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A Prayer for Election Day 2012

Oh, Creating One!

You reside within and among us all.

You reveal all Light, and revel in all Love.

You beckon us beyond Ego’s fear and violence.

You call us to our true home, where earth-loving citizens live from Heaven’s embrace.

Deliver us from pride and despair,

from tribalism and lofty rhetoric,

from anger and apathy.

May we be unrelenting in our work for true peace and true prosperity for all.

May we be bold in speaking truth about the barriers to these, wherever they are found.

May today’s results reveal our best selves, and illumine with clarity the spiritual and civic growth that is yet ours to do.

May we see in one another’s eyes the longings and hopes, the vulnerabilities and frailties that are our own.

May such knowing animate a New Creation wherever we live and serve.
For the Sake of Good News, I pray.

With vision of these already answered, I pray. 

In union with the Living Christ, I pray.

With the deeds of my life, I pray.

Blessed Be.



— Rev. Jacki Belile, CEC is an American Baptist minister and spiritual life coach at Living Well Ministries in Chicago.  She serves people of all religious backgrounds who desire to live from their best spirit (energy).   Her  special passion is building bridges of compassion and respect, which manifests in her forgiveness, self-care and LGBT-affirming programs.  She wrote this prayer in stages on November 6, 2012.



You Can Cultivate Freedom

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist.




My life as a disciple, partner, coach and minister has been changed by the principles of Energy Leadership.  At the heart of it is the reality that how we think about ourselves and the world (our consciousness) can be fueled by relatively more catabolic or anabolic thoughts.  These seven levels of energy lead to varying understandable emotional response, and can thus create a smaller or larger range of experiences in this world.  By exploring and removing our energy blocks, we make room for the natural inflow of MORE energy (spirit, I would say).  Thus, we experience and shape more peace, joy, productivity, objectivity, and compassionate connection.

As a minister and life coach I am dedicated to supporting the most grounding PRACTICES for my clients and students.  Helping with the daily practice of cultivating freedom in relationship to their thoughts and emotions is a wonderful, wonderful privilege.   I think that this is related to what some evangelical churches do well, and many mainline churches do poorly.  The mainline social gospel tradition has a much wiser grasp on the societal obstacles to justice and opportunity that we have created (“systemic ills”).  And, my heart is sometimes heavy that we lack a compelling vision of the intersection of individual freedom and responsibility with the social transformation we seek.  This model is a very promising tool for holding these two truths together for the sake of lasting change.

Created by Dr. Bruce D. Schneider, this is undergirding of the coaching philosophy of The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC).  After my previous pastorate at Grace Baptist Church, I completed this coaching program when  I launched Living Well Ministries in 2008.  I count it as one of the most nourishing and challenging blessings of my life, and am proud to serve with thousands of peers across the world who share this “toolbox” for the good of others and fulfill their own callings.


Forgiveness Changes Reality

“As I strove to forgive everyone involved, I could see the evidence of the injury receding.” –Sarah G. Hyatt in “The Science of Seeing the Real You” (Christian Science Sentinel, May 5, 2008)

What could this possibly mean?

It reminds me of the teachings in The Course in Miracles about forgiveness REALLY and ACTUALLY reversing the cause and effect scripts in our mind.

What could this possibly mean?

Sensitive stuff, and I don’t want to overstate it. If it’s a new concept to you, I really want to share the GIFT in the insight.  So if it’s challenging language, let’s take it slowly.

Basically, in my very very ACIM layperson’s terms:

Forgiveness is what enables us to live in the PRESENT.  As we proceed on the forgiving spiritual path, we grow in our ability to resist attributing our present well-being chiefly to the PAST choices we’ve made or others have made (a decade or a minute ago).

It’s in this way, that we mean that evidence of injury can recede.  I do NOT mean that we are not changed and shaped by the nexus of choices and experiences that we and others make.  Like Jacob limping away from a Divine battle or Jesus, after the resurrection, showing his scars… we may be very aware of the ways today that our thoughts and  habits reflect past experiences.  Indeed, we are embedded and interconnected with one another.  That’s the beauty of being this amazing complex and wabi sabi world of which we are a part.  Our unique present constitution is what helps us have experiences of being distinct and in process!

