Book Review: The Great Spiritual Migration, by Brian D. McLaren

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Christianity appears to be on the move, as it has been for centuries. Readers who wish to explore this story can start with Brian McLaren’s book, The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian. McLaren explains that Christianity has long been an evolving faith, which has challenged outdated religious and political systems since its earliest days. We are now seeing, he writes, a shift from a belief-based system to a system based on redemption and love.

Many readers will identify with McLaren’s account of his own crisis in faith, in which he questioned his own system of beliefs during a retreat. He compares the need to “question long-held beliefs” with science’s willingness to change its mind when it discovers new facts. The scientific method emphasizes the search for truth, rather than adherence to outdated beliefs in the face of newly discovered facts.

The Great Spiritual Migration contains examples of Christianity’s history of spiritual, theological, and missional migration. For example, he notes that in the United States, slavery and white supremacy were considered to be “consistent with ‘biblical’ Christianity.” Scholars are still coming to terms with Christianity’s violent history. He outlines the need for “new questions” as Christianity migrates from “fear, violence, exploitation, misinformation, and the plundering of the planet” toward working for a “just and lasting peace in the larger ‘us’ of the kingdom or commonwealth of God.”

As a Christian with a progressive and inclusive world view, I welcomed the opportunity to read Brian McLaren’s latest thoughts on my faith. The Great Spiritual Migration assures me that I am not alone in my questions about the direction Christianity has taken in the past, and my hopes for a new direction in the future. I highly recommend this book to readers who are searching for hope and guidance in these often troubling times.

For more information about Brian McLaren, click here, and for more information about the book, click here.

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review. All opinions in this review are my own.

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Adding and Subtracting

Even now, Labor Day weekend reminds me of the first day of school, and still feels like the beginning of a new year. This year finds me adding and subtracting once again.

I’m not sure why I felt blindsided by this past year. I shouldn’t have been surprised when family health emergencies, a graduate school workload, and running multiple businesses took a mental and physical toll. For months, my approach was to just try harder. But wise counsel from my dear husband John helped me to untangle my thoughts and begin to listen to my own inner wisdom.

It starts in the garden, or a walk with our dog. A patch of earth, a solitary flower, or a ripening apple will catch my eye.

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My mom taught me to silently thank the flowers when I see them. I recall what my teacher and mentor, herbalist Susun Weed said: “Every breath is a giveaway dance between you and the plants.”

Here’s what else I’ve learned:

Not everything I like to do has to turn into a business. So I am closing my online handcraft shop and returning to what I love to do most — make things by hand for my home, my family and friends, and myself. Now it’s fun again!

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I can redirect the energy that I had spread among three businesses into my independent recruiting business — a new and real blessing! I can feel my blood pressure decreasing already.

I am a member of the body of Christ, who reminds me to rest in Him. I’ve returned to my home church here in Boise, where I was baptized in 2015. After many months away from church, I began to feel a tug and went to Maundy Thursday service this year. Haven’t looked back.

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I don’t have to force every moment into “something productive,” as if nothing else is enough. And isn’t that a thing that manages to nag at all of us — “am I enough?”

I’m returning to me, beginning to believe that just maybe, I am enough.

I pray the same for you — because you are enough.

 

 

 

Looking For Things

“You see, I like to look for things” — one of my favorite lines by poet Rainer Maria Rilke. I’m learning to look with renewed eyes, thanks to a series of journal prompts I am reading. Today’s prompt tells us to look for feathers, as a sign of wisdom.

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Since reading The Iliad in college, I’ve loved the stories of the goddess Minerva / Athena, protector of many things that are dear to me: justice, poetry, crafts, weaving, and owls. Feathers. Things that I had forgotten until recent days.

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So our dog Paavo and I were on our usual morning walk in the grove near my church. Of course, I smiled a little as I found a feather…

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but then I found another…

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and another…

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this one is my favorite…

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…and then one more on our way home…

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So today, I am grateful for this sprinkling of reminders to look, see, and value my wisdom.

