| Anne Williamson |

Synchronicity. It’s a great word – to say, but even more so, to experience. A month ago, as I was imagining and researching the topics for this round, I came across two seemingly unrelated articles: one, on why some marriages last and others fail, and the other, a conversation between President Obama and author Marilynne Robinson on, among other things, the state of America’s democracy. Surprisingly, the two articles discussed similar ideas.

As I continued researching Robinson’s perspective on democracy, the growing similarities between it and creating lasting relationships turned my initial calm curiosity into outright geeky giddiness. Don’t worry; I’ll spare you the graduate paper I wish I had been assigned. In fact, I simply want to use this week’s blog post to encourage you to read and discuss. WAYfinding participants this round get the benefit of me having culled the most relevant segments from four unique Robinson conversations and articles, but for others reading this, start here. Then, also read the marriage article, which is not just for the coupled among us. 

I hope most of you will be taking part in a WAYfinding group this week, giving space and new perspectives to your reflections. This, among other things, is the gift of what we do in WAYfinding. But, if you’re not in a group, first, it’s not too late! In fact, several groups are starting this week instead of last. You can learn more and sign-up here. Or, if participating isn’t possible, set an intention to read and share these articles and your thoughts with others. Loving better than we did yesterday – like relationships, like democracy – is not a given, it’s (to borrow Robinson’s words) “a made thing that we make continuously.” May it be so.


| Anne Williamson |

I haven’t been feeling particularly spiritual lately. No high-brow thoughts of g/God or the meaning of life. No extraordinary moments of awe or generosity. Instead, my thoughts linger on the ordinary: what to fix for dinner, household projects and preparation for baby #2, how to motivate myself to walk more, game nights and favorite TV shows. As my emotions fluctuate from joy to sadness, loneliness to connection, anger to peace, I don’t feel at all “enlightened”; I feel deeply human....

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| Anne Williamson |

Recently, for an article coming out in October on WAYfinding, I was asked this question, "What's your ultimate goal?" My response: 

For me, one of the most interesting and important questions in life is: To what do you live faithfully?  Because, we all live faithfully to something. As theologian Paul Tillich would say, “We all have an Ultimate Concern.” You would think this would be a question we’d be encouraged to explore in school, at work, at home – since it impacts everything we do – but it’s generally not. Often, our Ultimate Concern develops and resides in our subconscious alone.  For me, this is no good. Our Ultimate Concern, that to which we live faithfully, needs to be drawn out and evaluated: Is it what you thought? Is it worthy of your whole life?

On a deep level, this is the point of WAYfinding: to help people discover an Ultimate Concern worthy of their whole life. And then, to help them learn to live faithfully to that Concern everyday, to learn to listen to it. This, to me, is faith, and it requires a kind of bravery and permission beyond the mandatory checking of certain belief boxes.

This, then, is why, in WAYfinding, our lens, our shared commitment, is not a statement of beliefs but a process. ...

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| David Barickman |

This summer I am working as a chaplain intern in a Clinical Pastoral Education program at a Catholic hospital in Indianapolis. This program is teaching me about many things. What I’m finding most insightful, though, is the power of presence. 

In just a few weeks, I have had the pleasure of spending time with patients from many different backgrounds, faiths, and walks of life. One thing all of these encounters shared in common was the importance of presence. It seems, no matter who we are, in crisis moments, we simply need someone with us, to hear our story, to see our tears, to share our pain, and not run away. 

For me, these have been holy moments. ...

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| Jim Thorne | 

"The marvelous thing about learning from a story is that the story never ends, so our learning from it need not end either." - Parker Palmer

While at lunch with an acquaintance, he brought me up short with this question: “So, Jim, at your core, what are your deepest held beliefs and values and how do they influence your daily activities?” My first thought was, “Gosh, I thought this was just a friendly lunch.” My second thought was, “What a great question.”

In responding to the question, I realized it was not immediately clear to me what my core beliefs and values were. This was a wake-up call. I had a good sense of how I lived my life, but I found clearly articulating my beliefs and values difficult. I thought, “If they’re not clear to me, then they’re not fully influencing my daily activities.” My curiosity was awakened. ...

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| Anne Williamson |

Bill Maher once said, "Everything that used to be a sin is now a disease." Interestingly, I don't know whether he said this in support or opposition of the shift. I assume he doesn't like the "religulous" word sin; and yet, I experience him as a strong believer - yes, believer - in personal responsibility, which "disease" diminishes.

Either way, remove "everything" from his statement - obviously Maher hasn't been to marriage counseling where absolutes are a major "no-no" - and it rings true. Liberal camps, even those of the religious persuasion, hate blaming sin on the sinner. Admittedly, I lean this direction too. Hang around me long enough and you're sure to hear me repeat Maya Angelou's famous words, "When you know better, you do better." 

The thing is, Maya's words aren't meant to "let us off the hook;" they're meant to call us to better....

