AUTHORS OF INFLUENCE ON MY THEOLOGY & PERSPECTIVE OF LIFE
Matthew Fox’s Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality: key concept that we are all born in blessing with clarity about the perspectives of the theology of original sin that we let go of as we embrace the concept of blessing.
Paul Hawkins’ Blessed Unrest: Such encouragement to be aware of the over two million groups around the world that are grass roots movements bringing about the change and transformation in the world that leads to the wholeness we long for (the figure when the book was published was over 200,000 but in a lecture in 2008 in the resources for Awakening the Dreamer, Changing theDream, he named that the number of identifiable groups around the globe was now over two million).
David Korten’s The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community: this book was the critical energy along with Matthew Fox’s A.W.E. Project, that propelled me toward the shift from offeringa weekly meditation at Circle of Light service, to creating an engaged community around how weneed to be agents of change in the world which the gathered group renamed: Awakening OurCommon Wisdom or Wisdom Circle for short. David’s work so inspired me that when I met him in Toronto and told him that he was wrong about hearing the kind of things he was saying from anypulpit because I talk about what he was saying all the time, he gave me access to his full presentation to share in Orillia via internet. Transition Town Orillia grew out of Wisdom Circle.
Phyllis Tickle’s The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why: When I arrived at theGreenbelt Festival in 2011 the first person I heard speak was Phyllis. She provided me with a lens for the rest of the event and beyond. Her clarity about the shift we are going through and how theauthority will rest in a Wikipedia type of community gave content to notions that had been stirringwithin me.
Bill Phipps’ Cause for Hope Humanity at the Crossroads: I so agree with the statement on the backof the book – “As a culture and as a society, we do indeed stand at a crossroads – one of those raregrace-moments when we are granted the opportunity to choose our future.” Bill spoke about his book at St Paul’s and inspired new hope.
Alanna Mitchell in Dancing At the Dead Sea also speaks of the shifts we need to be open to as weclaim and discover and create new stories that inform our understanding of life so that we can choose new directions. Alanna has been a frequent guest speaker at Wisdom Circle and engaged people with a perspective that compels them to shift in both perspective and awareness of ecological issues and more.
Carolyn Pogue’s book A New Day is one we used as a basis to develop a Summer Day Camp on Creating a World of Peace, with the five fables about peace being used to provide the theme each day. Those fables were significant in helping me to articulate the seeds of the vision we are seekingto share with our children about how we can all be makers of peace. I was first introduced to these amazing parables when Carolyn read one at a gathering at St Paul’s.
Karen Armstrong’s work in which she identifies compassion as the theme that weaves together all the world religions as expressed in her Charter of Compassion.
Bruce Sanguin’s books If Darwin Prayed and The Emerging Church: Bruce and I have studied with some of the same teachers outside of the Christian milieu such as Craig Hamilton, Andrew Cohen,Barbara Marx Hubbard, Ken Wilbur who invite us into the realm of conversation of Conscious Evolution and more. As well, we are both trained facilitators in the global movement Awakening the Dreamer Changing the Dream. I consistently find Bruce’s work to be a wonderful in-depth look at the topics and perspectives that I wander through. His work provides me with a structure and language to talk about the topics from a thoughtful perspective rather than an intuitive perspective which is my first entry point. He readily and easily helps me take the next step into exploring a topic confirming what I intuitively know but haven’t developed yet in a way it can be shared with others who want a more structured approach. I do get there on my own but it is great to have Bruce articulate the concepts in his writing to quicken the process for me.
James Conlon’s From the Stars to the Street: Engaged Wisdom for a Brokenhearted World : a book that gave me hope that within the context of our worshipping communities we can respond to the broken-hearted world around us by engaging the wisdom within us and among us from theperspective of the story of the cosmos.
John Spong’s Jesus For the Non-Religious: Jack spoke at St Paul’s just before this book was published. The key concept that I appreciated that night was that we are all on a continuum on the spiritual journey. Our purpose is to intentionally create space and practices that allow the Christ Spirit in us to be shared with the world.
