Retired Servants Dive into the Mystic

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by C. L. “Curly “Stumb, Southern Conference, UCC

“We often forget that our Holy Creator equipped us with GPS long before we knew or used that acronym. Sometimes I call it ‘God Positional System,’ or ‘Guidance Provided (at your) Service,’” said Lerita Coleman Brown (PhD).

Brown joined Retired Servants from Southern and Southeast Conferences at Blowing Rock Conference Center, and introduced to many and explored for others the life of Howard Thurman: Mystic and Model for Contemplative Living and Sacred Activism.

As Southeast Conference member Joyce Myers Brown says, “it was a WONDERFUL retreat we experienced this week and I covet a similar enriching, inspiring, energizing, challenging experience for even more of our SEC folk in 2023!!”

In Thurman’s most famous work, Jesus and the Disinherited (1949), he offered a vision of spiritual discipline (from peace and joy), as against resentment. He deeply influenced leaders of the civil rights struggle, including Martin Luther King, Jr., Pauli Murray, Vernon Jordan, James Farmer, Whitney Young, and Bayard Rustin—about political and spiritual matters, always preferring quiet counsel and intellectual guidance to political visibility.

At the core of living a mystic life, as expressed by Thurmon’s life model, “Each person is called to help restore God’s beloved Creation.”

“In the life that Thurmond lived,” Brown explained, “the mystic yields the nerve center of one’s consent to God to a purpose or cause, a movement or ideal, which may be more important to [them] than whether [they] live or die.”

Outside of the Conference room, a rush of colorful fall foliage filled hearts. Culinary plates handcrafted in BRCC’s kitchen staff nourished and delighted bodies. And, table talk connecting old and new friends, engaging spirited journeys for soulful wanderers.