We invite you to worship with our faith community. We are a close-knit group of families, neighbors, and friends who strive to discover God’s direction for our lives. We encourage searching minds and spirits as we celebrate together our faith in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, through the guidance of the Holy Scriptures. Emphasizing individual choice and conviction, members follow the Word of God according to the dictates of their own consciences. Our church is called “Congregational”, reflecting our heritage in the New England Pilgrim experience in which local congregations retain control of their own decisions and direction. We are also a member church of the United Church of Christ denomination, which is dedicated to realizing God’s just and loving purpose in the world.
THE ART OF “BOTH”
Stillspeaking Devotional by Donna Shaper
What am I to do?
I will pray with my spirit,
but I will pray with my mind also.
– 1 Corinthians 14:15 (ESV)
Paul is an expert at paradox. Whether it is the flesh or the spirit, the law or the gospel, or the spirit or the mind, he likes to answer questions using the word “both.” Both flesh and spirit, both law and gospel, both spirit and mind befriend him.
Most of us need to learn the art of paradoxology. Way too many of us have advanced degrees from institutes for the study of complexity. We hem and haw. We are canners: we kick the empty can down the road because we really don’t know what to do. We live on cannery row.
I even play tennis that way. Every ball I hit is a decision. “Don’t overthink it,” I’ll say to myself. Then I’ll say, “Know exactly where you want it to go before you hit it.” Like most tennis players, I miss more points than I make.
Even gardeners’ self-doubt and get stuck on one side of a paradox or another. Some people think that tilling hurts soil. Other people think that tilling helps soil. The only way to find out is to do an experiment. I am planting half of the garden this year without tilling and the other half with tilling. This will be a fully scientific experiment. I will evaluate at harvest.
Back to Paul. How do we find the energy to respect science and emotion, or reason and intuition? How do we ever get free of the can-kicking problem?
By praying with all that we have, which includes spirit and mind, that’s how.
Double your gifts to us, O God, and teach us how to pray all the puzzles of our lives.
Questions for Contemplation:
1. Can you identify a paradox that is puzzling your life these days – perhaps an “either/or” debate in a relationship, in politics, in faith, or even in the garden? How might you answer the puzzle with “both”?
2. How do you respond to the author’s questions, “How do we find the energy to respect science and emotion, reason and intuition? How do we ever get free of the can-kicking problem?”