Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver

It was just a couple days before the Buffalo shooting I was debating to read Soul on Ice or the essays of Audre Lorde. I had both copies on my shelf and I went for this one. I would encourage everyone to read more work by black authors. This one in particular has been enlightening. The Buffalo shooting is terrible. If anyone of us is dying because of ignorance and hatred then we are all dying. Sometimes, when I’m faced with it, I’m overwhelmed by our broken world.

Eldridge Cleaver was one of the early leaders of the Black Panthers and was editor of their newsletter. He was convicted of several crimes which resulted in his imprisonment in Folsom Prison—same prison in which Johnny Cash cut a live album in 1968, two years after Cleaver would be released. It was in this year (1968) that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Cleaver was a follower of Malcolm X and was devastated by his assassination in 1965. It could be argued that this event really influenced his activism going forward, his involvement with the Black Panther Party, and his running for president via the Peace and Freedom Party ticket.

📸 wikipedia

“From my prison cell, I have watched America slowly coming awake. It is not fully awake yet, but there is soul in the air and everywhere I see beauty. I have watched the sit-ins, the freedom rides the Mississippi Blood Summers, demonstrations all over the country, the F.S.M. movement, the teach-ins, and the mounting protest over Lyndon Strangelove’s foreign policy —all of this, the thousands of little details, show me it is time to straighten up and fly right. That is why I decided to concentrate on my writings and efforts in this area. We are a very sick country —I, perhaps, am sicker than most. But I accept that. I told you in the beginning that I am extremist by nature —so it is only right that I should be extremely sick. I was very familiar with the Eldridge who came to prison, but that Eldridge no longer exists. And the one I am now is in some ways a stranger to me.”

— Eldridge Cleaver, Soul on Ice, 1968

Intro to the Anamchara Fellowship Community!

I’m so excited for this journey! I have just joined the Anamchara Fellowship as a seeker for Aspirancy. Anamchara is a religious order of disbursed people from all walks of life canonically recognized by the Episcopal Church at large. It is for people who wish to continue their spiritual journey in a community. Together we pray the same prays each day and meet each night over zoom (the community is all over the US and the world) for evening prayers. The community uses the Northumbria Community book of Celtic Daily Prayer, every prayer in the book is so beautiful and flowing with green, rich Life. Each individual is committed to a certain Rule of Life which usually involves intentional prayer, recreation (exercise, art, music, whatever you love, etc.), meditation, and what I would call ‘gazing’ at God in all Creation—which is, at its heart, the Celtic way. I felt after doing eight months of my discernment course with the diocese that joining a monastic community was what I was called to do right now and bringing a piece of it, hopefully, back to the parishioners of my parish to benefit not just me, but all.

To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donohue

This may sound strange, but I’ve been thinking of joining a dispersed religious order for people from all walks of life. That means married people like me can join. This would be a great next step for me in that it would give me a community of folks like me who are intentionally doing everything they can to grow spiritually. This is different than a church community. I love my fellow St. Philips peeps, but I think I could learn a lot from a group like this. And the thought of being in this type of community fills me with joy. There are two I’m looking into, one is a Franciscan order and the other is Anamchara, a Celtic fellowship that is supported by the Episcopal Church. In Anamchara they use John O’Donohue’s, To Bless the Space Between Us, as their prayer book, from what I understand. Just having this book in my house is a blessing! From it exudes so much life and lushness and creation and love—every word is so beautifully chosen. So as I’m discerning what to do, this book will help guide me I think into the next phase of my life of perpetual spiritual growth.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila

Just started this!! I love St. Teresa of Avila, no one messed with her. If you need human strength, her words can help. I’ve heard this is her book about prayer but as I’m reading it, it seems that it is more about the intentional spiritual journey, the drawing closer to union with God, and the way to ‘perfection’. Perhaps I heard wrong or maybe I’m misinterpreting the book so far, but as I’m envisioning her descriptions it seems to be more of a pilgrimage to the pointing to God, which we are striving to do.

