WCO July, 2015 Newsletter

WCO July, 2015 Newsletter

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The W.C.O. Newsletter
_________July 2015 Issue________
The Wesleyan Contemplative Order is a community of individuals and small
bands committed to opening space for God’s grace to nurture the process of
inner transformation, through contemplative practices as exemplified in
Wesley’s means of grace.
To Contact the WCO for more information, email the founder, Don Carroll, at
carroll.williamdon@gmail.com or the editor of the newsletter, Pat Adams, at
In This Issue
Dual/Non-dual Thinking p. 1-2
This is my prayer p. 2
Be Perfect…… p. 3
Trinitarian/Fall Retreat p. 4
A New Reading List p. 6

Dual/Non-Dual Thinking
When you approach anything from a
dualistic point of view, you dissect
it, you subject it to all kinds of
tests, you divide it from all other
things from which it is even slightly
different, but in the end you have
robbed it of its wholeness, its
As Fr. Richard Rohr writes in his June 28, 2015, email, dualistic
thinking is at the beginning level of spiritual development. Then as
we move through the various levels our thinking “become[s]
increasingly non-dual, allowing for a deeper, broader, wiser, more
inclusive and loving way of seeing….we need both to see fully and
with freedom.”
In the end life comes down to this: everything is sacred, all life is
holy[hagios in Greek means set apart, sacred], all life is created by
God. There is no distinction between sacred and profane for those
who can see. And Jesus was always inviting those who could hear
(continued from page 1)and those who could see to listen to
him.[Mark 4:9 is one example]
If we approach our lives as sacred, then we approach each event,
each person as something that has meaning, something to teach us,
something to hallow, something to discover. We take off our shoes as
Moses was instructed in his encounter with God in the burning bush—
this is sacred, holy ground. We kneel before it, we soften our
responses, we embrace what is holy.
It’s the same with the Trinity. When you approach it dualistically, you
struggle with this three in one concept—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—
which makes no sense. But when you approach it non-dually, the
Trinity becomes how God appears or manifests in the world at
different times—the father/Creator/mystery, the Son, co-creator
with the Father, and the Spirit, the intrinsic fiber of everything
created, the interrelationships among the created, the communicator
of all things true and real. The Trinity is an awkward dualistic concept,
but a flowing interchange among the appearances of God in non-dual
So imagine a huge waterfall with maybe three cascades gushing down
the fall. So sometimes the water flows through the upper one; at
other times one of the other two. Water flows, seeks its own level,
creates channels as it goes. Over time it creates its own path
regardless of how hard the material is that it is flowing over.

This is my prayer:
Heart, Soul, Mind and Body
Given in love to you.
Every speck of me
Given in joy to you.
Every breath I breathe
Given in faith to you.
Every cell of me
given in gratitude to you. Amen
Be Perfect….
When we start with the translations of ancient languages like
Greek, we sometimes misunderstand what the Scriptures are saying.
Take Jesus’s saying in Matthew 5: “Be perfect as your heavenly is
perfect.” Our modern understanding of the word perfect is to match
detail to detail, to be the ideal, to follow the rules perfectly. In ancient
Greek the word teleios means perfect in the sense of completion or
wholeness. There is a pretty startling distinction between being
perfect and being whole.
And here we are seeing the echo of Jesus’s Great
Commandments: to love God with all our heart, all our minds, all our
souls and all our strength(incarnate body) and to love our neighbor as
ourselves. Jesus is saying to love with all of who we are, the complete
person, not just the part that follows the rules perfectly. When you
come to God in prayer, for example, exclude no part of yourself—the
wounded, the hurting, the sad or angry; bring your whole self to God.
Voice everything you are feeling, all your desires. Loving God with all
of ourselves is all that we’re required to do. If we do that, it naturally
follows that we would love ourselves and everyone else.
If you know that you are a rule follower, you might want to ask
yourself these questions:
Am I too focused on following the rules and not
enough on God?
Am I serving myself and not God by this focus?
Is it easier to follow rules than to love God with all of
I think that this is the nature of repentance—we do a 180
degree turn away from our preoccupations with ourselves and our
lives and focus totally on loving God with all of ourselves. That entails
loving, worshipping, listening to and doing all he requests, honoring all
of his creation including ourselves and other people. That takes a lifelong
effort to remember our commitment/surrender to God, to put
him first, to surrender our own desires/expectations/assumptions and
more. But the benefit of persevering in this task is a life lived as we
(continued from page 3)
were created to live and the fruit
of the Spirit which comes alive in
us as we proceed along the
way—peace, love, joy, patience,
goodness, gentleness,
faithfulness, kindness and selfcontrol.
These are not acquired
by our effort at all, but are given
to us as we love God with all of
ourselves. Thanks be to God!