Bill Easum’s work in the 90’s through workshops and workbooks was significant in myunderstanding of the shift within the church from ensuring that all that we do keeps the institution alive to all our energy being focused on supporting people so that they are set free to engageministry that they are passionate about. That was the critical shift that Paul Browning and I shared at our workshop for the Search Committee at St Paul’s which has continued to inform my ministryover the past 17 years.
John Dominic Crossan’s work on Empire: While I appreciate Dom’s scholarly wisdom on Empire which he has written about and shared in a lecture series at St Paul’s, I actually have found thebook he wrote with Marcus Borg of The Last Week to be the resource that most enlivens theinsights around empire. Dom and Marcus provide an alternative story to the traditional atonement theology of Jesus’ death that suggests that Jesus’ final week was really about standingup to empire …. an interpretation that has given me a clarity of insight that I so appreciate.
As a trained facilitator of attitudinal healing there are many authors within this realm of study who I appreciate including Marianne Williamson’s Return to Love and Susan Trout’s Seeing Differently and Born to Serve.
Parker Palmer’s A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward the Undivided Life: I have used the DVD that comes with this book for purposes of continuing education with Small Group leaders. Palmer’s work was also the focus for a week at Iona Abbey during my sabbatical.
Jean Houston’s God Seed the Journey of Christ; A Mythic Life: Learning to Live Our Greater Story whose teachings I have engaged through an internet course and with fellow Wisdom Circle co- ordinator Jan Sanders who is part of Jean’s Foundation in the role of training the trainers.
Barbara Marx Hubbard’s film Our Story: The first movie in the Human Ascending Series fromFoundation of Conscious Evolution. I have been trained by Barbara in being an agent for conscious evolution. She is inspiring in her understanding that we are currently in a time of a quantum leap that propels us into a new day as people who are conscious that we can impact how the futureunfolds. It is her daughter Suzanne that I am working with to develop courses to support people in the ongoing spiritual path of awakening and integrating these concepts into day to day living.
Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry including The Universe Story. I continue to follow the ongoingwork of Brian as Director of the Center for the Story of the Universe and a professor at theCalifornia Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco whose mission is “to redirect the currentself-destructive trajectory of society into one whose actions can realize a vibrant community thattranscends individual, human and geo-political boundaries. The Center achieves this mission byassisting people in making the transition from modernist forms of consciousness to the emergingforms resonant with an ecological civilization. Through the production and distribution of DVDs,the Center for the Story of the Universe provides educational processes for exploring and embodying the new cosmological understanding of the universe, earth and human.”
The work of The Integral Institute which is a school developed by Ken Wilbur described on thewebsite as: “Integral theory is an all-inclusive framework that draws on the key insights of theworld’s greatest knowledge traditions. The awareness gained from drawing on all truths and perspectives allows the Integral thinker to bring new depth, clarity and compassion to every level of human endeavor — from unlocking individual potential to finding new approaches to global- scale problems.” The institute has a multitude of participants who are now engaging with others through internet communities and books.
Paul Smith’s book Integral Christianity: The Spirit’s Call to Evolve: Heralded as amazing new insights but which I have found to simply confirm many insights that we have been developing in theUnited Church for a long time.
C. Otto Scharmer’s Theory U: Leading from the Future as it Emerges described on his website: “In this ground-breaking book, Otto Scharmer invites us to see the world in new ways. Fundamental problems, as Einstein once noted, cannot be solved at the same level of thought that created them..….First introduced in Presence, the “U” methodology of leading profound change is expanded and deepened in Theory U. By moving through the “U” process we learn to connect to our essential Self in the realm of presencing – a term coined by Scharmer that combines thepresent with sensing. Here we are able to see our own blind spot and pay attention in a way thatallows us to experience the opening of our minds, our hearts, and our wills. This wholistic openingconstitutes a shift in awareness that allows us to learn from the future as it emerges, and to realizethat future in the world.”
