Howie and Jim take some small, struggling steps to understand an ascent toward securing a closer relationship with God. They begin w/ Howie's reading of today's Path. Howie then describes how he continues to focus on taking small steps as he learns The Way as priest at St. Thomas. Jim describes his struggles with asserting himself physically and spiritually as he ages. Howie suggests that we take the proper steps based upon where we are rather than where we've been or expect to go.
The pair next takes a look at St. Paul's "racy" verses in Philippians. Paul strives to abide in deeper relationship with Christ, not because of his gain or strength. Rather he believes in God's yearning for him to obtain the goal of a deeper spiritual truth. Jim follows up with a summary of St. Patrick's return to Ireland. Here too, Patrick's goal wasn't to boast about his own ego. His visionary call was to return to the place of imprisonment in order to proclaim God's love in Christ. In both cases, sacrifice and struggle were the hallmarks of the spiritual ascent.
Jim then pivots the conversation to a discussion regarding our societies' and organizational needs for elders. Jim introduces a recent "musing" from Bill Plotkin (founder of the Animas Valley Institute). Plotkin writes:
"When too many of us don’t grow into true adults, our cultures deteriorate into not-fully-human collectives — immature and dysfunctional societies. Contemporary Western societies are clear examples of this — with the U.S. perhaps in the lead ... he reality is that most contemporary people are lost and languishing on a vast deserted plain on the far side of which arise the gates to true adulthood — and few of them find their way across that plain." (Plotkin, April 5, 2019, paras. 2&4). Truer words have never been authored inside or outside of The Bible or many religious and cultural domains.
Jim and Howie talk about their personal experiences of striving to be elders. The path is a climb to be sure but it isn't about personal gain or status. It is about seeking to make the world more livable and loving.
The podcast concludes with a plug for Howie's and St. Thomas' participation in this Sunday's Crush Your Run. They take a quick look at coming off of the mountain tops and diving into the creative and murky depths of next week's "descending path." There's everything in here from laughter to blessings. Enjoy and share!
Blessings along The Way, Jim and Howie