July 31

ANGRY AT GOD? AT CHURCH MEMBERS? LET’S TALK.

From the outset, I have been aware that of the occasional visitors to my blog there are two general camps.  One is the person with a strong faith in Christ, walking the walk and convinced that God is real and alive and present in their lives.  The other is the person, often a professional man or woman, who somewhere in their past may have heard the Gospel message but for some reason they have walked away.  I wonder if we could get a conversation going.  Believer, if you would be willing, tell us how you found faith and why you stay.  Or if you have been disillusioned or disappointed by someone in the church, and have walked away, talk about it.  Let this be a safe place to share.  After all, what topic could be more urgent?   Those people who are in the field of biblio-poetry therapy know how healing this kind of conversation can be.  Come sit down, make yourself a cup ‘a tea and let’s talk.  Just comment where you see that option below.

July 29

Why Should Retirees Blog?

Here are 10 reasons why you should think about blogging if you are retired:

1.  You have a desire to serve and you have time to give.

2.  You like to write.

3.  You have a passion, whether it be cooking, gardening, golfing, New Testament studies, learning a new language, model railroads, baseball–you name it.

4.  You think a few people — or a lot of people — would like or benefit from what you have to teach or share.

5.  You are bored and need a new hobby.

6.  You’ve always been curious about social media.

7.  You like to give advice.

8.  You are a born teacher.

9.  You want to share some wisdom.

10.  You are a Christian and you’re looking for ways to share your faith with more people.

July 28

BUDGET WOES

I looked at my budget today and something has to go.

But what will it be?  No hair cut?  No internet?

Stop the water flow?  Turn off the phone?

Cancel all that insurance against financial disaster on

the body or car or house?

Stop traveling around…gas costs something, of course.

Don’t register the tags?  The police would find me sooner or later.

Turn off the air conditioning?  Ah, that’s an idea,

at least turn it down (or up however you see it).

Quit buying those books and signing up for classes?

Ah, now you’re getting personal.

The only thing left is food, and I surely eat too much of that.

I looked at my budget today and something has to go.

I wonder what it will be.

July 28

DANCING WITH THE BAPTISTS…AGAIN

Re-blogging an earlier post as somehow in the transition to GoDaddy, my July posts got lost.  So here I am again…Dancing with the Baptists!

This story starts last spring when I attended a Conference of the National Poetry Therapy Association.  There was a little fund-raising auction, and since there were books there, of course I went to browse.  The book that caught my eye was titled Dancing with a Baptist.  Was God playing a little joke?  For the truth is, I had done just about six weeks before what I never thought I’d do–go back to the Baptists.  The sub-title to this particular book is “A Love Story in Poems.”  It’s also a sub-title of my story–the love part.  The strange pull happened step by step.  One day I felt homesick for those days when I knew early faith.  Next thing, I was visiting a ladies’ tea, and greeted at the door by my sweet granddaughter, “Grandma!  I didn’t know you were coming!”  Oh, the power of children to love us back to where we never left.  I went back.   I felt loved, is the only way I can explain it.

The next chapter in this love story (though it didn’t feel like love at first) was finding an old blog and realizing that I had left myself exposed.  How many churches I have joined in Nashville!  This morning, I think I heard some of the reason why I was called back.  Strangely enough, I have been re-reading a brilliant little book by E. Stanley Jones, a Methodist missionary:  Christian Maturity.  I am back at exactly the same place I left four years ago:  the difference between eros and agape love.  Furthermore, Jones quotes the very psychiatrist that I had mentioned in a proposal to do expressive writing groups.  In the 1920’s Smiley Blanton and an associate discovered the healing power of using poetry and they called it poetry therapy.  Mr. Jones, a missionary in India, quoted the same Smiley Blanton:  “Whether they think they do or not, all people want love.  Their spoken words may tell of other things, but the psychiatrist must listen to their unconscious voice as well…modern psychiatry teaches us that we fall ill, emotionally and physically, if we do not use love in this way to guide and control our behavior…”
Regardless of the excuses I may have had for leaving a church, it came down to this one thing:  I needed to love and be loved, and somehow this was missing.   The reason I was able to go back to the Baptists (though they actually don’t call themselves this) was simply that I felt love.   So expressive writing is writing down our thoughts until they go deeper and deeper where that great wellspring of emotion resides.  As a facilitator, I am simply a guide, a companion on the journey.  But it’s why I believe I am “called” to lead expressive writing groups. They’re not therapy, nor are they theology, but they’re not simply creative writing groups, either.  They are somewhere in between where Love resides.