Want People Back In Pews, TRADITION!

Holy Ghost

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That’s right darlin, Tradition, just like they that word that we remember from Fiddler on The Roof.  As music coordinator for the local church and one who had made a journey back home to the faith, I have done a lot of research as to what not only millennials are seeking, but in general those who would want to come back to or come to the church, also what they don’t want.  This would also apply to non millennials, the gist of it.

What don’t they want? What they don’t want is the church to be a rock concert, night club, cafe, lounge, opera stage or anything besides a church.  They also don’t want hip and cool man, so if you are looking to become a star and liver out your dreams through the church, they won’t appreciate any of that.  They won’t appreciate it being a way for you to feel good about you, or for you to be some hero, and they will see right through.  Authentic teaching, authentic God, even if it rattles their cage, okay rattle away, but he honest, don’t run, hide, water down, treat them like fragile porcelain, but also don’t be brutal either, judge the sin, but love the sinner.  The articles I have been reading make a similar point, which is that you do not go to church to be entertained to “feel good”, you go to reflect, contemplate, to hear truth, even if uncomfortable.  

What do they want?   They want traditional Mass with traditional song and liturgy, dynamic homily.  As for the arts, they are fine with the creative,  related to scripture, faith formation.   If you are creative and you do it out of true love of teaching scripture and all things of God, teaching that to them, hey by all means. They want the homily, the teachings to be authentic brutal, but authentic, Jesus presented in both his humanity and divinity.  They want a God,  Trinity that is not so pie in the sky they can’t ever relate.  Authentic teaching, authentic God, even if it rattles their cage, okay rattle away.  Be honest, don’t run, hide, water down, treat them like fragile porcelain, but also don’t be brutal either, judge the sin, but love the sinner.  They want the church to be a second home, to guide, point the way, to know that even the apostles, the saints struggled with temptations, with anger, with people opposing their expression of faith, throughout their lives, and that faith is not easy.  One article I was reading pointed this out:  Recent research from Barna Group and the Cornerstone Knowledge Network found that 67 percent of millennials prefer a “classic” church over a “trendy” one, and 77 percent would choose a “sanctuary” over an “auditorium.”.  That says a lot.  In that same article blogger Amy Peterson put it this way: “I want a service that is not sensational, flashy, or particularly ‘relevant.’ I can be entertained anywhere. At church, I do not want to be entertained. I do not want to be the target of anyone’s marketing. I want to be asked to participate in the life of an ancient-future community.”  Again, they want to feel embraced and safe in the church, but they also don’t want to be lied to and not receive authenticity, so finding that balance is crucial.  

Catholicism in particular has such rich traditions and to try and modernize and all that blarney is silly and dumb and no it should not change its’ doctrines of truth on anything in terms of core teachings, but each church must do a much better job of catechesis, formation, apologetics and application of it all to life and community, internally and externally.  Sadly not everyone wants to hear get back to basics, get back to tradition, to catechesis and all that jazz, and so the church pews stay empty, as the secular and all other marvels are tried in order to grow the church instead of getting back to basics.  These articles I found interesting and hope you do to.

https://georgiabulletin.org/news/2017/04/local-parish-leaders-gain-insights-reaching-millennials/

http://www.thecatholictelegraph.com/millennials-at-mass-to-whom-shall-we-go/33000

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/jesus-doesnt-tweet/2015/04/30/fb07ef1a-ed01-11e4-8666-a1d756d0218e_story.html?utm_term=.b2fcdb9b9994

 

 

 

Supportive Yet Protective, Tricky?

Letting Go Never Easy, But Necessary

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You care, you want to be supportive, but you also feel protective of the person, the entity perhaps you are a member of and those you interact with within the entity.  You want to be supportive, but you may also have a protective side, especially if you are an empath and intuitive etc… by nature who sees with the spirit guided by what the Spirit gives you.

