Tuesday, January 29, 2008

can't franchise wisdom

last night i rented the "peaceful warrior" movie, based on the novel the way of the peaceful warrior by Dan Milllan. the movie came out in 2006, but despite having a very strong connection to the book, i hadn't seen it yet.

i feel about this story the way my friend suzanne describes her relationship with Teresa of Avila's autobiography. important words, encountered at an important time in life, but i don't consult the book much anymore. in fact i've given all my copies away. it led me to other teachers as time went on. so what i had first expected to be a chill evening watching a movie with a friend became more sacramental than i was perhaps prepared for. going back to this teacher will, i hope, become a habit of gratitude.

i was not in the habit, when i first encountered the story, of seeing through the eyes of the church. but you can bet that last night i was full of ideas for church applications for this film, with youth and otherwise. one thing that struck me was how self-directed was dan's "conversion" to the discipline of his training with Socrates. it's a bit like a church camp veteran from Camp Stevens told me last week: if campers decide themselves, "hey you know what would be cool? to learn to crochet," and you find someone to teach them, you'll have some pretty darn engaged learners.

near the end of the movie, dan brings his whole gymnastics team to Soc's garage, do find that he's disappeared and hung a "self-serve only" sign. teaching a class, we've figured out by now, would certainly not be his style. we hear st. francis quoted quite a lot, you know, "preach the gospel, use words if necessary." it didn't work for dan to tell his friends about what he was learning. not until they saw the changes in him and asked.

i'll go a bit further. jesus was more like this Socrates than like Billy Graham. Alan Watts said, "Jesus had to speak through a public address system--the only one available--which distorted his words, so that they came forth as the bombastic claim to be the one and only appearance of the Christ, of the incarnation of G-d as man. This is not good news. The good news is that if Jesus could realize his identity with G-d, you can also..."
(from Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown, 1974)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

my kitchen is a sacred place

no news there, really. i've even blogged about it before. but it's like that line in "brown eyed girl": "sometimes i'm overcome thinking about..."
it's not thinking, exactly, when the sacredness of my kitchen or my home come over me.

once, when i lived in community, i was finishing a big batch of dishes late in the evening. as i wiped off the counters and stove top, the last step as my mother taught me, i was overcome with gratitude for those faithful counters. they'd served so well for so long, making possible some of the best moments of our life together.

last night i sat on the floor with a drink and my journal, curled up in an old throw blanket with pictures of Victorian little kids ice skating and playing with bunnies. i set my little fluorescent lamp in front of my wooden-wine-crate altar, and pretended it was a fireplace, hearth of my home.

maybe these at-home moments are when we're best at celebrating the kingdom of god already here, alive in our hearts. in the liturgy of the seder dinner, the community sings a litany of "dayenu", which means "it would be enough." testing our human tendency to think we never have enough, we sing, "if only ___, it would be enough."

meister eckhart said if the only prayer in your life is thank you, it would be enough.