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This site was last updated updated August 29, 2016.
It has been a dream of mine, ever since I first heard her speak at a Richard Rohr Conference three years ago, to bring Sister Dr. Ilia Delio to Houston. That dream will come to pass on November 19 and 20 of this year. Registration for this event is now open and you can register by clicking here.
The talk I offered this week in Ordinary Life, The Divine Invasion, builds on the one of last week. Unknowing - An Acquired Taste. Last week was about one side of the mystical journey into wholeness. This week's talk is about the other side of the coin.
The talk in Ordinary Life, "The Power To Name 'What Is'" contains, among other things, my assessment of how the United States has developed and is affected by our being, collectively, a Type Three on the Enneagram. This makes knowing, hearing and speaking the truth difficult.
The podcast, "Learning to Tie Our Spiritual Shoelaces," contains among other things, my reflections on the culture that permits and responds to things like the Orlando Shooting.
Also, on my personal website is a posting about one of the most important films I've seen in ages. Please watch it.
Though I did not know about the horrible mass shooting in Florida when I wrote or gave the talk for this week in Ordinary Life, I did refer to the cultural mind-set that allows us as a society to focus on matters that don't matter at all while ignoring the conditions that lead to such tragedies. We seem to imprison ourselves in so many ways in our effort to feed "the hungry ghost." You can read more in this week's podcast.
Ilia Delio is coming to speak November 19 & 20. Save the date. It was almost two years ago when I first heard her and was absolutely blown away. My dream then was to have her come to Houston and speak at St. Paul's and to Ordinary Life. You can read more about her by clicking here.
She has written many books. If you are looking for something to add to your "spiritual practice" reading, I recommend "Ten Evenings With God." You can also do a search for her on YouTube and find out what a treat you are in for.
We will begin a registration process within the next few weeks. St. Paul's and the Kerley Endowment is partnering with the Hines Center for Spiritual of Christ Church Cathedral in this event. I am more pleased than I can say that we are able to do this. Stay tuned. I will keep you inform via this site and the weekly e-mails that go out to the Ordinary Life list as to when registration will begin. We are going to have a limited space available for this event. . Then, she will speak to Ordinary Life on Sunday. Plans are being made for a Saturday night even at the Hines Center.
This week's talk, "Not Dying Is Not the Same As Living" I mentioned a chapter of a book I am reading, "The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram" and commented that it had one of the best explanations I have read of how we get separated from our True Self. You'll find a pdf of that chapter under the menu item "Resources for Spiritual Practice." I believe you will find this useful.
The talk in Ordinary Life, "Not Being Had by What We Have," is relevant to the current economic mood being played out in the current political arena. I hope you find it useful.
The talk, "We Need Not Fear Or Be Blinded By the Past or Distracted by the Future," is, I hope, relevant to the current atmosphere of fear and divisiveness that is afoot in American culture. The skill of living in the present moment is a great antidote to fear. I used a powerful, to me, teaching from Thich Nhat Hanh to make my point. And, some singing! But, you can only get that by going to the podcast page and listening to the audio.
If you are new to Ordinary Life, the talk Taking a Different Direction in Returning to the One Who Made Us Who We Are, contains a smidgen of review of the past couple of talks and also the reason I'm using the Gospel of Thomas. This is for those who might have just joined in on the Ordinary Life journey.
One of my commitments is to contribute to religious literacy. I also want these teachings to provide a container in which the people who hear or read them become happier, less anxious, more loving and more fulfilled.
Just as it has taken me twenty years, at least, to come up with my definition of what exactly is a "spiritual practice," so also has it taken me as long to come up with what I think are the two essential "faith questions" we need to be mindful of. You will find them at the conclusion of the talk - Don't Worry. Be Happy. You can find the talk, the funny presentation slides and the audio version on the Podcast page.
Ordinary Life is now officially affiliated with the Reconciling Ministries Network. If you would like to know more about this orgaization, click here.