When one of persons there is spinning their wheels to perhaps exhaustion trying to make an idea work that you know is not meant to be, sense they might be stuck in the past even with their personal life, and you sense this very clearly or even see any of this unfold right before your eyes, it’s tricky.  If you simply tear down their dream, then you risk their resenting you for being a downer and all that.  If on the other hand you play pollyanna and all is well, just smile and pretend all is bright and beautiful, you are not being much of a true friend. You are on a scale trying to keep the scale from tipping either where you are too harsh and totally make them feel crushed and like you have no faith in them, which you might, just not in a particular idea or project, or where you present a pollyanna unrealistic this is going to be great, all working out peachy, keep spinning your wheels, no biggie.  Neither will serve anyone well.  What do you do? For one if you are dealing with a professional situation, do your homework, so if you are going to give advice, you are giving it based on solid research and feedback maybe even that others have given on what has been going on.  When you present any advice, even to a friend make it clear you support their dreams, their efforts to achieve a goal, but you are concerned about the spinning of their wheels, how that energy could be focused elsewhere.  Anything regarding a personal nature, not moving on, returning to the past, maybe find a song that talks about leaving the past in the past and why it should stay there if they are artistically inclined. Letting them know you understand nostalgia can be powerful, but there is a reason people are not part of our lives, why we are apart, not truly connected anymore to others, best to move forward, not back, especially if that connection etc.. was toxic in any way.

We might know in our heart, spirit and soul that what the Holy Spirit has given us is what ought to be, a vision after God’s own heart that should be implemented, but others may not see that same vision, and may be spinning their wheels, banging their heads against the wall doing stuff that is not workable and not part of God’s great commission or even remotely part of his plan for the group, the person, the organization, but if we are going to get that vision across we can’t do it with the scale out of balance in either direction.  Meditate, research, meditate on Scripture, and mediate some more.  You will know how to approach things, even if not everyone will appreciate your efforts to do things right, the heavens will.   Hope this helps in your journey through life and relationships.

Amen

Easy Flow Can Be Quite Exciting

Baptism of Fire

There is this assumption that for something to be “it”, a relationship, anything, it has to come like a blazing fire or with bells and whistles, but I am realizing that is not true.

That which God has anointed, which speaks most true to my spirit is turning out to have come in a manner that is like a stream of water that flows very naturally.  It is something I find I am able to flow with very easily, naturally.  Sharing, being me comes very naturally in this particular role and with a particular person, which is very beautiful.  Society and the media in particular has given this impression in the past that if a project, a vocation, a relationship, a friendship wasn’t begun with some kind of major “wham, bam” then forget it.  a true vocation, anointed project, even soulmate whether friendship or romantic life partner is not about “wham bam”.  It is about much more than that.  When something is meant to last long term it is something that flows, that you feel in sync with, you feel supported by and you also extend that.  There is a sense that you are not only nurturing the project, or relationship, but you are somehow being nurtured, inspired etc.. by it.  You can see yourself connected to that project, that friendship, that relationship even 50 years from now, even 100 years from now in some fashion. You want to nurture it, see it grow, find ways to have it grow and don’t feel it will be a major effort because there is common ground.  You find you can communicate when it comes to a project with those involved in the project very easily because those involved see you as an integral part of the project and vice versa.  If a relationship you see each other as equal parts of the whole, so you feel very comfortable communicating.   You also feel comfortable exchanging ideas, even in a project situation you feel that way when it is truly an anointed project.    There is a sense of willingness to compromise, to find a middle ground for the greater good of the organization, project, the relationship.   There is flow.  There is also honesty about how you view things etc.., not in a mean way, but honesty out of caring.  The persons involved in the project etc.. or the person in the relationship, they understand and feel they can also do the same.   You understand if they share something they are doing it out of caring, even if you don’t agree at all.  There is where the compromise comes in.  If it is a romantic relationship, or friendship, even one that has potential to go beyond friendship, this all applies. As for supporting each the other person’s dreams,  even a friend’s, well yeah, but also we should be honest and make sure they streamline their dreams, lives, so as to not burn out, that they don’t have a fragmented and cluttered life, end up in circles to nowhere.  That is an important part of caring, but how we present that is also important.   That also has to be kept in mind.

We have been fed this notion of what relationship, vocation is supposed to look like, supposed to be like feel like, “immediate wow, explosion wham bam city”.  Well no, lasting life long amazing stuff does not necessarily feel immediately like that, it may feel like the sweetest most sublime hot air balloon ride in the sky, can soar like an eagle kind of thing.  Remember that.

Focus, Maturity, Does that Mean Dull?

soaring eagle

When we think of focus, maturity, grown up, stability, and if you say that to a “young person” they roll their eyes and think “dull city”, no way do they want to hear that.  In today’s snowflake climate, yes I am using that word, get over it, no one wants to do any of that, get focused in a good way, mature, grow up and take full accountability for their life, streamline their activity etc… For the longest time in my life, neither did I.  

