I (Jim) love to travel to beautiful places. From Maine to southern California the glory of creation touches me deeply and sometimes it takes my breath away. Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs is one of those places. The rock formations and colors shout without words. From a Christian perspective, creation is a grand self-disclosure of God. So full of glorious creativity is the Triune God that we could rightfully proclaim that all of nature is the "Garden of God." But creation is not God's most profound and beautiful self-disclosure. God's most overwhelming act of self-disclosure is seen
Taken from The Relational Soul - We are relational beings because we are created in the image of a relational God. By definition, the Christian God exists in relationship as Father, Son, and Spirit. While existing as three distinct Persons they share one divine essence that is described as love (1 John 4:8). God can be love only if God exists as community. The pure love they have for each other is unconditionally giving in its character. The Father gives Himself for the Son and the Son gives Himself for the Father. The gift of themselves for the other is personified
Rivers are amazing. They can snake their way through a mountainous terrain or flow straight through level land. They can be deep and fast flowing or shallow and slow. Each seems to have its own personality. Rivers provide a great metaphor (if that is the correct figure of speech) for our souls. We each have a personality that displays itself in various ways depending on the surrounding terrain. I think of it this way. The river of me has two main contributing streams. There is the stream of my DNA, my wiring displayed in my personality. The second
Aquinas the great theologian of the of the 13the century relied upon Psalm 36:9 to guide him in his great theological endeavors. “For with You is the fountain of life: in Your light do we see light.” C.S. Lewis was a follower of Christ because he held that Jesus enabled him to see what was most real and true. God’s light enables us to see. My recent times of mediation have me reflecting on the significance of the fruits of the Spirit. Paul encourages believers to walk by the Spirit (Gal. 5:16). Walking by the Spirit arms us to
Christian discernment depends on a clear grasp of reality. Without this our perspective on life is, to some degree, distorted. A distorted vision makes discernment difficult. The options available to us from which we can choose will be skewed. This is why Christian discernment makes such a big deal of seeing what is 'really real' as best we can. How does one become sensitized to see reality well? Spiritual formation is the answer. Before moving to the positive, Christian spiritual formation makes it clear that at least 9 'passions' (as Evagrius called them) manipulate human perception and distort reality.
“Being Still” can be one of the most challenging things we do in the journey of Christian spiritual formation. In our culture, there are so many distractions. Some of them are good distractions, such as our jobs and tending to our families and friends. Others are distractions of guilt, shame, or fear that keep us from even considering “being still” much less actually “doing” it. Scripture doesn’t say to us, “Be still and be perfect” or “Be still and God will love you forever,” or “ Be still and God will protect you.” Psalm 46:10 says, “BE STILL and KNOW
“The chance you had is the life you got. . . . You mustn’t want to be somebody else.” So writes novelist Wendell Berry in his bestseller Hannah Coulter. Some time ago an acquaintance said he was tired of living “beside himself” and was longing to live "within himself." He spoke for a while about the pain that led him to live avoiding his own life in an effort to manage what was an unbearable childhood with an abusive mother. His chronic irritability, withdrawal, and outbursts of anger frustrated his wife and left his teenage children avoiding him at
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
Without the capacity to quiet and still the soul the Christian life becomes pretty much a journey of spiritualizing our neurotic and compulsive tendencies in order to feel safe.
Easter is before us--the most compelling three days of human history. Here we see God's honor inseperable from God's goodness, God's justice being fulfilled in God's mercy, God's righteousness that condemns being the love that restores by surmounting even the obstacle of human disobedience. Easter is God's resolution to God's twin decrees that humanity will share in divine life (2 Peter 1:4) and that death must fall on transgressors of God's holy law (Romans 6:23). It would be monstrous were God's decree that sin shall merit death prove to be false. Justice must prevail for God to be God.