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Ordinary Life creates a crucible in which people can
deepen an awareness of who they are,
develop relationships with others,
grow in spiritual intelligence,
make a difference in the world.
Ordinary Life meets at 9:45 Sunday mornings on the campus of St. Paul's Methodist Church, 5501 South Main Street, Houston, Texas. All are welcome.
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These are exciting times! I sense that we are being called into a future that requires a wider consciousness and deeper exploration into wisdom and understanding. The vision and mission of St. Paul's, the church that makes Ordinary Life a possibility, is all about being more inclusive, inter-faith and deepening spiritual understanding and awareness. Ordinary Life is a part of this vision and mission.
You will notice that an archives link has been added to this site. This will enable those who so desire to seek specific presentations made in Ordinary Life and view either the text or listen to the audio.
If we are to be open to wise and useful teachings that lead us to grow in wisdom and compassion, we have to move beyond the world of words and ideas, though they are useful, into a world that cannot be contained or constrained by words and ideas. I know that sounds paradoxical and contradictory. That is precisely the point. Dualism is useful, indeed vital, but only up to a certain point. We can use dualistic thinking to take us to the edge of wisdom and understanding but then something else is needed. That is one of the reasons I have started teaching more about mysticism.
About Seeking To Embody the Spirit of a Revolutionary Mystic
At the beginning of my undertaking to offer spiritual teachings, my goal was to combine insights from the field of psychology (understanding how the mind works) and spirituality. I will continue to do this.
After 9/11, however, my teaching took a turn in the direction of wanting to point out the dangers and errors of fundamentalism. Tribalism and tribal understandings of religion is the major cause of the divisions and divisiveness in the world today. Consequently I spent considerable time trying to contribute to religious and spiritual literacy by talking about the “Jesus of history.” What did he really say and do. I will continue to do this.
Now, however, I am undertaking to teach more about “mystical Christianity” and mysticism in general. I am using the relatively recently discovered Gospel of Thomas as a guide for my talks. There are many excellent books on the Gospel of Thomas. One that I recommend is “The Gospel of Thomas: Wisdom of the Twin” as translated and with notes by Lynn Bauman (second edition.)
This emphasis in my teaching seeks, among other things to move us from levels of information to arenas of wisdom, from knowing to experiencing, from dualism to non-dual ways of seeing ourselves, each other and the world.
Since one of the things the new series is going to be able has to do with psychological and spiritual development, you might want to check out some models for ego and self development. You will find them on the Extraordinary Matters page. Also be sure to check our Rohr's concept of "the Cosmic Egg," go to
A new blog page has been added to this site. It will be devoted to teachings about having a "daily spiritual practice."
The Ordinary Life class has generously supported many endeavors over the years. One of these is the Global Aids Interfaith Alliance. Recently we received a full report of what your contributions do. See the recent post under Extraordinary Matters
No matter who you are, no matter where you are on your spiritual journey, you are welcome in Ordinary Life..
Dr. Bill Kerley
I like to think of myself as someone who knows the principles and practices that people can use to enhance and enlarge every aspect of their lives.
What is "Ordinary Life" all about?
Every dissatisfaction we have with our lives is a result of a conflict between what is actually true and what we believe to be true. When we learn to give up beliefs about how life "ought to be", we are given brand new possibilities for living life as it is - right then and there!
This "letting go" process is not easy because we have spent a lifetime coming to believe that the life we want/deserve is "out there" somewhere. Or, we have come to believe that because of certain events and experiences in our past, our lives are destined to "be" a certain way.
Among other things, the Ordinary Life class will focus on:
• What it means to be alive and aware.
• More on the gospel of Jesus than the Jesus of the gospels.
• More on being the way than the way to be.
• And on the principles and practices we can put in place in our lives to experience these things and not just know about them.
This is not a class for the faint of heart but for those who are willing to be involved in the journey to wholeness by living life as it is, for those who are willing to have the courage to be themselves. If you are interested in these benefits, this could be the class for you.
We meet at 9:45 a.m. on Sundays at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Fondren Hall, second floor of the Jones Building.
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