dr. capista on: studying sacred text, together

a study circlethis is day 2 of my participation in the virtual book tour of dr. joe capista’s book what can a dentist teach you about business, life and success? i’m interested in what dr. capista has to say about spirituality. yesterday we looked at his experience with retreats. today he talks about his experience with a bible study group.

if you’re not christian, please don’t run away! nobody is going to try to convert you to anything here.

listen:

i have also deepened my spiritual practices by participating in a gospel reflection group that meets every friday morning. i have attended sessions for the last few years with a group of very successful business owners, mostly high-powered men who have a diverse mix of backgrounds, experiences and religions. we connect by way of a gospel reading, which we then relate to daily life and the things we should or could be doing better.

this gospel group has been very revealing. to hear other men, who i admire and respect for what they have accomplished, share their insights is incredible. they know the importance spirituality plays in their life. their commitment to balance is remarkable. they are a group of men that hold fast to what they know. one of the sayings we have there is, “once you know, you cannot not know.”

this simply means once a truth has been revealed to you, it is difficult to act on an old behavior that is no longer in your best interest or serves your highest good. for example, in our group we have discussions about honesty in business, fidelity in our marriage, and living a life of integrity. although any one of us could act on a behavior or a moment’s temptation, we will likely choose not to. not because we couldn’t get away with something and hide something from others, it is because in our heart we would know we went against the core values we live by.

this is very rich material. for me, living my spirituality day by day, moment by moment, is something that i aspire to with all my heart. (hm, isn’t that interesting? “aspiring” is so much stronger than “trying”). it so happens that christianity is just one part of my spirituality – i’m one of those crazy christian-pagan buddhists – but i know how deeply enriching the communal study of sacred text can be. there is an additional layer of depth when this is done with people with whom you’re not “supposed” to talk about spirituality. your business partners. your golf buddy. your co-workers.

what’s it like when you risk talking about things that deeply matter to you? can you do it? if yes, what works for you? if it’s too risky, what would help you do it?

(image by flitzy phoebe)

4 thoughts on “dr. capista on: studying sacred text, together

  1. Evan

    I have had the opportunity to talk about what deeply matters to me.

    Usually it is at least listened too. Often responded to at similar depth. Occasionally people don’t/can’t relate to what I’m saying.

    What works for me is presenting it as my own experience.

    I find that the most ‘unique’ parts of our experience (the parts that are most me) are also the ones that communicate best.

    Evan’s last blog post..Less Stress and More Energy from Finishing With the Past. What I have learnt from gestalt #2

  2. Evan

    I have had the opportunity to talk about what deeply matters to me.

    Usually it is at least listened too. Often responded to at similar depth. Occasionally people don’t/can’t relate to what I’m saying.

    What works for me is presenting it as my own experience.

    I find that the most ‘unique’ parts of our experience (the parts that are most me) are also the ones that communicate best.

    Evan’s last blog post..Less Stress and More Energy from Finishing With the Past. What I have learnt from gestalt #2

  3. JohnD

    Reading this post reminds me how rare it is that men can talk together about things that really matter in their inner lives. There are so many barriers to honesty at that level among men that the closest friends tend to be those made when quite young. Most men have difficulty talking about their feelings because it reveals a vulnerability that men usually only want to share with women. Despite that I have been able to share a lot with other men in the context of special groups – a few friends off on a retreat where there is a clear intention to set aside the normal pressures and relax in a way that makes it easier to talk about spiritual beliefs, among other things. The gospels are a great focus as well. There are so many recent translations by gifted writers, Reynolds Price and Richmond Lattimore are two examples, that it’s easy to connect with the writing as powerful literature. And the simple truths of the unadorned form of Christianity as spoken directly by Christ go right to the heart. It’s a refreshing discovery after experiences of more formalized religious practice that have turned many off from the origins of this great faith. I have found the gospels a powerful occasion for sharing among normally reticent men.

