Let your life speak!


A life where belief and practice come together.

A life where words and actions become one.

A life where soul and role are an integrated whole.

A life that is rooted and grounded, connected and whole.


What Is A Core Belief?


  • Is it scientifically proven fact? For me, the answer is “no”.
    • A core belief may or may not be provable.
  • Is it claiming the truth, that I am right? The implication being then that anyone that disagrees with my rightness is then considered wrong. For me, the answer is “no”.
    • My core beliefs are not a matter of right and wrong for others. They are a matter of personal / divine conviction in me.
  • Is it something that becomes etched in stone? Irretractible, irrevocable, unquestionable? For me, the answer is “no”.
    • If I know something for sure, I can no longer learn. I believe there is absolute truth AND that I must spend a lifetime seeking and learning. Because “now we see through a glass darkly.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
  • Is it something that someone else tells me is so? Is its source external? Or internal? Does it come to me second hand? Or through direct encounter?
    • It comes as a direct revelation within me . . . as a still, small voice that resonates deeply and unmistakably (1 Kings 19:11-12)

For me, a core belief is something that drives me forward. It puts my life in order and makes some sense out of the chaos. It is a guidepost. And as it comes into play within me, it is also expressed and reflected in everyday actions, reactions, and interactions; giving authenticity, integrity, and wholeness to my life. Core beliefs take anchor within my soul in such a way that they make an indelible mark on my heart.

They change me. They change my heart and my understanding of everything. They give me “new eyes” with which to see.

Core beliefs give me something to stand on, to speak out from; something from which to guide my life.

This indelible mark on my heart leaves me with an outward, visible response to this world’s culture and the core beliefs that create it.

A whole culture or religion or individual can adopt a set of core beliefs that do not “fit” with creation and universal good for all of creation and mankind. This then can create a lifestyle and / or a culture that is destructive. Actually, there is a clear element of destructiveness in every culture. As we define our core beliefs to be life-giving, our expression of those beliefs become our response with which to take a stand against this destructiveness and become an example of what is true and life-giving; salt and light.

Far too often, rather than take a stand in response to a destructive culture, Christianity has become areflection of culture, in a sort of symbiotic or codependent relationship where the culture (through materialism and power) has given a sort of sustainability to religion (its edifices and authority); and religion (through turning away or acceptance of destructive practices) gives culture and government its blessing; easing its guilt.

Here are two examples:

  • Even though we all know that war is not a solution to any problems on earth, government captures the hearts of a small segment of the religious community and can then go to war with a “clear” conscience.
  • Even though we see that materialism, greed, and consumerism uses up and destroys the resources of our earth, religion allows the greatest consumptive holiday be the birth of Jesus; and even participates in it.

If core beliefs resonate with the divine purpose we are granted, then they probably will not change, although we must always remember our frailty and be open. They will deepen. As they deepen, our response will strengthen . . . giving an answer for the hope that is within.

When I use the word “God”, my intention is not to define God. When I grasp for a word to identify that which is within us AND that which is greater than us, every word comes up short.

So, when I use the word “God”, I’m referring to that which is beyond . . .

Beyond that which is immanent AND beyond that which is transcendent.

Beyond that which is in all and through all, connecting all things, AND that beyond that which is the force behind all of creation; whose image we reflect.

Beyond that is just “IS”, fully present AND beyond that which is eternal.

Beyond that which is total mystery beyond comprehension  AND beyond that which is engulfing and overwhelming love .

Beyond that which is the Source of all love and life.

Beyond that which is not derived from nor captured by human imagination, human thought, nor any human construct such as words or theological systems.  As soon as we have defined or captured the essence of the divine in words, we have recreated the divine in our image; something humans and their religions do on a regular basis; a degradation of that which is sacred.

“God is too big to fit in my head . . . but nothing is too big to fit in my heart.”

“God is too big to fit in a book . . . but nothing is too big to fit in my heart.” (Bruce Cockburn)

Below is a statement of core beliefs from which I can “let my life speak”; a life that is on a path of becoming integrated and authentic, rooted and grounded, connected and whole.


