Join us today for the Saturday Night Special with Roger Butts author of Seeds of Devotion...

In this episode Roger Butts and I talk about his book and how important interfaith work is to us today...

In tonight’s Saturday Night Special I talk with Roger Butts.  Roger is the author of Seeds of Devotion: Weekly Contemplations on Faith.  He’s been a ordained minister for 20 years and served as a Hospital chaplain for 7 years.  He enjoys tennis, reading, and music.  His wife, Rev. Marta Fioriti, is minister of Black Forest Community Church. He has three teenagers and a black lab named Gracie. We talk about his book Seeds of Devotion

Join in on the Chat below.

SNS 137: Saturday Night Special – Interview with Roger Butts author of Seeds of Devotion

[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Welcome to tonight's. Saturday night, special episode 137.

[00:00:06] Roger Butts: I'm Roger butts. I challenge you to invest in yourself. Invest in others, develop your influence and impact the world by using your time, your talent and your treasures to live out your calling. Having the ability to use prayer, to take care of yourself as key.

[00:00:26] And one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this, the inspired stewardship podcast with my friends, Scott, maybe.

[00:00:36] and I don't think God put us here to say that our path is the only path. That's just silliness Episcopalian. Friend of mine said to me, I don't think God would create all this diversity and then only speak to one part of it just doesn't mean. The book tries to be as open around that as [00:01:00] possible.

[00:01:01] Scott Maderer: Welcome. And thank you for joining us on the inspired stewardship podcasts. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent and your treasures for your true calling and the inspired stewardship podcast who will learn to invest in yourself, invest in others and develop your.

[00:01:23] So that you can impact the world.

[00:01:27] And tonight, Saturday night special, I interview Roger butts. I ask Roger about his work as a minister and a chaplain. And I asked Roger to share what that work has taught him about self care and social justice. Especially during the pandemic. I also asked Roger to share what the key takeaways are from his book seeds of devotion.

[00:01:47] Now, one area that a lot of folks need some help with is around the area of productivity. Getting not just more things done, but actually getting the right [00:02:00] things done can be really tough. I've got a course called productivity for your passion. That's designed to help you do this and then to hold you accountable and walk with you so that you can tailor productivity, not just to be getting more done, but actually getting the right things done.

[00:02:21] What's more, we take the approach of looking at your personality and how you actually look at things in the world and tailor the productivity system to your personnel. Because the truth is a lot of the systems that are out there are written really well for somebody with a particular personality type.

[00:02:39] But if you have a different approach to things, they just don't work, but there's tools and techniques and approaches that you can take that will work for anyone. And we help you do that in productivity for your passion. Check it out over@inspiredstewardship.com slash law. Roger is three Arthur of seeds of [00:03:00] devotion weekly.

[00:03:00] Contemplations on faith. He's been an ordained minister for 20 years and served as a hospital chaplain for seven years. He enjoys tennis reading and music, his wife, Reverend Marta Fioretti is the minister of black forest community church. He has three teenagers and a black lab named Gracie. We talked today about his book seeds of.

[00:03:23] Welcome to the show.

[00:03:24] Roger Butts: Roger. Oh, I am delighted to be here. Thank you so much, Scott.

[00:03:28] Scott Maderer: So in the intro, we talked a little bit about your time as a minister and serving as a chaplain. Can you share a little bit about what you've learned about faith and about people and about serving people in those roles as a minister in a church?

[00:03:46] Roger Butts: Oh, yeah. Are you sure can. Thank you for that question. I've been a minister for 20 years and I'm a minister in the Unitarian Universalist tradition and there's a wide range of thoughts and ideas [00:04:00] that are encompassed in that tradition. And so I just learned. To meet people where they are to really see in them an expression of the divine to see in them, the spark of the divine that everybody has.

[00:04:19] And I just and I just try to, I try to be as. Present and as compassionate with everyone that I meet it's really the job of a chaplain. I was seven years of chaplain. Now I'm back in parish ministry, but the chaplain is really. Called to meet people right. Where they are. And that's the best lesson I can share about ministry.