I believed that commitment to one thing, making a choice for one path in career, in spirituality etc.., even marriage, that major covenant, scared me to death, though I had not realized it, not really, not to what extent I had not grown up enough to be able to be like an eagle and soar to achieve my full potential and the path I was meant to follow.  The path I was meant to follow was that of ministry through the arts, while honoring my culture.  However, I now realize that in order to have true freedom, I have to have true structure, clarity of path, of boundaries, streamlining of activity, of thought, philosophy and worldview.  There has to be clarity in all these things, not based on what anyone says I ought to have, not because I want to be liked or want to “feel like I belong” to a click or anything.  It has to come from true divine inspiration, meditative prayerful contemplation and study, so there is a inductive and deductive, also heart and spirit conclusion to my worldview, my vocational path understanding, to releasing my fears, baggage, so that I don’t ever do busy for the sake of busy.  Is my growing up etc…. dull and boring? NO, just the opposite.

Now I am focused on my catholic and Italian heritage, on music and the arts within that community, really delving into it, giving it my all, connecting to it heart body spirit and soul.  With this I can start to focus my music on the deeply spiritual, on the faith based, and my activities can be focused on really exploring and enjoying my culture, connecting to others who love the culture, who revel in it.  That can be very inspiring to me on many levels.  I can have peace and enjoy life day to day, smell the coffee so to speak and though the fibromyalgia is ever present, it doesn’t really have to take over life, even if I have to make adjustments to accommodate.  With a structure of self discipline, of decluttering my life on many levels and focusing it, streamlining it, I can focus my creativity, my energies, really flourish in what I am meant to do.  For my personal life, for connecting with my twinflame soulmate, that will make a huge difference because I will likely be in the right place to connect with that person and they with me, so everything I am meant to have in my life, to achieve, I will.  If I were scattered, fragmented still that would not be the case, not be likely, so growing up, maturing, focusing, streamlining all of that does not mean dull, or boring it means the opposite. Growing up, focusing, clarifying once and for all on a number of things was a true blessing and I pray I will thus be a blessing to many others in my lifetime.

Amen

What Can I Be Certain Of?

aspen trees

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We often hear about not seeing the forest for the trees and all that, right? We also have this tendency in life of constantly wanting guarantees, of wondering how can I be certain of this and that? What of the faith journey, of love, of anything?  

Let me begin with my faith, my Christian, Catholic faith.  I have been open in saying that there are certain things taught by the church that don’t jive for me, never will, they are man made, not Christ made, they are assumed and inferred.  What does that leave me with, what then can I be certain of?  Well it is not rocket science, not for me.  I am certain based on holistic biblical text, connection the dots of the following:

  • The Trinity
  • Sin is missing the mark in behavior and such
  • There is natural order of marriage, sexuality, of all things
  • The main role and job of the church is to teach on this and the power of the Trinity and prayer to help us maintain natural order and stay on the mark

Does this mean we always will, no, but we are not perfection, nor robots, we error, but we can be forgiven and get back on track, get second chances to get things in order somehow, even after we have missed the mark.  We don’t have to punish ourselves, stay and live miserable, that is never an option, ever.  That I also realize.

What of love, vocation, what of those?  In these areas I realize:

  • I can’t let the past determine the now or the future
  • I have to allow myself to love and be loved
  • I have make the Trinity, my faith the center of any relationship, not the religion per se, but the faith, the Trinity, prayer
  • I have to love the person for who they are and they have to love for who I am
  • We have to really be partners on so many levels, integrate into each others lives fully
  • It’s okay, that we can be as one and still be individuals, to not be afraid of that
  • My path is arts ministry, finding a way to combine the two for my joy and to fulfill The Great Commission is my path, one I should be more than ready to make

It’s such a blessing to have these realizations, even if later in life, but to have them and be ready to embrace them fully.  I hope to have someone to embrace them with in my life soon.

Amen

Close Collaboration Possessiveness?

Letting Go Never Easy, But Necessary

Some of us want partnership, collaborative, cooperative, synergy, intertwining for very good reasons.  However, that and speaking, sharing from the heart openly, freely and whenever free flowing is misinterpreted. 

