Monday, May 24, 2010

TGIFBMDWeekend ! 5:30pm Open Hand Pitch-in cookout - Reynolds side yard

Kickoff your holiday weekend on Friday the 28th, 5:30 - 8:30pm - enjoy a pint and grilled meat at our home - 3173 N. Delaware Street. Bring a side dish/desert to share and we will provide the drinks and meat (including salmon). Cheers, O'

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sexuality + Love + Intimacy = Spiritual Awakening

Spring begins the passionate season of the year when young couples gravitate towards committed relationships with their lovers. Many will make promises of fidelity to one another and begin the arduous journey of engagement leading up to marriage.

Ken Wilber (Sex, Ecology and Spirituality) explores the spiritual dimensions of this passion as couples become better differentiated while exploring their sexual potential. Men tend to become more the men they long to be while becoming more like women - with an increased capacity for emotional connection. In the same way, women better appreciate their unique femaleness, and stop hiding their power and eroticism. They no longer throttle themselves down in fear of intimidating their man.

Sixty five years ago Carl Jung observed this universal process in the couples that came to him for therapy. As they became more individuated (his word for differentiation) and balanced (their anima and animus) they developed a greater spiritual hunger for God. Jung considered this a natural and spontaneous manifestation of Divine cooperative interaction with a willing and hungry human soul.

David Schnarch (Passionate Marriage) has written extensively about these insights. As a sex therapist, he highlights the writing of Sebastian Moore, who describes what desire out of fullness looks like. For the most part Western civilization has kept sex and spirit at a 'safe' distance, if not pitted irreconcilably against each other. Generally speaking orthodox theology has tended to portray spiritual desire as necessarily devoid of sensuality. Moore on the other hand embraces the unabashedly erotic spiritual 'passion' of the saints.

For him, spiritual awakening need not transcend all desire, because many desires set us free. The desire for wisdom, compassion, generosity and, justice, not to mention a greater capacity for love and understanding life. These desires expand our capacities for self-direction, connection with significant others and ultimately our communion with God . For these reasons Moore stresses that spiritual growth involves the ability to desire more fully, rather than the negative focus on the absence of desire.

Schnarch reminds us that as sex, love and intimacy involve a myriad of developmental task, so too, does true spirituality. These passionate desires from fullness are fueled by a growing internal source: a better defined, well connected and growing sense of what it means to be a human created in the image of God. These energized folks develop a greater capacity for sexual fulfillment and of deeply wanting their partner and their God.

Desiring our partner out of fullness requires our wanting to want. When we dare to embrace our talents, rather than believing we are a failure who's fooled everyone, we make a giant leap of faith. Instead of giving up as little as possible (a 'least lost' strategy for life) we go after what we really want. Imagine that.

We always give up something in this process, but that is an acceptable fact of life. We can't have it all. Happiness lies in not needing it all. Loss is always inherent in getting what we want - unless we want everything, which guarantees we'll be unhappy.

Our desire out of fullness is in essence a 'death wish' and crises like falling in love, undergoing conversion, or suffering bereavement present the challenging realization that the 'you' whose desire brought this about must die. To fulfill your desires, you must change in ways that make that fulfillment possible. Ultimately the smaller 'you' dies as the more mature, unique 'you', is born again. In other words we desire our self to death in the most positive sense of the word.

We may mourn the 'old self' dying in the process of our new self being born,but this death gives life. We may think we don't know who we are, but really we don't yet know who we are becoming. Ironically, we have never been clearer about who we want to be.

Once we recognize ourselves as a temple of the Holy Spirit, then our refusal to grow is not just an individual shortcoming but ultimately a thwarting of this same Holy Spirit. This is where sin comes in to the picture.

Sins isn't about unconfined desire. Rather sin is our refusal to desire more fully, and our refusal to believe in ourselves while living below our God given potential. Sin can then be defined as our 'not wanting to want.' Becoming is never safe or secure. We can't stop when we are frightened or uncomfortable, because we ultimately grow by going into the unknown, including the Great Unknown.

So to all you passionate couples out there I say Cheers! Don't be surprised if in pursuing the love of your life, you get more than you bargained for. Much more.......Amen!