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When I hear the word greed, my body recoils. Shame is at least part of the reason. I may not be someone who perpetually wants more but I have early, hard-to-shake memories of feeling ashamed of the much more I already had. I recoil too because greed seems to be directly and indirectly responsible for so much pain: the Earth’s; the poor’s; women’s; even, when we begin to think spiritually, the pain of greed’s perpetuators.  

Nick Hanauer, one of our country’s .01% ers, agrees… in a way. His concern for he and his fellow plutocrats is not spiritual; it’s practical. In his TED Talk, Hanauer explains why the inevitable consequences of greed in the form of historically high income inequality will be an unstable democracy and less profitable businesses – realities bad for all. In Hanauer's view, this alone should compel us to end gross inequality; he doesn’t mind the moral argument; he simply thinks it unnecessary. 

I don’t agree....

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This week in WAYfinding we begin discussing the Seven Deadly Sins. If your mind immediately went to the movie starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman; yes, those are the seven to which I'm referring, but no, images from our approach will not haunt you 20 years later. Bad call in letting me watch that movie, Mom and Dad; bad call.

Chilling flashbacks aside, I like the Seven Deadly Sins as our framework....

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It was the summer of 2002. I was sitting dead center in a large, megachurch auditorium. I had been struggling with my concepts of God and church for some time; so, although the good student in me wanted to sit near the front, I moved back in an act of deviance. I was there because the visiting preacher, Rob Bell, intrigued me; and yet, somehow, I needed him and everyone to know I would not be mindlessly accepting what was said. The best I came up with was to pick a less "enthusiastic" seat.

I only remember one part of the sermon that day: an aside where Rob Bell spent maybe a minute talking about corporate sin. It was a minute, though, I'd never heard uttered in church. I had grown up attending Sunday school and youth groups, going on mission trips and volunteering, being confirmed for Christ's sake, literally; yet sin committed on a larger scale, by societies or the groups within them, had never been discussed. The concept resonated deeply; why was this the first I was hearing of it?

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Why talk about sin? This is a legitimate question; especially when, for centuries, we've done it so poorly. We've liked our sins obvious and binary: the either-you-did-it-or-you-didn't kind of sins. We've especially liked it when the "it" we're referring to is the big It - you know, sex. We've spent an obscene amount of time on this one: Did she do it at the right time? That is, in marriage. Did he do it with the right person? That is, female. We've used sin to control, label, judge, hate, shame. And though we've generally used it as a weapon against others, turned inward, our approaches still cut and cage.

No wonder we don't want to talk about sin!

The problem is, however understandable our resistance, not talking about sin doesn't serve us. Theologian Barbara Brown Taylor often asks the question, "What is saving your life today?" That is, what is presently giving your life meaning, deep joy, wholeness? It's a powerful question; one that helps us identify good patterns, relationships, rituals, thoughts; and dive more deeply in. But, it's also only one side of the equation. We all also have things in our life that are corrosive to it; thoughts and patterns that erode our peace and wholeness - ours and others. That is, we all also sin. To ignore this piece is inauthentic, isolating, and ultimately undermines the wholeness we seek.

This is why, for the next ten weeks in this blog post and WAYfinding's spring round of groups, we're going to be exploring sin. Each week, our entry point will be a TED Talk that addresses one of the seven deadly sins in a thought-provoking way. The conversations that follow, and weekly questions we'll explore, will serve to give sin the complexity and nuance, seriousness, humor and grace it demands. Our lens will be both practical and theoretical, personal and corporate. Our intention will be, always, to experience and create the kind of freedom, joy, peace and wholeness we all desire - for ourselves and the world.   

Sometimes we need to identify what is saving our life. And, sometimes we need to get real clear about what is killing it. I hope you'll join me through this blog and/or one of our WAYfinding groups in getting clear together.  

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It's been two months since I last alluded to depression in this blog, and five months before that I spoke about it for the first time. So, honestly, I was due - depression may stay away now for longer stretches but it's hell-bent on staying in touch. I hesitate admitting this. Doing so still delivers pricks of shame, though the needles have shrunk. I'm also not sure I'm ready to admit depression as a theme in my writing - too honest, too cliche. Of course, it makes sense: our lessons, our wisdom loves to lie in the shadow side of our personality.

This week was no different. As I pushed against depression's weight, I found myself wondering about hope versus useless desire. When do we name wanting to change a personality trait, a situation, a relationship, as one or the other? And, therefore, keep trying or begin to let go, accept? 

The answer is rarely simple. It depends on a myriad of factors, uneasy answers to complicated questions: Which is kind? To who? Which is safe? Brave? Sane? Am I self-aware enough to know the difference? How long have I been trying? How long is too long? How set is she in her ways? How set am I? Is my hope enabling him? Is this institution, this dynamic, dysfunctional beyond repair? Perhaps only if I stay? Or, go? Maybe it's just not my fight? Which is loving? Which, if anything, will work?

I think these are good questions, however seldom we know the answers. I also think there may be a better one.

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Do this, and you will live. Jesus spoke these words in The Story of the Good Samaritan. It comes after the lawyer, "to test" him, asks, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" We are told upon Jesus' prompting, the lawyer offers an answer to his own question: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." Jesus tells him he has given the right answer, and then adds, "Do this, and you will live." 

