Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > On Forbearance in Spiritual Community


When Living Tied Together

Forbearance in Spiritual Community

Jun 23, 2009

Saying For Today: Let us assure ourselves that a true, spiritual Christian is a person who desires to live in peace with and support of her or his brothers and sisters in Christ.

Welcome to OneLife Ministries. This site is designed to lead you prayerfully into a heart experience of Divine Presence, Who is Love. While it focuses on Christian teaching, I pray persons of varied faiths will find inspiration here. Indeed, "God" can be whatever image helps us trust in the Sacred, by whatever means Grace touches us each. Please share this ministry with others, and I hope you return soon. There is a new offering daily. And to be placed on the daily OneLife email list, to request notifications of new writings or submit prayer requests, write to barukhattah@embarqmail.com .

Rev Dr Brian K Wilcox, MDiv, MFT, PhD

Interspiritual Pastor-Teacher, Author, Workshop Leader, Spiritual Counselor, Chaplain

Brian encourages support of the 4-Star Christian organization Compassion, which supports children worldwide; for more see www.compassion.com .

Opening Prayer

Be generous in prosperity,
and thankful in adversity.

Be fair in thy judgement,
and guarded in thy speech.

Be a lamp unto those who walk
in darkness, and a home
to the stranger.

Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light
unto the feet of the erring.

Be a breath of life to the body of
humankind, a dew to the soil of
the human heart, and a fruit upon
the tree of humility.

*Bahai' Prayer for Peace.

The Scripture

Show your love by being tolerant with one another.

*Ephesians 4.2b (GNT)

Sacred Teaching

After a heated argument with his wife, a man said, "Why can't we live peacefully like our two dogs who never fight?"

"No, they don't," his wife agreed. "But tie them together and see what happens!"

*Anthony de Mello. Taking Flight.

* * *

St. Augustine, concluding a writing to a dear friend, Dardanus, penned On the Presence of God. He concluded the opus, saying to his friend:

To talk with you gives me such pleasure.... Truly to you I speak as a friend, so closely are you joined to my heart by the ties of religion and kindness, in which you have surpassed me. Thank God for me whenever you hear that any work of my pen has been fruitful, but if you notice my shortcomings, pardon them as a most dear friend, with the same sincere affection, praying for my cure, as you grant me your indulgence.

*St Augustine. Augustine of Hippo: Selected Writings. "Letter 187: On the Presence of God." Trans. Mary T. Clark. In The Classic of Western Spirituality.

* * *

Community implies a being "tied" together; in spiritual community - lit. "sharing a unity" - this is sharing in common of the essence of one's being - not only sharing space, time, goals, likes, DNA, a common creed or confession, a religion, marriage, sex ...

How this can be spiritually is a mystery. We do not create it, but we can facilitate a realization of spiritual community.

St. Augustine's reference, asking his friend for the granting of "indulgence" reminds us of St. Paul's instruction for kind tolerance in community. St. Paul says: "Show your love by being tolerant of each other." The word "tolerant" is rendered in the following ways: "bearing with" (NIV); "making allowance for" (NLT); "forbearing" (KJV); "support" (NJB).

Like the story of the husband and wife fighting, often we find even in so-called spiritual communities an arguing and fussing that is not Christlike. Persons who claim to be Christian can refuse to reflect the patient support that Scripture says is to be seen among members of Christ.

* * *

Let us assure ourselves that a true, spiritual Christian is a person who desires to live in peace with and support of her or his brothers and sisters in Christ. So, let us each pray for Christ's Presence to grace us to have the tolerance for others that reflects His Love for us.

* * *

Today, in deep, prayerful contemplation, a person who had threatened to bring me harm, arose to mind. The person was covered with Light; by a simple act of will, I was able to intensify the image of Light.

This was an act of tolerance. This was my spirit saying, in Christ, that Light is greater than any threat of darkness. I was blessing the person who chose to threaten me.

We will not live at peace with everyone, but we are to bless persons who choose to live in enmity against us; we can forgive even when there is no possibility of sharing spiritual unity.

Finally, if a person chooses willingly not to live at peace with another Christian, when he or she claims to follow Christ, that act of willfulness calls into question the person's claim to be in Christ. Yet, in this, we are not the final judge, but must leave such, finally, to the Spirit of Love, and pray for each for Grace.

Blessings! In Christ!
Rev Dr Brian K Wilcox
June 22, 2009


1. Are you willfully choosing to be adversarial, passively or actively, against someone? Do you need a change of heart in this matter?

2. Is someone choosing to be intolerant, ungracious, or hateful to you - again, actively or passively? How does Christ will for you to respond?

3. Do you enjoy spiritual community with some persons? Take time to give thanks to God for such persons by name.

* * *

*OneLife Ministries is a ministry of Brian K. Wilcox, of SW Florida. Brian lives a vowed life and with his two dogs, Bandit Ty and St. Francis. Brian is an ecumenical-interspiritual leader, open to how Christ manifests in the diversity of Christian denominations and varied religious-spiritual traditions. He is Senior Chaplain for the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office, Punta Gorda, FL.

*Brian welcomes responses to his writings or submission of prayer requests at barukhattah@embarqmail.com . Also, Brian is on Facebook: search Brian Kenneth Wilcox.

*Contact the above email to book Brian for Spiritual Direction, retreats, or workshops. You can order his book An Ache for Union at major book dealers.


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