Theological Reflection on the Project’s Intentions

At the start of this new website blog, I would like to state up front that my orientation to this project is unabashedly spiritual. The ideas for Mister Woods come from transcendent moments in providing spiritual care for elders, in struggling with my despair and frustration and wanting to see change happen, and from visions and messages. Guiding me is the question I can ask myself: “What would I want for myself when/if I am unable to care for myself and have no financial resources to do so?” In other words, application of the Golden Rule. Another question guiding me also is one I often ask myself: “What is my most beautiful intention here?”

What is my most beautiful intention?

Checking in with myself to see what is my most beautiful intention in any given moment of choice is one of the ways that I can align myself with that “Place of the Greater Good”, or God, or the Spirit of Life (the list goes on…) Well, often that might first require digging around to find what your hidden intention is (hidden to yourself, that is), assessing what your need is, and then adjusting the dial so that it becomes your most beautiful intention. When you “hit” the inner knowing of your most beautiful intention it feels “right”. There can be a warm glow, a sudden flow of energy, a sense of creativity opening up, a sense that you are coming from your best self. For me, this felt sense that I experience marks that I am on the right path, the Red Road. There is wind in my sails. Proceed this way.

As we move forward with manifesting a new creation, we stay on course by being directed by this intention and we stay on course by holding before us our “high resolve”. One of the co-founding ministers of the church I belong to – The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples – was Howard Thurman (1899-1981) . Thurman was a prolific writer in the mystical tradition, one of the top 12 ministers of his era according to Life magazine, and the spiritual advisor to Martin Luther King Jr. and many others in the Civil Rights Movement. Thurman bolsters us with these words in those times when our spirits are flagging:

 “In the quietness of this place, surrounded by the all-pervading Presence of God, my heart whispers: Keep fresh before me the moments of my High Resolve, that in fair weather or in foul, in good times or in tempests, in the days when the darkness and the foe are nameless or familiar, I may not forget that to which my life is committed.

Keep fresh before me the moments of my high resolve.” 

(Meditations of the Heart, Beacon Press, 1953, p. 210)

Howard Thurman

So what are my most beautiful intentions? I want to see a community like this for several reasons: to serve the social and human needs of people – especially those who have no/low resources, to keep alive a vital and responsible connection to the earth, and to nourish the spirits of our children, our infirm and our elders. As this project discussion unfolds, I hope to bring in the voices of some of the clergy members who I have had the good fortune to interview as well as insights from other theologians and fellow seminarians from various schools affiliated with the Graduate Theological Union. I hope that many of you will share your reflections as well.

Some of the upcoming areas of discussion from me will be around these ideas:

• The Mister Woods intergenerational care community as a reflection of our interdependent nature (Buddhist, quantum, defying isolation), our need for interconnectedness, Relationality theology.

• Presence in nature provides opportunity for inner spaciousness, transcendent experiences.

• Ritualizing our life passages

• Ideas on spirituality in the late stages of life, (Lars Tornstam’s Gerotranscendence, i.e.)

• Children, Nature and Spirituality ( Edward Hoffman and others)

• Spiritual connections between children and seniors.

• The elders: Wisdom keepers

• Nature as scripture: what the plant nation can teach us.