Courageous Listening …


Ready to consider being courageous? If so, “buckle your safety belt” and take a read of the CAC post HERE about Courageous Listening. The author includes some good tips including

When listening gets hard, I focus on taking the next breath. I pay attention to sensations in my body: heat, clenching, and constriction. I feel the ground beneath my feet. Am I safe? If so, I stay and slow my breath again, quiet my mind, and release the pressure that pushes me to defend my position. I try to wonder about this person’s story and the possible wound in them. I think of an earnest question and try to stay curious long enough to be changed by what I hear.   ~ Valarie Kaur (HERE)

WOW! The idea of doing this deep listening sounds hard, especially with those whom we disagree.

The cool thing? Not only does this deep listening work well with those whom we disagree, it works with other populations too. Shannon, a friend and expert in the dementia world who pointed us to this Courageous Listening article (thanks Shannon!), says

“Courageous listening fits right in with the “embracing and” concept! They seem to align on the spectrum of surrendering and being open.”

So, when listening gets hard – whether with someone experiencing dementia, someone we disagree with, someone a little too chatty or ??? – perhaps we can surrender and be open while in “Yes And” and/or Courageous Listening mode!

Enjoy the day, fueled by the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, August 21, 2022:



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The Power of “And” (continued)…


As mentioned in the last CP post, the power of the word “And” is substantial (as supported in the CAC post HERE)

Did you identify with several of the phrases from the “And” exercise in that CAC post? Perhaps these?

  • “And” teaches us to be patient and long suffering
  • “And” helps us to live in the always imperfect now
  • “And” teaches us to say yes

Why pick out those “And” statements, especially the last one? Because the line

” ‘And’ teaches us to say yes”

perfectly fits the 3-minute video HERE. The most important tip they say is “Yes and” – – code language that is useful grounding for caregivers and others communicating with those experiencing dementia.

The power of “And” brought to practical use! 🙂  With over 10% of those 65+ dealing with dementia, it’s likely you’ll be in contact with someone soon who will appreciate your use of the “Yes and” approaches…

POSSIBLE ACTIVITY (again or for the first time?): as you do the “And” exercise (HERE), combining some mindfulness breathing and the embracing “and” exercise can be a great start to the hours ahead

  • take a deep breath – to the count of 4 – as you move to the beginning of each phrase
  • say the “And” phrase aloud while you begin the exhale
  • continue exhaling all breath while contemplating this phrase
  • REPEAT

Let’s go out there, using “Yes And” along with “And” to brighten the days of those we meet.

Enjoy the day, fueled by the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, August 14, 2022:



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The Power of “And”…


In our world today, the power of the word “and” can be substantial. In the CAC post HERE (thanks for sharing this Joan!), we encourage you to scroll down to the section entitled The Shining Word “And” where it says:

Father Richard offers a contemplative practice of embracing “and.” We encourage you to read these words slowly, allowing for a “both-and” space to emerge within:

POSSIBLE ACTIVITY: as you do the “And” exercise (HERE), combining some mindfulness breathing and the embracing “and” exercise can be a great start to the hours ahead

  • take a deep breath – to the count of 4 – as you move to the beginning of each phrase
  • say the “And” phrase aloud while you begin the exhale
  • continue exhaling all breath while contemplating this phrase
  • REPEAT

As the concluding line in the exercise says

“And” allows us to be both distinct and yet united “And” is the very Mystery of Trinity

Enjoy the day, fueled by the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, August 14, 2022:



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Stewardship of Mother Earth…


A final (for now) reference on stewardship came “out of nowhere” (thanks be to God!?!) 🙂

We have referenced Matthew Fox previously. His devotionals of 8/5 (Some Poems to the Mother) and 8/6 (Humanity’s Capacity For Rendering Nothingness) were so fitting with our previous posts that share we must. From 8/6:

Thomas Berry used to say that the nuclear bomb has already gone off—that is to say the chemicals that humans have been pouring into Mother Earth without proper testing and that have so much to do with rising rates of cancer and other diseases. 

Climate Change is another of the apocalyptic vials of wrath humans drop on their fellow creatures.

When will we ever learn?

And some prose offered in the 8/5 devotional that offers a “battle cry” for us as stewards:

“The mother’s battle for her child—with sickness, with poverty, with war, with all the forces of exploitation and callousness that cheapen human life—need to become a common human battle, waged in love and in the passion for survival.”  ~ Adrienne Rich

In this day and those that follow, may we heed these messages with a mind toward becoming better and better stewards of our relationships and this planet!

AUDIOVISUAL OPPORTUNITY: “She Who Hears the Cries of the World” HERE by Jennifer Berezan, with Olympia Dukakis and Starhawk – – combines powerful visuals with words and music

PRAYER OPPORTUNITY (taken from the Our Daily Bread stewardship devotional HERE from this recent CP Post)

Loving Creator and Sustainer of all, please show me tangible ways I can fulfill my responsibility as a steward of Your creation and inspire others to care for the world You’ve entrusted to us.