The Trinitarian Opportunity in Our Fall WCO
Retreat by Don Carroll
There is nothing like a good question to wake us up. Like this one from
page 53 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous—“[w]e had to
fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He
is nothing.” Most of us go through stages with this question. First we
decide, or more often assume that He is. As we grow spiritually we
wrestle with the “is everything.” Beyond that is perhaps an even more
intriguing question. If God is everything how do I engage with this
everything? How do my finite sensibilities dance with the reality of the
Infinite? Absent being in some form of dialogue or dance with the
Infinite, even though we may “believe” God is everything, that belief is
pretty hollow.
Enter the Trinity. Enter the idea that more than a static idea, that the
Creator of the universe is like the universe, changing and dynamic,
more a verb than a noun. The Trinity then is not only a way to envision
God, but is a template for how to interact with God and the flow of
—————— Fruit of the Spirit————
Trinitarian…..continued from page 4
God’s creation. Granted that any human concept is a limited way to
try to understand with the mind what can only be participated in
through experience, our ideas and curiosity about the meaning of the
Trinity bring us to the doorway to step into an experience of God’s
Jesus says in Matthew 14:3 that his love takes us to “where I am you
also may be.” So to participate in this Everything, we must be in this
trinitarian flow. Most of us have had mountaintop experiences where
we were in the reality of this flow, even though we might not have
thought about it that way. But often in our daily lives we are braced
up against something that gives our ego some sense of being in
control, which in fact blocks us from the flow. In our fall retreat we
will try to claim our blocks. We will use our contemplative practices to
be still and secure enough in God’s love to allow the blocks, the
braces, the unconscious ego supports to be revealed. We will do this
in the safe holding of our community so that we may step more
deeply into the flow of God’s trinitarian love, so we create the
opportunity to be that love.
We depend on each other to allow each of us to bring our part of
trinitarian experience so we all may move in a deeper, more dynamic
flow. I look forward to being with each of you so we can share in and
move deeper into the trinitarian mystery together.
A New Reading List….. by Pat Adams
I used to be a big reader, especially of mysteries, but I don’t read
very much these days. So I pay attention when a theme seems to be
emerging in my choices. Starting in January 2015 I was drawn to read
Tattoos on my Heart by Father Gregory Boyle. Then it was The Weight
of Mercy by Deb Richardson-Moore. Then Stranger at my Door by
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. Lately as I’ve been gathering my thoughts
for the WCO Newsletter, I’ve read The New Monasticism: An
Interspiritual Manifesto for Contemplative Living by Rory McEntee &
Adam Bucko. And last, but not least, Longing for Spring: A New Vision
for Wesleyan Community by Elaine A. Heath and Scott T. Kisker.
From Fr. Boyle who serves a community steeped in gang violence
in Los Angeles to the Rev. Richardson-Moore who pastors a church in
Greenville, South Carolina, to Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove who with his
wife nurtures a poor community in Durham with a communal house for
the homeless, I have been reading about how love transforms people in
dire circumstances. These are inspiring stories of lived Christianity.
The New Monasticism and Longing for Spring are about Christian
rebirth as the old form of the church seems to be dying or at least
losing influence in our country and new forms are arising. Both of these
books are for those of us who want to be more intentional, more
purposeful, more about living the life Jesus modeled for us, living in the
world, but not of the world. Maybe you can see how the Lord
encourages my choice of books for his purposes.
I hadn’t thought that the WCO was on the cutting edge of the
movement of the Holy Spirit refreshing the church. Had you? Did you
join because you were seeking something deeper in your faith? What
was the Spirit leading you to? Have you found it yet? Or maybe you’re
like me where the search has no end.
Continued from Page 6…..
Maybe you wouldn’t go as far as The New Monasticism’s Interspirituality
in which participants draw from many different religious
traditions, not necessarily to join another faith, but to enliven their
Christian practices or to come together with those of different
traditions whose values and practices are complementary. You may be
surprised that the authors were inspired by on-going dialogues with
Father Keating. But you might be drawn to the history of lay monastic
trends throughout the ages laid out in Longing for Spring. The
authors write that in John Wesley’s time “lay people led the class and
band meetings, cared for the poor and the sick and the children, and
preached up and down the circuits. Methodism was a lay monastic and
preaching order within the larger church. And the larger church was
revived.”(p. 34-5)
Even before I had seen the title of The New Monasticm, I was
beginning to think about being a monk(which apparently can be
applied to women as well). I have a rule of life which these days
means keeping the Divine Hours four times a day, plus a nightly note
of thanks to God for my day in my gratitude journal. I don’t do as
much socially and I am not into shopping or accumulating things. In
addition I go to my Sunday School class which is doing a detailed
reading of the 23rd Psalm written by a modern shepherd and to
church every Sunday. But I would say that my biggest practice is that
of listening for what the Lord is telling me about this and that and
about what to read. It’s always an adventure for me following the
Lord and then figuring it out what it all means.

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