Adult Spiritual Development - ACTS Ministry

AWAKENING COMPASSION through THEOLOGY and SPIRITUALITY

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March 29, 2021

It is always a sad experience to say good-bye to the friends with whom we have spent such meaningful time over the last 10 weeks. It was a good book and we did a great job with breakout rooms. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to guide our study. All things being equal, we will be back in the fall for Study #47. 

Special thanks to John for introducing us to the videos by Charles Eisenstein. You might also like to view the video that is found after the ending slide tonight -- "The Gift of Imperfection" -- Dr. Brené Brown's first book.

March 22, 2021

Tonight's session had 31 computers on ZOOM. And, as someone mentioned at closing, we were quite thankful that we were on ZOOM and wouldn't have to go out to the parking lot to remove the accumulated snow from our cars for the drive home. Count our blessings!! 

The seven chapters of our book have been read. Tonight we considered the Fourth survival technique offered by Brene Brown for 'braving the wilderness.' Developing a strong back, a soft front and a wild heart is added to realizing that people are hard to hate close up so move in, speaking truth to B.S while remaining civil and, finally, holding hands with strangers. Brene taught us the meaning of BRAVING and tonight, we listened to Roshi Joan Halifax, Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, activist and author talk to us about GRACE.

The file attachment for tonight for Session #9 includes the short video featuring Charles Eisenstein, entitled "The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible." Enjoy!

March 15, 2021

The chapter tonight was entitled "Hold Hands. With Strangers." The two key concepts our author, Dr. Brené Brown developed were "inextricable human connection" and "collective effervescence." The second concept came from a book published in 1912 entitled "The Elementary Forms of Religious Life" where he discussed the kind of magic he witnessed during religious ceremonies... the experience of connection, communal emotion and a sensation of sacredness that happens when we are a part of something bigger than us." That is rather like the feeling I have as we sign off Zoom sometimes after 8:30 on Monday nights, when the formal part of our evening is over. Brown continues by describing how, during these experiences of collective effervescence, our focus shifts from self to group. I love it!! Check the file attachment below for the pdf of our presentation. 

On Thursday mornings, 16 of us gather to study the Book of John. We are moving onto the second half of the book from chapter 13 and onward. Wayne is our leader with Joan and I working along with him technically. 

March 8, 2021

Awesome discussion tonight! Well done. We had lots to think about as we read Chapter Five and, when someone like Brene Brown shares her stories with us, yes, we listen and we are reminded of similar occurrences in our own lives.

We seem to be really enjoying our Breakout Room times together -- if you have an idea or a story or thought comes to mind while you are reading Chapter Six, give me an email and I'll include it in our Session #8. Have a great week -- I'll be in touch tomorrow. 

March 1, 2021

What a special evening this was! We had opportunities to reflect upon the first five sessions of our book study and to internalize our readings with our Hebrew/Christian traditions. We have been familiar with the wilderness stories of the Hebrew people along with Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness but articulating our own personal "wilderness" experiences is not something we do all that readily. Dr. Brené Brown has given much thought to how we can "BRAVE" the wilderness on our "Quest for True Belonging" with the "Courage to stand alone." 

Videos featured Dr. Brown and Fr. Richard Rohr. Click on the file attachment below to view Session #6 pdf.

February 22, 2021

Anger. Dehumanizing. Conflict Transformation were some of the themes for tonight's study of Chapter Four: People are Hard to Hate Close Up. Move In. Our Break Out Rooms are working out very well. Videos tonight featured Dr. Brene Brown on a Soul Session broadcast 2019 and Dr. Abeullaish regarding his book, "I Shall Not Hate." Thank you for your participation. We missed those who were unable to be with us. Check out the file attachment below for Session #5. Thank you to Mike and Deb for your opening and closing. 

February 15, 2021

Tonight our focus was Chapter Three: High Lonesome -- A Spiritual Crisis and our breakout rooms dealt with three primary topics: Music -- its role in our emotional and spiritual growth; Bunkers -- their way of dividing us into fixed points of view with little chance to see outside at the way others think; and Positive Forces -- their role in connecting us through listening and learning and overcoming our fear of differences.

Tonight we were the faces behind 29 computer devices as Carly-Jean Godfrey opened with the reading of the "Desiderata." Darlene Heynen closed with a reading about our souls and our deepest needs. Thank you to all for your willingness to share your insight and opinion. We are indeed blessed.

