Three Things….

A Series for Spiritual Development 
by The Rev. Rowena Mae MacGregor
Three reasons to study The Church Cracked Open
I am a huge fan of audiobooks. Louise Penny is one of my favorite authors in the mystery genre. Her infamous Inspector Gamache is as much a wise sage and spiritual teacher as he is the head of Canada’s leading Police Agency. As many of us know who read books in a series, the places become as familiar as our own neighbourhoods; the characters as beloved as members of our families. Inspector Gamache and his village characters are such an example. Early in the series, Gamache had some advice for the new graduates of the police academy as they begin their people-serving careers. I find his advice excellent for everyone; it is especially poignant for those who employ spiritual practices as disciples for daily living. Here are three disciplines from the good Inspector in regards to what comes forth from our mouths as we seek to honor and uphold the dignity of every person. I pair this advice with James 3:5-12:
So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.
1. When preparing to speak consider: Is it kind? Nice is not always kind, but kindness is always nice. Many can put on the veil of nicety, but if veiled only, it cannot be sustained and the unkind will show through in short order. “No more can salt water yield fresh.” But kindness is authentic and true with no need for the social expectation of nicety. “Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs?” When next you feel the urge to speak to anyone (from spouse, child to stranger), ask yourself, Is what I am about to say kind? Or is what is about to come out of me a veiled nicety that I do not feel genuinely? Am I speaking from Love or do I speak from my need to be right, to justify, to make myself important, or to lord myself over the Other? When you feel Love, genuine affection, despite disagreement or distrust, then speak. 
2. When preparing to speak consider: Is it true? We often wax eloquently about things of which we know not. We parrot what others say, go along with the crowd, without doing our own research to conclude truth beyond a reasonable doubt (and there is usually a lot of doubt when it comes to veracity.) We hear something about someone and we pass it along assuming that we were correctly informed. (See point 3.) “How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire.” In truth, there is little beyond what we know within our own experience that can be said to be absolutely true. 
3. When preparing to speak consider: Does it need to be said? “I told you so,” is an obvious example of things that don’t need to be said. Observe conversations and in a non-judgmental way (only as a witness) assess for yourself what really needed to be said. I think you’ll observe a lot of unnecessary commentary. Apply this to your own speech. From our ecocentric understanding of the universe we think others need to hear what we have to say. Do they? They’ll be better off when we have enlightened them! Will they? “With [the tongue] we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God.” 
When we stop to reconsider our next verbal offering within the framework of: Is it kind? Is it true? Does it need to be said?, there is far less for us to say and far more opportunity to listen in Love. 
Thank you for reading my blog and walking with me in the path of spiritual grace; for your willingness to spend this time with me as together we learn how to see and be Christ in the world. Rowena + 
If you wish to speak with me about how to walk more deeply with God through your life in Christ please email me to set up an appointment. RMM+