Core Belief:


There is “that of God” in each person.

Not just believing this a little, but total belief . . . fully living it out.

Can “that of God” live in my enemy?

If I believed this, would war be possible? Or would peace reign?

What if we really believed this?


How Does This Core Belief Express Itself In My Life?


What is my response to someone I don’t like? What is my response to a person with a lifestyle I don’t like? What is my response to those that are mean? What is my response to my children, my co-workers, my friends? What is my response to conflict?

What if I really believe this about every person? How would this change my driving? My thinking about others? My tolerance? My compassion for people? My generosity?

What if we really believed “that of God” is in my children, talking to them and guiding them? What would my task as a parent be then?

Teach them to be still and listen.

Teach them through words and actions to trust their inner teacher.

If we truly believe this, then we each have an Inner Teacher, an Inner Light that guides us into all truth. Do we trust “that of God” more than that of man’s teaching? What about theology? What about professional ministers? What about counselors? How do these roles all change?

Do we truly believe this? OR DO WE ONLY SAY WE BELIEVE THIS? Only as far as it does not demand a change in my life?

As we seek truth . . . only then can we speak truth.


Core Belief:


Having “that of God” within means that each person has an Inner Teacher, Inner Light, a still small voice within. Each person’s responsibility is to listen and wait on guidance from within.


How Does This Core Belief Express Itself In My Life?


What is my response to diversity? What is my response to those that think differently than me? What is my response to those that don’t agree with me or my beliefs? What is my response to people of other religions, agnostics, atheists?

If I truly believe “that of God” lives in each of us as our Inner Teacher, how does this change our interaction with each other? What if they say something that I think is “wrong”? How do I react then? What if I think their actions are wrong? What if I think their belief is wrong?

Do I believe God’s leading in that person? Or should I take over leading that person???

Do I trust God? Or do I take over teaching them?

What is then my core message to them?

It becomes, “Listen to what God is teaching you. Listen . . . and be true to his teachings . . . to your inner light.”

Results of living these beliefs:

  • No judgment needed anymore
  • Judgment is irrelevant
  • No more “being right . . . making wrong”
  • Only in this context do we find true peace
  • We carry that peace throughout the week
  • That peace affects all relationships, interactions, decisions
  • Freedom to live and let live
  • Full acceptance of all people. And all means all
  • No more discrimination. None
  • Unconditional love
  • I see God in every human being and respond to them accordingly

How does this affect the interactions of a group?

  • We listen more deeply to each other
  • We don’t spend our time drumming up what we want to say next, we just listen and trust God to give the words when it is our time to speak
  • We leave space between sharing so that we can take it in fully
  • We don’t jump in on each other’s sharing
  • We listen for God’s voice before we speak

 

Core Belief:


Every person is exactly where they are supposed to be in life.

This comes from the confidence that we are created with a divine purpose and a guiding hand on our lives.


How Does This Core Belief Express Itself In My Life?


What is my response to pain; in myself . . . in others? What is my response to being in a situation that is uncomfortable, that I don’t like, that hurts me? What is my response to being unemployed or under employed? What is my response to divorce, foreclosure, sickness, mental illness; in myself . . . in others?

We no longer wish to be in another place. Whether the grass is greener on the other side is irrelevant.  Our purpose becomes to seek what it is that we need to learn in the situation every moment. Our eyes open, our hearts open, our minds open, our will opens, and we live with open hands. Seehttp://ronirvine.wordpress.com/2010/11/26/exactly-where-i-am-meant-...


Core Belief:


Prayer and worship is primarily silence and listening. Experience of the Divine is the goal of prayer and worship. In silence, we wait on God. We know that this is the only way to seek divine guidance.


How Does This Core Belief Express Itself In My Life?


What is my response to the business, noisiness, and confusion of life? What is my response to seeking direction in life? What is my response to important decisions in life?

I seek to remove all forms of mediation between myself and the Divine. Icons, rituals, symbols, traditions, and even creeds are not necessary but rather stand in the way of worship and prayer.

