Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown is a book meant for today’s questions. In the wake of the trauma of Las Vegas it is natural to want answers of why. Maybe the answer to why will never come but I suspect if it ever does it will include a life motivated by fear and shame. Both these sources of energy ultimately explode in one way or another. Ms. Brown reaches in and asks us to have a “strong back, soft front and a wild heart. In a life time of research she has poured out her findings in a very readable book on how to change the dynamic of the polarization we are embedded in throughout the world. It will take a lot of “wild hearts” to make this transformation real, but do we have any other choice if we want to find meaning in our chaos? I think not.
Paul’s Berg’s story could be anyone’s story who has given their all to a cause they believed in. He takes us through the tragic war in Vietnam through the community of Wounded Knee and beyond. As someone who has lived through a similar saga with the criminal justice system, I found myself thinking of all the risks entailed in following my truth. The awakening to the insight that all systems have inherent in them the same danger of being co-opted by the “system”. How do I keep from being used to keep things as a good form of job insurance? Was there a minimal focus on actually making changes for the people supposedly being served? These are questions for those of us who like Paul can bring to the discussion now.
Dr. Joe Dispenza has explored the implication on how we can use the new knowledge of brain studies to “lose your mind and create a new one” in this work published in 2012 called Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. He takes us further into the practical ways that we can move from a more instinctual way of being in the world to a more conscious one. He shows how knowledge without experience is merely philosophy; experience without knowledge is ignorance. He helps us to see how we can unmemorize our self-limiting emotions and move to wisdom. The book ends with practical methods of using meditation to achieve these goals.
Bernard Lee wrote a book back in 1995 called The Future Church of 140 B.C.E. He sensed that the changes that came into being that we know as Pharisees were an organic growth in the influence of Jewish lay believers. Their province was the Synagogue and their specialty was study of the Torah. Lee sees the rapid growth of lay people with advanced theology degrees, positions of leadership in parish life, setting the stage for yet another radical change in the faith communities of our day. I emailed Dr. Lee and wondered how he would write that same book today, or at least update this seminal work. He responded that he was hopeful that the Spirit was working within faith communities to bring forth yet the next new thing in the way we come together to share our lived experiences.
A new book that really makes clear the rapidity of the changes in our world is The World is Flat. The amazing variety and speed that we are faced with at work, school and home, really highlights the ever increasing need to take time out to renew ourselves. Where do I go to find such a place? How do I slow down enough to make sense of the changes?
If you want to explore the impact of those events that are highly improbable but have tremendous effects on our lives and culture I recommend Nassim Taleb’s The Black Swan. The author only mentions one passage in Matthew’s gospel, but anyone studying scripture can identify many examples of a black swan event that forever changed history. The book left me with a stronger affinity for what I have been calling Sneaky Spirit events for many years.
A book that is a timely read by Benjamin Barber, Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole. NY. W. W. Norton & Co. 2007, could point to what “change” might be all about: changes that creates services and things that we really need, not just a different/newer/bigger version of what we already have. Barber highlights how we have become confused by the marketing media to believing more is better when what we really need is quality.
A provocative book “The Great Emergence” by Phyllis Tickle attempts to examine the ways religion has changed and is changing today. She especially examines Christianity in what is known as the Western world. She finds that about every 500 years, a shift happens and the old paradigm bursts and a new way of being Christian in the world emerges out of its chrysalis and the new ‘butterfly’ takes flight. I found this examination useful and set me to wondering and watching to see what will emerge.