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 is still in its infancy. We are meeting for the third time tonight, looking at chapter two from Addiction and Grace. There is still plenty of time to catch up and join in the conversation. I still have about three extra books for anyone who needs one.
Remember, this group is less about recovery and more about finding balance and healing. We are not trying to fix anyone in our sessions together. There is opportunity to share stories, struggles, hopes, and ideas.
The two big keys for me out of the reading for this week are these two lines, both on page 31:
“First, although God calls us all toward more perfect life, we cannot personally achieve the state of perfection. … Second, we need to recognize that the incompleteness within us, our personal insufficiency, does not make us unacceptable in God’s eyes.”
Struggling with our addictions, whether they are chemical, relationship, work, or whatever, is about realizing our limits. We can’t fix ourselves. We can’t easily solve this addiction. And that fact does not make us less lovable. We are still loved. God still finds great value in us. There is always hope. Once we admit that we cannot simply overcome these issues, the more likely we are to begin the path toward healing.
If you know someone who is looking for a safe place for this kind of conversation or if you need an informal, supportive group of folks to vent about your struggle to find wholeness, join us this evening, 6:30 PM in the Disciples Room at East Dallas Christian Church (629 N. Peak St., Dallas, TX).
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.
It’s good to be back from Nashville.
In between great conversations and informative workshops, I had a chance to pick up a few books, including “Missional Worship” by Cathy Townley. I had this initial issue with the book – it just rubbed me in the wrong way during my first skim on board the flight back home. But as I’ve had a chance to dig in more deeply, I am intrigued by it.
The key thing is simply this – don’t be attractional; be invitational.
The world is changing out there, and job seekers will even tell you that all the traditional advice no longer works. You can’t wait for that great job to come to you – you have to go out, beat the bushes, work your contacts, and even court your next employer. You have to go invite opportunities and possibilities through networking, hard work, and relationship building.
Likewise, for those of who follow Christ, responding to God’s call to share the good news of God’s love, hope, and wholeness for the world is no longer something that can be done by waiting for others to come to you. We can’t just live a certain way and expect people to figure it out themselves. We do have to talk. We have to go and be among the people in our neighborhoods, get to know them, and tell them about the good news. The more time we spend inviting, the more our community of faith will grow, the more disciples will be made.
What do you think? Have you experienced this change in some other place in your life? When do you remember being invited in a way that changed your life?
Post your response below.