Throughout 2019 our Playlists will explore a word from Brian McLaren’s book “Naked Spirituality.” For a deeper dive into Brian’s book, you can purchase it at Amazon and wherever books are sold.
- Brian begins by explaining that he chose the word “here” to avoid having to name or address God too soon. He says, “When we begin by naming God, too often we assume that we know more about the one we’re addressing that we may actually know. The name carries too much unacknowledged conceptual freight for us.”When you say the word “God,” what mental images are in your mind, and in what ways might they be helpful and unhelpful for you?
- Jesus often withdrew to the countryside, away from the crowds, to be with God. The early Celtic Christians identified certain places as “thin places,” where the separation between earth and heaven was very “thin.” It’s here where they sensed God’s presence (peace, joy, love) in a different way.Is there a place, a particular here, in your life where you have sensed the presence of God in a different way than your normal day-to-day life? What makes that place special for you
- Ultimately, our “thin places” are meant to point us back to the God who is always present and here. Brian says, “The purpose of practicing a retreat to a thin-place there is so that eventually we can practice awakening here, wherever that may be. When we practice awakening to the here-ness of God in solitude or out in nature, we gradually learn to stay awake to God’s here-ness in the midst of crowds, the noise, and the rush and crush that threaten to derange us.”
- Watch the 3-minute video below from John Phillip Newell called “Always Now,” where he describes another word we could use for here… now.
Spiritual Practice for the Month
Brian describes this practice that sustained him one day in Washington D.C. As he rode the subway and gathered for an important meeting, he occasionally offered this prayer throughout his day: “Here. I’m here, God. You’re here. We are here together.”
Throughout January find a time – it can be anytime during your day – and offer the above prayer. It might be during a time of joy, a time of challenge, or the mundane, such as grocery shopping or your drive to work. Find a time every day to offer this prayer. As you go through your day and begin using this practice, you may find yourself offering this prayer more than once.