Thursday, January 31, 2008

Quiet Assurance

Be very quiet.
Feel your breath going in and out?
Feel the energy around and within you?
Notice the calm, cozy space you occupy when you close your eyes?
Do you remember now? It's all OK. There's nothing to fear. There is no loss. There's just now and your breath and the rich Silence of this sacred moment. Isn't it marvelous? A few minutes a day of this exercise can really turn things around...or will it just remind us that everything is already in divine order? Either way, don't forget to enjoy the quiet moment...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another Way to be Christian

My friends who are Buddhists, Humanists, Scientists, Agnostics, Atheists, and "Spiritual but Not Religious" often marvel that I am a Christian minister. I am other things as well, but my primary role in my community is that of a Christian minister. Now, to be sure, my approach to Christianity is more liberal and far less dogmatic than some; and I absolutely reject the notion that Christianity is in any way superior to other religions or that Christians are in any way superior to non-religious people. I am by tradition, education, and profession a Christian and I have great respect and high regard for people who practice other religious traditions and for people who have abandoned organized religion entirely. I have no interest in converting anyone, of claiming absolute authority for my scriptures (or anyone else's), or in suggesting that one must hold certain opinions in order to have post-mortem access to a Cosmic Realm of ease and bliss.
I guess that's why my non-Christian friends are amazed...the Christianity they reject makes the arrogant and unprovable claim that it somehow owns spiritual truth and that its members have easier (and perhaps exclusive) access to the Creative Impulse many of us call "God." The truth is, I reject that definition of Christianity as well. My ministry, that is, the way that I try to offer hope and encouragement to people is within the evolving and expanding Christian tradition. For this reason, I am Christian. Buddhists, Jews, 12 Steppers, Humanists, Wiccans...they are offering hope within those frameworks. There is enough need for hope in the world that we can all play our part by whatever names we choose.
I do not want to change the constitution to reflect the bible. I do not oppose a woman's right to govern her own body. I am a gay man and I work for the full inclusion of Gay and Lesbian people in our society. I do not believe that Christians have an afterlife advantage over non-Christians. I do not believe that the purpose of religion is to make after-life promises at all. And I do not feel the need to have anyone convert to my faith tradition unless they believe doing so would somehow contribute to their own happiness and well-being. And yet, I am a Christian minister.
Maybe the day will come when the labels we choose no longer divide us...maybe we'll see less reason to adopt the labels in the first place. Maybe as Christians like me "come out" as Christians who are not trying to convert or control the world, but who are rather just trying to be good citizens of the world, non-Christians will start to see Christians in a more positive light. Until then, I continue to share my witness of a spirituality that is broader than any name one might apply to it.

Monday, January 28, 2008


“You are not merely the physical body that you identify with out of habit.. Your essential state is a field of infinite possibilities.” Deepak Chopra

Your essential state is a field of infinite possibilities. Some people believe they are guarded and aided by angels or spirit-guides. Aren’t those angelic beings symbols for infinite possibilities?

Some people believe that there is a supreme being listening to their prayers and responding to them (at least on occasion). Isn’t the image of a benevolent super-being responding to heart-felt cries a symbol for infinite possibilities?

Some people believe in magick. They believe that candles and scents and images and incantations can all work together to focus the power of the mind or to cooperate with the forces of nature to improve the quality of our lives. Isn’t magick a symbol for infinite possibilities?

Some people believe in science. They believe that given enough time and resources, scientists can figure out how almost anything works, and if they know how it works they can eventually work with the natural processes to bring about improvement. Isn’t science, then, a symbol for infinite possibilities?

Positive thinking, Positive Psychology, Transpersonal Psychology, Quantum Physics, Metaphysics…these are all disciplines that suggest Reality is complex and that we are not powerless in our world. The symbols for infinite possibilities are many.

We don’t all choose the same symbols, the same vocabularies, the same rituals, or the same guiding texts, but we all have access to myths and symbols that remind us that our essential state is a field of infinite possibilities!

As we go deeper into 2008, let’s remember that wonderful things are possible, and the thoughts we choose and the choices we make can give us greater access to better possibilities. We are not powerless. Today, let’s claim our power, give thanks for it, and choose to use it wisely. Let’s affirm, silently or aloud: “My essential state is a field of infinite possibilities. All things are possible. My Good is
at hand; I receive it now with gladness and gratitude. And so it is!”

(c) Durrell Watkins 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

Reflection for Martin Luther King, Jr Holiday

"And the leaders of the world today talk eloquently about peace. Every time we drop our bombs in North Vietnam, President Johnson talks eloquently about peace. What is the problem? They are talking about peace as a distant goal, as an end we seek, but one day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means… destructive means cannot bring about constructive ends." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1967

Today we celebrate the heroic life of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He modeled courage. He challenged oppression. He risked and even gave his life for the cause of justice. He not only pushed this country to be a racially integrated society, but he also stood in solidarity with underpaid workers, and he was a passionate advocate for peace.

In the almost 40 years since Dr. King’s death, our society has continued to struggle over issues of equality and justice. Sadly, ours remains a society where Queer people can be vilified by politicians and preachers alike, and where discrimination against Queer people can be promoted by legislatures and written into constitutions. Sadly, we continue to wage war, even on our own environment. Sadly, we continue to drop bombs on foreign soil. Sadly, racism still tries to undermine “liberty and justice for all.” Sadly, power and privilege are still protected while the middle class slips into poverty, and the poor struggle to survive.

And yet, the witness and the example of Dr. King remain with us, and his voice continues to call out for justice and equality and peace. Today, let’s pause to reflect on the life and witness of Martin Luther King, Jr. And let’s recommit to establishing peace, progress, fairness and goodwill in our society and in our world.