Issue #07-02 June 2007              From the Teaching & Sharing Center              www.wsharing.org

 

One of the interesting things about returning to the old ways of putting out a newsletter when the Spirit moves me, instead of a pre-determined schedule, is that, while it sometimes can be a long time between newsletters, it is also possible you could receive another one after only several weeks Ė like now.

 Where Is God In Your Life?
williamís perspective

Quite some time ago I read an analogy, or modern parable, which had Jesus as a hitchhiker by the side of the road and each of us driving along in our car (representing our life). Will you stop, letting Him into your car? Where will you put Him? These are the primary questions of the parable. Will you put Him in the trunk, hidden away from others and yourself? Perhaps youíll allow Him to ride in the back seat. Does He need to duck down in certain areas, so friends or acquaintances donít see Heís with you? Do you let Him join you in the front seat ó on the passenger side? Or, can you go so far as to invite Him to drive? And, if on the other extreme, you did not stop to pick Him up, did you look the other way and hit the accelerator as you sped by? Or, did you look into the sadness of His eyes as you drove past Ė waving? Ė feeling a tinge of sadness yourself? Ė or giving Him the finger?

The Teaching & Sharing Center grew out of the mission statement of a touch of william. One line talks about a "spiritual reality." Once you get past deciding what color to paint the living room, it doesnít take much depth of thought to realize there has to be more to all this than the tangible (physical world). The mere existence of anything, is so preposterous, as to beg the question of Ė what else? That "what else" is the spiritual dynamic. The Scripture words which come to mind are "things unseen." In New Age parlance, it is the metaphysical. I find it interesting that so much of Christianity sees that word as threatening, when it simply translates as "beyond the physical." After all, isnít that how most of us see God Ė as being beyond the physical? Yet is He? Is that only where He is? Or, can He be a very real part of your worldly, tangible, everyday life?

The slogan we use; Nature - Spirit - Expression, also derives its origin from the atow mission statement. Although, when I penned it, I altered the order. Reading normally from left to right, Nature (the physical) connects to Spirit (the metaphysical) which then leads to Expression (enlightened sharing). Spirit is intentionally placed in the Center, as the core.

a touch of william
MISSION STATEMENT

I try to impact (touch) people's lives through my poetry and photography, and one on one teaching, to help them:

Break out of the boxes the world would keep them pigeonholed in.

Discover and develop their own artistic and spiritual gifts.

Grow in their understanding of their relationship with nature.

Get further in touch with their own spiritual reality.


In the last newsletter, I stated that the T&SC is the result of one manís (my) response to God. Using the opening parable, as I see my life, Jesus is in the passenger seat. But, itís not because Iím still driving. I see God (Scripturally - the Father) behind the steering wheel. The Holy Spirit and I are hanging out in the back seat, along for the ride. Theologians might argue about the equality (or lack thereof) in my Trinity, but it works for me. As I read it, thatís the way it worked for Jesus too. After all, in this parable, the car is my life Ė one life. The four of us as one.

Having said that, I will emphasize that these words are not making any divine proclamation beyond that which is available to every one of us. My oneness is not that of purity of action and thought, but the purity of honest desire. I have heard it preached that Yahweh, in His holiness, is not present where there is sin. Indeed, some go so far as to say He cannot be, because of His very nature. I tell you, thatís totally contrary to my experience. While I am not as quick these days to readily declare what is, or is not sin, it is precisely in the midst of the questionable that I most fervently ask Jehovah to be present. Even others have remarked that they sensed a difference because of this.