[00:04:47] And if we all had that kind of feeling of seeing God or the divine and everybody, we might have a completely different world.

[00:04:56] Scott Maderer: And as a hospital chaplain especially during [00:05:00] times like COVID what's changed. What's been the same. What? What's been different for lack of a better word. During that time.

[00:05:09] Yeah.

[00:05:09] Roger Butts: COVID changed everything. I have a chapter in my book, seeds of devotion about the first case that I had year and a half ago. And the second person who died in the county where I am in Colorado. And it was so new, no one knew what to expect. The person was prone. So face down, they were trying to help clear out those lungs and everything.

[00:05:36] And it was so brutal and the family just thought. We're wealthy. We're powerful. Surely somebody can fix this and it wasn't fixable. I would say the biggest difference is that nurses. Doctors a family's texts are all super stressed. I've walked [00:06:00] into a number of nurses rooms where they're just crying their eyes out and And the critical care unit, the nurses, there can just feel like the only thing they're doing is watching people die.

[00:06:12] And so I have a colleague, a ministerial colleague who says that her congregation, her church is working on the assumption that everybody is cognitively impaired. Everybody is Like off, because this is such a different world. And sometimes it feels like we're coming out of it. And sometimes it feels like the variants are going to come back and it's just so painful.

[00:06:40] I, my wife is a minister too, in her church. Everybody thought this fall that we were going to be back in business, back in person. Did not happen that way. And and

[00:06:53] Scott Maderer: that still remember what it was going to be two weeks.

[00:06:56] Roger Butts: Oh my God. And so the second year feels even [00:07:00] harder than the first year because.

[00:07:02] We were so hopeful that we were going to be back in the game. Nope. So I would say that working on the idea that everybody is cognitively impaired is not a bad idea.

[00:07:15] Scott Maderer: I'm not so sure that's all that bad about it, even if it wasn't around, but that's that's another conversation.

[00:07:21] Roger Butts: Generally speaking, just

[00:07:22] Scott Maderer: generally speaking having been a lot of been in a lot of.

[00:07:26] Management leadership and change management it's but that is in a very real way. That's what we're all doing. We're going through a massive. Set up change management where, and there's nobody in charge in terms of people here walking around, it doesn't feel like there's really anybody in charge.

[00:07:44] And it is interesting to observe it that way. I think that's

[00:07:49] Roger Butts: why people are responding to. Like in a church if you've got a board and a minister and a committee on a ministry or whatever, they are going to be at the front of the [00:08:00] rollercoaster. So they know what's coming. At least somebody knows what's coming.

[00:08:05] And the people in the back often feel like they're not being communicated with, or they don't know what to expect, but with. I think we're all in the back of the rollercoaster. We have no idea what the next turn is going to bring.

[00:08:19] Scott Maderer: Yeah, no, I agree. And of course, everyone also feels. Passionate.

[00:08:24] That's the word I'm going to choose to use passionate about their particular take on the situation too on all sides of the issue which we'll talk, we may talk about a little bit later too, but before I go there, I want to circle back. Cause you mentioned the self, the healthcare workers and caregivers and family and other folks.

[00:08:46] Why is it so important? And you talk about the. As well in the book about self care and about self identification and what we need as well. Why is that so much [00:09:00] a part of the message that you're sharing?

[00:09:02] Roger Butts: Yeah. My whole thing with this book, seeds of devotion is that I think that stuff happens to us.

[00:09:10] We've all seen the bumper sticker stuff happens and then. The question is how do I come to a place of meaning and peace and purpose around. This change. And so the stuff happens. And what I'm trying to teach folks in this book is how to have a prayerful attitude towards what's happened and then ask the right questions about.

[00:09:39] What can be learned, what can be what can be gleaned from this experience so that it's not just like experiences are bombarding you and you don't have any capacity to make meaning out of it. You can follow the. This process and really come to a place of prayerfulness and asking [00:10:00] the right questions.

