Shirin McArthur

prayerful pondering

Showing Up for What is Unfolding

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I have been blogging for a while now—but not here. I’ve been getting paid to write blogs for small businesses through a company called BlogMutt. Great company, and it’s given me tons of practice—but that’s not the point of this blog.

Now is time to start—or restart—blogging here.

Why? I believe I am finally ready and able to articulate, at least somewhat, my role in this always-unfolding journey that is “living faithfully, from a Christian perspective.”

Yesterday I attended a workshop led by a Lutheran pastor named Nadia Boltz-Weber. She has started a rather unusual congregation in Denver called House for All Sinners and Saints (HFASS). She and her congregation have created a community with roots deep in the Christian tradition and manifestations that would not be familiar to most church goers. But it is meeting the needs of some, or it would not be going strong, five years in, and she would not be a featured writer, preacher and teacher across the country.

It is not my work to attempt to replicate what she’s doing. I believe, however, that it is my work to ask questions (which is the role of an effective spiritual director, after all), and perhaps to offer some partial answers to those questions. I invite you to join me on this journey.

Today’s question is “what in your church, or in your life, needs to die?”

DSC_2696 daffodils

I mean that in a fairly literal sense. One of the innovative ways that HFASS approaches its church programs is that if a program loses energy after a while, they stop it. Just let it go. No need to keep the program on life support by pressuring resentful people to keep showing up, even when it isn’t meaningful for them. No need to try to resuscitate a program that “should” be part of a community’s life. Instead, trust that the program has lived its usefulness, and that the Spirit will bring about something new in due time.

On a personal level, the question is aimed at those things that we think we “should” do but find ourselves resenting. Some of them, frankly, are necessary, like working for an income or making sure the house gets cleaned. But if we are resenting what we do in our lives, perhaps the question needs to be “what new thing might the Spirit be trying to bring about in my life? Where am I getting in the way of that change, or that transformation?” I know that I stood in the way of transformation for a long time by working at jobs that no longer fed my soul, and my attitude toward those jobs—and probably the work that I did—suffered as a result. I am still learning that lesson, as I recognize how long I have spent running away from blogging.

So here I am, because my fear needs to die today.

What in your life needs to die?

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4 thoughts on “Showing Up for What is Unfolding

  1. I was first drawn into the depth of the picture posted. And, after reading the meditation, am going to spend time with my own meditation on your question of “what needs to die?” and how it applies corporately and personally. Thank you Shireen for starting this lovely”blog sight.” Rhoda

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  2. Much of what needed to die in my spiritual journey already has died. I am no longer connected to a church, though feel very much a part of a larger faith community. It took letting go of a whole lot of shoulds to accept that my place in the community of faith is even further out than the periphery of the community. What gave me the most acceptance was when my peer group of spiritual guides affirmed the good of me taking another step away from the church center and named me a “desert mother”~especially as all the members present that day were…clergy! The space that opened for me from that time has freed me as an artist, but moreso it has freed me to do absolutely nothing, very very slowly…as a gift of presence. I have found that I need great spaces of openness and quiet and a kind of stillness in my day to day lifestyle to be truly present, especially to/for/with/in God. Tendernesses, June

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  3. Thank you for sharing your journey through language, and inviting us to share ours, Shirin. You are an extraordinary spiritual director who listens with grace and compassion. Like Rhoda, I think I, too, will spend some time thinking about what needs to die in my own life, and post again.

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  4. Pingback: Cataracts and Inner Vision | Shirin McArthur

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