How do you see God? Where is He in your life? Have you allowed guilt, shame, blame, anger, imperfection, low self-esteem, or simply waiting until you clean up your act, keep you separated from a full relationship with your Creator? How about the flip side? Do you see Unelanvhi as a killjoy, just waiting to spoil all your fun if you open up to Him? Do you live, running from what you believe will be sure destruction, because you see Allah as some sort of terrorist, seeking the most opportune time to "get" you? Perhaps He is envisioned as the absentee landlord who expects to collect the rent from a distance, but is nowhere to be seen when there is difficulty or something breaks down? Or, maybe you see Him as (one of my favorites) the incompetent CEO. In this scenario, you are afraid to surrender your life to God because you fear Heíll send you to Africa, as a missionary, or someplace youíre totally unsuited for in skills, personality, likes and dislikes, etc. As if Wakan Tanka did not give you all of these, and will be unaware of them, or indifferent to them, as He unfolds your life. If you listen to enough preachers, or read any number of isolated passages in Scripture, without keeping the broader picture in mind, it is easy to become afraid of a close relationship with your Creator. Good grief, Charlie Brown, does that make any sense? Is Yahweh really a sadist, looking for ways to bring pain into your life? Or, is He your best bet to blossom into the full expression of who you really are? The person He created you to be. With all your likes and dislikes in place, complete with your own personality, faults and sins, mistakes and blunders, how can He not accept you as you are? After all, He either created you that way, or with the propensity to choose it for yourself. Either way, you came as no surprise. Do you understand that? Then, can you allow God the opportunity to show you all the pluses He placed within and around you.

The T&SC mission statement is a little longer and wordy, but our purpose statement says simply we are here to:

"Help people grow closer to their Creator in their daily lives and express the gifts with which they are blessed."

I call it my dance with God. Care to join us?

The opinions and philosophies expressed in "williamís perspective" are solely those of the poet william. They do not necessarily represent positions or views of the Teaching & Sharing Center, its board of trustees, or other members of the non-profit corporation.

                     Godís Peace,            

 

According to a recent survey 47 percent of terminal cancer patients say their spiritual needs are not being met by their religious community.

- Source: Christianitytoday.com


Honesty, Energy, and Enthusiasm

I closed williamís perspective using a phrase I have often voiced; "my dance with God." This statement is not meant to imply that I can always follow His steps well, or keep up with many of the wonderful moves I see Him make. Nor does it preclude times when I feel no enthusiasm to find the energy to get up out of my chair (or bed in the morning) and step onto the dance floor.

If you read the last newsletter, you may have picked up on the fact that my energy and enthusiasm have been waning for some time. The two are sort of a chicken and the egg thing. Does loss of enthusiasm lead to lack of energy, or vice versa? The mental, physical, and spiritual are so intertwined, itís difficult to know for sure.

Being ever aware of the lack of broad based support for what I (now a we) do is just one dynamic which makes it difficult to place myself into motion each day. Some say such honesty is self-defeating. I had a discussion a few years ago with the director of a non-profit corporation on whose board I had previously served. We were talking about the wisdom of honest disclosure. The financial statements for that organization never really showed a fully accurate picture. A happy face (not really lies Ė just not the whole truth) was put on for the public, and even members. Though the organization historically struggled financially, sometimes severely, the director said it was unwise to reveal those "details" because Americans, in groups and as individuals, support what appears already successful, not that which looks like it could close up at any moment. That organization has been around a long time, so it perplexed me the director saw full honesty as a potential negative rather than as a possible solution.

I recently watched a PBS American Experience special about Alexander Hamilton (one of the founding fathers of the United States). They say his honesty and sense of honor were both his strongest assets and the tools of his destruction. There are no monuments to Alexander Hamilton in Washington DC. Honesty and politics do not mix well. Yet, much of our way of life, the American dream, and our prosperity, we owe to this manís visions and endeavors. He stated, "I always speak the truth, as things are, not as they ought to be." His life was both heroic and tragic.

It is a rare occurrence, but every few years or so, someone will ask to be removed from the mailing list right after receiving a newsletter. It always causes me to wonder if something I wrote offended, or simply turned them off. Like Alexander Hamilton, I am absolutely committed to the truth, even with all the failings and flaws showing. And, also like him, I am occasionally caught off guard by how others react to honesty. Still, without honesty, how do those who cross the bridge after me, know that when they run into obstacles, or discover their own flaws, it is OK. Because, even we, fully committed to truth and God, struggle, doubt, and sometimes lack.

The good news is that even in such times as this, of low energy and little enthusiasm, I am able to relax into the belief that God is yet in the driverís seat. And so can you.
 

Speak the truth, but without the intent to use it as a weapon.


Members With Websites - Your URL?

Just a reminder Ė if you are a member of the T&SC and have a website of your own (business or personal) a link to your site can be placed in the Centerís web pages. Simply let us know what your siteís URL (address) is.

