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.
A good friend of mine, Pastor Dan Braga sent along to me Andrew Sullivan's article entitled, "I Used to be A Human Being." Sullivan writes, "The Judeo-Christian tradition recognized a critical distinction — and tension — between noise and silence, between getting through the day and getting a grip on one’s whole life. The Sabbath — the Jewish institution co-opted by Christianity — was a collective imposition of relative silence, a moment of calm to reflect on our lives under the light of eternity. It helped define much of Western public life once a week for centuries —
About a month ago, my eyeglass frames with progressive lenses broke. Knowing it was time to get a check-up I scheduled an appointment instead of getting my glasses repaired right away. Unfortunately, I had to wait another week to see the eye doctor. Thank goodness for another set of glasses that I use for computer work and reading music at the piano. When the time came, the check-up revealed that my eyes would require a change on my lenses so I would need to wait about 7-10 days for the new glasses to arrive. In the mean while, we
Psalm 139: 1-3; 7 Oh Lord, You have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my every thought when far away. You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment, You know where I am. I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from Your Presence! In today’s world it seems that the human race is constantly trying to be more connected with others through the constant use of their phones. I’ve seen teen-agers
“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
When going for a morning walk last week I notice an unusual sight on the sidewalk. There were hundreds of dead worms. Strange. I’ve seen a few on the sidewalk before but nothing like this. I wondered what caused them to die there. After a couple miles I seem to stumble on what I thought was a reasonable answer. Worms need moisture. And we haven’t had rain in a week. Instead of doing the hard work of digging their way into the sod of the lawns they seemed to be seduced by the heavy dew that was on the
Have we lost our capacity for imagination as Christians? Have we assigned imagination to child’s play but now of course we are adults so we set aside childish ways? Imagination is about pretend, we all know that. We use our imagination for fantasy. Imagination takes us into the world of the improbable and the impossible. Adult life has to face what is real and not engage in some imaginary goose chase. So this is how many have come to think about imagination. Could there be more to imagination than what we imagine? Imagination is a faculty or capacity of the mind. We all use our imagination.
“Christianity is to have one’s body shaped, one’s habits determined, in such a manner that the worship of God is unavoidable” (Stanley Hauerwas). A spiritual discipline is “an activity within our power—something we can do—which brings us to a point where we can do what we at present cannot do by direct effort” (Dallas Willard). Practicing spiritual disciplines shape us so that we become the kind of person who more instinctively lives the kind of life that is pleasing to our Lord. That is to say, the change our being through our doing. They shape our souls through our
Many years ago, I memorized Psalm 37: 23 as a song. The verse reads : “The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will not fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. “ This song has played over and over in my heart and mind the last couple of weeks. I began to think about the different kinds of steps that Christ guides us to take in our journeys of spiritual formation. Some steps moving forward are small and some are moving by
One’s perspective impacts what one sees and experiences. This is not to say that a change of perspective means a change in what is true. It simply means what is true is impacting me differently. That happens in our journey of faith as well as life in general. In my last post I (Jim) noted three perspectives on the Christian faith (status, qualities, relationship) and mentioned things that influence which perspective is more ‘natural’ for us (religious background, life experiences, etc.). It seems that God uses everything about us to give us a glimpse of what we have in