[00:10:01] And then you begin to say, okay, I've learned some things I've learned some things. I don't know why that happened to me. I don't know why COVID happened. I don't know what this was about, but. It happened and now I'm I'm going to be at peace with it to the extent possible because I've processed it in a way that helps me like gain clarity about who I am and what I'm doing.

[00:10:28] If we're not engaging in spiritual practices or self-care self-awareness then. All these things that happen to us, we probably won't be able to get to a prayerful place and ask the right questions because we'll just be stressed and out of control. So my whole thing is when I read somebody like Teresa of Avila the mystic brilliant, beautiful person writing under so much pressure.

[00:10:58] The religious [00:11:00] authorities wanted to just bring her down and she was so smart and so clever. And she says to even begin the spiritual path, you have to begin with humility and self-awareness and self-awareness, and you get to humility by trying to keep that broken heart open. And you get to self-awareness by trying to get a prayerful attitude and asking the right questions.

[00:11:27] Scott Maderer: One of the things and I alluded to it a minute ago, but I want to circle back and pick it up is I do think we're living in a very polarized world right now. I think, and I think COVID has not caused it, but exacerbated it for lack of a better word. How does this spiritual approach and this prayerful approach, how does that help us navigate the world when it's so polarized?

[00:11:55] Roger Butts: Yeah. I have I have my last chapter in the book I've only worked in [00:12:00] politics and religion so you can't

[00:12:02] Scott Maderer: talk to anyone at a party.

[00:12:03] Roger Butts: I'm trying to get like a sex education certificate. So I can say politics, religion,

[00:12:09] Scott Maderer: religion. They're there for, yeah, there you go.

[00:12:12] Roger Butts: But the last one is the last chapter is called unstained sane and a time of great divisiveness. And and I quote someone blessed. It are the ones who have grown beyond themselves and I've seen through their separations.

[00:12:29] We're called to know that we are one we're, one people, one humanity. But in a time of polarization, I offer up these tips and they're just the tips that came to me. I don't know if they're all of them, they're not all of them, but they're just the ones that I felt were important. A lot of my friends are activists.

[00:12:49] I worked against the death penalty for a year. And Activist can become so busy and so active that [00:13:00] they forget to calm to center them. So the first bit of advice is don't hunt every rabbit, right? We we have so much information. We have so many issues. We have so many when I first started in ministry, I was like, oh, I'm going to start on this social justice issue and that social justice and I realize that.

[00:13:22] I'm an advocate against the death penalty. I'm an advocate for gay and lesbian, bisexual, transgender rights. And that was my lane. So if I try to hunt every rabbit, if I try to keep up with every bit of news, I'm going to go insane. Number two, keep with your practices. This is just what we've been talking.

[00:13:46] My wife is a minister. She walks the dog for an hour and a half every day. That's her prayer time. Yep. No, your story. Have you ever gone to a soup kitchen or something and, or [00:14:00] Whatever some do good or event. And it's a bunch of people who have been doing it for 40 years and they're grouchy and mean to the clients.

[00:14:09] And like ran, they've forgotten why they're doing it and what they're doing at four. And they've lost their way when we know our story, we know why we're doing things that we know what the purpose is. Keep your eye on the vision. Keep your eye on the vision and stay connected to the other.

[00:14:30] This might be the most important one. And a democracy. There are no animals. Jesus was like, love your enemies, but in a democracy, there are no enemies. There are people with different ideas about how to go about things, but in a democracy, there are no enemies. And so when we stay connected to the other, then then we can keep a sense of humility.

[00:14:54] Self-awareness Thomas Merton's told us once and for all. Life is this [00:15:00] simple we're living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time. When we come with that perspective, we can engage with people who have different opinions than we do.

[00:15:14] Scott Maderer: Yeah. It's, I'm fond of saying that oftentimes we actually are trying to go to the same place.

[00:15:22] The argument is about how to get there. It's like going on a road trip and I want to take the highway, so we make good time. I want to go across country so we can see the sites they both want to get to the destination. The argument is. How are we going to get there?