What have you looked for today?

I highly recommend this series of journal prompts, for exploring inner wisdom. Be well and be blessed!

 

Natural Living Beauty

Some of my husband’s photos have been published on this wonderful site called Broken Light. Hope you’ll pay a visit!

Broken Light: A Photography Collective

Please welcome first-time contributor John G. Evans, a man who has been suffering since 1972 from what is now known to be a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from a trauma faced during military service time. He has discovered that photography and poetry have allowed him a second chance at life, and have released him of his depressive states and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. He recently relocated to Boise, Idaho, to photograph the mountain ranges, rivers, canals, nature, wildlife, landscapes and weather.

About these photos: “This photo series was taken in San Antonio, Texas, at the zoo early in the morning during the peak of the “golden hours” between 7:00 am – 9:00 am. The mood was quite beautiful and serene that one has the potential of losing yourself within the crisp cool morning air of twilight and the natural living beauty that surrounds you within this natural & metaphorical landscape of exotic birds &…

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Love in Action

Insight into the words of Thomas Paine and more!

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“An army of principles may penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot.” Such a powerful statement by Thomas Paine, very powerful! Should this power of the written word be taken out of context for political, social, or economic gain? Absolutely not! And those of who refrain from coming to embrace this power as a personal verbal inflection for a personal, selfish gain should truly have their motives and gains highly questioned.

Quite obviously, Paine’s motives for the “rights of man,” were to free two young countries from the tyrannies of their respective periods of time; thus being the French and the American Colonial Revolutions. As well, it should be clearly noted Paine died penniless and homeless, so there was no political, social, nor economical gain to be made. He simply spoke truth. And this was to no gain with the exceptions for these two countries to have the right to…

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Taking Part in the #WomensLives Campaign!

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You may have been noticing a lot of social media posts from me with the hashtag #womenslives. I am pleased to be taking part in the #WomensLives media initiative by Public Radio International (PRI) and SheKnows media, the parent company of BlogHer. For years, I have enjoyed listening to The World and other programs produced by PRI, and I have found a great blogging community at BlogHer.

Beginning this month, the #womenslives campaign will highlight issues that affect women, including health, education, domestic violence and climate change. This initiative resonates with me in a personal way: about ten years ago, my mother and I lived in — and eventually worked at — a shelter for women and children. I found the closest friendships of my life at this shelter, and experienced the value of listening to women’s stories. I saw and experienced the economic, social and personal toll of poverty, inequality and domestic violence — but I also witnessed over and over again the strength and courage of women.

You can participate in this media initiative in several ways. You can share stories from PRI with the #womenslives hashtag on social media, for example. Why not write a blog post of your own and add your voice? It’s a wonderful opportunity to share your story in a powerful international media campaign. Bloggers who are participating in the campaign have added this badge to their blog:

#womenslives

 

Stay tuned for more posts from this blog, and keep an eye out for posts and discussions on Twitter, Facebook and other social media. See you there!

A Bunker Hill Commemoration

I hope you’l read this poem and its reflections on history from John Evans.

Vehemence!

Ah, but the fragrance of love in the night

A gentle sweeping curve of ardor

A love gently returned, softly, sweetly

The thrill so joyous as to savor each moment

Your eyes of grateful expression, light up

As your sensitivity embedded upon my palate

Leaves me no choice but to love you so much more!

Reminiscing of the night before

A journey we embarked upon decades ago

Together, in the spirit of the great American Revolution

Boston lives because of courage, we know this!

And out from the cover of darkness, we rise

This city, all that the spirit of freedom desires, is

To be free.

To others, we marvel, and to the questions of “why?”

Have we forgotten this siege?

And Bunker Hill just fades into our oblique memories

No! I shall not let her go!

For the fear, the courage, the bravery

The victories, and loss…

Shall not…

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