Sharon Moon’s Healing Oasis: Guided Meditations for Mind, Body and Spirit which informed someof the development of my meditations for Circle of Light service that I did for nine years to exploreour connection with God and the call to live lives that reflect God’s longings. During my sabbatical Sharon and I had two opportunities to be together when we discovered that we resonate with thesame kind of energy, insights and longings.
Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker’s Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire which explores how the early Christian vision of beautyevolved into torture, and the importance of reclaiming paradise as a central interpretation of Christian thought. Their book was the name of the Greenbelt Festival in 2012 and so lots of theevents focused on this theme.
Poet Drew Dellinger who captures the shift we are going through in his poetry, by calling us to theawareness of how we can respond. He has done some fascinating work on the insights of Martin Luther King Jr which he shared at a talk at St Paul’s. This has not been published as it is his PhD thesis that is not complete yet. He has published his poetry in his book Love Letter to the Milky Way.
Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements which are:
Be impeccable with your word;
Don’t take anything personally;
Don’t make assumptions;
Always do your best
– which is a great basis for spiritually and emotionally mature community.
Research from the business world such as a) Peter Guber’s book Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade,and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story which reminds us of the importance of focusing on story and is described by the publisher as moving “beyond soulless PowerPoint slides, facts, and figures to create purposeful stories that can serve as powerful calls to action”; b) Og Mandino’s works including The Greatest Salesman in the World which shares insights through scrolls includingtwo of particular interest: Greet each day with love in your heart and Pray to God for guidance.
Joyce Rupp Open the Door: A Journey to the True Self; and a book by Joyce and Macrina Wiederkehr The Circle of Life: The Heart’s Journey Through the Seasons
Henri Nouwen The Wounded Healer; Life of the Beloved.
Phillip Newell’s Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality
Elaine Pagel’s The Gnostic Gospels which includes a chapter on Gnosis Self Knowledge as Knowledge of God.
Richard Rohr Hope Against Darkness: The Transforming Vision of Saint Francis in an Age of Anxiety.
Diana Butler Bass’ Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening.
Andrew Cohen’s Evolutionary Enlightenment: A New Path to Spiritual Awakening
M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Travelled: a quote that captures Scott’s insights – “Love is the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth… Love is as love does. Love is an act of will — namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love.”
Jean Shioda Bolen, M.D.,The Millionth Circle: How to Change Ourselves and The World – TheEssential Guide to Women’s Circles, (San Francisco, Conari Press, 2003).
Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea; The Circle Way – A Leader in Every Chair, (San Fransico, Berrett- Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2010).
Parker Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness – The Journey Toward An Undivided Life – Welcoming the Soul and Weaving Community in a Wounded World, (San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint, 2004).
M.Scott Peck, The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace, where Peck develops the idea that community has three essential ingredients: Inclusivity, commitment, consensus, (Simon & Schuster, 1987).
Michael Jones, Artful Leadership: Awakening the Commons of the Imagination, (Pianoscapes, 2006) (Michael and I have done a series of workshops called Song of the Heart and led many Circle of Light gatherings that combine Michael’s gift of composing music in the moment inspired by mypoetry or meditations).
Margaret J. Wheatley, Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time (Berrett-KoehlerPublishers, Inc., 2005).
Ian Adams, Cave Refectory Road – Monastic Rhythms for Contemporary Living, (Norwich,Canterbury Press, 2010).
Nuccia Morelli, The Circle Gathering Guide: For Effective and Collaborative Meetings at Work, atHome and in our Communities (Nuccia has been a facilitator for ongoing training for Small Group leaders at St Paul’s and guest speaker at Wisdom Circle).
Marshall B. Rosenburg, Non Violent Communication: A Language of Life, (PuddleDancer Press,2003)
Landon Whitsitt, Open Source Church: Making Room for the Wisdom of All, (Alban Institute, 2011).
….. And so many more.