The current installment of the COEC began meeting in 2007.

We are currently on a "break," for no particular reason, and many little reasons - mostly pertaining to life circumstances. If anyone is interested in calling a meeting, feel free to post on the blog, join the google group (see link below) and send an email, or contact either Nancy (nancykj10@yahoo.com) or Jesse (schroeder.jesse@gmail.com) for more information.

To receive cohort emails, join our Google group.


Summer Devils

Hello friends -

I lament that this summer is such a busy time of comings and goings that our meeting together as a group has become more rare. You are all very much in my thoughts and prayers throughout the week, and if I am willing to slow down enough, I am often finding time to meet with many of you in the unique place-and-time that we happen to find ourselves in that day.

I don't want to let this season go by without sharing, connecting, and growing together - emerging.

About a month ago I heard a challenging interview with a poet, whom I have now come to greatly enjoy her work - Marie Howe. There was much in the interview that I enjoyed, and I shared it with more than a few of you and we have been talking about it since. But one particular section I thought I would share on the blog.

She read a poem called "Magdalene - The Seven Devils." It is based upon the character of Mary Magdalene, which it is recorded in Luke "from whom seven devils had been cast out."

I find the poem to be an arresting description of the struggle of modern life - the worries, the insecurities, the rush and the constant pull away from what I really love and what really matters.

Richard Rohr, commenting on the story of Jesus being tempted by Satan in the wilderness, writes, "We all have to start from the assumption that our path too leads into the wilderness and that we have to look exactly the same three demons in the eye: the need to be successful, the need to be righteous or religious, and the need to have power and get everything under control."

These demons are common; they are subtle; and they are powerful. My prayer is that I find small, real practical ways to confront the demons within myself during these summer months - as we are apart and as we are together.

You can listen to the author read the poem using the app below, and I have copied the poem underneath it.

Blessings friends.

"Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven devils had been cast out" —Luke 8:2.
The first was that I was very busy.

The second — I was different from you: whatever happened to you could
not happen to me, not like that.
The third — I worried.

The fourth — envy, disguised as compassion.

The fifth was that I refused to consider the quality of life of the aphid,

The aphid disgusted me. But I couldn't stop thinking about it.

The mosquito too — its face. And the ant — its bifurcated body.
Ok the first was that I was so busy.

The second that I might make the wrong choice,

because I had decided to take that plane that day,

that flight, before noon, so as to arrive early

and, I shouldn't have wanted that.

The third was that if I walked past the certain place on the street

the house would blow up.

The fourth was that I was made of guts and blood with a thin layer

of skin lightly thrown over the whole thing.
The fifth was that the dead seemed more alive to me than the living
The sixth — if I touched my right arm I had to touch my left arm, and if I

touched the left arm a little harder than I'd first touched the right then I


to retouch the left and then touch the right again so it would be even.
The seventh — I knew I was breathing the expelled breath of everything that

was alive and I couldn't stand it,
I wanted a sieve, a mask, a, I hate this word — cheesecloth —

to breath through that would trap it — whatever was inside everyone else that

entered me when I breathed in
No. That was the first one.
The second was that I was so busy. I had no time. How had this happened?

How had our lives gotten like this?
The third was that I couldn't eat food if I really saw it — distinct, separate

from me in a bowl or on a plate.
Ok. The first was that I could never get to the end of the list.
The second was that the laundry was never finally done.
The third was that no one knew me, although they thought they did.

And that if people thought of me as little as I thought of them then what was

The fourth was I didn't belong to anyone. I wouldn't allow myself to belong

to anyone.
The fifth was that I knew none of us could ever know what we didn't know.
The sixth was that I projected onto others what I myself was feeling.
The seventh was the way my mother looked when she was dying—her mouth wrenched into an O so as to take in as much air…
The sound she made — the gurgling sound — so loud we had to speak louder 
to hear each other over it.
And that I couldn't stop hearing it—years later—

grocery shopping, crossing the street —
No, not the sound — it was her body's hunger

finally evident.
—what our mother had hidden all her life.
For months I dreamt of knucklebones and roots,

the slabs of sidewalk pushed up like crooked teeth by what grew underneath.
The underneath —that was the first devil.
It was always with me.

And that I didn't think you — if I told you — would understand any of this —
Copyright © 2008 by Marie Howe. Used with the permission of the author.

1 comment:

NancyJ said...

What an awesome and powerful expression of words.

I have been chased this way
I have tried to stop listening.
I have been afraid.
I have run away,
I have guarded against,
I have fought for better.

But The underneath
Is me.

So I learned to stop running, turn around, and face these demons with courage and heart

Vulnerable and yielded, I am devoured

It is in this place God will always come

With words that bring me life.