Eps 183: Not All Who Wander (spiritually) Are Lost | Traci Rhoades

My conversation today is with Traci Rhoades about her first book Not All Who Wander (spiritually) Are Lost: A Story of Church A great way to say “thanks for the audio” is to stop by the extras page to get all the show notes and great links HERE: https://www.patreon.com/posts/40750125 😃. (patreon.com/sparkmymuse | Episode 183)

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Descending and Ascending [SSL151]

Today’s Soul School Lesson contains some snippet readings and reflections from the book “The Artist’s Rule: A 12-week Journey-Nurturing your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom”, by Christine Valters Paintner on the powers of rightly aligned humility in the spiritual life and what toxic versions of it look like too. [See the audio player below.] You can hear my interview conversation with Christine – here

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• Learn about the Sacred Spaces experience coming soon. June 5-7, 2020 • More information and tickets can be found here.

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EPS 35: Sarah Bessey talks about “Out of Sorts”

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A big welcome back to Sarah Bessey!

You will LOVE this conversation about Sarah’s new book which involves a spiritual homecoming. Her message of love and hope oozes from every decibel of this episode.

Scroll down for shownotes and please do look around at the other episodes. Psst, subscribe for extra awesomeness.

Make sure you stop back HERE to join us for a Live conversation about the book November 10th at 8pm EST/GMT-4.

Her new book is HERE!

Sarah Bessey “Out of Sorts”

The difference between this book and the last one.

Six years away from church.
Finding friends outside of a church community context and the loneliness of that.

Making friends in the neighborhood and having more time because church obligations didn’t take so much time.

Programing church can take away the organic way people can become bonded.

“Maybe community is a really churchy word for being a really good friend.”

Obey the Sadness is her favorite chapter

Barbara Brown Taylor
“Learning to Walk in the Dark”

Solar and Lunar Christians

What unanswered prayers teach.

I didn’t know how to be sad. I didn’t know how to say [things weren’t] right and that I was longing for wholeness and longing for resolution and redemption. And make peace with that and sit in that tension well.

Holding space for unfinished business.

The lamenting psalms are meant to be sung in community.

The sacred work of listening when people are hurting.

When people are uncomfortable with our pain.

The winnowing times when friendships don’t stay provide comfort during the painful times.

The Ash Wednesday breakthrough story.

on not knowing how to pray anymore.

The Book of Common prayer

The daily offices

The 28:00
The papal visit in Philly

LINK for the videos of all the U.S. papal messages

Priests move to distribute Communion at the closing Mass of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia Sept. 27. (CNS photo/Teak Phillips, St. Louis Review) See POPE-FAMILY-MASS Sept. 27, 2015.
Priests move to distribute Communion at the closing Mass of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia Sept. 27. (CNS photo/Teak Phillips, St. Louis Review) See POPE-FAMILY-MASS Sept. 27, 2015.

Open communion in the street

The World Meeting of Families

Sarah’s interaction with liturgy now and underestimating her spiritual roots and homesickness.

Missing the unscripted script of her church.

Recognizing the global church and its expressions.

Sushi forever or the many expressions of Christianity.

If your hands are open you can have many ways to encounter God.

Understanding the wrath of God and sovereignty of God.

The pain and relief of the dross getting burning away.

“Can God Be Trusted”
by John Stackhouse

Being okay with growing pains.

The one message she hopes people get from the book.
(She takes us to church! ENJOY!)

1st Day of Lent: Ash What-day?

“Oh…Sure, rub it in…”

Did Jesus get ashed on Ash Wednesday? Um. Nope. Duh…

This day in the Christian calendar has marked the beginning of the season of Lent for way over a thousand years. But, yes, it can be “observed” even if we don’t show the signs of charcoal. But, why bother? It’s pagan, right? It’s not in the Bible, right? It’s just kooky works-righteousness thing, right?

Well, here’s the thing. Let’s think about this. If something is not in the Bible does that mean it’s rendered useless and meaningless from Christian devotional practices? I doubt it. From the beginning God used known culture practices to help his people remember things in a physical/visible way that were connected with the the invisible Reality of him. Have you heard of circumcision? Of (Israelite) cleansing before temple participation? How about Baptism? Well, then you see what I mean.

