Each month we have a new spotlight on our Theme and Plate Partner.

What Does It Mean To Be A People of Wisdom?

When the topic of wisdom comes up, so do the usual images. Walls and walls filled with dusty old books. Elders with the wisdom of many years carved into the wrinkles on their faces. Diplomas framed and filling one’s office wall. Endless letters placed in front and behind your name (Dr., PhD., LCSW, JD, Rev., etc.) 

The message: wisdom is about accumulation.  If you want to be wise, you need to pile it on. More knowledge. More experience. More books to read. More gurus to follow. More degrees to get. But then words like these sneak into the conversation:

Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.   – Martin H. Fischer

 There is no need to “acquire” the knowledge of God. There is only the dropping of the illusion and forgetfulness.  – Omid Safi

 Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.   – Lin Yutang

It’s a reminder that the math of wisdom is often the opposite of what we think. It’s more a game of subtraction than addition. Often, accumulation of knowledge doesn’t get us closer to wisdom; it’s just in the way.  There’s a sorting, simplifying and stripping away that needs to occur. It’s about unknowing as much as knowing.

Just think about how deeply we get tangled up in those cultural messages about money and success. Or the way degrees, IQs tests and SAT numbers get mixed up with status rather than the pursuit of truth. Or the way political parties, religions and even science claim to have all the answers. Maybe this is why the Sufi poet Hafiz wrote:

The Beloved sometimes wants to do us a great favor: Hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out.

And with all the nonsense shaken out and stripped away, maybe what we notice most is not so much the pearls of wisdom themselves, but the sources of wisdom we’ve forgotten.

When reason and logic hog the spotlight, the wisdom of the body rarely enters the room. When week-long retreats with the newest guru define the path to wisdom, we stop asking what our failures and mistakes are trying to teach us. When “experts” sit in the center, the wisdom of those on the margins is lost. So many untapped sources. So much wisdom waiting to be known. Makes one think that maybe the wisest question of all this month is: “Where have I not looked before?”

– Courtesy of Soul Matters Sharing Circle

Spiritual Exercise

The Best Advice You’ve Received
Wisdom is a gift. We pass it on to each other like a precious jewel. None of us want others to make the same mistakes we did, so we generously share our advice. In other words, wisdom connects us. It’s not just something we collect to uplift ourselves. It’s something we pass on so we can all make it through together. Or to put it another way, wisdom and kindness are more closely linked than we acknowledge.

To honor this, we’re invited this month to remember the wisdom we’ve received. To help, we’ve assembled some awesome videos and articles to jog your memory.

Here are your instructions:
1. Make time to meditate and reflect on the videos and articles below.
2. Let them take you back in time to the best advice you got from others.
3. Then, out of all those memories (and pieces of advice) pick the one you think is most relevant to you currently. Pick the one your life right now needs you to remember.
4. Come to your group ready to share your journey.
Add Ons:
Make this exercise richer by asking someone close to you about the best advice they received. Maybe even interview a few folks. It’s not only a great way to help them remember the gifts of wisdom they’ve received, but it’s also a sneaky way for you to get some more great advice passed on to you!

You might also listen to the videos for new wisdom you need to hear. As you watch and listen, ask yourself, “Is any of this advice, the wisdom I need right now?” Must Watch!
1. Best Advice You’ve Received 
2. The Most Important Lesson You’ve Learned
3. How to Age Gracefully 
4. 12 Truths I Learned from Life | Anne Lamott 

Questions for Reflection

1. Who is the wisest person you know? Which of their lessons might be worth remembering today?
2. What’s something you know now about wisdom that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?
3. How much do you trust the wisdom of your intuition?
4. Whose wisdom most often leads you on your way? The wisdom of your head? Your intuition? Your heart?
5. Have you learned more from calm introspection, listening to wise ones or surviving one of life’s storms?
6. What piece of nonsense did you hold on to the longest?
7. What was the wisest decision/choice you made as a young adult?
8. What was the wisest decision/choice you made as a parent?
9. When do you wish you had been wiser about love?
10. It’s been said, “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” Which of your problems, messes, mistakes or pieces of pain just never seems to go away?
11. What one piece of advice do you wish you hadn’t ignored?
12. What has been the most unlikely source of wisdom in your life?
13. When did you first feel wise?
14. When was the last time you were wise enough to admit, “I don’t know”?

CATCH of Ada County was officially launched in January 2012, and receives steady partnership from several local congregations of faith, and area businesses.  CATCH, Inc. founder and director, Greg Morris, developed and implemented the original CATCH pilot program in 2006 while working for the City of Boise.  Under Greg’s leadership from 2006-2011, the program grew and received national recognition for its innovation.

CATCH, Inc. was established in 2010 to support staff and programming in both the Boise and Canyon County programs.  On September 1st, 2011, CATCH, Inc. purchased its current facility at 503 Americana in Boise to keep pace with the growth and capacity of the program, as well as maximize efficiency.  With over 2000 square feet of warehouse, CATCH of Ada County staff and volunteers are able to manage (onsite) all furniture and household donations for participating families.  Shortly after the building acquisition, CATCH, Inc. separated its mission from the City of Boise and remains an independent re-housing agency.  CATCH of Ada County represents the programmatic efforts of CATCH, Inc. in Boise and Meridian.  CATCH employs a case manager at the Meridian School District offices to work with Meridian families.

All local, emergency homeless shelters refer families to CATCH of Ada County, including the Salvation Army Family Shelter, WCA, Interfaith Sanctuary, Boise Rescue Mission, and the City Light Home for Women and Children.  Additionally, the Joint (Meridian) School District and Boise School District refer families they have identified as homeless.

25% of the unpledged plate offering will go to this cause. If you want a 100% to go to CATCH, write Social Justice on the memo line of your check, or use the contribution envelopes in the seatback pockets and mark Social Justice.