Enjoy the day, filled with the power to become a change-maker, fueled by the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, August 14, 2022:



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The Privilege of Stewardship…


Following our neighbor theme of the last few posts, the Our Daily Bread posting entitled The Privilege of Stewardship seems “just right” (listen HERE to Xochitl Dixon’s passionate reading of her devotional or you can read it HERE)  She tells a story about being good neighbors to sea turtles and then shares this commentary:

When God created the world, He provided a habitat in which each creature could live and thrive (Genesis 1:20–25). When He created His image-bearers, God intended for us to “rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground” (v. 26). He helps us serve Him as responsible stewards who use our God-given authority to care for His vast creation.

May we each use our God-given authority to care for God’s vast creation as good neighbors!

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, August 7, 2022:



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Won’t You Be Their Neighbor? (continued)


Talking about missionaries near and far might bring one to consider where the church is ministering for situations like the flash floods in southeastern Kentucky. Well, here is such a person making efforts, David Ehlert

As a Young Adult Volunteer, David mentions in the article HERE:

I found my passion for serving God’s world in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, as well as on the coast of Florida, where I served as an environmental educator for Reef Environmental Education Foundation. I see God in the world around me, as well as in the faces of those around me.

Earth stewardship is a mighty important topic, especially in the hollers of Appalachia where mountaintop removal for coal is contributing to the flash flood conditions. We need the word of God arriving in varying forms during these challenging days. Thanks be to God for folks like David and Mister Rogers, willingly making part of their lives a focus of God’s ministry to others and to Mother Earth!

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, August 7, 2022:



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Won’t You Be Their Neighbor?


Missionaries come in a variety of shapes, sizes, ages and genders. Some think of them as travelers to a foreign land sharing the word of God, sometimes with people seeking/needing foundational knowledge.

Yet many missionaries are right near us, especially valuable given our need for learning and reminders. One such missionary who might not immediately come to mind is a television personality, Mister Rogers. Few have had more impact over a lifetime…

PCUSA has Mister Rogers in the spotlight in the Mission Yearbook of Prayer. At the close of the Mission Yearbook article above comes this statement: “The filmmakers end with Rogers telling his listeners that when the world seems so bad, they should ‘think of someone who has helped you.’ ”

Who is a special someone who has helped you? Spend a few minutes thinking about this – in fact, several folks may come to mind.

ACTION: Can you think of someone needing a little encouragement today? Consider how your special someone might have helped in this situation. Perhaps today offers an opportunity to emulate your special someone in some way?  🙂

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

P.S. And in case you’d like to hear him sing the song, HERE is one rendition of Won’t You Be My Neighbor?


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, August 7, 2022:



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Joy in the Journey…


Sticking with the joy theme, we’ll re-visit a post last seen almost 3 years to the day … 

HERE is a Michael Card song called Joy in the Journey which includes these lines:

“There is a joy in the journey,

There’s a light we can love on the way.

There is a wonder and wildness to life

And freedom for those who obey”

The lyrics go on to talk about the challenges and still the joy. A little like what we read in these verses from Matthew

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  ~ Matthew 11:28-30

May good perspective be with us, enabling us to be more Christ-like and providing more joy in the journey even when the traveling is hazardous…

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, July 31, 2022:



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Joy of a Puppy…


In this Guidepost devotional entitled “Important Life Lessons From a Puppy, the author discusses the joy that dogs share unconditionally. She goes on to say:

Even in those times when we may feel as if no one delights in us, we can know Jesus does. When we believe this, we can live with an unwavering sense of joy.

When seeing that wagging tail, the tongue ready to share licks, the bright eyes, etc., we know a dog is joyful in our presence and that can be infectious. The Bible certainly shares prose that reflects a joyful perspective from Jesus amongst his followers and all he met. Jesus’ joy, even in spite of their (and our) shortcomings, can empower us all to a better, more joyful existence.

In the midst of great trials and tribulations, many people inspire us with their joyful perspective on life. Perhaps the joy that Jesus shares with all is coming through these mortal (and canine?) companions in their actions and countenance?

May our journey include recognition and gratitude for the joys that Jesus – and dogs – share with us so fully.

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

P.S. Typing the headline above, Charles Shulz comes to mind with “Happiness is a Warm Puppy.”  🙂


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, July 24, 2022:



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Slow down, you move too fast”…


Anne Lamott’s  “Slow me down, Girlfriend” commentary prompts an updated reissue of this CP post…

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19b NIV).

Simon & Garfunkle’s “groovy song” (as our boys used to call it) fits James’ commentary pretty effectively:  “Slow down, you move too fast”

Why is it that we Christians frequently let the hectic-ness of life take over our focus? And why must we formulate a response even while the other person is still talking?

One objective of the Christian Playbook is to make time for each playbook element, allowing for a slowing of our days so there can be more intentional behavior consistent with our Christ-follower beliefs. Perhaps that even prompts us to abide while listening for God for a good long time before formulating our next responses too?

POSSIBLE ACTION FOR TODAY: in addition to doing the CP efforts (devotional, prayer, study, love, music), take time today to abide, slow down, watch the flowers growin’, stifle hurtful anger and delight more in the day…

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, July 17, 2022:



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