[00:15:37] We can pretty passionate about how we're going to get there, but really that is usually to the most part that's I've met very few people that are like, no that they're against certain things. Take death penalty as the issue, as it issue.

[00:15:55] It's not that people disagree about. That there's crime and there's [00:16:00] bad things happen. And that we need to do something about. It's just is killing someone. What we need to do about is that's the argument. Is that the answer? Yeah. And death penalty is one that I personally have taken a long journey from being pro to now being against.

[00:16:14] So it only took me about 25 years to figure that out. Well, everybody is on that's the thing is everybody's on their journey and as long as we can hear each other and the speech and be compassionate we'll have a chance. Would you like me to read a piece about sure. About how I approach ministry?

[00:16:34] Roger Butts: Absolutely. Especially chaplaincy. So this was after I went to see this a nurse called me when I was working as a chaplain and said there's an old, there's an old woman. She's going to go to hospice in a couple of days. Her family went home to. Her family went home to get some rest and she's in there and she's [00:17:00] confused.

[00:17:00] And so she was in there saying the Lord's prayer and I joined with her, but this is the prayer that I wrote after that, about what it's like to walk into somebody's room and just not knowing what you're going to find. First walk gently. You're entering into the great mystery sorrow regret, anger, grief relief.

[00:17:27] You never know what you'll find. You may as well walk gently into that room, which will likely be dark and quiet. Second talk gently the dead dream and the survivors due to they're in a fog or out to sea or in the deep woods, pick your image, but talk gently that mystery will one day be you and yours.

[00:17:48] Third act gently. Your gentleness will invite whatever needs to happen. If at all possible, make it to the wife, husband, mother, child hardly knows your. Listen, gently [00:18:00] listen with your eyes and your ears, and mostly your heart. The stories will come be there to hear them stories. Remind the wife that she is still alive and is alone and is not alone all at once.

[00:18:12] Be the spirit or Jesus or Mohammad or the Buddha. Pick your guide and be that person Mary Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton and matters. Not of course you are the best option, so be you and all your quirky, unexpected, beautiful, flawed, perfect essence.

[00:18:33] Scott Maderer: Thank you for that. And that kind of brings to the next point.

[00:18:37] You just referenced Mohammed and Buddha. And of course you're a Christian minister chaplain. Why do you think pulling from these other faith, traditions, interfaith work looking at other spiritual traditions, why do you think that's important right now? And how do you think your book helps facilitate.

[00:18:58] Roger Butts: It's important [00:19:00] because we're all brothers and sisters and kin, right? We're all tied up in this network of mutuality. So if I'm friends with the rabbi across town the rabbi is going to bring different perspective. If I'm friends with the mom's going to bring different perspective, but we all hold each other.

[00:19:23] We all hold each other and and love and friendship. And so that's number one, number two, in a divided time, we need unity. And Jesus Jesus was hanging out with all the wrong folks. Oh yeah.

[00:19:43] Scott Maderer: I have to point out the people that Jesus probably wouldn't hang out with. Most of us that are sitting at church, she'd be down the road at a homeless shelter.

[00:19:52] He wouldn't be here.

[00:19:55] Roger Butts: Exactly. And I have things to learn from my Buddhist friends and [00:20:00] my Muslim friends and my Jewish friends, my atheist friends. And. It just keeps me humble and open oh yeah. I probably could be wrong about that. And I don't think God put us here to say that our path is the only path.

[00:20:17] That's. Silliness and Pisco paleon friend of mine said to me, I don't think God would create all this diversity and then only speak to one part of it just doesn't make sense. The book tries to be as open around that as possible. So that look when we pray. So a lot of this book is about prayer and the prayers, I think are the best part of this book.

[00:20:44] And when we pray the images that we use for God, Are important. And if God is pissed off all the time and mad at us and telling us that we're shameful and godawful and [00:21:00] de-humanized, then we're go around feeling pretty bad about ourselves. But if we embrace an image that is full of grace and mercy and compassion and love, then we'll be that we'll grow into that.

