Healing the Divide: How to Stop Suffering from a Case of Mistaken Identity

Summary for September 15, 2019

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Dear Friends,

Bill & I so love doing these talks together and your presence makes it even more fun. We keep threatening to do this, but someday, we will just sit up there, press play, and give you a recording of the funny and tangential and deep conversations we have in the process of prepping.

Healing division is both a job to do within and between. When we get “caught up” in tribal or egoic identity, we miss the copse of oak trees for focusing on the single acorn. Our identity is in both. Cosmologically speaking, differentiation seeks communion. In the words of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, complexity leads to more unity. It is not something to believe in, but something to participate in. It is our nature, and we have the capacity for conscious choice to do so or not. To be in unity, we must to the difficult work of looking at where we are separate, both from ourselves and from others. How lucky are we to have the community of our class to navigate life together! Thank you for all you bring! Below you will find the link to the video I tried (unsuccessfully) to show, “How Wolves Change Rivers.” I encourage you to check it out. Not only are the wolves howling a soulful sound, but it bears an important message.

Have a great week, and see you next Sunday! With love, Holly & Bill

To view the slide show, click here.

To listen to the audio version of the talk, please use the player below.

To watch the video, click on the link below.


Hinge of History

ORDINARY LIFE - Thoughts and Ideas to Help You Live a Happier Life

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Summary for September 8, 2019

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Dear Folks -

First, thank you for the birthday gifts - the flowers and the “personalized” pajamas. Very clever and much appreciated. I am so grateful to and for you. Again, thank you!

Though she had been working on it for a while, Brooke Summers-Perry responded to my talk this week in a beautiful and moving blog post. Check it out on the Ordinary Life website.

Several factors have caused me to begin to take a slightly different direction in the talks I’m offering in Ordinary Life. A primary one is my desire to contribute to healing the divisiveness that exists all around us. There have also been questions asking about clarifications on what it might mean to “go deep” and to have an “grown-up” faith. Why is it that the public face of religion reflects so much ignorance and immaturity?

We are among the first generation to enter the digital age and the last to know what life was like before it. And, we are the last to have the ability to forestall the catastrophic changes that seem to be headed in our direction - and they are coming from numerous arenas.

We have to develop some moral humility about positions we hold. One way to do this is to grow in our awareness that all people, regardless of the tribe to which they belong, believe that the positions they hold are “right.” We must also acknowledge whether we really believe that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us. I called the talk -

The Hinge of History:
First and Final - Foresee and Forestall

That is a very brief summary of the talk I offered this week in Ordinary Life. As if often the case, I think the audio version is different and, I think, better than the text.

You can read or download the text from which I spoke, view the presentation slides, listen to the audio of the talk and/or watch the video of the talk using the links below.

If you are reading this, I want you to know how grateful I am for and to you.

Be well and much love,

Bill Kerley

To read or download the text of the talk, click here.

To view or download the presentation slides, click here.

To listen to the audio version of the talk, use the link below.




Reading the Signs of the Time

ORDINARY LIFE - Thoughts and Ideas to Help You Live a Happier Life

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Summary for September 1, 2019

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Dear Folks -

Questions can reposition us. I have been using the questions found in the Jesus narratives as a guide in creating the talks I am offering in Ordinary Life. One of my teaching goals is to contribute to the healing of the various divisions that exist within and around us. How did we get where we are? Are there signs that were missed?  In this talk I use the work of Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan. They list the three marks of the domination system that existed at the time of Jesus. These marks are: political oppression, economic exploitation and religious legitimization. Even a casual look at our culture shows the same marks. What are the lessons for us in this? Can we read the signs of the time?

That is a very brief summary of the talk I offered this week in Ordinary Life. As is often the case, I think the audio version is different and, I think, better than the text.

You can read or download the text from which I spoke, view the presentation slides, listen to the audio of the talk and/or watch the video of the talk using the links below.

If you are reading this, I want you to know how grateful I am for and to you.

Be well and much love,

Bill Kerley

To read or download the text of the talk, click here.

To view or download the presentation slides, click here.

To listen to or download the audio version of the talk, use the player below.




Please Call Me By My True Names

ORDINARY LIFE - Thoughts and Ideas to Help You Live a Happier Life

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Summary for August 25, 2019

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Dear Folks -

A variety of polls taken in various places around the world show that people believe that their country and their world is as divided as it has been in decades. Our world and its inhabitants need the values of peace, love, joy, patience and humility. We are the ones to experience and express these values. We cannot wait or look for others to do this desperately needed work for us.

I have been using questions asked by Jesus to help me in constructing the talks I offer in Ordinary Life. Jesus had a vision of a world organized so as to urge and enable human beings to respect and care for each other and so to promote the well-being of everyone. However, in communicating this vision, Jesus himself was a trouble maker. One of his questions, “You don’t think I came here to smooth things over, did you?,” is the one this talk is based on. The question closely associated with this one is: “You know how to read weather maps. Why don’t you know how to read the signs of the times?” We’ll get to that one next week. But, they go together.

In my teaching I want to contribute to the healing of division, not cause more. That’s why I love a line I got from Jim Wallace of Sojourners. He says, “Don’t go left. Don’t go right. Go deep.” What might that look like for us? I use one of my favorite passages from Thich Nhat Hanh on compassion as an answer. I gave the talk the same title as the passage -

Please Call Me By My True Names

That is a very brief summary of the talk I offered this week in Ordinary Life. As if often the case, I think the audio version is different and, I think, better than the text.

You can read or download the text from which I spoke, view the presentation slides, listen to the audio of the talk and/or watch the video of the talk using the links below.

If you are reading this, I want you to know how grateful I am for and to you.

Be well and much love,

Bill Kerley

To read or download the text of the talk, click here.

To view or download the presentation slides, click here.

To listen to the audio version of the talk, use the player below.