Sacred Chaos

Pain and loss produce chaos. Chaos can have gentle beginnings, such as an inner tug deep within our souls that awakens us to the realization that the life we are now living is not fulfilling. Chaos can also begin in more dramatic ways—the death of a loved one, divorce, the loss of a job, academic failure, retirement, etc. Whatever the impetus, chaos is uncomfortable. It moves us out of familiar patterns and known ways; it causes us to re-evaluate what is important and how our lives are being lived; and, if we heed the signs, it sets us on a journey of seeking more of what is missing.

Beginning on Friday evening, September 24, and continuing all day on Saturday, September 25, Mark Minear and I will lead participants on a journey of:

  1. Recovering Passion. The leaders will ask participants to define the feeling of passion. "How is it experienced?" "What happens when I lose it?" "How can it be recovered?"
  2. Processing Pain. Participants will be asked to self-examine their lives, asking the questions, "What am I feeling?" "At whom am I angry?" "What do I fear?" "How have I been hurt?" "How have I sought to resolve my issues of pain within my family, my network of friends, or my work situation?"
  3. Experiencing Pilgrimage. "What is my story?" "Who are my people? Family? Faith community?" "How have I experienced God during my spiritual journey?" "When does God feel close?" "When does God feel distant?" "How so?"

During our final session together on Saturday evening, we will focus on spiritual autobiography. In the course of a well-lived life, you will be writing and rewriting your spiritual autobiography all of the time. When you complete it—for now—two things should become apparent:

  • You are unique.
  • You are like everyone else.

We need to discover our uniqueness and our universality. Some of the elements of your story are as follows:

  • Where did I come from? What are my origins? Immediate: parents? Ultimate: God?
  • Where am I going? What is my destiny?
  • Where am I now?
  • Who are my people? Who is on this journey with me?
  • Who are my heroes and heroines? Who influences me as exemplars?
  • Where are the holy places for me? Where have I seen God? What are my "burning bush" experiences?
  • What are the pivotal points in my life?

I hope that you will be able to join us for this spiritual retreat, which will take place at the meetinghouse. It will be good to have my friend and colleague, Dr. Mark Minear, here with us. Mark is a Counseling Psychologist, but before he was a psychologist, he was my minister at First Friends Meeting in Richmond, Indiana. This retreat is sponsored by the Ministry and Counsel Committee. The only cost will be a voluntary contribution for the three catered meals: Friday dinner, Saturday lunch, and Saturday dinner. Watch the Announcements page for more details! See you in September!

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