Worship becomes deepening my connection to my Source, my relationship with God. This deepened connection is then carried and lived throughout the week as expressions of faith.

When I seek guidance, I do not ask others to tell me divine purpose for me. I trust this guidance will speak to my heart and lead me from within. I may seek others to hold me in the light through a clearness committee that listens to me as I seek guidance from within.


Expressions Of Belief


Does my life speak? If so, then how? What are my core expressions of belief? What is the visible evidence of invisible belief?

In the 1600s, Quakers called these “expressions of belief” testimonies.

This is how they testify or bear witness to their belief.

I must ask myself daily if I am living these expressions of belief.  Following are the expressions of belief followed by the queries I must challenge myself with every day.


INTEGRITY


What is my response to a lack of meaning in my life? What is my response to my birthright gifts? What is my response to making a difference in life? What is my response to injustices, to people that are marginalized and disenfranchized: homelessness, poverty, racism, inequality, prejudice, etc?

  • Who am I?
  • What are my birthright gifts?
  • Am I using them daily?
  • Do they define for me why I am here? What my purpose is?
  • Is my interior life in alignment with my exterior life?
  • Career: “all of the productive and creative activity a person does throughout the lifespan (whether paid or unpaid). In this sense, life, work, and the person become a seamless, integrated whole.” Has my “career” made a difference?
  • “Am I living the life that wants to live in me?” (Parker Palmer in Let Your Life Speak)
  • Do I act, listen, and speak from the heart?

 

PEACE


What is my response to war? What is my response to politics and partisanship? What is my response to personal conflict? What is my response when the integrity of another person is violated? What is my response to injustices, to people that are marginalized and disenfranchized: homelessness, poverty, racism, inequality, prejudice, etc?

Shalom: A right relationship with all things: myself, others, community, the earth, the universe, God.

  • Am I living with peace at the center? (out of a foundation of silence, listening, mindfulness, & presence)
    • Interactions (people)
    • Reactions (problems)
    • Proactions (planning)
  • Am I living with violence at the center? (out of a culture with violence at its core)
    • External violence (crime, war, domestic violence, etc)
    • Internal violence (criticism, ignoring, cliques, being better than, pride, etc)
  • “Presence is realizing that in every encounter with another human being, we do not walk away the same; we leave a changed person for the better or for the worse; am I a giver or a taker?  Is my presence life-giving?”
  • “Violence is any way we have of violating the integrity of the other.” (Parker Palmer)

 

EQUALITY


What is my response to injustices, to people that are marginalized and disenfranchized: homelessness, poverty, racism, inequality, prejudice, etc? What is my response to ALL forms of inequality . . . whether or not it is something I agree or disagree with?

  • What do I pay attention to? Do I see those that are marginalized… invisible?
  • Are they my friends? Do I express a sense of welcome to all… or just certain people?
  • Do I value the “least of these”? Am I open to their ideas? Do I solicit their input in important decisions? Do I listen to and understand their struggles?
  • Do I take a stand against injustice in any and every form? . . . no matter the cost?
  • “Friends were some of the first to value women as important ministers and to campaign for women’s rights; they became leaders in the anti-slavery movement, and were among the first to pioneer humane treatment for individuals with mental disorders, and for prisoners.” (Wikipedia: Quakers)

 

SIMPLICITY


What is my response to Black Friday? What is my response to the extreme consumption of our society? What is my response to materialism? What is my response to career advancement? What my response (and attachment) to money and possessions? What is my response to the destruction of the resources of the earth? What is my response to environmental issues?

  • Is my life/work a reflection of what is most important in life?
  • Am I using my “resources, including money and time, deliberately in ways that are most likely to make life truly better for oneself and others”
  • Am I “more concerned with one’s inner condition than one’s outward appearance and with other people more than oneself” (Quaker Testimony of Simplicity, Wikipedia)
  • Do I make enough money for my basic needs? If I make more, why do I make more? And what do I do with it?

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