From the original RevGals post: There is a dramatic and surprising venue for Spiritual Formation/Sunday School classes at my church: Each week a different person teaches about a "word" that expresses his/her passion or interest. The first week someone spoke about "hospitality" with abundant treats on her mother and grandmother's china arrayed on tables. Other words have been "connectivity," "Trinity," "money," and "dreams." No one knows which person will be teaching until the class convenes. I am teaching this Sunday and plan to talk about "stirrings."
For this Friday Five, please list five words that identify your passions, spirituality, and/or life. Describe as much or as little as you wish.
Ooh-- good question. In no particular order:
Joy-- For me, as a Christian, Joy is one of the most important pieces in my life. I think everything that we do bears witness to what we believe about God, and a person who radiates joy (which I think really is different than happiness) can't help but draw folks in. Joy is something I try to cultivate in my life at all times and all circumstances, but it is also probably one of the easier things I could be working on. It's sounds cheesy, but I feel like I've got a deep well inside me, and sometimes it's just bursting to get out.
Shalom-- this is one of the most important biblical concepts in my life. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the idea of shalom not only describes peace, but wholeness and harmony as well. As I go about my day, I try to seek peace and wholness and harmony. I don't mean the absence of strife, though that would certainly be nice, but peace in the midst of.
Passion--not with the sexual undertones that the word usually conveys, but more along the idea of being passionate about the things you do--being set on fire about something. We all have things that we have to do, but I work hard to make sure that the non-necessary things I'm giving my time and energy to are the things about which I really care. I try not to let my life get sucked away by things I tell myself that I should be doing, but instead work to invest in the things that really matter to me.
Stewardship-another important idea to me is that of taking care of that which has been entrusted to me. I'm not just talking about money, but of all things. I try to actively take care of my health and finances and environment and time. I try to make sure I'm using my resources in appropiate ways instead of carelessly letting them go by the wayside.
Spirit-- In my personal prayer life, I often address my prayers to the Holy Spirit, who I see as the person in the trinity invovled in renewing energies and waking things up. But the Hebrew has a word, ruach, that means spirit (or wind). It also means breath of God--which is what we see God breathing into the adam (adam means man, but also reflects an idea of being from the earth-- the name, Adam, is based on that... but the man isn't really named Adam in the scriptures.) This idea also shows up in Ezekial when God breathes into the dry bones and they become alive. This idea is important to me as I remember that I have God's very own breath within me-- that's a holy responsibility--and a whole calling to be responsible for that which has been breathed into me.
"Graceland" is the name of my favorite song and album. It's by Paul Simon, but more importantly, it's what "home" sounds and feels like to me. We always listened to this album as we traveled from my home in Tennessee to my parents' childhood homes in Florida. But today, it's also a pretty good snapshot of my theology. Somewhere I really believe that the Christian journey is all about a wild trip to Grace-land. As I see it, Grace-land is the place where God is waiting to meet even us–with all the baggage and brokeness that we tote with us. Grace-land is the place where we will be received with open arms, even though our attempts at “getting it right” have been miserable failures at best. But, I think, every step we take is a step on the journey to Graceland.