Monthly Spiritual Exercises
Each month you can deepen your experience of our worship theme by engaging in the monthly spiritual exercise. If you are not part of the Soul Matters Circle, share your experience of the spiritual exercise with others on the “Friends of UCM” Facebook group, at coffee hour on Sundays, or even with your family and friends in your day-to-day life.
March’s Spiritual Exercises: Engagement
OPTION A: Come up with an Idea to Change the Story of the World
It seems that people have become more and more disengaged from the “story of the world.” Why is it that “People feel powerless.” Forget politics for a moment and just think about that phrase. Think about what it means to feel so powerless and pessimistic that you completely give up on not only changing the world, but also thinking about how you’d want the world to change. Talk about “disengagement”!
So this month’s first spiritual exercise seeks to re-engage us with the “larger story,” with idealism, with big ideas, with the old-fashioned idea that we “everyday folks” can imagine a different world and actually make it happen.
There is a BBC radio show called The Forum. It interviews and engages with “big thinkers” from around the world. At the end of each program, the host invites these “big thinkers” to offer “a 60 second idea to improve the world.” Here are a few examples:
- Naked Feet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0idZBdQQ88
- Force Teenagers to Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRNEKiFBOjQ
- Fast One Day per Week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iU7R4q-Yq4s
- Or visit this website for more ideas: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02nrvz8/episodes/player
So, let’s revise our spiritual challenge just a bit: Listen to one of the ideas and then come up with your own (60 second) idea to Engage and Change the Story of the World.
Trust me. After listening to these creative folk, you’ll be overwhelmed with ideas of your own. The challenge will be to narrow it down to one–and, oh yes, to keep it to 60 seconds! 🙂
OPTION B: Striving for more Balance
We all have both places in our lives where we can engage more deeply and places where we need to be less engaged. An important part of engagement is balance and accepting the truth that we can’t do it all. Choose one area of your life where you can choose to be more engaged and then describe one area that you will choose to lean back or say ‘no’ to allow for your fuller engagement elsewhere.
Here are a few articles to inspire more engagement:
OPTION C: Engage with Someone’s Differences
Consider the following article from On Being: “What a Middle School Pen Pal Program taught me about difficult conversations” ( https://onbeing.org/blog/catherine-epstein-what-a-middle-school-pen-pal-program-taught-me-about-difficult-conversations)
In the wake of the 2016 Election teacher Catherine Epstein embarked on a pen pal program with students from a school wildly different from her own. Her goal was for students to engage with other students whose ideas and views were different from her own. Her results were enlightening.
Is there someone who you can engage with this month who has different ideas from your own? You may not have time to find a pen pal, but perhaps there is a neighbor or co-worker you can engage in meaningful conversation.