Monday, October 30, 2017

“Observe constantly that all things take place by change, and accustom thyself to consider that the nature of the universe loves nothing so much as to change things which are and to make new things like them. For everything that exists is in a manner the seed of that which will be.”

-- Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Friday, October 27, 2017

"If we spent half an hour every day in silent immobility, I am convinced that we should conduct all our affairs, personal, national, and international, far more sanely than we do at present."

--Bertrand Russell, Mortals and Others

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

This week's "Author Tuesday" feature on Cara Meredith's popular blog has an interview with me about my book, Presence and Process: A Path Toward Transformative Faith and Inclusive Community.

"Calling all theology nerds! In Presence and Process, Daniel P. Coleman merges ideas from contemplative Christianity alongside the mindfulness movement of Buddhism …and I’m telling you, the book will make you THINK. I’ve been chewing over Daniel’s thoughts for the past couple of weeks, and already have a handful of people I want to pass this book along to after I finish reading it. . .If you’re interested in writers like Richard Rohr, Brian McLaren and the ancient mystics, you’ve got to pick this book up." 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Why I stopped going to church on Sundays:

Every weekday morning I get up at 5am. I could sleep until 5:30am and still get to work on time through the morning commute, but I've added the extra half hour so that I can meditate. That half hour of meditation has become extremely important to me and it sets the tone for the rest of the day. It has become my core spiritual practice.

The most challenging aspect of my early morning meditation practice is that I'm not a morning person. My natural cycle would probably be to sleep from 2am until 10am. Through sheer discipline (and exhaustion) I manage to get myself to sleep on weeknights usually by 10:30 or 11pm. This means that I operate at a sleep deficit. Until the weekend, that is. On Saturday and Sunday my wife and I gloriously sleep in, usually until 9 or 10am. Then we lollygag around the house for as long as we feel like lollygagging (which is sometimes all day).

I have discovered the meaning of sabbath.

"But," I can hear certain preachers preaching, "the Bible says 'do not forsake gathering together'." We don't. What we have forsaken is sitting in rows on Sunday morning like a passive audience, singing along with a worship band and then listening to someone give a sermon. I don't think that was what the author of the New Testament Letter to the Hebrews had in mind when he/she advised about meeting together.

Our solution to "meeting together" has become to attend smaller meetings during weekday evenings. For example, on Thursday evenings we attend a predominantly Buddhist group who meets in a Christian church for meditation and discussion. We find it nourishing. We recently visited another, unrelated, group that meets on Tuesday evenings. We may add that group to our schedule. Or there is a small group that meets on Wednesday nights in an Episcopal church for Centering Prayer that we want to visit. We're trying out the methodology of belonging to multiple (and diverse) small groups where we can show up (or not show up) on any given week with flexibility. We're exploring ecclesial polyculture instead of monoculture.

In my book, 'Presence and Process: A Path Toward Transformative Faith and Inclusive Community', I wrote about small, simple, contemplatively-oriented gatherings as an adjunct to or a replacement for traditional Sunday morning church services. We're finding that once we shifted our paradigm and priorities, to make weekends for sabbath, early weekday mornings for personal spiritual practice and weeknights for "gathering together" with small interactive spiritual-practice groups, things seemed to click into place for us. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's working for us.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Keeping Quiet
By Pablo Neruda
(1904 - 1973)
(English translation by Alastair Reid)

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

For once on the face of the earth
let's not speak in any language,
let's stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines,
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victory with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I'll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"We don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."

--Howard Zinn

Monday, October 16, 2017

"You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope."

--Thomas Merton

Sunday, October 15, 2017

 Art by Katie Jo Suddaby

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"The reality we can put into words is never reality itself."
--Werner Heisenberg, Physicist

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

“True religion helps us to grow, but pseudo-religion hinders growth, for it creates and maintains obstacles and barriers. Thus it is that much religion merely censors experience and does not liberate it, stifles human potential and does not allow it to blossom. Much religion is superficial and does not help the journey inwards which is so necessary for spiritual health. There has to be a movement towards the still centre, the depths of our being, where, according to the mystics, we find the presence of God.”

--Kenneth Leech, True Prayer: An Invitation to Christian Spirituality

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

I woke up this morning and the first thought that hit me was "I am alive." I've been given another day to learn, to grow, to help, to be kind, to be grateful.


Sunday, October 01, 2017

World Quaker Day 2017

"In its early days our Society [The Religious Society of Friends] owed much to a people who called themselves Seekers; they joined us in great numbers and were prominent in the spread of Quakerism. It is a name which must appeal strongly to the scientific temperament. The name has died out, but I think that the spirit of seeking is still the prevailing one in our faith, which for that reason is not embodied in any creed or formula. It is perhaps difficult sufficiently to emphasize Seeking without disparaging its correlative Finding. But I must risk this, for Finding has a clamorous voice that proclaims its own importance; it is definite and assured, something that we can take hold of--that is what we all want, or think we want. Yet how transitory it proves. The finding of one generation will not serve for the next. It tarnishes rapidly except it be preserved with an ever-renewed spirit of seeking. It is the same too in science. How easy in a popular lecture to tell of the findings, the new discoveries which will be amended, contradicted, superseded in the next fifty years! How difficult to convey the scientific spirit of seeking which fulfills itself in this tortuous course of progress towards truth! You will understand the true spirit neither of science nor of religion unless seeking is placed in the forefront."
- Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, 1882-1944, British astrophysicist and philosopher #WorldQuakerDay