Writer’s Block – Serving it up Half Baked?

It’s been a while.

Sorry about that.

Yesterday I met with my spiritual director, and explored with her why I haven’t been able to write lately.  Lately being approximately the last six months or so.

“I was at a spiritual retreat, and we were exhorted not to write or teach about what God was doing in us, until it was fully formed.  It’s like serving bread out of the oven that is only half baked.  I haven’t been able to write since then.”

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She helped me reflect some more about my different theories as to why I couldn’t write.  “Which feels more true to you as you say it?”

I can’t write because I’m serving up something half baked?  Why do I need to write something Deep, Substantial and Profound anyways?  What part of my ego is that feeding?  What false self am I trying to bolster?

“I just wanna be a Jeanne Vanier, dammit it!”  I laughed at myself as I said it out loud.

“Don’t take this the wrong way,” she said, “but sometimes we don’t do something because we’re lazy.  We don’t do it one day.  And then we don’t do it the next, and then so much time has gone by it’s harder and harder to do it.”

Ouch.  Yep the wounds of a friend (and spiritual director) are faithful.

A few years ago I felt like the Lord was talking to me about how He wanted me to teach.  He wasn’t asking me to be a marvellous Bible expositor.  A master at exegesis.

“You need to live a life that speaks.  And then tell the stories.”

Live the life.  And tell the stories.

So as of this moment I am relieving myself of the burden of writing Something Profound.

And go back to telling my little stories about where I see God at work in our small prayer community and our lovely city.

Maybe it will be half baked.  But then, you can just bake it yourself at home!

Genetic Engineering in the House of Prayer – Welcome to Belle-Hop!

Yesterday Kirk and I paid a visit to Belle Hop, the House of Prayer in Belleville, Ontario. There we were warmly greeted by Wendy Anderson, who made us a lovely lunch and gave us a tour of their exciting storefront facility in downtown Belleville.

The building (as you can see from the video), is quite amazing. Space for hospitality. A worship area for Harp and Bowl, but then multiple other prayer rooms for other kinds of prayer expressions!

Wendy and her team have done some genetic engineering, and have fused the IHOP model of night and day prayer with the 24-7prayer.com model out of the UK.  Her associate director, Jeff Boerger, is an Anglican, and on Monday nights teaches on the spiritual disciplines.  They have a keypad on the backdoor to give 24/7 access, and large whiteboard where people can sign up for an hour towards the goal of praying 24/7.   “One of our community has Down Syndrome,” says Wendy, pointing to some night slot hours.  “He sets his alarm for midnight and prays from home.”

As many of you know, GOHOP has been doing much the same thing over the last 7 years or so, with what to us have been delightful results. But we always felt a bit like the oddball on the Canadian HOP scene. So imagine our delight to find another HOP making the same crazy experiments, fusing the spiritual DNA of two prayer movements! Making room for all kinds of prayer (Ephesians 6:18) makes our prayer space accessible and attractive to a wide variety of prayer enthusiasts, not all whom identify with the charismatic camp. The Spirit of prayer is at work in every denomination! 20140401-072602.jpg 20140401-073002.jpg 20140401-073009.jpg 20140401-073017.jpg   We had a very short time with them, and I can in no way give justice to the scope of their work and the quality of their hearts.  You will just have to go visit them and learn for yourself!  You can find them on facebook here.

The Creation of a Prayer Room

Tomorrow we launch two weeks of 24-7 prayer, and all this week, we have been preparing the prayer room.

Here is the room just as we got started.

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We turned our regular prayer room into the Vine Cafe, where folks can come hang out and drink coffee. Local artists have hung their work on the walls.

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Already the Vine is a hub of happy creativity. We can’t wait for the 2 weeks of prayer to start!

Have you signed up for your hour of prayer yet?

online calendar

Pray and Breathe

As the congregants entered the sanctuary, they were greeted by my daughter Hannah, who stamped their hands with a handcrafted stamp made by our friend Xenia.

It said Breathe

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Heartfelt worship was accompanied by a single banjo. I was reminded why I enjoy Eucharist so much.

After the worship, I had an opportunity to share. My sermon was called Attunement and the Ancient Art of Breathing, a rather unwieldy title which Kevin very sensibly renamed Pray and Breathe.

Here is the link to the mp3 of the teaching

http://eucharistsermons.tumblr.com/post/76248257902/prayandbreathe

I ended by reciting a poem recently written by my friend Marg Ann Roorda. I’ve reprinted it here with her permission.

Breathe

Close your eyes
now
breathe

Close your eyes
now
see

Draw in deeply
hold
let go deeply

Again

Draw in deeply
hold
let go deeply

Again

Draw in deeply
hold
let go deeply

There

Did you feel it
Did you see it
letting go

Close your eyes
now
breathe

Close your eyes
now
see

that is

breathing

that is
life

My Largest Felting Project Ever!

My friends Sandy and Peter asked me to make a felting piece to go over their couch. I’ve been procrastinating, daunted by the size and scope of the project, but yesterday morning I woke up and said. “This is the day!”

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Laying a deep sheet and towel under it, to protect the table.

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Base layer.

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Starting to mess about with different ideas.

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The arteeste at work.

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Climbing on a stepladder for a birds eye view. Love my Crocs!

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Here it is, all felted. I’m going to add some needle felting embellishments once it dries, and then try and figure out a wall hanging system.

So what has this got to do with New Monasticism?

Monastic communities, through the ages, have been centres of creativity and the arts. We celebrate the Creator by co-creating!

Write Away

First day back after my holidays.

I’m in the prayer room by myself, really enjoying my time with the Lord.

I pull out my journal and write, “is there anything You would like to say to me about the new year?”

Figure I might as well ask.

I put my journal down and pace the prayer room, worshipping along with the groovy set that’s happening on the IHOP webstream. We have a big screen tv in our prayer room so we can tune into their live we streamed prayer and worship meetings whenever we want.

As I mosey over to the far side of the prayer room, my eyes land on a scrap of paper lying on a table.

It says “Write now”

Hmmm…

Coincedance?

Maybe.

A few minutes later, I bump into one of our interns who is meeting with her spiritual director here at the Vine.

“I really really enjoy your blog!” She says.
“Thanks. I didn’t write much overly my holidays. Just trying to take a break.”

I walk away from the conversation, somewhat bemused.

Coincedance?

Maybeeeeeeeee

Guess I’d better get back into my writing routine…..

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