New Memberships Renew in July 2008

All memberships renew on July 4th each year. However, the first time you join, your membership does not renew until the calendar year following the year of enrollment. A new (or renewal membership sent in today (2007) does not come due until July 4th in 2008.

Wellness Education Coordinator

Mona Southworth
517-622-1777
cmsouthworth@comcast.net

Prayer Team Coordinator

Joan R. Nolff
517-627-3883
jrcn37@michcom.net

Sunday (5:00pm) Book Study Group Leader

Pastor Paul Pretzlaff
517 646-9534
ptpretz@sbcglobal.net
 

Fall Color Cruise & Island Festival

The board of trustees has committed us to continued participation at the Island Festival (our other Teaching & Sharing Center) in 2007. The dates are October 12th thru the 14th, with the historical encampment and the T&SC display tent set-up on Thursday (11th) afternoon and early evening. Whether you are a helper or a participant, please mark your calendars now, so you do not develop a conflict.

If you know you will be participating (or even simply helping) this year, please email or call the Center, so we can begin a list to know where we stand, and what we might yet need.

 


 

"The Christian life is as simple and challenging as this: to love God and to love that which God loves."

- Marcus Borg

 

A Spotlight On Our Members:

Cynthia (and Karl) McCormick

Fiber Arts By Cynthia

 

Cynthia McCormick has been a life long resident of the Mid-Michigan area. Her grandmother taught her to weave on a weaving loom at age 13. She has worked in fiber art since that time and now has a home studio where she teaches and creates a wide variety of fiber works. Cindy begins by using fine threads and fabric materials on weaving looms and rope making machines. She then finishes her projects by hand knotting and sewing.

If you are a member of the T&SC corporation, and would like others to know about you or your work, send a brief email (or a typed note which can be scanned) to the Center stating it is for use in a future A Spotlight On Our Members.

A Parable Of History

Where does the drama of history get its material? From the "unending conversation" that is going on at the point in history when we are born. Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally's assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress.

- Kenneth Burke

Figure It Out?

Did you pick up on the fact that all those unusual names used in williamís perspective were either God, in other languages, or names by which He is called. If there is truly a single Creator, as we profess to believe, then it is the same God, by whatever name, and in spite of whether we have interpreted well or badly how He would have us live our lives, treat others, and relate to the rest of His creation.

Yahweh, Jehovah (Scripture translations of the Hebrew name for God, which had no vowels)

Unelanvhi (Cherokee)

Allah (Islam)

Wakan Tanka (Lakota)

The Cherokee above is the using English letters (not phonetic) version. Written in Cherokee it is:

 

The secret to having everything you want out of life is the realization that you really don't want most of the things you think you want.

- Bo Bennett


Steps Toward Inner Peace

Have you been given one of the Friends of Peace Pilgrimís Steps Toward Inner Peace booklets? If not, you should ask me for one (be happy to mail it if you live out of the area). The real peace process begins with the individual, and inner peace. Peace Pilgrim exemplified this during her pilgrimage years (1953-1981) from which these writings were taken. If you are not familiar with her, or her work, youíre missing out on an exceptional resource. She came the closest to actually living out a Christlike life in our modern times, of anyone Iíve ever run across. And it is free to you. Her work influenced immensely the directions I took in developing the Center.

Online Bookstore Discount Increased

When I set up the new wsharing Spread the Word bookstore guidelines after the parent corporation merger (or buyout - it never was clear to me), I set the discount at 13% with the intention of sending coupons to you (our mailing list) for additional discounts. As it has worked out, I simply donít have the time to mess with that. So, I recently went back in and increased the discount from 13% to (the maximum) 22% for everybody. Before you pay big bucks for any Christian books, CDs, DVDs, or other items, you really should check the bookstore to see if the item is there at a discounted price. The money you save might be needed to fill up your gas tank next time.

Important note:  After printing this newsletter I received notice that the bookstore was instituting a monthly fee.  Since I have never made a dime from having the bookstore, I am not inclined to pay any additional fees. I am in the process of contacting them.  While the bookstore exists, the discounts should be available to you.  Using the link in the wsharing common menu will either take you there, or provide information if I close it down.
 

