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It is possible to learn a lot from watching a two-year-old. A toddler is in many ways a miniature of the adult she will later become. One of the things that becomes quickly evident watching a small child is what a powerful role feelings play in our lives.
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My favourite “clipping service” has lately been filling my email inbox with quotes from a book by Andy Merrifield called The Wisdom of Donkeys.
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It’s not the strongest of a species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one that’s most adaptable to change.(Charles Darwin)

I might appear to be one of the least qualified persons in the world to talk about change. My life does not seem to have changed much in fifty-five years.
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I probably should not admit it in public, but I skipped church today.

I was not alone. I was joined by 13,078 of my friends. Well they are not quite all my friends. I actually probably only know about fifty of them. We came in all ages, all shapes, all sizes, a variety of colours. Some were in wheelchairs, some pushed strollers; I saw one who was wearing a shoulder immobilizer.
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How hard it is to stay still in the present moment. There is such an unsettling clutter of nagging anxieties about the future. The clamour of what might be, what could be, what should be, is never silent.

The future robs the present. I cannot live fully here because my eyes stay focused on some dark distant unknown horizon. Details, concerns, plans, responsibilities jostle in my mind like angry children fighting over the last piece of cake on the plate.
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There is one “heresy” in the Anglican Church that seems to be more dreaded than any other. It has nothing to do with sex. It is only vaguely related to theology. This “heresy” relates to church governance or ecclesiology. It is called “congregationalism.”
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After receiving a number of comments to my post “Vision #1 (which I didn’t know at the time would be #1) and the conversations it has sparked, I have become convinced that I made two mistakes in “Vision #1.”
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I recently finished reading Andre Schwarz-Bart’s novel, The Last of the Just. This book, first translated into English in 1960, is an agonizing tear in the fabric of life. It is a difficult, heart-breaking read, primarily occupied with the story of Ernie Levy and his journey through the terror of Nazi Germany.
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Proverbs 29:18 is often trotted out by church leaders in an attempt to badger people into getting on board the church program of the day. It is usually quoted in the lyrical poetry of the KJV which translates this verse to say, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

The word translated “vision” is the Hebrew word, “chazown;” it means more accurately “revelation,” a translation supported by the second half of the verse which goes on to say in the KJV, “but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 29:18 is really an encouragement to learn the ways God has designed the universe to operate and to live in harmony with that design.

The abuse of Proverbs 29:18 to harangue church members into getting on board the church “vision,” points to the dangers and problems inherent in the process of establishing a community vision.

When I think about vision I have more questions than answers. Here are some of the questions I ponder when I think about having a church vision.
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We had our first Spirituality Café last night. A lovely group met at the local restaurant Shine Café (1548 Fort Street). The conversation was lively, stimulating and challenging. I was struck and moved by the openness, honesty, and even vulnerability in a group including participants some of whom had never met before.

Our beginning question was “Is spirituality the last refuge for those who don’t have the courage to face the pain of life?” I read the famous quote from Karl Marx in which he states that religion is “the opium of the people,” and where he goes on to say that the critique of religion calls on us “to give up a condition that requires illusions.”
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Pre-April 2010 posts: http://inaspaciousplace.blogspot.com/

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