#Mindfulness article via Associaton of Christian Counsellors magazine Accord

Sandra Delemare:

A good reply to Christians who are concerned about the supposed Buddhist roots of mindfulness. I love the comment that it’s like saying gravity is British because Isaac Newton discovered it.

Originally posted on Shaun Lambert:

Dear Shaun,

I have been suffering from recurrent depression and my doctor has recommended I try Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Someone in my church has said I shouldn’t touch it with a bargepole because mindfulness has Buddhist roots. Apparently it also involves meditation, and in meditation you are trying to empty your mind, aren’t you? Isn’t that dangerous?

I’m desperate for help – can you offer me any guidance?

Yours ever,

Concerned Christian

Dear Concerned Christian,

You are right! There is some confusion and caution within the church when it comes to mindfulness. It is important to bring some clarity into this area so you can make an informed decision.

Mindfulness is our universal human capacity for awareness and attention. This capacity needs to be distinguished from the mindful awareness or meditative practices that help us develop this innate ability to be mindful. A doctor in the USA called Jon…

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Holywell Retreat, A Place of Spiritual Inspiration on the Sussex Coast

Originally posted on S.C.Skillman Blog:

I’ve written before in this blog about those sacred spaces which are known in Ancient Celtic terms as thin places.

View of Beachy Head from Holywell Retreat - photo credit Abigail Robinson

View of Beachy Head from Holywell Retreat – photo credit Abigail Robinson

These are places where you are led to believe that the veil between the visible and the invisible worlds is thin. They don’t have to be obviously religious places. In fact once I read of someone who had a religious experience whilst crossing London Bridge in the rush hour. For that person, London Bridge became a thin place.

A thin place may be any place where you have new or happy or inspirational thoughts. And one of my most popular topics on this blog is places I love.

But quite often, probably because our ability to tune into spiritual inspiration is hindered by stress, anxiety, tension and so on, our thin places are literally places of tranquillity…

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Heaven is Weeping: An Open Letter to the House of Bishops @C_of_E @JustinWelby @JohnSentamu

Sandra Delemare:

This post is very much in line with my own thoughts, but much more eloquently put.

Originally posted on Phil's Boring Blog:

MY LORD BISHOPS,

Greetings in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, your Lord and mine in our common journey of faith: to him be the glory for ever and ever!

I am writing this letter hesitantly because, as a member of a clergy household myself, I am aware of the immense pressure that you live under and of the immense burden of responsibility that you shoulder as the Lords Spiritual in our land: may the Lord give each and every one of you the courage, grace, strength and wisdom you need as you carry out your duties in his service.

First of all, I would like to thank you for all the time and effort that you put into so many different and often conflicting areas of life, especially on matters of injustice here in the UK and elsewhere in the world. Thank you, in particular, to those who…

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Meet Spot…

Meet Spot, my latest ‘excuse’ for not posting.
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Spot, aka Microchip, is a Lancashire Heeler – a rare British dog breed. We found one wandering in the road over 20 years ago, and I was thrilled to find that he was a proper breed and not some random mutt. Chip was with us for 17 years, and until his last year was still willing to walk as far as we cared to go.

We planned on getting another dog when I retired. Putting on weight since giving up the evil weed gave some urgency to finding one – I feel a bit lost walking in the Forest (the ‘New’ one in Hampshire) without a dog. Having sold Mum’s house, and with Christmas over, we decided it was time to get serious. My husband had been keeping an eye on the Heeler Club website and found ONE puppy available in the whole of England – and he was just the other side of the Forest!

That was a fortnight ago; Spot has been with us a week now and we’re slowly settling into some sort of routine. It will be some time before he’s able to go on proper walks. He’s confined to the garden or being carried until he’s had his second jab, and then only short walks for the next three months or so. Heelers are small cattle dogs, they may be small but they’re all dog – not toys. When full grown, they’ll keep going all day. Thanks to Caroline and Stephen of MadinCrowd Hardy Heelers for such a lovely, well socialised puppy who’s currently using the crook of my arm as a chin rest as he sleeps beside me in an armchair.

