I believe stories can change the world.  Nicole brings three decades of experience in speaking and training about topics such us spirituality, liminality, social justice, volunteerism and theological perspectives.

Check out her blog:  Reflections of  a Mugwump 

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Nicole is one of my trusted and closest friends.

What is Prayer? 

My prayer journey has changed over the years – it has changed in accordance with my understanding of who God is. I can apply this to Richard Rohr’s thoughts about first and second half of life – in some way we frantically build structure and meaning in the first half – it is about ego, image and success.

As we enter the threshold or liminal space into what contains our second half we begin to deconstruct, hold paradox and mystery. God is mystery and God is love – my prayer life centres around this.

All that preamble to say that I no longer see prayer as earning some invisible brownie points with God – I believe in ritual but only because it ties into the rhythm of life. My prayer ritual is taking certain moments every day and breathing and recognising God who is all in all – it includes silence, contemplation, listening and spoken word. These rituals for me are enhanced in spaces of natural beauty – but that is not always possible depending on where I find myself throughout the day.

Does prayer work? 

It’s a great question and one that triggers me back to my frantic first half where I made all sorts of promises to people about prayer using my privilege of dominant platform voice. The question is what do we mean by ‘does prayer work’? Work what?

And let’s consider our answer as a global citizen … with thousands and thousands of desperate human prayers asking for safety, food, liberation from horrific acts of violence.

I think prayer works when we begin to stop seeing prayer as a  spiritualised form of our Christmas wish list that we were privileged to construct in our often dominant, wealthy, insular culture and context. Prayer works perhaps when we recognise our responsibility in what it means to see the ‘kingdom come’ … and this often means letting go, living sustainably, saying no, and making a rich contribution in the issues of justice.

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Cameron Semmens

Cameron Semmens is a 2 times broken-hearted, award-winning performance poet, poetry educator and book designer. He’s got 21 books to his name and 4 spoken word albums. His most recent book, ‘Get Poor Quick through Poetry – 101 super easy steps to obscurity, disappointment and straight-up cashlessness’, luckily has only sold 82 copies, so it’s keeping well within his hopes and expectations.

Some call Cameron ‘a connoisseur of fine words’; others call him ‘dad’ (specifically his two little kids); and still others call him on the phone to chat about his writing workshops, or performing, or commissioning a poem, or just being arty.

He lives amidst the foggy ferny forests of The Dandenong Ranges, and can often be found in cafés head-down, fingers-a-blur dreaming up words to move, inform and discombobulate.

He’s been drawing a lot lately… with Indian ink and a falcon feather quill. This seems to be developing into a new artistic expression, but it’s still a bit too early to call.  Listen to his podcast ‘Shards – The 1 Poem Podcast of Cameron Semmens’ and check out www.webcameron.com

Cameron never fails to bring joy and hope to my life.  He is a rare human and his view on the world is one that I cherish.

Answer 1: Like a Wave Veiled With Spray Rushing to Her Groom

Presence

is the only true

prayer.

Move

to the bloody edge of your body,

where skin becomes see-through

and only membranes of thought hold you in

– there

you have a chance of seeing

‘the other’

beyond;

– there – 

you may see

how a hand may be perfectly placed

to worship.

Lean forward

to the very edge of this moment;

the closest you can get to the future

before you become

tomorrow

(or one hundred thousand years from now)

– here – 

pressing hard against potential

with hammering hope

and storm-front love;

– here – 

you might just see things

beyond any known horizon;

and you might just

be things

you thought

un-poetry-able

and impossibly connected.

Prayer

is the only true

presence.

Answer 2 :  How to Build a Permanent Sandcastle

Prayer doesn’t work;

it isn’t off makin’ a buck;

it is always at play;

toying with our oh-so-serious priorities;

it is a sly-eyed larrikin

in the poised and pretty shop-front display

of this-season’s fashionable importances.

Listen!

Listen to the bloodied lips of a heartbreak.

