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This site was last updated updated February 13, 2017.
Good news! This website is in the process of undergoing a complete refresh. We hope to go "live" with it in the new three weeks. Stay tuned. I'm grateful to Holly Hudley and Richard Wingfield for taking on this task.
The title for the talk this week in Ordinary Life was "How To Live East of Eden in the Midst of Constant Change."
I have posted under the "Resources for Spiritual Practice" menu a sermon preached in 1922 by Harry Emerson Fosdick. I encourage you to read it. It is titled "Shall the Fundamentalists Win" and is as relevant today as when first preached.
"Living Our Image and Likeness" is the title of the most recent talk offered in Ordinary Life. It contains my current understanding of the differences between the "ego" and the "True Self" as well as some suggestions about what "living resurrection" might look like in our ordinary lives.
The talk, "What Is The Meaning of Life? There is Soup In The Attic!" is about how both religious and spiritual illiteracy are damaging the fabric of our public life. We need public theologians and an openness to prophetic voices if we are going to change the direction in which we are going.
The talk, "Missing the God Who Misses Us," reflects my immersion in the work and writings of James Finley and Thomas Merton. I use their guidance and instruction in elaborating on a story by William Faulkner called "The Bear." A link to that story is can also be found on that podcast page.
Sister Dr. Ilia Delio spoke to a large gathering on November 19 and 20. You can find information about that event under the podcast menu. Also, there is a link there to the audio of the talk she did on Sunday - "Technology and Human Becoming."
The talk offered in Ordinary Life on November 13, "Dropping Keys For Beautiful, Rowdy Prisoners," is based on what may be the most important teaching in the Gospel of Thomas. It also contains my own reflections and response, at the current time, to the presidential election.
The talk, "Has Jesus Found You?" is, in my opinion, extremely important in light of all the religious language being used in the current political mess going on in our country. People are saying things, claiming things in the name of Jesus that he would never recognize.
A recent talk offered in Ordinary Life, "Seeking To Attain What We Already Have," is important because it contains what I think is a critical summary statement of the territory we have covered in this current series so far. Also, I begin to list the characteristics of those people we look to, from whatever tradition they come, who deserve the label "mystic" or "an enlightened one."
The talk - "Bring a Big Bucket! We Met At a Very Deep Well" - is about, among other things, how our culture can not only distract us but also mislead us when it comes to finding satisfactory solutions to life's difficulties and dilemmas.
Bethany Williams recently spoke on the topic of human trafficking. What she had to say was not only informative but also is leading to Ordinary Life taking concrete steps to make a difference in this arena. Stay tuned.
I hope you will check out the talk I offered in Ordinary Life called "The Most Important Spiritual Teaching Ever."
Call it Divine Entanglement if you like. Though the texts in the Gospel of Thomas are not in any sequential order, the recent talks I've offered in Ordinary Life have an internal connection. In summary: We make the journey into Sacred Mystery. Sacred Mystery seeks to enter into us. Then, we do the work of dying to one way of life and taking up a new one. A recent talk raises the question: "Are you really shopping for a new way, New Being? Or, just looking around?
The talk I offered before that in Ordinary Life, The Divine Invasion, builds on the one that preceded it. Unknowing - An Acquired Taste. Last week was about one side of the mystical journey into wholeness. This week's talk is about the other side of the coin.
The talk in Ordinary Life, "The Power To Name 'What Is'" contains, among other things, my assessment of how the United States has developed and is affected by our being, collectively, a Type Three on the Enneagram. This makes knowing, hearing and speaking the truth difficult.
The podcast, "Learning to Tie Our Spiritual Shoelaces," contains among other things, my reflections on the culture that permits and responds to things like the Orlando Shooting.
Also, on my personal website is a posting about one of the most important films I've seen in ages. Please watch it.
If you are new to Ordinary Life, the talk Taking a Different Direction in Returning to the One Who Made Us Who We Are, contains a smidgen of review of the past couple of talks and also the reason I'm using the Gospel of Thomas. This is for those who might have just joined in on the Ordinary Life journey.
One of my commitments is to contribute to religious literacy. I also want these teachings to provide a container in which the people who hear or read them become happier, less anxious, more loving and more fulfilled.
Just as it has taken me twenty years, at least, to come up with my definition of what exactly is a "spiritual practice," so also has it taken me as long to come up with what I think are the two essential "faith questions" we need to be mindful of. You will find them at the conclusion of the talk - Don't Worry. Be Happy. You can find the talk, the funny presentation slides and the audio version on the Podcast page.
