Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Meditation

I wrote a Christmas meditation for our Sunday morning 'awakening' session. It was transformative to write. It helped to bring the Christmas story back to reality for me. It prepared me inwardly so that i could enjoy all aspects of Christmas this year.

I hope it might be helpful for others too.

The meditation can be used as one piece, or over 6 days before Christmas. There is opportunity for silence in each of the 6 sections.
Before beginning, prepare yourself. Clear some space to sit still, be present, be aware of your breath and body, notice what arises...........

1. Meditating on Birth

Silent space! Holy space! Inner calm, inner light.

Exposed to the whistling, icy winds of winter, there is an inner warmth that is womb like. It is an all embracing mother nurturing your inner child, folded upon yourself comfortable, protected, effortlessly supported and fed. Take a rest from all the seeking and striving. Just be. Surrender to the heartbeat and blood flow of Mother, Universe, Life. Growth will happen quietly while you think you’re only dreaming, or just indulging yourself in this safe space.

Silent Reflection

Holy Life, so tender and mild
Rest in heavenly peace! Rest in heavenly peace.

2. Meditating on Immaculate Conception

Silent space! Holy space! Inner calm, inner light

Every moment in life is pregnant with possibility. You don’t always know how it was conceived. But the miracle of each moment’s immaculate conception awaits your sensual wonder; a new possibility, a new insight, a new wisdom. What virgin birth is awaiting your awareness right now?Say “yes” to now. Say “I don’t know” to mystery. Say “thankyou” to life.

Silent reflection

Holy Life, so tender and wild
Rest in heavenly peace! Rest in heavenly peace.

3. Meditating on the Solstice

Silent space! Holy space! Inner calm, inner light.

After a long Fall of increasing darkness, the Earth lies in wait for the winter solstice. It’s a time of introspection, grounding, preparation for growth. At the right time, the earth will tilt into the radiant path of greater sunlight and the days will lengthen again. But not a moment too soon. At the right time, you will tilt into the radiant path of greater light; a lighter spirit, a lighter perspective, more light. You will radiate this light to the world. What light is waiting to break into the dark preparations of your inner world?

Silent reflection

Holy Life, so tender and Light
Rest in heavenly peace! Rest in heavenly peace.

4. Meditating on the Guiding Star

Silent space! Holy space! Inner calm, inner bright
Many cultures tell stories of mysterious stars that greet the birth of heroes. A star is waiting to greet the miracle that is your life. Do you see it? It brightens the darkest night of your soul, showing the way to your next adventures, showing you how you will be of service to the world. Maybe this path has been a long time in the making, or maybe it surprises you like the first star in the sky; unmistakable and awesome.

Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams

Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams

Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before

Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar

And you'll live as you've never lived before

Silent reflection


Holy Life, so tender and wise
Rest in heavenly peace! Rest in heavenly peace.

5. Meditating on Angels

Silent space! Holy space! Inner calm, inner light
Angels come to minister to you. They are messages of love, purpose and guidance. They are thoughts, feelings, words, actions and connections. Sometimes you go in search of angels. Sometimes angels find you, disturbing the pattern of your comfortable days, sometimes asking you to change course.

Sometimes angels are serendipitous events that stand out for you and remain in your awareness, a beckoning glow, calling you to be more fully alive. Sometimes you wrestle with angels. Sometimes you surrender to their message and meaning.

What angelic messages are in your awareness right now?

Silent reflection


Holy Life, so tender and right
Rest in heavenly peace! Rest in heavenly peace.

6. Meditating on Gifts

Silent space, Holy space. Inner calm. Inner light.
The time has arrived. The space in the womb is feeling too small, and you are ready to be a fully integrated, autonomous but connected being in the world. The alchemy is complete. The solstice is here, ready with stars, angels and all manner of earth’s life. In you, God learns what it is to live and love, be pregnant, be surprised, be anxious, be proud. In you God learns what it is to succeed and fail, to dream and to lose, to be betrayed and to trust. In you, God becomes more God.

All that is left is for you to discern what gifts you will bring. Your gifts are God’s embodied presence here and now; compassion, mercy, courage, justice and care.What gifts will you bring to the world? What gifts will you be for the world?

