social spark Aisling Beatha: Summer Art Journal Book Study Part 5


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Thursday, August 07, 2014

Summer Art Journal Book Study Part 5

Yes, I'm still going and have just got a bit behind on posting the updates here for you.  This book is amazing and I think that wherever you are on your faith journey, you should be able to find something useful in it.

So far I have shared with you
Now we are on to a whole new section, or season, the Summer of Complexity or the season of Spiritual Strengthening.

Summer Reading Art Journal

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In the season of Complexity our focus shifts from right versus wrong to effective versus ineffective.  We move from seeking right belief to seeking right behaviour.  We're no longer satisfied to be part of the right "in crowd" we now seek identity as part of the "winning team" and we want to play our part within that team well.

Stage 2 is a really enjoyable time in life, a time of hard work but of achieving things and getting things done.  Saying goodbye to that time is so painful that many people never do it and stay cycling between stages 1 and 2 forever, between simplicity and complexity, never acknowledging the perplexity that stage 3 brings.

Summer Reading Art Journal

Chapters 10 and 11 introduce the next word or spiritual practice - Sorry.  The author talks of the temptation to pretend, to stage manage our spiritual appearance and pretend to be more than we really are.
We all need to come out of the closet.  We don't have to hide the real us - the sexual us, the insecure us, the doubtful us, the complex, different, tempted, actual human us.
He talks of self examination and confession, that acknowledges the difference between our preferred appearance before others and our reality.
Through confession we say "God, I will not hide anything from You.  You know already.  Pretending in Your presence is pure pathetic insanity.  I want to be who I am in Your presence."
He goes on to examine what happens to the heart if the cover up is maintained, if no acknowledgement ever comes and discusses the connection with the way sin was dealt with by the ancient Hebrews.
No wonder they built into their calendar holy days of repentance, when ALL members of the community would pause to examine themselves, acknowledge their faults and come clean.
The author also talks of collective faults, things we need to examine together because they are part of who WE are together, not just who I am.  I have to say that the chapter 10 page is my favourite so far, visually.  I love the way the images and background colour work together with the journal spots that I used.  And I especially love the strip of colour down the left side of the page, which was a happy accident from adding colour to the next two page spread.

Summer Reading Art Journal

In chapter 11 the author talks of what happens when we share our faults not just with God, but with another person, especially when we receive a positive response.

  1. Until I share with another, I believe I'm the only one who struggles that way, that I am alone.  When, in fact, upon the sharing, the response often comes, "Oh yes, I know that feeling, that struggle too."
  2. When the response is compassionate rather than judgemental, that mercy and acceptance make visible for me the Good News that previously seemed beyond belief, that God also still accepts me.
  3. In an environment of grace I find myself free.  Free to continue to failing if I must.  But also free to do better if I can.
As in other chapters he introduces extra words or concepts that can really help alongside the initial one.  Alongside Sorry we are encouraged to consider Mercy.
If I name my wrong as I exhale, I can hold the word mercy as I inhale.  Breathing out regret, breathing in mercy.

Check back tomorrow and I will share the next 2 pages , as we move from Sorry, examination and regret to HELP, the expression of our personal need for God.

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