"Whether they are called sages, masters, elders, crones, rebbes, gurus, shaikhs, ministers, or priests, teachers play an important part in our spiritual unfolding. They instruct directly and indirectly through stories, parables, koans, sermons, lectures, and personal example. They recommend readings in sacred texts, assign exercises and tasks to be accomplished, demonstrate devotional acts, and challenge us to reach the sacred fullness of our potential.
Of course, eventually in the spiritual life, there comes a point when we realize that everything we encounter and everyone we meet is a teacher. We can even learn from seemingly negative experiences such as difficulties, personal warps, enemies, suffering, illness, and death. The first step in this practice, then, is to choose to see all of life as a classroom filled with spiritual lessons. Be a lifelong learner who walks in humility and with receptivity."
-- Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
On Being Pleasantly Becobbed
Julia: How did it happen that you are now so happy and enthusiastic about seeing the universe as a living organism, critiquing mechanistic ways of thinking, trusting in a loving presence who guides and comforts and shares in our joys and sufferings, all the while being open to truth wherever you find it and committing yourself to living with respect and care for the community of life. How is it that you are now so curious about the whole of life? How did you become a better listener? How did you come to trust feelings as well as reason, without leaving critical thinking behind?
Jennifer: I was pleasantly and gently becobbed.
Julia: What does that mean?
Jennifer: I have been influenced by my teacher, John Cobb: his ideas and his example.
Julia: From him alone?
Jennifer: Oh no. He helped me become more open to all teachers. That's what it means to be becobbed.
Julia: Are you fully becomed?
Jennifer: No, not at all. It's an ongoing process.
I was intrigued by Whitehead’s concept of a relational God which cut against the grain of the traditional view of God defined by Western philosophy (and duly adopted by Western theologians). In Whitehead’s philosophy, the all-powerful, supernatural ruler of the universe gives way to the relational, transforming “poet of the world.” The traditional Greek concept of “perfect power” as “unilateral power” was turned on its head in this cosmology. Relational, persuasive power takes center stage in Whitehead’s “philosophy of organism.” So, God began to make sense again, this time as one who “dwells in the tender elements in the world, which slowly and in quietness operate by love.” (Process and Reality, 343)
But God was only part my personal “Copernican Revolution.” Whitehead’s radically open and interconnected view of the universe–a monumental break from Cartesian dualism–also made sense to me in light of quantum science. Everything began to make sense– not just my relationship to God, but to the pelicans and the tree frogs and bees. I no longer had to choose between science and religion–what a relief!
Finally, after reading John Cobb, David Griffin, and Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki, three brilliant process theologians from the Whiteheadian tradition, I was able to return to my Christian roots—albeit with a radically fresh understanding of God and the world. I even became a minister and introduced my husband, a biblical scholar, to process thought. (He ended up writing a seminal work on process hermeneutics.)
-- Patricia Adams Farmer
A few related phenomena
begriffined: to be influenced by the example and ideas of David Ray Griffin
besuchockied: to be influenced by the example and ideas of Marjorie Suchocki
bemoored: to be influenced by the example and ideas of Mary Elizabeth Moore
beclaytoned: to be influenced by the example and ideas of Philip Clayton
befabered: to be influenced by the example and ideas of Roland Faber
beclaremonted: to be influenced by the atmosphere and city of Claremont, Ca.
bewangfanned: to be influenced by the example and ideas of Zhihe Wang and Meijun Fan
beartsoned: to be influenced by the example of ideas of Rabbi Bradley Artson
bekellered: to be influenced by the example and ideas of Catherine Keller befarmered: to be influenced by the example and ideas of Patricia Adams Farmer
becolemaned: to be influenced by the example and ideas of Monica Coleman
beepperleyed: to be influenced by the example and ideas of Bruce Epperly
There are many more phenomena such as these. This is but a random list.