SPIRITUAL FORMATION: Compassion by Gregory Boyle

December 11, 2014

From Tattoos on the Heart In 1993, I taught a course at Folsom Prison.  “Theological Issues in American Short Fiction.”  From the beginning, the inmates said they wanted me to teach them something.  Just not scripture.  I mentioned that I had an MA in English. “Well, yeah, teach us that,” they said. So we would sit around in the chapel, some fifteen lifers and myself, and discuss short stories.  I ended up teaching three classes of this short-story course on all three yards.  (As in most prisons in California, they have three yards: A [special-needs yard or protective custody]; B [a tough and generally wild yard]; and C [a moderately “programming” yet very high security yard].  I settled on short [...]


July 8, 2014

My favorite movie of all time is The Nun’s Story, a thinly veiled autobiography of a woman who did her best at being a nun during World War II. She is the daughter of a brilliant doctor, was raised at his knee, and grew up learning all about medicine.  Her passion was for tropical medicine. Eventually, she is allowed to go to tropical medicine nursing school in order to fulfill her dream of being an African missionary. While there, she is under a Mother Superior with very unusual ideas of her own.  There will only be room for four nuns to be sent to the Congo.  The Nun (the heroine) is sure to be one of them.  The Mother Superior, who feels deeply for all her nuns (kind of), pities one of them who is struggling through the [...]

AUTHENTICITY: Cultivating Authenticity — Letting Go of What People Think, by Brené Brown

July 7, 2014

From The Gifts of Imperfection Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier.  The way it actually works is the reverse.  You must first be who you really are, then do what you really need to do, in order to have what you want. (Margaret Young) Before I started doing my research, I always thought of people as being either authentic or inauthentic.  Authenticity was simply a quality that you had or that you were lacking.  I think that’s the way most of us use the term: “She’s a very authentic person.”  But as I started immersing myself in the research and doing my own personal work, I realized [...]