At this stage the idea of the Bible being a sacred text became a possibility in my thinking. I began to trust it as a place to search for answers. And that brings to mind how the United Church of Christ here in southeast Pennsylvania has hired a woman to be a spiritual leader for the conference. A month ago, she bowed in front of me as we leave a Mexican restaurant and says, "Oh great spiritual master."
I say, "No, taking classes to get a masters in spirituality does not make me your spiritual master."
she bows again and like most times we get together we laugh and smile.
Things started when I began to Walk With God. The PA southeast UCC'ers have a yearly spiritual retreat at a place called Mensch Mill. I have been to most but not all of these annual events. Sadly I will not be there this October because I am expected to be at work that weekend for professional training. I wish I could call out spiritually ill. I do take spiritual health days, but this weekend I can't get out of without major frowns from bosses.
Time with the Bible has led to it sinking from my head to my heart. Lectio Divina has been introduced on my retreats. One Lent I spent Saturdays travelling to be in a group of UCC'ers who took a spiritual journey together reading Joyce Rupp's Cup of Life.
The Bible has many images and names of God and it was during this stage that I let that list grow. The hermeneutics of Antipathy had blacklisted names, now I could begin accepting God in different ways.
I remember reading the Bible one day and coming across Jesus as master. It jumped out at me because it was ready to be considered. Yes, healer was easy, but master for me was not. I had thought of master as one who commands because of a need to exploit and control, not as one who guides through love. To this day some of the commands are difficult, for example I have yet to sell all my possessions to follow Jesus. That is when God, the one who forgives us, comes to mind. The one who celebrates each year as more and more of our money is given to those who feed the hungry, house the poor, and care for the abused. Well, I hope there is celebration.