Whether or not we seek the truth actively or earnestly, weíre all still in the same boat.


Vitamins, Herbs, & Natural Product Highlights

Natural, herbal, organic, and environmentally friendly, are seen clearly now as moves in the right direction. We can complain all we want about the diseases and conditions that plague us, but the simple truth is, our societal and individual choices created most of what ails us.

I donít have the time to become an expert, but rather than just gripe about things, I try to learn what I can, and make better choices. And, you all know Iím not flush with bucks, but pinching pennies when it comes to our health makes no sense at all. Here is one item I use regularly.

Herbal Ointment (Sportron) comes in a small white circular container (Ĺ oz). Seems expensive for such a small amount, but it lasts, and I use it all the time for cuts, scrapes, and scratches. When I put it on right away, healing is quicker and less painful. It particularly helps around your nails (break or snag), shaving nicks, etc. I see it as essential. [Item #312 $7.95 wholesale].

Website Monitoring

The wsharing website, which includes the T&SC pages, has grown to a size where it is difficult for me to remember to update (particularly in the corporate pages) everything needing changes.

If those of you who spend time on the Internet, could pick an area of the site to occasionally review and let me know if Iíve overlooked any outdated items, it would be very helpful.

New CBTC Products

A few months back I added Stash Teas to the many products available at the Trade Center. You can purchase individual bags, in varied flavors, ten packs of the same flavor, or sampler boxes of eighteen bags, to suit your needs. Tea is generally a very healthful beverage, and these are high quality products.

I recently purchased several copies of the Trail of Tears DVD put out by Rich-Heape Films. It is a 2 hour documentary presented by Wes Studi, and narrated by James Earl Jones.

Lending Library Additions

In the childrenís section I added 3 Discovery Channel nature videos and a number of Disney videos, including Bambi, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Fantasia, The Fox and the Hound, Pocahontas, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Storytelling still conveys many of our values, and Disney classics are some of the best.

I have processed a number of items into the Cherokee Reference area, including the new Trail of Tears DVD mentioned above.

Speaking of Cherokee history, I recently bought a used copy of Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier (author of Cold Mountain) to read personally and have donated it into the library. Although he emphasizes it is a work of fiction, it very accurately portrays the Cherokee story in the 100 years surrounding the Trail of Tears. I originally borrowed the book from the public library, but after reading the first four chapters, decided I needed to purchase a copy. If youíd like to read a good story and get an overview of Cherokee history to boot, I highly recommend it.

I saw a book, while visiting family in the south this spring, called Old Enough to Die by Ridley Wills II. I went online to pick up a used copy of it as well. Itís the story of the (southern) Bostick family during the Civil War years, as told through their actual letters. Iím placing it into the library also, since I think it is important we see things from opposite perspectives. After the hoopla dies down, weíre all just trying to find our way, making decisions based on our culture, knowledge, and experience. Those we find ourselves at odds with are not monsters who sprang from the ground. They are human beings, and though we donít like to admit it or treat them that way, they are also Godís children. Books like this, can help to remind us.

My brother-in-law gave me a copy of 24/7, The Genesis Account of Creation. Iím just finishing it, and will be adding it to the library as well. The title pretty much identifies the topic.
 

I barely understand the truths of my own life, where I have been present for 100% of the details. How could I begin to judge any aspect of anotherís?


Did You Know?

You can access the Center by appointment, including evenings or weekends. It was never intended to be a retail hours operation. Just call. If you have friends or family visiting and you want to see if you can get in right away, you might try calling me at home (627-3462) also.
 

The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became man for no other purpose.

- C.S. Lewis


Online note:  A membership application was mailed with this newsletter in the printed version.  You can access it by clicking membership application

 

Mini7News is sent to members of the Teaching & Sharing Center non-profit corporation and those who are on "the poet's circle" mailing list. Permission is granted for complete reproduction of original articles and graphics only. If you have received this by email or regular mail in error and you wish your name taken off the poetís circle mailing list, simply email TSCenters@comcast.net or phone (517) 627-7366 and request that your name be removed. A confirmation of your request acknowledging removal will be sent by email or regular mail depending on how it was received.

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