[00:21:16] The images that I use for God tend to be all over the place. And especially when I pray because grace is important.

[00:21:24] Scott Maderer: So one of the questions I like to ask, all of my guests is about this. Oh, my brand is stirred. Oh no this is the easy one for you. The next one's the hard one. So this, my brand is stewardship and that's a filter that I talk about things through and look at things through.

[00:21:44] So what does the word stewardship mean to you and what does its impact bid on your own?

[00:21:49] Roger Butts: As a minister stewardship is obviously once a year in the fall, we think about the next year's budget and we think, how are we going to fund all of this? [00:22:00] But stewardship for me is My joke is I've tried to reclaim the world, the word stewardship from we're starting a building campaign, please.

[00:22:10] Scott Maderer: Everyone give, which is you're right. That's code for stewardship in many churches, but not

[00:22:15] Roger Butts: that's exactly it. And and so stewardship for me is each one of us has. A little part of creation. I live in Colorado Springs and I get to see Pike's peak and garden of the gods and all this beauty every day of my life.

[00:22:34] And it's amazing. And I'm this little part of creation I want to be. As respectful and as nurturing and sustaining as I can be. So that's what I think of as stewardship is like my little part of the world. What am I going to do to help cultivate it and sustain it and make it better than when I [00:23:00] found it.

[00:23:00] Scott Maderer: So now the hard question her released what everyone always tells me. It's a hard question. Let's say I could invent a machine today. And I can grab you from where you are and transport you to a hundred, to 150 years in the future. And magically, you are able to look back on your whole life and all of the impacts, all of the connections, all of the ripples that left you've left behind.

[00:23:24] What impact do you hope you've left on the world?

[00:23:26] Roger Butts: I hope that I helped people. I hope that well, Hey, I hope that I that we come to a world without the death penalty. That's number one. Number two that we move towards the beloved community, the justice, equity, inclusion, diversity, all that stuff.

[00:23:45] But in my own little way that The people that I encountered felt supported and I introduced a little bit of humor and to their world.

[00:23:59] Scott Maderer: So [00:24:00] what's coming next for you, as you continue on this journey to living out your call and impacting the world, what's on the roadmap.

[00:24:07] Roger Butts: The roadmap is I'm spending 10 hours a week at all souls, church and Colorado Springs doing pastoral ministry and then in a time of transition for them.

[00:24:19] And then I'm doing ministry. I've been called to a ministry in Parker, Colorado, which is just north of here. And and I'm going to be the minister, but the Prairie Unitarian Universalist congregation there. And then. Along with 16 or 17 others edit, I I'm writing a book editing con compiling, a book called praying the poets about using poetry as a spiritual practice.

[00:24:52] Scott Maderer: Awesome.

[00:24:53] So you can find out more about Roger over on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook as Rodney. [00:25:00] But B U T S. He's also active on his website@kimcontemplateoflight.org. Roger, is there anything else you'd like to share with the LR?

[00:25:11] Roger Butts: I want to leave you with a blessing from the book. Would that be okay?

[00:25:15] Absolutely. May life surprise you too. May a sense of grace come out of nowhere in the middle of your daily tasks, may a sense of peace. Find you in the unlikeliest of places, may a sense of courage and renewal find you may. God's love surround you and may a gentleness or returning quietness and a restoring stillness be with you now.

[00:25:38] And always a restorative wholeness is yours to claim and embrace and may faith hope and love be your conscience. Companions God, bless your day. Amen.

[00:25:49] Scott Maderer: Thanks so much for listening to the inspired stewardship podcast as a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen, [00:26:00] but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoyed this episode. Please do us a favor. Go over to inspired stewardship.com/itunes rate.

[00:26:16] All one word iTunes rate. It'll take you through how to leave a rating and review and how to make sure you're subscribed to the podcast so that you can get every episode as it comes out in your feed until next time, invest your time. Your talent and your treasures develop your influence and impact the world.


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I don’t think God put us here to say that our path was the only path.  I don’t think God would create all this diversity and yet only talk to one part of it. – Roger Butts

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