Ordinary Life is now officially affiliated with the Reconciling Ministries Network. If you would like to know more about this orgaization, click here.
In case you are not aware of it, you can easily subscribe to Ordinary Life on iTunes by simply clicking the "headphones" at the top of this page.
Also, Ordinary Life is now on Twitter. This will be a way for those of you who have Twitter accounts to follow Ordinary Life and effortlessly pass on information about Ordinary Life to others. Click here to be taken to the Twitter page.
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Ordinary Life creates a crucible in which people can
deepen an awareness of who they are,
develop relationships with others,
grow in spiritual intelligence,
make a difference in the world.
Ordinary Life meets at 9:45 Sunday mornings on the campus of St. Paul's Methodist Church, 5501 South Main Street, Houston, Texas. All are welcome.
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These are exciting times! I sense that we are being called into a future that requires a wider consciousness and deeper exploration into wisdom and understanding. The vision and mission of St. Paul's, the church that makes Ordinary Life a possibility, is all about being more inclusive, inter-faith and deepening spiritual understanding and awareness. Ordinary Life is a part of this vision and mission.
You will notice that an archives link has been added to this site. This will enable those who so desire to seek specific presentations made in Ordinary Life and view either the text or listen to the audio.
If we are to be open to wise and useful teachings that lead us to grow in wisdom and compassion, we have to move beyond the world of words and ideas, though they are useful, into a world that cannot be contained or constrained by words and ideas. I know that sounds paradoxical and contradictory. That is precisely the point. Dualism is useful, indeed vital, but only up to a certain point. We can use dualistic thinking to take us to the edge of wisdom and understanding but then something else is needed. That is one of the reasons I have started teaching more about mysticism.
About Seeking To Embody the Spirit of a Revolutionary Mystic
At the beginning of my undertaking to offer spiritual teachings, my goal was to combine insights from the field of psychology (understanding how the mind works) and spirituality. I will continue to do this.
After 9/11, however, my teaching took a turn in the direction of wanting to point out the dangers and errors of fundamentalism. Tribalism and tribal understandings of religion is the major cause of the divisions and divisiveness in the world today. Consequently I spent considerable time trying to contribute to religious and spiritual literacy by talking about the “Jesus of history.” What did he really say and do. I will continue to do this.
Now, however, I am undertaking to teach more about “mystical Christianity” and mysticism in general. I am using the relatively recently discovered Gospel of Thomas as a guide for my talks. There are many excellent books on the Gospel of Thomas. One that I recommend is “The Gospel of Thomas: Wisdom of the Twin” as translated and with notes by Lynn Bauman (second edition.)
This emphasis in my teaching seeks, among other things to move us from levels of information to arenas of wisdom, from knowing to experiencing, from dualism to non-dual ways of seeing ourselves, each other and the world.
Since one of the things the new series is going to be able has to do with psychological and spiritual development, you might want to check out some models for ego and self development. You will find them on the Extraordinary Matters page. Also be sure to check our Rohr's concept of "the Cosmic Egg," go to
A new blog page has been added to this site. It will be devoted to teachings about having a "daily spiritual practice."
The Ordinary Life class has generously supported many endeavors over the years. One of these is the Global Aids Interfaith Alliance. Recently we received a full report of what your contributions do. See the recent post under Extraordinary Matters
No matter who you are, no matter where you are on your spiritual journey, you are welcome in Ordinary Life..
Dr. Bill Kerley
I like to think of myself as someone who knows the principles and practices that people can use to enhance and enlarge every aspect of their lives.
What is "Ordinary Life" all about?
Every dissatisfaction we have with our lives is a result of a conflict between what is actually true and what we believe to be true. When we learn to give up beliefs about how life "ought to be", we are given brand new possibilities for living life as it is - right then and there!
This "letting go" process is not easy because we have spent a lifetime coming to believe that the life we want/deserve is "out there" somewhere. Or, we have come to believe that because of certain events and experiences in our past, our lives are destined to "be" a certain way.
Among other things, the Ordinary Life class will focus on:
• What it means to be alive and aware.
• More on the gospel of Jesus than the Jesus of the gospels.
• More on being the way than the way to be.
• And on the principles and practices we can put in place in our lives to experience these things and not just know about them.
This is not a class for the faint of heart but for those who are willing to be involved in the journey to wholeness by living life as it is, for those who are willing to have the courage to be themselves. If you are interested in these benefits, this could be the class for you.
We meet at 9:45 a.m. on Sundays at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Fondren Hall, second floor of the Jones Building.
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