I create strictly according to in the moment, at that moment Holy Spirit given and inspired material.  I don’t force anything, set time specifically aside to write songs or music or even my meditations.  I write and record things as they come on the spot when they come on the spot more often than not,  in terms of my own stuff.   However, I also have a strong sense of wanting to closely collaborate with others day to day, find those who will value my skill set as an artist and so much more.  Who will value that I wear my heart on my sleeve, will pry their own heart open, see wearing heart on the sleeve not as an evil thing, see my sharing what I think and feel for the greater good of the project, the relationship etc.. as a good thing, not an evil thing, or a possessiveness thing.  It doesn’t matter if it is professional or personal, to me there has to be communication, free flowing, open and from the heart, heart on the sleeve.  There has to be connection, cooperation, collaboration, really working as a team or nothing will work.  I don’t want to do lone ranger only and so when I make any kind of really positive, great connection I see no reason not to reach out, share, heart on my sleeve, be totally open with my ideas etc…, intertwine socially as well.  Why not?  It seems others don’t always take well to this, and view it as possessive, as perhaps I might have ulterior motives and withdraw, suddenly withdraw.  I know I am simply sharing, caring, reaching out and being authentic to myself in doing so, in seeking integrated collaboration etc…, but others don’t seem to always see it that way. Hmmm

I could stop being me, feel awful about being me, never reach out again, give up on ever finding solid partnerships to engage in creatively or otherwise, ones that are bold courageous, heart on the sleeve etc… I could do all of that, feel sad, depressed about it all, but that would mean life and the world would be deprived of my works, of what I could achieve and that is not an option.  If others choose to let their fears, paranoia etc… get in the way and withdraw, or walk away, okay, up to them, but I have to keep being me, reaching out, speaking from the heart so on so forth.

Amen

What To Do With Brick Walls?

slide_337809_3550010_free

The Journey That is Life.

When you have seen something heading for a crash, a ship headed for a crash, when someone has expressed frustration at the ship not going anywhere, being stuck in the middle of the ocean, if you care your reaction is to reach out and offer your observations etc..,, to want to help change that.  If you are like me, don’t do PC, just just speak from the heart, well just let it rip, say what is and let the chips fall where they may.  Sometimes a good thing, other times well depends.

Sometimes you have people who though they know that the way the sip is being steered is going to crash it, and they do need to make changes, when you do offer your observations, insight, cooperation, collaboration, caring, support etc…, they shut down.  They have a brick wall up, baggage etc… from a lifetime that wont let them do it, wont let them have any intimate collaboration, any real collaborative effort, with anyone, any real connection.  What happens when you give your observations etc… even though they agree with your assessments, after you offer ways to get the ship moving or keep it from crashing, want to work with them? Silence, total silence, static.  That silence can be very hurtful if you take it personally, if you determine it’s about you, when it isn’t.  It often is about them, their “stuff”, their baggage, issues etc.., not about you.  Unless you have been stalking with 50 calls a day etc… then it’s not you, not about you, about them.  They have not been able to come to terms with whatever you have said, put forward, including caring and support, even on a strictly friendship basis.  You may have to make a decision as to whether you wish to keep communication with them, or instead bypass them to communicate the second in command, for someone else on the job that can relay the info to them.  You may have to end up being a lone ranger in order to achieve what is necessary to keep that ship from crashing or to get the stagnated ship moving.  Is it fun being in a situation where your wearing your heart on your sleeve, being open with your communication, feedback, ideas is met with silence, perhaps due to others “stuff”? No, but it is what it is.  What can you do?  You can mediate to break up the negative energy.  You can keep the lines of communication open with that person in the hopes they get over whatever bee got into their bonnet so to speak, or you can decide you don’t deal with them and bypass them communication wise.  You have to decide which course of action you want to take and if you have to go it lone ranger to promote the organization, project, cohesively in a way of course that is fitting to the brand etc…okay then that is what you have to do.  If they wish to continue with driving the ship towards the rocks for a potential crash, hopefully what you do can offset it, or the impact of it.  If what they do keeps things stagnated on one end, hopefully what you do as lone ranger, not by choice by necessity. will.  When you care about something, you sometimes have to take initiative when others don’t see the importance of coordinating, synergy etc…

Though the silence is sad after feeling there was synergy, a chance for real connection, collaboration, cooperation, sharing on many levels including creative, I realize it is not about me, but about them.  I will have to make this journey alone in ministry for the organization and to have it thrive, as much as that makes me a bit sad, but that is the way it looks now.  It is sad that though there was agreement on assessing what needed to be done, there does not to be a willingness, an ability to truly synergize and coordinate. It is what it is and all I can do is do my best.