Highlights by O'Steven - Passionate Marriage - by David Schnarch

Friday, May 7, 2010

OPEN HAND May Events - Please join us!

Please join us for our OPEN HAND May events:

  • Curb Your Anxiety - Friday the 14th, 5:00 - 7:00om - with Bob Hunter on the porch at 3173 N. Delaware Street. Enjoy pizza and a pint of SUN KING grog while we kick back with Bob.
  • Ancient/Future Worship - Sunday the 16th, 6:00pm - 3174 N. Delaware Street
  • Pitch-in feast to kick off Memorial Day weekend - Friday the 28th at 5:30pm in the yard at 3173 N. Delaware Street
  • Crash Chapel Prayers every Friday morning 7:00am - 3174 N. Delaware Street
Cheers, O'

Bi-polar 20th Century American Psychiatry

" the first half of the 20th century, American psychiatry was virtually 'brainless.' In the second half of the 20th century, psychiatry became virtually 'mindless.'"
Leon Eisenberg, an early pioneer in psychopharmacology at Harvard

The notion of the brainless period refers to psychiatry's total infatuation with Freud and his theory of psychoanalysis; as we all know the reference to the mindless period well describes our modern day love affair with prescription drugs.

Today psychiatry is focused primarily on alleviating symptoms, corralling them into scientific categories (see psychiatry's diagnostic manual, DSM-IV and new DSM-V) and then finding the appropriate drug to match.

Perhaps we need to re-think this bi-polar pendulum and re-frame the question of how best to serve the needs of those seeking help for their mental health problems. What exactly do we mean by mental health anyway?

For starters you could read the excellent article in the April 25th issue of The New York Times Magazine - Mind over Meds by Daniel Carlat. He really does a great job of framing the issues and describing the challenges of 21st century American psychiatry.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

'Bootcamp' For Your Marriage (Or Not)

Has your marriage or love life ever reminded you of what its like trying to sync two radically different computer systems with a single operating system? Are you a Mac and your lover a PC? Or visa versa?

You may want to try to 'bootcamp' your relationship with the love of your life. This allows you to run Windows on your Mac. Imagine that. You can create a non-destructive repartition allowing both systems to coexist on the same platform.

We get to remain distinct yet deeply connected. This reminds me a bit of Murray Bowen and his idea of relational differentiation within emotional systems.

Actually, now that I have bootcamped my new Mac I am somewhat conflicted and find it annoying to always have to be shutting down one system to open the other. There is no neat button or toggle switch (at least to my knowledge) to move seamlessly back and forth.

So, I appear to be heading for a possible divorce by having both my PC laptop and Mac desktop running separately side by side when I'm at the office. I guess it was just too good to be true. Much like the relational life with our lover, it is very difficult for the two to become one. Generally one person will dominate the other or both will fuse and loose their unique selves.

I am satisfied and more content with both my PC and Mac when they are doing what they each do best - be themselves. Perhaps I can do a twitter search and find out where I can get a magic button that will allow me to bootcamp a more blissful honeymoon between my PC and Mac. At this point I am not holding my breathe.

In fact, I am happy that my wife Ann is more like a PC and I am more like a Mac. Or is it the other way around? It probably doesn't really matter as long as we stay side by side doing what we each do best - be our own true selves.

Cheers, and enjoy the challenge of being with the one you love.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

HOW (NOT) TO SPEAK OF GOD by Peter Rollins

If you haven't yet read How (Not) To Speak of God, I would challenge you to pick up a copy today and dive in. Peter is one of the new leaders forging an orthodox Christian theology within a postmodern context. He has woven a complex tapestry of emerging patterns from his profound knowledge of postmodern philosophical scholarship and his equally insightful perspectives of orthodox Judeo-Christian faith.

From the Hebrew prophets to the great Christian mystics, Peter combines his perspectives through the contrasting lens of his Pentecostal/Evangelical experiences as a disciple of Jesus.

He is a leading voice in the 'emergent conversation' and firing the imagination of a whole new generation of faithful scholars and theologians that are learning to speak of God meaningfully in the context of post-modernity.

Get in on the conversation and enjoy the challenge of what God is doing right here, right now, and all across the world. Amen. You can find Peter at