Listen the shag-pile rug

frayed and flattened with our living.

Keep listening!

Don’t stop listening to all the world around you –

it is all at play;

it is all in prayer.

Like the chubby hand of a toddler

patting firm the crumbling walls of a sandcastle

with waves surging at its oyster shell gates –

prayer

is every beautiful, bumbling attempt

to ‘build up’

in the face of certain oblivion.

Play for me.

Oh God, please,

play for me!

Summary

To be honest, reading and re-reading these thoughts makes me very teary.  “Wham right between the eyes”,  I am hit with the reality of answered prayer.  These amazing friends of mine who I love and who am privelaged to do life with are answered prayer to me.

I designed this series because I was struggling with prayer, what it was and was it real.  I now feel held, blessed and a little humbled.  Thank you dear hearts.

Stand outs for me:

Prayer can be a sense of awe and wonder in the face of something or somebody beyond ourselves – John.

As I just explained,  I have recieved answered prayer in the faces of my friends. Totally unexpected. Thank you.

Let’s consider our answer as a global citizen … with thousands and thousands of desperate human prayers asking for safety, food, liberation from horrific acts of violence. – Nicole

I constantly struggle with this.  I am praying that my son suceeds in a job interview whilst somewhere in the world a child is sold into sex slavery.  Prayer is not a Christmas wish list.  Prayer changes US.  Profound

Finally

Prayer doesn’t work; it isn’t off makin’ a buck;  it is always at play.

Seriously I have read this and laughed at least 12 times.  Ahh Cam you always make me laugh with the truth.  A rare gift.  Prayer isnt off making a buck.  Lol…….. It is always at play.  Let’s not forget to play and to live in moments of mirth and wonder.

What resonated with you?

I hope you are blessed by this as much as I have been.

Stay tuned for Part Two next week. 

xxxx Lisa.

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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God Is Us

In the  beginning God said let US make man and woman in OUR image (Gen 1:26).

God is Us

God is communion

God is relationship

If you are trying to understand Christianity you need to understand Jesus.  The one who began it all.  Jesus thought about everything through the lens of relationship, through the lens of multiple, through the lens of inclusion and equality.  He lived and exemplified non-duality.  Non-dual means, not two, not separate.

“In spirituality, nondualism, also called non-duality, means “not two” or “one undivided without a second”. Nondualism primarily refers to a mature state of consciousness, in which the dichotomy of I-other is ‘transcended’, and awareness is described as ‘centerless’ and ‘without division'” (Wiki).

We however, live with dualistic thinking. We think in division.  We always fall into the trap of Us and Them.  We naturally exclude, compare, segregate.  We like to put things into black and white.  We are constantly and naturally dividing without even thinking about it.

The dualistic mind is essentially binary, either/or thinking. It knows by comparison, opposition, and differentiation. It uses descriptive words like good/evil, pretty/ugly, smart/stupid, not realizing there may be a hundred degrees between the two ends of each spectrum (Rohr).

“The dualistic mind cannot process things like infinity, mystery, God, grace, suffering, sexuality, death, or love; this is exactly why most people stumble over these very issues” (Rohr).

Jesus, the Spirit and the father are one and different.  NOT two.  As soon as you have two you have oppositional thinking.  You have to chose sides.  Three flows,  three is relationship, it is the flow of life.  “Whatever is going on in God is a flow, a radical relatedness, a perfect communion between Three—a circle dance of love. And God is not just a dancer; God is the dance itself” (Source).

An infinite flow and rhythm of love.  Flowing ceaselessly and eternally. God is the life force and energy that flows through everything in the universe.  God is with us and in us and flows through us.

I would suggest that today we have been stuck with a small God.  A dualistic version of God. God the threatener, God the watcher, God the punisher.  A black and white, small God.  The God of division, the God of them and us and the God that is preoccupied with exclusion.  This is not the God of Jesus and it is not the God that I know.