    JohnD

    JohnD’s last blog post..Shame and Family Violence

  4. JohnD

    Reading this post reminds me how rare it is that men can talk together about things that really matter in their inner lives. There are so many barriers to honesty at that level among men that the closest friends tend to be those made when quite young. Most men have difficulty talking about their feelings because it reveals a vulnerability that men usually only want to share with women. Despite that I have been able to share a lot with other men in the context of special groups – a few friends off on a retreat where there is a clear intention to set aside the normal pressures and relax in a way that makes it easier to talk about spiritual beliefs, among other things. The gospels are a great focus as well. There are so many recent translations by gifted writers, Reynolds Price and Richmond Lattimore are two examples, that it’s easy to connect with the writing as powerful literature. And the simple truths of the unadorned form of Christianity as spoken directly by Christ go right to the heart. It’s a refreshing discovery after experiences of more formalized religious practice that have turned many off from the origins of this great faith. I have found the gospels a powerful occasion for sharing among normally reticent men.

    JohnD

    JohnD’s last blog post..Shame and Family Violence

  5. Nancy

    Today I spent the day with some of my fellow staff from Citizens Bank helping build a house for Habitat for Humanity. As we were hauling rebar and plywood and painting and nailing, there were lots of opportunities for talking at new levels. And in every.single.case I had a deepened respect and appreciation for the person. I wonder why we don’t talk at more meaningful levels most of the time? And I wonder: how do I increasingly become someone who is both a ‘safe’ listener, and *perceived* as a safe listener sooner rather than later?

    Nancy’s last blog post..Friday Fun 2: this just in – a great quote by Mr. Warren Buffet about swimming naked

  6. Nancy

    Today I spent the day with some of my fellow staff from Citizens Bank helping build a house for Habitat for Humanity. As we were hauling rebar and plywood and painting and nailing, there were lots of opportunities for talking at new levels. And in every.single.case I had a deepened respect and appreciation for the person. I wonder why we don’t talk at more meaningful levels most of the time? And I wonder: how do I increasingly become someone who is both a ‘safe’ listener, and *perceived* as a safe listener sooner rather than later?

    Nancy’s last blog post..Friday Fun 2: this just in – a great quote by Mr. Warren Buffet about swimming naked

  7. Beary

    I think that a lot of times men find it difficult to break that barrier of comfortability. I’ve had experience with that myself. I go to a Christian school that doesn’t exactly live up to it’s name but me and a couple of my friends are trying to rekindle Jesus’ flame in our school. But before we could even attempt to change our school we needed to change our own lives, but we were very hesitant to talk about the struggles in our lives because of the fear of being “weird” or “different”. But one day, my friend “Jack” and I met together at lunch and started an “accountability partnership”. basically we remain completely open and honest about our struggles and shortcomings and then we help set goals and keep each other accountable. Now, a touchy issue was on the subject of sexual immorality, in plainer terms “masturbation”. We sat down and I couldn’t even seem to get the words out of my mouth but he knew exactly what I was getting at. We were able to talk openly about it from then on and pushed each other to stop this practice. We even gained more members and were able to talk to them about it. Once the barrier was broken and a line of communication was set up, we grew even tighter as friends and even tighter with God. In order to get closer to others you have to go out on a limb, and thats a step few seem to be willing to take

  8. Beary

    I think that a lot of times men find it difficult to break that barrier of comfortability. I’ve had experience with that myself. I go to a Christian school that doesn’t exactly live up to it’s name but me and a couple of my friends are trying to rekindle Jesus’ flame in our school. But before we could even attempt to change our school we needed to change our own lives, but we were very hesitant to talk about the struggles in our lives because of the fear of being “weird” or “different”. But one day, my friend “Jack” and I met together at lunch and started an “accountability partnership”. basically we remain completely open and honest about our struggles and shortcomings and then we help set goals and keep each other accountable. Now, a touchy issue was on the subject of sexual immorality, in plainer terms “masturbation”. We sat down and I couldn’t even seem to get the words out of my mouth but he knew exactly what I was getting at. We were able to talk openly about it from then on and pushed each other to stop this practice. We even gained more members and were able to talk to them about it. Once the barrier was broken and a line of communication was set up, we grew even tighter as friends and even tighter with God. In order to get closer to others you have to go out on a limb, and thats a step few seem to be willing to take

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