Fall Conference in England
I attended my first England conference this fall. Dorothy Holden picked me up at the Manchester airport and drove me through the beautiful English countryside to the conference center in the small village of Castleton.
After getting acquainted at dinner we moved to the conference room for our Friday evening discussion. We spent the night talking about suffering and how it leads us to choice. Bill W, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, once said that pain is the touch stone of all spiritual progress. This is true because pain can force us to exercise the supreme faculty of our personhood: our capacity to choose. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled, has said that life is difficult and is made up of pain and problems. "The tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the primary basis of all human mental illness".
So we either face our problems and make appropriate choices or we begin to become emotionally unhealthy. During this discussion some of us began to admit that we had not exercised our choice properly when confronted with pain and thus we had become unhealthy, and some saw that not exercising choices is a choice itself. What is our response to pain and problems? It became clear that our first and most important choice is what we believe about ourselves. Are we our feelings of depression, fear, anxiety and failure? Or, conversely, are we eternally joined to Christ and therefore Light, Life, Power and Peace in the midst of devastating circumstances. The choice is ours. Are we victims of circumstances or are we really Christ in our human forms?
Saturday was spent on individual sharing. As specific questions and problems arose, we were able to apply the truth of the previous evening. As the 12-step movement has discovered and insists upon, rigorous honesty is the prerequisite to appropriating the truth of who we are in the particular areas of misuse in our lives. As person after person dared to be honest, we all greatly benefited from the help and support they got from the group.
Saturday evening Meryl Langley, Sanda Cooper, and I spent time with some of the young people and discussed their pain and temptations. Peer pressure among these young folks seems to be a common problem across the ocean as well as in the U.S. It became clear that a bold witness of the truth can alleviate the temptation into misuse, and as with their parents, a firm choice as to who they are in the face of problems immediately sets them on the tight path.
Our final discussion on Sunday was about pride. I spoke of my personal experience with this sin. It is a poison. Pride is the first of the seven deadly sins for a reason: it assumes there is an independent human self that has either extra good or extra bad qualities. Of course there is no such thing as an independent human self, but only a neutral human self that expresses the good qualities of God or the evil qualities of Satan.
So when we think we are better or worse than others we are really seeing ourselves as more than just a neutral vessel to contain Christ. This lie of seeing ourselves as more than a vessel gives Satan an opportunity to masquerade as us: sin.
This was an excellent conference of honest sharing and teamwork as Christ expressed Himself perfectly through each one in the service of one another. We left feeling cleansed and ready to see each other again as soon as possible. We look forward to renewing the links we formed at the British Easter conference.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 9 No 1
- The Missing Truth
- From Faith to Substance (Thought, Word, Deed)
- What to do when your life resembles Alphabet Soup! One Woman’s Answer
- What Makes God A Person?
- Fall Conference in England
- THE MAILBOX A Mask Ripped Off
- Daring To Believe
- Learning Acceptance
- Offering Support
- The Deep Things of God
- Encouragement From Afar
- Powerless Over Alcohol & Life: Steps 4 and 5
- Update From Boone
- From Bondage to Freedom: A Journey Into the Light
- Moments with Meryl
- Editor’s Note