Silent reflection

Holy Life, so tender and divine
Rest in heavenly peace! Rest in heavenly peace.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Teaching Spiritual Atheism in Schools

My Aussie Heretic ears started burning when I heard this news from Australia. Burning is not generally a comfortable sensation for a self confessed heretic, but this was good news. A Humanist Society is close to being approved for an atheistic curriculum for primary (elementary) school children. Parents will have the option to send their kids to a class where they will be taught that the evidence for the existence of God is as flimsy as the evidence for the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the Invisible Pink Unicorn. This is good news for diversity, and free thinking.

Follow this link for the brief news story-,25197,24797395-5006785,00.html

Mind you, I wouldn’t send my own Aussie Heretic protégés to that class. I would be very glad for them to be educated in an environment that includes such a broad range of perspectives. But I wouldn’t send them to the class. I would send them to a class that teaches the facts and spirit of many of the world religions. Then they could make their own informed decisions about what makes sense to them.

I’m comfortable telling my kids that there is no evidence for the existence of God. There really isn’t any evidence. But there is plenty of evidence that the myth around God, and God language, is purposeful. I want them to understand that as well. And they CAN understand that, at the right age.

American author, Ann Lamott, tells the story of the time her 8 year old son, Sam, said to her, "I think the reason they call God 'God' is because when you see something really, really beautiful, you go, 'God, that’s beautiful!'" As Ann said, "OK, that works for me." It works for religious education too.

At a certain age kids realize that Santa is purposeful myth. They realize that there is no evidence for the existence of Santa. At the same time, they realize that Santa language still serves their purpose of Christmas fun and gifts. Why ruin a good party?

I would like to see a curriculum on spiritual atheism in schools. After acknowledging that there is no evidence for the existence of God, we could talk to kids about the power of myth and language. We could talk to kids about what they find wonder-ful in the world, and how they would best describe this wonder.

It’s so natural to use God language to capture even a hint of the wonder of life. We describe a sunset as ‘heavenly’ or a dessert as ‘divine’. We describe best friends as ‘soul mates’. We shout the name of the almighty during our seven (sorry eight) minutes of horizontal hokey pokey and know we are neither addressing our partner nor any deity in particular. We grasp at language to hint at experiences of wonder, and draw on myth that fills ordinary moments with extraordinary meaning. The myth of incarnation is God becoming human, the ordinary becoming extraordinary, the natural becoming miraculous.

What do you think? Should schools in America include some sort of broad, non dogmatic, world religion’s class? Should schools in Australia embrace the inclusion of humanistic curriculum? Should we be offering spiritual atheism to kids who have come of age, no longer need a magical, theistic God and are looking for the power of myth to describe life?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Angels

We had an amazing gathering at C3 yesterday. There was a Sudanese choir from Grand Rapids. Absolutely breathtaking. There should be video of this at the C3 website later in the week. Such freedom and passion. It was great. And we had three dancers in the service from Laura Armenta Studio in Grand Rapids. They were superb, and evoked very powerful reactions from the congregation. One of the highlights of the service was when Laura was teaching the kids to bellydance. She did a great job and the kids were really getting it.

All in all, it was a service that evoked an incredible sense of wonder, and the power of wonder to inspire greater humanity.

The sermon in this context was barely necessary. Christmas had already come alive as a present reality. We recieved many Christmas miracles. There were many Christmas angels present.

I explored angels in the sermon. A lot of time could be spent on the question, "Do angels exist?" It seems more fruitful to ponder why a belief in angels is so enticing. Maybe as humans we have an appetite for wonder, and angels are an attempt to put flesh and bones on this wonder. My intention in the sermon was neither to feed a superstitious belief in literal angels, nor to feed skepticism. My hope in the sermon was to feed the appetite for wonder.

Im interested in other perspectives on angels. Feel free to leave comments.

One note; because of the nature of the gathering, the text of the sermon is a lot fuller than the audio and video. My suggestion would be to read the text this week.

"Angels evoke a sense of wonder and imagination, the sort of wonder and imagination that inspires us to “be” angels for others......

Do you believe that God blesses the world? Or do you believe that the world is full of blessings?
Either way, we can all agree. You are the way God blesses the world. You are the way that the world blesses itself. You are a blessing machine. You are an angel when your blessings surprise you and others into a wider perspective, that you are here to live and love, give and remind, poke and provoke, here to make the world a more wondrous and gentle place. You are an angel, a messenger of wonder."

to read the whole sermon