Christian Spiritual Formation is a journey that is one of posturing ourselves to be awakened to the process of coming back to the true self of who God created us to be. The posturing is sometimes difficult. It can require us to be still or it can require us to step into something new because we have been still long enough. Being still requires us to let go of distractions of work, family life, or being busy for the sake of busyness. Stepping into something new requires that we let go of what feels safe and familiar. Which ever
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For the past couple months I’ve been very intentional about living present in the ordinary of life with the prayer that God will meet me there. Would like to say that I am a master at that but I am not. However, God is helping me see that the ordinary is filled with extraordinary realities. That seemed to happen a couple days while I was walking my son’s dog (how and why Joy and I have taken in his dog is another matter!). So … I was walking Jordan at Mount Saint Francis Abby where there are hundreds of
Matthew 28:9 (ESV) And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. The first word of Jesus after his resurrection is hello. He has been betrayed, beaten, abandoned, crucified, and buried. When He rises from the dead and meets the scared and disoriented women He says…hello! The Greek word for greetings is pregnant with joy and energy. Jesus has no victim mentality or revenge seeking mindset. His mindset is one of greetings and joy. His second words are “do not be afraid.” A recent study has shown
Easter weekend is over. It is Monday. Now what? I can only imagine the despair that the crucifixion brought to those who loved and followed Jesus. Saturday did nothing to change their shock, anger, and sorrow. But an empty tomb, appearances to the women and the followers on the road to Emmaus changed everything. Jesus was alive! His resurrection re-energized their lives in an unbelievable way to do unbelievable things. In her wonderful book, A Theology of the Ordinary, Julie Canlis highlights the ‘culture (and cult) of the extraordinary’ in American and many churches. The point she makes is
Brennan Manning in his book "Ruthless Trust" tells the following story. "When the brilliant ethicist John Kavanaugh went to work for three months at “the house of the dying” in Calcutta, he was seeking a clear answer as to how best to spend the rest of his life. On the first morning there he met Mother Teresa. She asked, “And what can I do for you?” Kavanaugh asked her to pray for him. “What do you want me to pray for?” she asked. He voiced the request that he had borne thousands of miles from the United States: “Pray
“And who is he sir, that I may believe in him? Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you. He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshipped him.” - John 9:36-38 This past Sunday’s gospel reading from John 9:1-41 featured a beautiful and comical account of a man born blind healed by Jesus. The disciples inquired as to whether this man sinned or his parents so as to cause his malady. Jesus corrected their bad theology by saying his infirmity wasn’t divine retribution but divine opportunity for God to be
Christian spiritual formation can be a process that is enlightening, encouraging, sorrowful, and humbling. Plain and simple, it can be “messy.” Journeying back to the true self of who God has created us to be may require going through painful situations which teach us once again that we are His beloved children no matter what. As each layer of our false self is peeled away by the working presence of the Holy Spirit within us, He reminds us over and over again that even in these times of discouragement, depression, denial, or grief, He loves us more than we can
My grandson spent the last few days with us. I always learn in his presence. This time what struck me is that his 23 month brain demands that he repeat and re-repeat whatever is on his mind. And re-re-repeat! So when he thinks of the dog he will say 'dog' again and again. When he remembers throwing bread to the ducks three days ago he says 'throw' again and again. When he wants his dad or mom you can be sure he will make that known. Some years ago Eugene Peterson wrote, "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction."
Check out the following short video illustrating the important difference between empathy and sympathy. Now ask the question which one is God? Which one are you? Imagine how the quality of our relationships would improve if we embodied this…and thus the quality of our lives. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw
This past weekend I had the honor and privilege of visiting my father who was turning 90 years old. He said he never thought he would make it to such an old age. But he is very grateful for the health that he has, the people in his life who love and care for him, and his interests that are still alive and well within his soul (he still loves to read, to paint, to work in his wood shop!). While reminiscing with him and visiting with two uncles and aunts (all are close to 90 years of