So, it’s not that we are not influenced but it IS about experiencing healing —  a sense of release of the ego’s lies about cause and effect.  “The evidence of injury that recedes” is simply that script about being the injured one, the victim, if that script clings mercilessly to blame and judgement about the causes and causers.  It is not the scars that go away, but our fixation on them.

Attendees of the upcoming Forgive for Life Institute (Winter 2013) will go more deeply into the Course’s teachings about forgiveness.  My current clients and students are developing more and more life-giving Energy Leadership skills.  We uncover new joys every day as we work with each other on discovering true healing and true power.  And, we are changing the “realities” of selfish scarcity, excuses, blame, and deferment which keep so many of us from our passion and our present.

Interested in more for your life?  Check out upcoming events or coaching at Living Well Ministries.  I serve people around the country who are ready to leave behind the beliefs and habits which keep them from living well in the present.  Together, we discover the Living Well that nourishes us as we “love from the Center of who we are” (Romans 12:9a).



A Future Not Our Own

This poem-prayer, often attributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero, helps me to remember and to teach a certain kind of stillness which is not passivity, a vision which avoids being ungrounded in the present.  Oh, how we all need to be reminded of the Master Builder, to think and to pray and to walk with the One who holds the future.  My clients who are leaders of any kind, especially clergy and activists working hard to make a difference in this world, especially often need to be nourished — and CHALLENGED — by these words.  I dedicate this to them, and to the older adults whom I will serve as guest preacher this Sunday.

I learned recently that Romero never spoke these words, yet they live on as Word spoken by his life.  In my sermon for Sunday (Pentecost/Memorial Day), I hope to do justice to and with this sacred text and the words of hope in Hebrews 11-12.

Thanks to Dan Clendenin for his terrific site, Journey with Jesus, where I found this text and background.  This is an excerpt from his page:


In memory of Oscar Romero (1917–1980)

A Future Not Our Own

It helps now and then to step back and take a long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of
saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession
brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives include everything.

This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one
day will grow. We water the seeds already planted
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects
far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of
liberation in realizing this.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning,
a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s
grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the
difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not
messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.

From Xavarian Missionaries:

Oscar A. Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, in El Salvador, was assassinated on March 24, 1980, while celebrating Mass in a small chapel in a cancer hospital where he lived. He had always been close to his people, preached a prophetic gospel, denouncing the injustice in his country and supporting the development of popular and mass organizations. He became the voice of the Salvadoran people when all other channels of expression had been crushed by the repression.

This prayer was composed by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, drafted for a homily by Card. John Dearden in Nov. 1979 for a celebration of departed priests. As a reflection on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Bishop Romero, Bishop Untener included it in a reflection titled “The mystery of the Romero Prayer.” The mystery is that the words of the prayer are attributed to Oscar Romero, but they were never spoken by him.


You Cannot Change the Circumstances…

“You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.” — Jim Rohn


This is a wonderfully life-giving and empowering reminder to me.  I do not hear it as piety but as prophetically wise, not as quietism but responsibility-taking, not as escapism but as incredible rigor.  My clients and students who are working on sustainable activism, biblical self-care,  forgiveness or coming out as gay or lesbian Christians are thriving because they are learning what they REALLY have charge of — their “energy leadership.”

This approach – quite suitable for Lent —  yokes self-examination with the tasks of transformation of circumstances.  It makes the interior life the starting point.

I join others from time to time in the critique of Western individualism and the corrosive impact it has had when taken to the extreme.  But I will not settle for a faith and a justice-calling that does not take seriously — reverentially — that resilience that can be cultivated only when we remember the limits of what we have charge of…

It is, I would go so far to say, GOOD NEWS.

What do you think?