Friday, February 19, 2010

My Deconstruction

The term "deconstruction" used in talking about spirituality and referring to who I am is relatively new to me. I don't know how long it has been commonly used in this way but I have only been aware of it for the last 2 - 3 years. When I first heard someone talk about their own deconstruction, something inside jumped to grab hold of that word.

This is what I feel has happened to me the last few years. What about me has been "deconstructed"? What I believe; how I believe; what is faith; who is God; how do I relate to this mystery; how does this impact how I relate to the world? In other words, most of who I am.

What I am seeing lately is that it is important for me to stay in this place of deconstruction for a while. Don't rebuild too quickly. Yes there has been some progress made in the rebuilding, but if I want it to be the structure (the flowing, fluid structure) that God wants, I need to let the process be slow.

As part of this process here is an example of my rebuilding:

"The way is narrow" - this used to mean to me that finding God was very difficult. You could easily miss it or even if you had a glimpse of the path it was too difficult a climb to stay on it. I am now reconsidering that explanation.

What if the "seeing" of the way is not so difficult? After all during advent we read about making the way straight, flat, easy (you can read my thoughts on this in past posts). What if the narrow part is truly following Jesus, his example. I'm not talking about healing, ruling, making it to heaven. Any one would want to follow those things. But what if the narrow part is the social, political example of Christ's life?

Will I stand for justice?
Will I defend and protect the marginalized?
Will I speak out against power and domination?
Will I eat with "drunkards and sinners"?
Will I invite the prostitute to sit at my table?

I say yes to all of this - I believe all of this. But can I, will I actually live it?

It is obvious this way is narrow. Consider Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Jr. I know there are others that have not become so well known in following this path. Again, this way is narrow. Even as I write this something in my heart aches because I don't know if I can do it.

Do I love God? Yes
Do I identify Christ as the way? Yes
Do I pray? Yes

But, the rest is much more difficult. This is the kind of person I want to be rebuilt as. A kind of $6,000,000 man I guess. I think I will take this slowly. I need the Spirit step by step, inch by inch. Maybe the important part of staying on the narrow way is sight. Looking, seeing, being aware.

I have no answer, no formula. But I do have a desire. Hopefully that will keep me on the path.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


This is Saint Brigid of Kildare. My vows to be an Oblate of St. Benedict has connected me to the Monastery of St. Brigid in Minnesota. I took my final vows last Monday. This last week I have been asking myself, "So now, what?"

Since there is no Benedictine community nearby I know my oblation will be mostly one alone. I hope to visit a community once in a while. The closest is about 3 1/2 hours away. Maybe I'll go to the St. Brigid's retreat this summer. I don't know.

I do sense that this step has had a deep, lasting affect on my being. Saying my prayers from the breviary each day; knowing many around the world are joining me. It has been a great source of centering each morning. Continuing to read the Rule and commentaries on the Rule are what I think are really tranforming. It truly is a way of being spiritual. Today was the last day of the 12 steps of humility. Yes, 12. As I read these I am lead to pray that I would live my life by Benedict's Rule.

The week before I took my vow I was required to think about why this way is one I would choose. I realized how much of who I am and my own journey is Benedictine. The heart of it all is that my spirituality is walked out, lived out in everydayness. And it is a life of hospitality. More and more I want to be a person who welcomes all to my table. My table might be one at Echo Cafe (since I don't have my own space right now), but I can make it my table to welcome those I meet there.

I'm not sure where this path will take me. Will it be one that is wide and just around the lip of a canyon? Or will it eventually be one that becomes narrower and narrower and takes me to the depths?

I guess the journey and adventure never end.