I’ve moved three times in the past three years. When I was packing my things for this third move, my daughter-in-law gave us an extra crock pot, and in it Ivonne and I cooked our first crock pot meal.
A crock pot has an inner life. You can’t see what’s going on in there. It’s an easy dish, but the one thing you have to do is stir from time to time.
That’s what our church does for me — it stirs me up.
Many years of my life have been lived on a sort of auto pilot — struggling with the challenges of career and family without much inner reflection. Living that way is flat and one dimensional. You’re stuck in the bottom of the pot without experiencing what Jonathan Haight calls the “vertical dimension” which lifts your soul or spirit — whatever you want to call it.
What do I find here that stirs me up? I’m inspired by the stories, readings and sermons. Every Sunday morning, the readings and personal sharing in Adult Religious Exploration also prime the pump of my spiritual life. Another high point of my church experience is Small Group Ministry.
The members of this church also stir me up. I’ve had great experiences interacting with many them while working on committees, projects and activities. I thought of presenting a list of Academy Award-type citations for all of the people who’ve enhanced my life here, but there were far too many.
Rev. Greg Pelley commented in one of his groups that he preaches to himself. I’m not ordained, but I also preach to myself. The few hours which I spend in this building are only part of what this church contributes to my life. At odd moments during the week, I find myself with spoon in my hand stirring my own spirit.
Rev. Greg introduced us to the writer Parker Palmer, who advocates lifting the value of “inner work.” We need this inner work to balance the harsh individualism and competitiveness of our culture. According to Palmer, “If people skimp in their inner work, their outer work will suffer as well. We are here not only to transform the world, but to be transformed.”
— Jack Guerin