Learning to See Redemption
(From Diocese of CT – June Clergy Newsletter)
I'm passionate about practicing and teaching non-dualistic thinking. Non-dualistic thinking helped me change my question: Is this good or bad? into the following questions: What is good and what is bad in this situation?
How do I know this? Non-dualistic thinking allows me to be in relationship with these questions, which I find myself only capable of doing with God's help.
The by-product of this way of thinking is that I grow in relationship with God through the very events/occurrences of my day. Each event becomes an invitation to receive grace; an invitation to engage the Holy One - The Sacrament of the Present Moment, as Jesuit Priest Jean-Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751) wrote over three hundred years ago.
With all of the changes in our world: declining church attendance, political division, people who are spiritual but not religious, aging Baby Boomers, the "two steps forward, one step back" reality of church leadership, etc., etc., I find freedom in not judging the changes. Instead of declaring from the beginning that something is good or bad, I hold it open to see what threads of good and bad run beside each other. Where these threads of good and bad form a knot of reality, I ask God how I can untangle or pull apart the good from the bad AND how I might be a part of God's redemption of the bad.
Well, if not a part of God's redemptive work, at least not stand in the way. *smile*
This is slow and attentive work which in practice looks like prayer. As I join in the work that God is doing, God is right in there with me correcting my efforts, coaching me in my actions, and forgiving my shortcomings. Richard Rohr stated it succinctly, "Once you have known grace, your tit-for-tat universe is forever undone: God is everywhere and always and scandalously found even in the failure of sin." (The Naked Now, 77)
This is not perfect work. I'm not even that good at it. Nor do I always enjoy it. When things are hard, I growl or yell when I'm alone - sound born from my frustration or impatience or plain-good-ol'-weariness. And these sounds are prayers, too. Inevitably, God reveals what thread of the knot of reality God is redeeming. And by the flash of God's redemptive love at work, I'm inspired and consoled to join in the effort that God is doing. I'll try again. It's obviously not my job anyway-it's God's work. I'm simply on the team.
Non-dualistic thinking has opened for me a way to accept and proclaim the redeeming work of the Living God; the grace known in Jesus Christ. So, I'm passionate about cultivating this practice within myself and coaching others in it as well so that the Always Redeeming Love of God can be made known in the world.