It's an ambiguous response. Given the context, we might assume Jesus meant the lawyer would have eternal life. And yet, in Jesus' final response - after he tells the Good Samaritan story - he says, "Go and do likewise," cutting offer any reference to life after death. 

Is it possible Jesus, once again, hoped to shift perspectives? Just as a neighbor, through the story, becomes not who we serve but who we are, "life" is not some eternal destination, but here, now, today. We live not by multiplying our number of breaths but by multiplying, opening, this moment through love. Of course, we may want more literal breaths - especially for our loved ones - but it's not really the life in and of itself we want, it's the living.

It's the love. The love of this world's pulse; Jesus called it God, call it whatever you like: the music, spring air, her laughter, his warmth, that "Oh, my God" view, taste, smell, touch. This is the love we receive - as gift, grace, ordinary miracle. Living is also the love you give - increasingly, better, braver. It's being open to and moving into the spaces you are uniquely called to love - at home and along the roadside, for the sake of your friends and the bruised and beaten stranger, world.

It's up to you. No one will force your hand. But, do this, and you will not just have life, you will live.  

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What a beautiful day in Indianapolis! Cold but sunny and snow-covered. Today reminds me I am always just one snowfall, one experience, away from seeing the world anew. What grace! 

So, in lieu of my traditional blog post, I want to share with you a few exciting, upcoming experiences. Whether you've attended many WAYfinding events, or not a one, you are welcome! I hope you'll add your voice.

This Wednesday, March 4. Doors open 6:30p. Begins 7:00p.
Table Conversations With A... Millennial, Black Man

We all possess biases - good and bad. Hearing another person's story is one of the best ways to widen our perspectives. We love better when we draw near. 

This is the idea behind WAYfinding's new speaker series, "Table Conversations." We're thrilled to welcome James C. Wilson as our first story-teller. Details below. 
RSVP here.

Thursday, March 19, 7:00p - 9:00p
Sample WAYfinding Night

Come experience what WAYfinding is all about by taking part in a sample group experience with other new people and current participants. The next round of groups starts mid-April. If you're curious about WAYfinding, but you've never been (or haven't been in awhile), this is a great way to check it out!

WAYfinding meets in homes, so our Sample Nights do too. March 19 is in SoBro. 
Email me with questions, interest, etc. 

Saturday, April 4, 6:30p - 8:00p
Can We Talk Honestly About Jesus? 

Whether we skip to church Easter morning or stay far away, many of us wonder about the man behind the holiday. Who was Jesus? And, for some, who is he still? Can we talk honestly?

This is WAYfinding's plan. Add your voice to this special Easter weekend learning and conversation. 
Email me with questions, interest, etc.

Einstein said, "Truth is what stands the test of experience." I'll add, "So, experience, experience, experience!" Likely, perhaps even hopefully, we'll still end up in different places. But, this time, our posture will have changed. Having let the experiences wash through our truths, we'll feel content, peaceful in what remains. No longer will we have to defend because no longer will our beliefs depend on the fierceness of our attachment to them. 

May it be so. Let's make it so! Check out one of the above events and see what comes!   



In lieu of my usual blog post, this week I offer you my sermon from WAYfinding's Community Christmas Service. I hope it sparks your imagination, helping you imagine a more peaceful, joy-filled and compassionate life and world.

I also wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, as I'll be taking a two-week hiatus from posting.

Out of what's stirring in you, imagine... What is the thing you most need to imagine for yourself this Christmas and beyond? And, what is the thing you think the world most needs you to imagine on it's behalf? Write down your imaginings. Share them with s/Someone. Pray for guidance and the courage to begin the hard work of making your imaginings realities.  




It's that time of year again! The season in general may claim to be the "most wonderful," but here at WAYfinding, we're also joyfully anticipating the start of our winter round of WAYgroups. They kick off the week of January 11! This 10-week round we'll wonder together what the spiritual - heck, life - journey is all about, consider the many faces of prayer, practice opening our hearts to unfamiliar stories, and more! 

If you're interested, or curious to learn more, please fill out this interest form. Please do so by one week from today, Monday, December 15. This gives me time to organize groups and get yours on your calendar before January.  

Thank you! I hope you'll add your voice this winter!



The fall round of WAYfinding starts this week, and we're kicking things off with a discussion on community. Namely, what's the point? Why do we choose to do life with others? What does a community do for us - individually and collectively? What should it?

Maybe we gather to share a drink and a laugh? Or prayers? A listening ear? Maybe it's about service and the collective good? Or networking? Or worship? Or alternative perspectives? Accountability? Advice? Growing in love? Or...

Then, there's the question of principles - which ones matter? And, who's at the table? The list goes on. The key, I think, is to wonder and to ask. Not to fall blindly into community as it's always been simply because it's always been. Maybe there is a better way - a way that leads to more peace and wholeness, more joy.

What do you think? LEARN, LISTEN, LOVE... and consider joining the conversation at WAYfinding this week. Contact me for group times and locations.

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