I would go further to even suggest that true salvation is not so much about sin, (black and white),  a transformation from dualistic thinking to non-dualistic thinking.  Where we think about inclusion, acceptance, life and love. Where God is involved in everything that we do, all of the time.  God is life and His/Her life is a flowing, moving force all of the time whether see it or not.

We only exist in relationship.  Outside of love and relationship we die very quickly.  Thats why loneliness, which is living in a state of exclusion, is a Global  epidemic that is killing us.  (See Loneliness is Killing Us).  The Trinity, or the Godhead, invites us to participate in the living, loving relationship with them, here and now.

Happy group of diverse people, friends, family, team together

All relationship happens through mirroring.  In the reflection of each other.  All of the references to the Holy Spirit are dynamic words: elusive wind, descending dove, falling fire, flame and flowing water.  God is trying to help us to see, with the eyes of our understanding, who God is.  HE is dynamic, multiple, reflecting, moving, flowing.  Either God is moving in and through you or He is not moving at all.   It is a process of loving and being loved.   As soon as you lock down, take sides,  stand back, isolate.  God is not moving through you.  As soon as you start thinking dualistically, you have stepped outside of the flow of God.

People admire strength and individuality, God it seems loves vulnerability and mutuality.   While we accept and gather those who look like us and think like us, God gathers anyone and everyone who believes.  We like boxes and boundaries, God dissolves boundaries and cannot be contained.

When I think of this model of relationship I think of a picture of the basic building block of the universe.  The Atom.  

stock-photo-illustration-of-atom-which-is-basic-building-blocks-of-all-matter-of-the-universe-in-d-with-105396998
Everything in the universe is created in the divine image.  In the Atom you have the electron, neutron and proton all circling around each other.  Flowing and holding the life of the atom together.  This is perfect picture of  mutual relationship.
Ezekiel saw it this way when he was given a vision of the divine: Ezekiel 1:16-21

“I saw something that looked like a wheel on the ground beside each of the four-faced creatures. This is what the wheels looked like: They were identical wheels, sparkling like diamonds in the sun. It looked like they were wheels within wheels, like a gyroscope.

They went in any one of the four directions they faced, but straight, not veering off. The rims were immense, circled with eyes. When the living creatures went, the wheels went; when the living creatures lifted off, the wheels lifted off. Wherever the spirit went, they went, the wheels sticking right with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When the creatures went, the wheels went; when the creatures stopped, the wheels stopped; when the creatures lifted off, the wheels lifted off, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels”.

I believe this is perfect example of relationship.  Us the many, wheels within wheels.  Moving constantly and being led by the Spirit of God.  Wherever the spirit went, they went. The spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.  What a beautiful picture of the atom.  The building block of life.  Wheels within wheels.

If you take the metaphor of a wheel and apply it to community it is a beautiful picture of balance and sharing.  Only a part of the wheel is connected to the earth at any one time.  The wheel moves and in doing so the load is shared.  The load is carried by all.  Every part belongs and every part of the wheel has a part to play.

In Ezekiels vision the wheels sparkled – they were reflective.  What a beautiful picture of vulnerability and transparency.  Each wheel reflecting back to the other and seeing each other.

In contrast, humanity’s  picture of structural  relationship is the pyramid.  A couple of power controllers live at the top with the load building and getting heavier the further down the pyramid you go.

power-pyramid

Its not a stretch to say that all of our industries and governments are run with money at the top of the pyramid.  All of our institutions and global enterprises are run like this and so are a lot of families.  How many times have you heard the term, “I am the head of this house?”.  Totally opposite to the dynamic and moving flow of the Spirit of God where everyone and everything belongs.  Where people and relationship is the primary focus not money or power.

When men and women feel threatened they always pull out the power card.  Dualistic thinking by its nature is one that controls and pulls rank.  In relationship breakdowns it is always: “What about me”.  It is about the ego and how to protect our patch.  You said this and I said that.    A truly holy person will always protect relationship at all costs.

They know that Gods highest priority is relationship.

 

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Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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