Posts Tagged ‘book group’

Daily practice. It has backed many religious/spiritualist movements. Secular mindfulnessIMG_2684 movements. Psychological/holistic healing. Creative arts. The idea that each day to do something that takes you into another space. The thin space that “separates” the creative spark (some call God) and creation…when in fact they resonate well together it is simply us that must pause, and enter into the thin space to truly create.

These are thoughts that have been spinning as I work through my own block. Writer’s block. Very rarely experienced in my life, but lately has been cropping up. It is a block of darkness. Or that is what I see when I take moments to pause and be present. The light is kept out, unable to truly break through. Feel one’s breath is what the experts say to enter into a deeper meditation. It starts with presence. Experiencing what is in the now. The now being a concrete block within my mind’s eye.

bookBut it comes back to each day trying to keep practice. For as Martella-Whitsett (2011)¬†How to Pray without Talking to God brought the book group to this week. We tend to stop our practice to soon. That is we tend to enter into our prayer/contemplation/meditation time of creation/manifestation/denial/affirmation BUT before we truly make a breakthrough the silence scares us.¬† For it is resting in that silence that the heavy lifting to the “Thin Space” can be done.¬† Simply, because being with ourselves and truly affirming the divinity we are created in is, well, S-C-A-R-Y. So it is always easier to simply stop at the imaginary line, than spend that extra beat and wait to see if the light shines through.

The light of daily practice. Been a long road back to some semblance of this for myself, yet trying to attempt it. Working into some Wisdom in Ecclesiastes, reminders about the ebbs and flow of life. Silence. Concrete blocks. Reminders in the ancient story of Nehemiah, called to rebuild. On the front lines as a leader in the moment, but taking time away to get above the daily work, the daily battles to be able to see the lay of the land. The higher plain of planning.

That is the extra beat in the silence.

The higher plain, being able to see (wholly) who one is.

From their stepping into the true reality.

Yet, in the moment, one chapter hangs by the precipice. A block of stone blocking that light…just one more beat…in the silence…

Today’s practice.


It has been awhile since I have written a mass recommendation for group change theory work. The last time was Irshad Manji‚Äôs (2005) The Trouble with Islam where I encouraged groups of all stripes to read this memoir calling for transformation, and then compare/contrast it to their own journeys‚ÄĒthat is replace Islam with whatever belief system one held and see where growth and transformation was needed no matter how regressive or progressive the system was.

There is a cancer in the city’s corridors of power. It is a cancer that is spreading…a system that is corrupt as it is incompetent.

The cancer is a toxic mix of neo-Nazism, white supremacy and a hate group that literally seeks to wipe away everything that is modern and urban, and start all over again in a primitive, Far Right nirvana that will only accept so called ‚ÄúAryans‚ÄĚ. And the organization that is supposed to be preventing this? The organization that is, instead indifferent to this spreading Cancer‚ÄĒor, perhaps, even secretly assisting it?

                                                                                               -(Kinsella, A Recipe for Hate,  p.241)

Today I finally completed Warren Kinsella’s (Dundurn, 2017) A Recipe for Hate is a downright masterful, mystery allegory weaving a mystery tale form the 1977-79 Portland, Maine growing Punk scene, into an allegory for our world today. Yes, I wish I could say it was simply a timepiece mystery, but Nazism and systematic hate appear to be harder to exterminate than 21st century bed bugs.

This is a book I encourage people to read. If you can only read it by yourself, fine, read and process the story. Listen to the rhythm of its soul and what it means for us today. Which character (s) resonate with you? Why? Which do not? Why not? When does this happen in your own life? What instincts may this tell you about yourself in knowing whom to trust? Who has darker secrets at play?

If you can read it in a book group even better, explore the character and system dynamics laid out. If the book group is part of a broader ideology or belief system even better. For the conversation can even deepen:

  • When is our organization like the Punk scene?
  • When do we become the organization (police, schools) that is supposed to stop the spreading cancer? Do we succeed or fail? Or are we frozen?
  • When are we the hate? Or, like the history of the skins, do we allow a segment to be co-opted by the hate?
  • What old hates still fester in community? What new ones go unsaid?

At the root, it is a well written mystery, that will keep you turning the pages. Which is what good fiction is supposed to be. I am not going to reveal many plot points outside of the broad strokes, because I want you to experience the roller coaster with unfiltered eyes.

Truly though, when you enter the story and reflect on any or all the questions, individually or better in a group conversation over coffee my hope is that it becomes the tiny ripples in the pond that change…change our trajectory at this point in history where we are secretly and quietly feeding the cancer once more. Change it to where we finally are the chemo that destroys it and the system moves to recovery and rebuilding in healthier ways.

Basically, know that hate exists. It permeates between what we have seen in the past. It exists across all ideologies and belief systems. It needs to be destroyed. Full stop. We are in this together, neighbours and family.

Let love win, and if it is only this once against systematic cancer hate…then it has won big.