february 2016 056Sound·ing (noun) plural noun: soundings

  1. the action or process of measuring the depth of the sea or other body of water.
  2. information or evidence ascertained as a preliminary step before deciding on a course of action. “He’s been taking soundings about the possibility of moving his offices.”

Our time with Alastair McIntosh was an amazing gift for many.  Thank you to Betty Spieth, Lecture Series Coordinator and our Lecture Committee for an amazing week of engagement and challenge, laughter and learning with him.

He left questions in the air…february 2016 017

What are you seeking?

What are the questions you are afraid to ask?

What are the answers that you don’t want to hear?

Where are the green, growing parts of your life?

Is this a space where it is safe for the soul to show up?

february 2016 068


He drew us to wonder…..

01e954cc254ec4360474abdbc758fbc312acd61833_00001“Sometimes the most powerful thing we can do is to express gratitude and to allow another to be visible.”

“The most important activism is the everyday connections we make with each other.”

“We though our work in Eigg had only a 5% chance of success.  It turns out 5% was enough.”

“Don’t overestimate your power.  Don’t underestimate it as well.”01b7fee1d15bee16b5f4018731b82fff6460601054_00001

What do you need to own about who you are?

“You are forgiven.  Whatever you’ve done or seen.  Now get up and get on with you life.”

“We handed out teaspoons to remind each other that even this little bit can be the beginning of turning the soil in a new direction.”

“Religion is like a trellis, upon which the vine of spirituality can grown.  It should support the vine of life, point it upwards towards the sun.”

01f79795e5ea34797a2c88f0ef53418e62525957ad_00001“I am from the Outer Hebrides.  I always take the scenic route.”

“We don’t set out to fail, but also try to avoid the narcissism that we are going to succeed.”

“Every artist knows that if we are really doing creative, spiritual work we will feel at times like we are transgressing.”

“We are tied together by a holy knot and we must live for each other.”

“Alastair is an intellectual.  You must let him find his own way.”  (Words of Alastair’s conservative pastor encouraging his parents to let Alastair go away to university.)

“God, come to my heart.”

february 2016 060


He challenged us with words from the company of other prophets and poets…

My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
So much has been destroyed.
I have to cast my lot with those who, age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world.  (Adrienne Rich)

Be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,
To parry stones
To keep you warm… (Alice Walker, Everyday Use)


“This hour in history needs a dedicated circle of transformed nonconformists. Our planet teeters on the brink of annihilation; dangerous passions of pride, hatred, and selfishness are enthroned in our lives; and men do reverence before false gods of nationalism and materialism. The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.”

—Martin Luther King, Jr.

He concluded his sermon on Sunday, February 7 with a resounding recitation of the poem “Beyond the Headlines” by Patrick Kavanagh.


Then I saw the wild geese flying
In fair formation to their bases in Inchicore,
And I knew that these wings would outwear the wings of war,
And a man’s simple thoughts outlive the day’s loud lying.

Don’t fear, don’t fear, I said to my soul:
The Bedlam of Time is an empty bucket rattled,
‘Tis you who will say in the end who best battled.
Only they who fly home to God have flown at all.

– Patrick Kavanagh

February 2016 013

Our sanctuary echoes with: “Don’t fear, don’t fear….” and the wonder of “Only they who fly home to God have flown at all.”

As one member said after the service,

“I have the rest of my life before me to try to live into that.”

Thank you Alastair, for words and calls that you have leave resounding in the air….


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