Writing as Spiritual Practice
Lay Minister, Emerita, Myrna Adams West facilitates “Writing as Spiritual Practice” first Sundays at 9:00 am in the couch room near Rev. Alison’s office. This group offers an opportunity to explore spiritual expression through various genres.
Rev. Alison said in her sermon “Going Beyond, Going Within,” and I’m paraphrasing here, spiritual practice takes one outside of self or within self. It transcends the everyday attempts to put into words that which cannot be named or spoken. It is communication–pick one or more or make up your own word–with God or self or nature or the universe. When we engage in spiritual practice, we go beyond self-interest and give self away. Join us.
The yearly theme for 2016-2017 is “Expanding Our Vision Here & Beyond.” The theme for May is “Revelation.”
Each Sunday the topic for the worship services will relate to that month’s theme, not as a series, but just another angle on a subject to deepen the exploration of that particular theme. The suggested prompts for Writing as Spiritual Practice assignments will follow the monthly worship themes.
The theme for May 7 is “Revelation.”
Choose one or more of the following or make up your own assignment:
- What is the difference between “revelation” and “epiphany”? Have you ever experienced either—or both? What? When? Where? Why? How?
- Recall a time from childhood when you experienced a revelation (or epiphany). What did you learn that startled you or changed you or greatly surprised you?
- Does revelation come all at once, or does it accumulate? For inspiration, see Mary Oliver’s “At the River Clarion” (Email Myrna for a copy.).
- Are you blocking revelation? How? Why? See Mary Oliver’s “At the River Clarion,” for inspiration (Email Myrna for a copy.).
- Has anyone ever told you that they had a revelation about you? What was it? Did you believe and/or act upon it? Why or why not? See Meg Barnhouse’s essay, “Message from a Large Prophet,” for inspiration (Email Myrna for a copy.).
- Meg also has a story in The Best of Radio Free Bubba, called “Magic Eight Ball.” You can hear Meg read from it and other tales in a video from the 2006 UU General Assembly in St. Louis: http://www.uua.org/ga/past/2006/13171.shtml. “Magic Eight Ball” is another take on the idea of revelation. Have you ever tried a Magic Eight Ball or a Ouija Board or a Fortune Teller or Taro Cards or some other means of “revelation” in trying to figure out your life? Why? How did that turn out?
- Flannery O’Connor’s novels and stories often portray Christians in an unflattering light. She, being a Roman Catholic and living in what she termed the “God-smacked” South, looked at her Georgia neighbors and their fundamentalist religions from an outsider’s point of view. In her short story “Revelation,” she gives us a character study of the God-smacked Mrs. Turpin, who like many of O’Connor’s characters, has an epiphany or revelation at the end of the story. You can read the story here: http://producer.csi.edu/cdraney/archive-courses/summer06/eng1278/e-texts/oconner_revelation.pdf. What does Mrs. Turpin learn about herself and others like her from her revelation? What lesson do you see for the rest of us? Why?
- Describe a personal revelation (that you are willing to share) about a relationship. See Billy Collins’ poem, “The Breather,” for inspiration. (Email Myrna for a copy.).
For more information or for copies of inspirational pieces for this assignment, contact Myrna.