I had a little castle, but I put this appropriately shaped barnacle in the scene instead. Can anyone guess why? 😄 hint: it has to do with the book. Haha 🥸

Beginning a Journey…

And so the journey begins…

I have decided to join EYSJ this year, a program offered by the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan for spiritual discernment and discovery. I have mulled over this decision for three years and I’m finally doing it. It’s a program required by the diocese before lay people are recommended for seminary school, but through the program you discover what God is really calling you to do, which may not be ordination but some other ministry. So I am open to whatever I discover and thrilled to meet some new friends along the way! Also excited and terrified in a good way! Wish me luck or prayers! ☺️

Thomas Merton: The Seven Storey Mountain

Finished it over the weekend. It was so good! I could have done without part one, but I guess it was useful to see how far he came from not giving any thought to the existence of God to becoming a Trappist monk. Wish I were still reading it. Merton is an excellent teacher, I feel like I finished a long journey with a dear friend. If any of you out there are in a discernment period to possibly go to seminary school, which is something I wrestle with often, you should definitely read this!💕

Halfway through the Bible. If you’re on Instagram follow this hashtag!

We are halfway through the Bible! Since the Fall of 2019, I have been writing really brief reviews of the books of the Bible. They are my own contemplative thoughts that no one has to agree with, but I hope speak only truth and leave room for your own contemplation.

The order I have been following is the below. Given to me by a priest and a friend. .

Genesis John

Exodus Matthew

Leviticus Galatians Numbers Colossians

Deuteronomy

Joshua Hebrews

Judges

Ruth Acts (of the Apostles)

1 Samuel

2 Samuel Mark

1 Kings

2 Kings 1 Corinthians

1 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 1 Peter 2 Peter

Ezra

Nehemiah Romans

Esther Philemon

Job Revelation

Psalms (I SUGGEST READING ONE A DAY THROUGHOUT)

Proverbs

Ecclesiastes 1 Timothy 2 Timothy

Song of Solomon 1 John 2 John 3 John

Isaiah Luke

Jeremiah Titus

Lamentations Philippians

Ezekiel Jude

Daniel 1 Thessalonians 2 Thessalonians

Hosea

Joel

Amos James

Obadiah

Jonah 2 Corinthians

Micah

Nahum

Habakkuk

Zephaniah

Haggai

Zechariah

Malachi Ephesians

The Book of Revelation

I’ve been looking forward to sharing this book. For many, the book of Revelation is one of the most frightening books of the Bible. I too was afraid to read it thinking it would destroy my faith out of fear. But I read it…carefully…and was fascinated by it. It is one of my favorite books now, because it is so colorful, dripping with allegory, and Jesus is alive & speaks again, so I’m immediately inspired. There is so much to study and make out if this book.

We have the Apostle John who has seen a vision of Christ and is told to write down all he will soon see as a prophecy of things to come. “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.” ( Revelation 1:17)

This quote said by Christ sums up everything: He said this to His faithful servant, John, someone who meditated and gazed on the face of Christ consistently, in everything he did and Christ tells him to not be afraid (because to you, John—we could insert) I am the First and the Last. We must begin our faith with Christ and continue our faith with Christ throughout our days, make Him first and make Him last, the first thought in the morning and the last thought at night. Make Christ and His truth your everyday, and you should not be afraid of anything you read in Revelation (or life’s trials), but only be in awe and marvel at the mystery of it yet to be truly understood

The Book of Esther

In what simple way is God calling you to act that would draw you closer to Him? For me it was spending a year to read and study the Bible. .

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These are my own contemplative thoughts. If you disagree with the below that’s ok! .

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Before Christ, in the Old Testament, under the old covenant, only priests were allowed near the altar, and they acted as the mediators between God and man. The book of Esther is symbolic to this as it describes her standing in the inner court in front of the king’s hall. The king sees Queen Esther just outside his inner court, HE FINDS FAVOR IN HER (a statement we read often in scripture when God’s relationship to his people is discussed) and holds out his scepter to her as a sign that it is ok to approach him. She moves towards him and touches the very tip of his scepter, a sign of her obedience and humility. To me her approach is like those hoping to come to God either for the first time or after a long hiatus. We have to approach with humility and an open heart, yet we do not have to be pure, or holy, or of a certain worldly stature. We are allowed to come as we are. Esther, who despite knowing she was doing something against the man-made laws of the day said she would approach the king to save her people the Jews from being slaughtered, “even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” In this statement she showed her bravery. This kind of bravery is what God wants to see from us, wants us to cut through all the worldly “laws” like our own expectations, guilt, rules, etc., right to Him. And He will find favor in us for this—we will become his special students in that moment, He will take us under His wing and show us wonderful miracles and bless us tremendously, especially show us how to find His kind of joy in this life if we keep our eyes open to Him. .

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