Hey everyone, just in case you were wondering, our great Wholeness group is on hiatus until September, as everyone gets through vacation and other things first. We’ll meet on September 12 and 26 to get things going again and continue our reading and growth of Gerald May’s Addiction & Grace. See you then!
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I started my day off with some great conversation with a friend at Hypnotic Donuts.
Tough questions and tough topics.
Like what does it really mean to be healed? If we ask God for healing, what should we expect?
It’s tough because for many of us who live with serious ongoing health struggles, our doctors may tell us that there is no cure. Just management. Does God heal those kinds of things? And if we ask God to heal us and nothing happens, what does that mean? Was our faith not strong enough?
Or does healing mean acceptance of our ailments and illnesses? Learning to live and cope with them? Discover the gifts in them?
I believe God heals people… but not always in the same way. Healing can happen through relationships, a sense of hope, or peace. Healing can be forgiveness and reconciliation. Healing can be physical, mental, and/or spiritual. I have seen prayer work in people’s lives. Do I always understand how it does? Of course, not. People can get stronger when they are surrounded in prayer and love by their family and friends. People also find permission to let go and complete their life’s journey through prayer. All of that can be healing.
In Gerald May’s book, Addiction & Grace, he flips the script on addictions and brokenness. After recognizing that we humans can never achieve a state of perfection, no matter how hard we try, we must see “that the incompleteness within us, our personal insufficiency, does not make us unacceptable in God’s eyes.” We are wounded but that woundedness does not make us unlovable. In fact, we can think of our inadequacies “as doorways through which the power of grace can enter our lives.”
Maybe that is a better definition of healing – being reminded, through our places of weakness and pain, that we are loved, just as we are.
Peace be to those who yearn for healing – may we all know God’s love this day and each day.
I neglected to put in our announcements that Wholeness Group does meet Wednesday evening of this week.
We are on chapter four of the book, Addiction & Grace. This chapter in particular is far more clinical, exploring the processes and understanding behind addiction. What happens to our brain? What are the chemical reactions that happen when we get hooked on a particular substance, action, or relationship? It’s going to be a tougher read but also the potential for some insightful conversation.
Some smart people over the years have attempted to treat humans like we are just purely scientific things – just living machines with bodies that just need the right pill or balancing agent to get us healthy. Unfortunately, that hasn’t worked out. Human beings are more than just flesh and bones. Our disposition, our sense of happiness, and our desire for respectful treatment impact our health in significant ways. This is why some people undergoing cancer treatment stop their treatment after a while. What’s the point of living if you feel like crap? Likewise, when dealing with addiction, Gerald May, the author of our book, makes the point over and over again that the only healing is through spirituality, a whole body healing.
I hope you can make it and bring your own ideas and experience. We meet at 6:30 PM on Wednesday in the Disciples Room. Call the church if you have questions (214-824-8185).
Our new Wholeness Group meets again tomorrow evening at the church, 6:30 PM. It is a group that is open to everyone. The book we are reading is Addiction & Grace by Gerald May, and it has tons of good stuff for our conversation. Here is one of my favorite few sentences from the first few chapters:
Grace is the most powerful force in the universe. It can transcend repression, addiction, and every other internal or external power that seeks to oppress the freedom of the human heart. Grace is where our hope lies.
Our wholeness group is not about fixing anyone. I don’t think any of us have any answers in the first place. Addiction itself is a disease/process that all human beings are afflicted with. Some of us are addicted to chemical substances, and others are addicted to work, family, gossip, computers, information, power, and so on. And so while the book will help us understand the processes behind our addictions, the hope is that we will discover more about grace – why it is such a gift and how it can help us in our struggle to be loved and deal with our addictions.
Gerald May describes sin as anything that gets in the way of us being able to fully love ourselves, one another, and God. I like that definition a lot. One of our key directions of our group is that we will explore that in deeper detail but also practice some ways of finding balance in our lives, balance in our relationships with God and one another.
Join us – it’s an open invitation. I will have some extra books on hand if you are joining us for the first time.
Tonight, we are organizing our first gathering of a new wholeness group here at the church. This is a new small group that is about encouraging participants on a journey to wholeness, especially a sense of spiritual health. It’s not a recovery group, but we expect to have some folks in the church and our neighborhood participate who struggle with addiction of various kinds, know family members and friends who have battled such challenges, or need a place of support and encouragement. We will read Gerald May’s Addiction and Grace together as food for thought and reflection. Everyone is welcome to join us for this first meeting at 6:30 PM in the Disciples Room.
Shoot me an email if you have questions.