In the meantime, I’m continuing with my meditations on Jesus. I’ve started working through Ephesians and this morning had a relook at Ephesians 1:9 ‘…[God] made known to us the mystery…’ which led me to Colossians 1:27 ‘…God has chosen to make known… the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.’

What a phrase to meditate on:

‘Christ in you, the hope of glory.’

Sometimes, if we are feeling very low, these words can seem to mock us. And yet… even then, something deep inside says ‘yes and amen’. Deep calls to deep and we know that this vale of tears will pass, the weeping lasts for a night and JOY comes with the morning. We may not be deliriously happy, but deep inside there is an inner contentment that is unshaken by outside events.

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Where have I been?

For the past year, this blog has been mostly ticking over. Most of my time and energies have been spent clearing my Mum’s house prior to selling – many a time I thought we wouldn’t make it!

There was so much stuff to clear, and all the emotional baggage that went with it.

Since the sale, I have had a strong sense that I need to let go of the past. My brother and I have taken a lot of Mum’s stuff back to our houses. In time, we shall need  to let go of much of this.

A few days ago I came across The New Year’s Resolution You’ve Already Broken, a guest post by Alece Ronzino on Jeff Goins’ blog, in my email inbox. Alece’s idea is that instead of making New Year resolutions we should choose a word which encapsulates our aspirations for the coming year.

As I was reading her post a word came to me – JESUS!

I commented that I could easily find 365 reasons for choosing that! 3 came immediately:

1) our goal as Christians is to become more Christ-like – ‘being transformed into his likeness’ [2Corinthians 3:18] – ‘becoming mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ’ [Ephesians 4:13]

2) He set his face like flint to do what he had to – prophesied in Isaiah 50:7 and Luke tells us that ‘as the time approached for him to be taken up into heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem’ (where he knew that suffering and death awaited him) [Luke 9:51]

3) Jesus is always with me – it was his promise after giving the Great Commission [Matthew 28:20], and the name given before his birth, Emanuel (God with us) [Matthew 1:23]

I’ve since thought of sources for more reasons – the ‘I am’ statements, particularly in John’s gospel; and the ‘in Christ’ statements in Paul’s letters.

I hope to do a weekly summary of what I’m finding as I meditate on Jesus throughout the year.

How about you? Have you any special thoughts about Jesus that you would like to share?

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2013 in review

This year I’ve largely been ticking over with the blog (more on that in the next few days). A big THANK YOU to all my followers who have remained faithful over this time and encouraged me to keep going.

Maybe you could comment on what are you favourite topics so I could write on them this coming year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,600 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 43 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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How Could I have Missed It? – My Story 11

During what I describe as the Dark Years, I thought that I had ‘blown it’, that I wasn’t a proper Christian.

How could I have missed it? In the Old Testament we are told time and time again how God gave the Israelites second chance after second chance. The book of Judges has many stories of how the Israelites did their own thing, things got bad and God sent them a ‘judge’ to rescue them. Deborah, that fearsome lady (who says God doesn’t use women?) who relished in telling how Jael had shattered Sisera’s head with a tent peg [Judges 5: 26]. And Gideon, who protested that he was too weak to save Israel [Judges 6:15] – and many more.

David is described as ‘a man after God’s own heart’ – yet he was an adulterer and a murderer.

And in the New Testament, Jesus reinstated Peter after he had denied Him three times. You can read about this in John’s gospel chapter 21.

And then there’s the parable of the Prodigal Son [Luke 15: 11-32] – how could I have forgotten that Father God is ever watching, longing to embrace His prodigals and throw a party to celebrate their return?

How could I have missed all that? During those dark years, I really thought I’d blown it – I avoided reading the bible because I kept coming across verses like ‘a dog returns to its vomit’ [2Peter 2:22]  and ‘if we deliberately keep on sinning after we have receive the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left’ [Hebrews 10:26].

Then God came, the Good Shepherd seeking his lost sheep [as in Ezekiel 34:16], as I describe here – the turning point in my life.

If you’re in a dark place, remember God is only ever a prayer’s breadth away – he always responds to a sinners’ prayer – ‘god have mercy on me a sinner’ [Luke 18:13].

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