Do you ever celebrate Christmas or Easter? Then, you’ve enacted what I mean.

Pagan Egypt (used for God’s purposes)
Nationally, Egyptian cultic practices were incorporated with the Israelite’s life of worship of the One True God. The Egyptian priestly practices, in particular, were employed. (Israel was a KINGDOM of priests. Quite an upgrade from slave status, right?)

God wasn’t threatened by the use of Egyptian priestly rites and rituals, the Israelites were familiar with, to help them remember and worship the Living God. On the contrary, God encouraged it. God commanded it. Similar sorts of things can help us today as well.

Still, we mustn’t ever forget–It’s not about the intricacies of the ritual itself, it’s about the condition of one’s heart. We can avoid false religion when we ask ourselves, “Does this practice draw me into relationship with the Living God?” If it does, keep it. If not, scrap it. You might want to read that again. It could be life-changing.

Challenge yourself, by asking God to reveal himself to you, to minister to you, and to awaken you in a new way in the days leading to Easter. What might God want you to look at more closely? What might God wish to make more like him in your life?

This could be very personal, and private, but I encourage you to share what findings you’d like to. It will help all of us journey together through this time of Lent, toward the great joy we celebrate on Resurrection Sunday! (a.k.a. Easter)

Thank you for coming here today! Blessing this holiday season.

How FAT is Your Tuesday?

First, a confession: I considered posting a photo here of a little person eating a donut hole here. This is to say, posting a visual of “a (so-called) ‘midget’ eating a munchkin®”…because I thought it would funny, a little funny…Yes, in two ways. But, I changed my mind. It just seemed like a bad choice. Some vertically challenged folks mightn’t feel respected. Also, I couldn’t find a good photo.

Today, March 8th, is my son’s birthday. Today is also Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday). It seemed fitting to send some donut treats for a birthday snack to share with his classmates.

Where I live, Fat Tuesday is celebrated as Fastnacht Day (pronounced: FOSSt-Not) or Donut Day. Potato dough is fried and served with dark corn syrup. After 3 Fastnacht donuts, and you might need assistance to stand or move. Plus, the local Dunkin Donuts shop makes 1,900 dozen donuts on 24 hour shifts just be ready. Don’t mess with donut lovers!

Will you eat a donut today?

The fact is most of us love the indulgence of Fat Tuesday (and other times of feasting), but pay too little attention to the times of simplicity, in the following season. I usually do.

LENT 411
In this particular case, a reflective time is set aside in the Christian calendar following the feasting period. Yes, it’s called the season of Lent. This year, Lent starts Wednesday, March 9th, and ends in the celebration and remembrance of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (a.k.a Easter Sunday). This year, Easter falls on Sunday, April 24. (To find out the strange way they determine this date each year, go here.)

Why bother concerning yourself with Lenten season?
To show you are devoted to God? Nope. (God already knows your heart.) To please God with sacrifice? Hopefully not, because a pure heart and obedience is better than sacrifice. It’s not about proving something or doing something for God. Instead, a season of Lent can work well to prepare our hearts for God’s work. It can open our eyes to the greater Reality, as well as draw greater significance (for our understanding) in the sacrifice in Jesus Christ’s life of obedience and death for our benefit. This season, can also help us identify with and have compassion for the poor, and the those millions upon millions of humans suffering in our world, which often does not enter our thoughts nearly enough.

This lenten season can be a time of gratitude, and questioning our priorities and cravings.  So, what would happen if you observed the season of Lent in a new way, in some manner, this year? I think you could be pleasantly surprised.

Need an idea?
One thing you can do differently is simply drop by here and pause to read a lenten reflection. Once a week, or more, I will post some Lenten Season reflections to make better use of the season, spiritually speaking. I hope it brings an unexpected blessing to you. So, check back soon, or or sign up for post updates to be notified when a reflection post goes live.

But, first things first–go get a donut!