Philip Chircop sprinkles of wisdom

I am a skeptic of organized religion dating back to my childhood.  I had relatives that were better preachers to me than the men at the pulpit.  I'm not saying the way the message was presented wasn't helpful to others in the sanctuary.  I'm saying for me, It did more harm than good.  Luckily my grandparents, my hippie-ish parents and others walked the walk that made sense to me.  Because of my religious skepticism, I've found all sorts of evidence against organized religion as a whole over the years and I've banked it in the nether parts of my brain. I replaced church with looking for practices that help me be more nonjudgmental, inclusive, and as loving as my relatives have modeled.  Only recently  I started learning that throughout history, events and elements of some religions pushed them away from what I would consider inclusiveness and love.  I'm learning that cultural and other forces help swing the pendulum.  This is a pendulum swing that very well could bring healing and light as it swings In different directions.  I'm also learning that the groups I practice with are my religious community.  I can no longer judge organized religion as a whole.  That would go against my basic principles.
I am still a skeptic, but I've opened my heart and mind that there are groups of people, even organized groups, that are blowing up my tightly shut case.  These offerings are encouraging me that we can interact with the message in a way that includes, accepts, forgives, and respects without strings, without judgment, all packaged in unconditional love.  Oh and best of all, we can keep our brains and ask our questions and have 'power with' without being ostracized.  One of my favorite quotes of Sister Ann at the Cenacle is "God can handle doubt." I get to meet with her and several other inspiring connections in the classes I take at The Cenacle.  I am blessed to attend Ordinary Life Class at St. Paul's as often as possible, where the wisdom and community are based on what has always felt right to me, that love is at the center of all healthy religious endeavors.
While attending a retreat lead by Jesuit priest, Father Philip Chircop, I had that shut case blown wide open by powerful statements that put the old interpretations of 'the message' into interpretations that I could get behind.  It is like all the ways that Dr. Kerley presents passages in Ordinary Life Class.  So I wanted to share these as well as Father Chircop's blog so you can sign up for that if you like.  In an effort not to offend by taking these out of context, I urge you to read his blog.  I could probably write an individual post on each of these and if someone is interested, I will.

When talking about the young man who kept all the commandments and asked what he should do and Jesus replied, "lose all you have and follow me."  Father Chircop reframed that as "let go of your attachments and walk with me."
(So I question myself )-What is it that I am attached to that keeps me from living in a way that is more loving, connecting, more inclusive?

When talking about the burning bush - "don't come any closer"  Father Chircop reframed as "not because you are not worthy but because you don't need to, you can access it by taking off your sandals (remove the dead skin that numbs you from seeing/feeling that you are already there)
(So I question myself)- What is numbing me from connecting with the infinite possibilities that exist for me in each moment?

When talking about the scripture - "love is patient, love is kind...  Father Chircop encouraged us to read that scripture line by line and replace the word love with our name.  Make the statement, ask is she/he?, wait for the answer.
(So I question myself)- Brooke is patient, is she?................  Brooke is kind, is she?..............
then sit with the answers and learn where there is room to grow into those statements. (I don't know about you, but my husband needs me to give him a big apology after this one!)

When talking about our love for Jesus (this one is such a trigger for me I can hardly type it but stay with me until you see what Father Chircop did with this one!)  You can love your wife and think she is the most beautiful woman in the whole world, you can scream it from the rooftops and you have the right to do so.  If you walk to your neighbor's house and knock on the door and tell your neighbor that your wife is more beautiful than his, then the point has been missed.
(So I question myself)- when I judge others for their love of Jesus because I imply that they are trying to convert me, I take offense to it.  What does that say about me?  Are they really telling me that it is "the" way or are they saying it is a way that works wonderfully for them?

If you were arrested of being a Christian (or replace the words "a Christian" with the word "nice"), would they find enough evidence to convict you?
(So I question myself)- what kind of evidence could I create before my head hits the pillow tonight?

If you claim to love God that you can't see, but you hate the neighbor (yourself, or an enemy), that you can see, then you are lying.
(So I question myself)- who have I placed between myself and the God of Love that I claim to believe in?

To read Father Chircop's words directly, visit his blog and/or sign up for his beautiful posts via email .

If offended anyone with this post, it was not my intention and I am open to other viewpoints.  Talking about religion in general makes me nervous.  Hmmm, always more work to do ;-).

Grace in, peace out