February 8, 2021:

Breakout rooms tonight involved the sharing of paradoxes in our spiritual lives. With roughly four members in each room, we examined the ways that, according to Carl Jung, paradox, one of our most valued spiritual possessions and a great witness to the truth, had manifested in our lives.

Session #3 considered "The Quest for True Belonging" as Wayne shared his insights with us and we viewed Brene's interview on CBS upon the release of her book, "Braving the Wilderness" and the second segment of the Tedtalk that featured Dr. Brown in 2010, launching her career as an expert in her field of vulnerability. 

February 1, 2021: 

We tried something new tonight-- break out rooms. With 32 computers online, we broke into 8 groups of four. After 15 minutes, we returned to the gallery and shared impressions and stories, in the manner that I suspect would have pleased our author, Dr. Brené Brown. Opening tonight was Fran Burrell and Closing was Betty Smith. Thank you so much. Videos tonight included the first ten minutes of her TedTalk, "The Power of Vulnerability" -- really Dr. Brown's introduction to many of us.We also heard the recitation of the poem by Maya Angelou (1928-2014) entitled 'Our Grandmothers.' Biblical references came from Genesis and 2 Corinthians. Check out the pdf of the keynote presentation attached as a file below. Special thanks to Michael Grammer for his attached notes on Chapter One. 

Our reading for next week is Chapter Two: The Quest for True Belonging. Opening and Closing will be Marni Fisher. Have a great week. 

January 25, 2021:

Robbie Burns Day!! Tonight was our opening session of Monday Night Book Study (MNBS). Our group included regular MNBS folk along with new and old friends from Comox, Kamloops, Medicine Hat and Toronto -- there were 30 computers/ipads/phones on ZOOM for our 90 minute session. At 6:30, there were 14 in the waiting room. We were obviously anxious to get back together for our Winter Session. This is Wayne's 46th book study with us and some of us have always been with him. For Session 46, Wayne, Joan and Brenda are the team leaders but the input from our participants are what make MNBS so special. 

We introduced ourselves and, through the means of video, we were introduced to Dr. Brené Brown as she is isolating with her family, her sister's family and their mother in Texas, as she was in 2017 when she released the book we are studying and, finally, what her stand on spirituality is at this time. 

We voted tonight regarding format of each session and the majority expressed their desire to include a 10-15 minute break out time to discuss issues/questions arising from the reading. This week, the reading assignment is Chapter One of "Braving the Wilderness." 

As happened during our Fall study, expect an email tomorrow. I will continue with the phrases to ponder arising from the reading. The pdf of the powerpoint presentation is attached below. 

A Message from ACTS:

Dear Friends:

ACTS has revisited books that have been suggested by class-members and has made  our selection for our winter study.

Here is the title and a brief description:

BRAVING THE WILDERNESS: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone, by Brene Brown - Kindle 14.00. Paper 24.00

A timely and important new book that challenges everything we think we know about cultivating true belonging in our communities, organizations, and culture, from the number one best-selling author of Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, and The Gifts of Imperfection.

“True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.” Social scientist Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives - experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy. In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling, and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping a clear path to true belonging.

Brown argues that we’re experiencing a spiritual crisis of disconnection, and introduces four practices of true belonging that challenge everything we believe about ourselves and each other. She writes, “True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in being a part of something and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It’s a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.”

Brown offers us the clarity and courage we need to find our way back to ourselves and to each other. And that path cuts right through the wilderness. Brown writes, “The wilderness is an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.”

We plan to meet for ten ZOOM sessions, January 25th to March 30th, 2020

Our fall sessions on Zoom went quite well, so we plan essentially the same process for the winter.

The theme of "Braving the Wilderness" is personal growth and differs from our last several series.

We are letting you know now so you have time to order your book in a format you desire
from Amazon.ca, Indigo (or other).

More details will follow in the new year. We look forward to including you!

Brenda, Joan and Wayne

December 27, 2020:

Plans are underway for our Winter Session, beginning January 23, 2021. There have been three books recommended for our study. Right now I am reading Dr. Brene Brown's book, "Braving the Wilderness." - a good read, for sure. 
We are also trying to rebuild our communication group, formerly known as Adult Forum on yahoo. The service is no longer offered so we will need to start from scratch, beginning with those registered with our fall study of Richard Rohr's book, "Universal Christ." If you wish to be part of the discussion, notification, message site, let me know.