How do we turn information into transformation?

Advent Candles

What a wonderful month of learning November was! I spent two days in Auburn, CA with four new friends and community leaders from the Redwood City Unitarian Universalist congregation, learning about Postmodernity and the future of God. The content was rich as the Westar Institute (The Jesus Seminar) is one the premier sources of biblical scholarship and theological reflection. It felt like seminary again! I loved it. The greatest joys were the many conversations our group had about the material, our lives, and our faith traditions. We parted ways knowing that we would continue collaborating together!

My time in Redondo Beach, CA was also a great experience. I was able to connect with countless colleagues from Los Angeles, another helpful step in planning future ideas for Faith Formation here in Palo Alto. The content of the conference focused on Spiral Dynamics (a theory of psychological development) as applied to ministry. It was transformative! I’m now reading everything I can about the subject.

I was once again inspired by the lasting relationships I am building around Palo Alto and also Southern California; as this network of support grows, so does my vision for Faith Formation here at First Baptist!

How Can We Turn Information into Transformation?

Each month in this section of the Spire I will be asking, “How can we turn information into transformation?” In searching for a response to this question, I’d like us to look to the margins of our own tradition and to the rich variety of other spiritual traditions. I hope this diversity in spiritualties, theologies, and practices help illuminate the Christ within your own heart. This week we will look to the 14th century Christian Mystic Julian of Norwich.

In Revelations of Divine Love Julian wrote, “The fruit and the purpose of prayer is to be one with and like God in all things.” Take a few minutes to pause and breath. Let your mind’s attention sink deeper into your body. Center yourself through these simple words, postures, and intentions (the words are from the Order of Julian’s motto):

  • AWAIT (hands at waist, cupped up to receive): Await God’s presence, not as you expect, hope, or imagine, but just as it is in this moment.
  • ALLOW (reach up, hands open): Allow a sense of God’s presence (or not) to come and be what it is, without meeting your expectations.
  • ACCEPT (hands at heart, cupped towards body): Accept as a gift whatever comes or does not come. Accept that you are not in charge. Accept the infinity of God’s presence, present whether or not you are aware.
  • ATTEND (hands outstretched, ready to be responsive): Attend to what you are called to, actions that God invites you to from this stance of openness.

Gregory Stevens

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We are a progressive Baptist Church affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, USA. We have been in Palo Alto since 1893. We celebrate our Baptist heritage. We affirm the historic Baptist tenets of: Bible Freedom, Soul Freedom, Church Freedom, Religious Freedom

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