How to Be Helpful by “Sacred Cow Tipping” (and Other Matters)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, July 19, 2014

God draw near to God clouds Jas 4-8

How to Be Helpful by “Sacred Cow Tipping” (and Other Matters)

In case any of my regular readers isn’t aware, I am at a conference: the 2014 National Assembly of the Federation of Christian Ministries. Wonderful presentations! (Really and truly. That isn’t me just saying that to earn brownie points with the association.)

Even though every presentation has been worthwhile, two sessions this afternoon were especially fantastic! Both sessions were infused by the same off-beat, dead-pan sense of humor. Both featured the same presenter: Rabbi Laura Baum (you might know her either from her online congregation, www.ourjewishcommunity.org, or from her Twitter handle, @Rabbi). I’ll talk about the second first. (If you know what I mean.)

Her second presentation was on the use of social media in building community. Since the conference I’m attending features a large group of Christian ministers in many alternative ministries, I suspect the conference organizers wished to give 21st century communication options and opportunities to the attendees. Rabbi Baum certainly delivered! She gave a genial tour of several types of commonly-used social media, and pointed out handy tips for using this media effectively. Since I am currently working with my church’s office manager to get our church’s Facebook page up and running, this is precisely what I need at this point in time! (Thank you, thank you, Rabbi Laura!) Oh, our Facebook page—in its infancy still—is St. Luke’s Evangelical Covenant Church—in Morton Grove, Illinois, a suburb north and west of Chicago.

Another totally awesome presentation (also featuring Rabbi Laura) was “Sacred Cow Tipping.” As she explained, she had formerly called this type of session “Smashing Idols,” but she found the idea of tipping over ‘sacred cows’ to be more evocative. (And humorous.) This was not your typical large-group session at a conference, where we passively sit and listen. No, each table was asked to interact with each other on a number of questions. Here, the presenter suggested that we in the audience think of something serious—a ‘sacred cow’ each individual might really want to smash—and communicate that to others in the group. This process not only was freeing for me, personally, but I could sense the same freedom and excitement coming from many other attendees in the audience, at tables close to me!

Rabbi Laura spoke at length about the whole concept of destroying a ‘sacred cow.’ Admittedly, a valued-by-many, precious-to-some, tenaciously-held white elephant of an idol. (How about that for a mixed metaphor! Mine, I must admit.) Although, as some gardeners know very well, certain types of bushes and plants need to be drastically pruned and cut back in order for them to remain healthy, and to flower and grow back in a glorious manner. Just so, certain practices or specific institutions in the church need to be prayerfully considered, cut back, or pruned—even cut down to the roots.

I still don’t know quite what I am going to do with this idea of ‘sacred cow tipping.’ But, it resonated deeply within. I’m going to pray about it. Meditate on it. And then, see how God leads! Whatever and wherever it is, it will be exciting! Thanks again, Rabbi Laura.

@chaplaineliza

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A Season to Be Kind. A Season to Be of Service

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, July 16, 2014

BK power of touch, smile, chance to be kind

A Season to Be Kind. A Season to Be of Service

“To everything–turn, turn, turn!/There is a season–turn, turn, turn!” The Byrds’ song echoes in my mind today as I consider things in my life. My personal life, my professional life. Yes, things are shifting and changing, even as I sit here and type on my computer.

People are sick. People go into the hospital. People have operations. People get well. People go to school. People graduate. People get jobs. People lose jobs. People retire. People get pregnant. People have babies. People die.

Yes, I realize these things, intellectually. Even experientially, on occasion. But these happenings are occurring with more and more regularity. Or not ‘regularity,’ per se, but I see increased occurrences. In that case, I wonder why I’m particularly noticing the changing of the ‘seasons’ of life?

A good thing for me to do would be for me to focus on one thing at a time. Not get bombarded by lots of things, all at once. That’s a prudent idea for anyone who is going through a number of shifts and changes in their lives. (Even good or positive changes!) God, help me to take life one thing at a time. One day at a time. Even—one hour at a time, sometimes.

Anyone else feel overwhelmed from time to time? (I know I do!) Well, meditation techniques and mindfulness practices come in very usefully, here. If I can keep my head and keep up a less-anxious presence, then I have a decent chance to keep an even keel, emotionally and psychologically. It is then that I have the opportunity to be of worthwhile service, to act in a kind and caring manner.

Yes, I have been trained to be of service in a health care center setting. Sometimes this setting can be really trying, even traumatic. But I have been praised by my supervisors for my less-anxious presence. Thank God, I do know how to act and (often) how far to go to keep things in a positive, healthy direction. Even when tragedy strikes, as it has recently. A senior I have known for the past several years has died. I did my part in letting people know, just a little while ago.

And, that’s only the beginning of the stuff that’s going on. Personally as well as professionally. God, please give me the words to say to bring comfort and concern to me, and for my people, as well. And help me minister to the loved ones and those who mourn his passing.

@chaplaineliza

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