Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Postcards from Claremont #14 – Thankfulness (Bruce Epperly)


In this, his 14th postcard from Claremont, Bruce Epperly, in the spirit of Thanksgiving (the celebration just past), offers up words of thanks and gratitude for all who helped make his time in Claremont a blessed experience.  During this season of teaching, Bruce has been focusing on Process Theology, which he believes offers the contemporary church and world a way of engaging God's abundance.  May we all share in this word of thanks.  Now Bruce isn't finished -- he's got a few weeks to go, but I want to extend my thanks to him for sharing his thoughts and insights each Wednesday for the past fourteen weeks!

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Postcards from Claremont #14  – Thankfulness
Bruce G. Epperly

In a few days, I’ll be returning to Claremont after a few days at the American Academy of Religion Meetings in Chicago and nearly a week at home in Washington DC. Now, in the final weeks of my Claremont adventure, I have much for which to be thankful.

Gratitude is at the heart of the process vision of life.  Process theology affirms the radical interconnectedness of life.  The whole universe is involved in the creation of each moment of experience.  Our lives are created by the interplay our creativity and the impact of the environment.  This fall, my life has been a tapestry of experiences, emerging from the creative synthesis of my academic life in Claremont and my family life in Washington DC.  I have been blessed on both coasts.

As I look toward mid-December and my return to Washington DC, I am inspired by the words of Dag Hammarskjold:

            For all that has been – thanks!
            For all that shall be – yes!

Grounded in my experiences in Claremont, I confidently say “yes” to what will come. I give thanks, first of all, for the opportunity to teach at a world-class seminary and graduate school with intellectually lively and creative students, who have inspired me to explore new aspects of process theology.  I have spent time researching Jung, Buddhism, Korean spirituality, Jainism, and Jewish mysticism in response to my students’ interests.  I am grateful for excellent libraries and places to study, whether at the patio of the village Starbucks or courtyard of the Craig Building at the seminary.  I am grateful for my new seminary friends – for good Mexican food, margaritas, and coffee breaks.  I am grateful for long morning walks, listening to the morning songs of coyotes, and sunset strolls through the Claremont campuses.  I am grateful to a creative Dean, Philip Clayton, who persuaded me to come and to Monica Coleman and Roland Faber, Claremont’s world class process theologians who suggested this academic adventure.

My head has been in Claremont, and my heart has been in Washington DC.  When I’m home in DC every other week, I rejoice in playing with my toddler grandson all through the day and then putting him to sleep at night.  What joy it is to hear him call “Gabby” when he wakes up at our home and then races into my study for a new day’s adventure.  I rejoice in the smile of my youngest grandson less than six months old, walks with his father (my adult son), and lovely dinners with my daughter in law.  Of course, I am grateful for the companionship and support of my 94 year old mother-in-law. 

I am grateful to my wife Kate, first, because of 34 years of marriage that keeps getting better, a true partnership in marriage, ministry, and family.  I would not be at Claremont apart from here willingness to say “yes.”  She encouraged me to come to Claremont even though it would be a hardship for her.  She believes in my academic and professional success and wants me to fulfill my vocation as a theologian and spiritual leader in the church.   She is my biggest supporter and promoter and I am a better theologian because of her love.

So, this postcard is about gratitude; gratefulness for the graceful interdependence of life and to the divine energy that courses that through all things.  This has been a wonderful semester and so I repeat with heartfelt thanks to my Claremont students, faculty and seminary colleagues, and friends and family in DC:

            For all that has been – thanks!
            For all that shall be – yes!

Bruce Epperly is a theologian, spiritual guide, pastor, and author of twenty two books, including Process Theology: A Guide to the PerplexedHoly Adventure: 41 Days of Audacious Living, Philippians: An Interactive Bible Study, and The Center is Everywhere: Celtic Spirituality for the Postmodern Age, and  Emerging Process:  Adventurous Theology for a Missional Church.    His latest book is Healing Marks: Healing and Spirituality in Mark’s Gospel (Energion, 2012). He also writes regularly for the Process and Faith Lectionary and Patheos.com.   He is currently serving as Visiting Professor of Process Studies at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Lincoln University.  He may be reached at drbruceepperly@aol.com for lectures, workshops, and retreats.



1 comment:

Brian said...

It is good to see moral uplift in our divisive times.