Closer to God, Closer to Each Other

In this interview, Beth Richardson describes an unforgettable image from Dorotheos of Gaza, a desert monk and saint from the sixth century.

Beth Richardson is a United Methodist clergy person and the managing editor of the Weavings journal and Alive Now magazine as well as the Director of Creative Content for The Upper Room. A photographer and writer, she is the author of Child of the Light, The Uncluttered Heart, and most recently, Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings

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Imagine The World Is A Circle

Use the image from Dorotheos of Gaza that Beth Richardson discusses in the Encounter to reflect on what it means to live in community.

In the Encounter, Beth Richardson describes an image that Dorotheos of Gaza used to describe to his students the importance of growing closer to each other in their spiritual journey toward God. Here is the saying from Dorotheos:

"Imagine that the world is a circle, that God is the center, and that the radii are the lives of human beings. When those who wish to come closer to God walk towards the center of the circle, they come closer to one another at the same time as to God. The closer they come to God, the closer they come to one another. And the closer they come to one another, the closer they come to God." (Instruction VI)

Using ideas from Beth's interview and the saying from Dorotheos of Gaza, reflect on your own experiences with community. 

  • Why do you think it is important to grow closer to others when trying to grow closer to God?
  • What does it look like to live in community? How can living in community allow us to connect with God in deeper ways?
  • How does this image help you understand the connection between your personal relationship with God and your relationship with other people?


What You Do Matters

What would you like to do next with Closer to God, Closer to Each Other?

Take Action

Conflict Resolution

This Action provides ideas for conflict resolution -a common issue within communities.

Living in community does not free us from conflict. No matter what community we are a part of, there will be some kind of conflict. But finding ways to address this conflict is paramount to the health of a community. Use these tips below for conflict resolution within your communities. 

  1. Respect is a priority. When engaging in conversations that involve controversial topics, make sure to use diplomatic and thoughtful language.
  2. Separate people and problems. Keep in mind that often, people have valid reasons for having different opinions. If you work on separating people from problems, it is easier to work out issues without damaging relationships.
  3. Acknowledge different interests. Sometimes it helps to try to understand the "why" behind why someone offers a certain opinion when talking about difficult topics.
  4. Listen, then talk. It's important to make sure that every person within a group discussion feels heard and knows that their opinions are valued.
  5. Be open to compromise. To be successful in situations involving conflict, it is imperative to remember that our ideas are not always the best and that there are always many different possible solutions. 

What You Do Matters

What would you like to do next with Closer to God, Closer to Each Other?

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