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Flourishing Update - June 13, 2018

Spiritual Formation

My colleague, Dr. Sabre Cherkowski, and I have just published a book on Teacher Wellbeing.

I have long believed that school leaders and pastoral leaders have much in common; so thought I’d mention this book on noticing, nurturing, sustaining and flourishing, as well as to point to one of the book’s features. Roughly translating across contexts, we suggest that: What if you were to imagine that your primary role as a pastor or lay leader is to learn how to thrive in your role, and, in so doing, to continually co-explore and to enthusiastically facilitate all means by which each person in your community of faith and neighbourhood flourishes along with you, most of the time?

In my research and practice, I’ve seen the consciousness or awareness of one’s own state of wellbeing and sensitivity to the states and traits of others as vital to flourishing. Next, I’ve seen that there are certain competencies or disciplines or practices with respect to noticing, nurturing and sustaining wellbeing for oneself and others. Third, there is a need for commitment to the priority of wellbeing and calling others to self-care. And then there is a need for courage or daring to leave undone the incessant and life-sucking urgencies and health displacing “hurry-up” demands so that rest, Sabbath, grace-gathering, retreating and space can give room for refreshing, renewal and filling by the Spirit of God and the company of the loving. In pastoral care there is a need for our encouraging others; which often takes the form of helping people to parse and reflect on their routines to privilege that which is life-giving.

In one section of the book there is a well-known chart that provides a continuum perspective on well-being. It is offered here as a “Pastoral Mental Health or Wellbeing Continuum.” Perhaps the reminder of this tool will be useful to some in their own self-care journeys of consciousness, competence, commitment and courage to wellbeing or perhaps it could be used as an organizational wellbeing (collective or workplace wellbeing) or as a pastoral diagnostic tool with congregants?


We’re Reading…

Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow

Michael B. Curry

I probably wasn’t the only one who watched the recent royal wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on May 19th of this year. Perhaps it was for the reminiscence of Viv and I getting up in the middle of the night in the Carey Hall Residence to watch the July 29th, 1981 wedding of Diana Spencer and Prince Charles, just a couple of weeks after our own wedding (our’s was more spectacular but on a more modest budget; Viv still reminds me that dorm living and attending Regent College courses was a rather novel honeymoon idea (not!). . . but I digress.

Prior to the royal wedding I had not heard of The Most Reverend Bishop Michael Curry, the first black presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church in the United States, so looked forward to his sermon: The Power of Love. This was a terrific message and for so many reasons; I won’t go into these (Watch More). I wanted to hear more from him so I listened to his Crazy Christians talk, delivered to insiders at an Episcopal conference. This then led me to order and read Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus (2013). Dr. Schori’s foreword commentary reads: “It is indeed a crazy dream, but together, the Body of Christ can most certainly help to build the kingdom, transform brokenness, and renew the face of the earth (p. ix). This commendable book consists of 13 edited addresses and sets out an apologetic for radical discipleship in the 21st Century.

As my own “bishop” [superintendent] has recently said: “We all want transformation but are not so keen on change.” Reverend Curry gets at this issue. I commend this book to colleagues and I encourage the wide circulation of Michael Curry’s wedding sermon. The world does need the fire and power of love and is ready for some crazy Christians to step up..

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