Faith Development and Learning
Advance notice: Book Review and Discussion
This year we are continuing our lunch-and-learn sessions on our relationships with First Nations peoples. One of our sessions will be a book study. We plan to hold a discussion in January of The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King. To get the most out of the discussion, please read the book ahead of time. There is one copy in the church library and it is readily available at the Public Library and in Chapters. It is very readable.
The Inconvenient Indian is at once a “history” and the complete subversion of a history—in short, a critical and personal meditation that the remarkable Thomas King has conducted over the past 50 years about what it means to be “Indian” in North America.
Rich with dark and light, pain and magic, this book distills the insights gleaned from that meditation, weaving the curiously circular tale of the relationship between non-Natives and Natives in the centuries since the two first encountered each other. In the process, King refashions old stories about historical events and figures, takes a sideways look at film and pop culture, relates his own complex experiences with activism, and articulates a deep and revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands.
This is a book both timeless and timely, burnished with anger but tempered by wit, and ultimately a hard-won offering of hope -- a sometimes inconvenient, but nonetheless indispensable account for all of us, Indian and non-Indian alike, seeking to understand how we might tell a new story for the future.
The Sacred Labyrinth Walk, illuminating the Inner Path, is the ancient practice of "Circling to the Center" by walking the labyrinth. The rediscovery of this self alignment tool to put our lives in perspective is one of the most important spiritual movements of our day. Labyrinths have been in use for over 4000 years. Their basic design is fundamental to nature and many cultures and religious traditions. Whatever one's religion ..... walking the labyrinth clears the mind and gives insight. It calms people in the throes of life's transitions. We extend an invitation to people from all faiths, especially those who are in transition and/or are struggling to find a means of prayer or meditation.
There is no "right" or "wrong" way to walk a labyrinth. Start by taking three long slow deep breaths in and out through the nose mentally saying "quiet the mind, open the heart." Because you are walking, the mind is quieted. Labyrinth walks are sometimes referred to as walking meditation. I suggest that people may want to see the walk as three parts to a whole experience - but I recognize many go through the walk and these parts at different stages.
The entrance can be a place to stop, reflect, make prayer or intention for the spiritual walk you are about to take. The walk around the design to the center can be a "letting go" - a quieting of the thoughts, worries, lists of tasks to do, a letting go unto the experience of being present in the body. Arrival at the center rosette - a place of prayer/medication - "letting in" Gods guidance, the divine into our lives. When ready, the walk out "letting out" takes us back onto our lives, empowered by spirit to transform our lives and actions.
In many ways, we see the labyrinth as a call to action, a transformation spiritual tool for people. It can aid healing, help in releasing grief, (people often shed tears during the "letting go", help guide through troubled times, aid in decision making, illuminate our purpose in life, and act as a tool of celebration and thanks. I have seen it be many things for many people. It is important to recognize it as a spiritual practice, not a magical tool. Its work is our commitment to enter into the sacred spiritual walk, not merely once, but to use it as part of an ongoing spiritual practice.
The vision of the world-wide Labyrinth Project is to establish labyrinths in cathedrals, retreat centers, hospitals, prisons, parks, airports, and community centers so they are available to walk in times of joy, in times of sorrow and when we are seeking hope.
Chair: Tricia Carran
Members: Stephen Free, Andrea Wilmott, Josh Zentner-Barrett, Marjorie Edwards, Sandra Quirt, Ruth Winter
Purpose of this committee is to encourage and support dynamic life-long Christian faith development and learning. FD&L encompasses three interrelated themes: exploring our own faith and what it means to be a liberal Christian in today's world; reach out to other faiths; and living our faith through action.
Here are just a few of our special learning events that FD&L has organized:
Study of the Muslin faith with guest speaker, Raheel Raza
Study of the Jewish faith with guest speaker, Dr. Amy Jill Levine
Study of our Christian faith through music with guest speaker John Bell