Monthly Archives: February 2011

Soul Byte: The Fulness of God

The amount to which we are full of our “selves” is the amount to which we are not full of God.

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Listenings: Ordinary Wonder

While holding the “magnificence” of the spiritual life ever before us, we must remember that much of the wonder we find in the spiritual journey comes to us through ordinary things.  Symphonies are played on man-made instruments.  They don’t just … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

Soul Byte: Get Out of the Way!

A big part of spiritual formation is getting our “selves” out of the way, so the Spirit can work in us.

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The Holy Gospel: February 27, 2011 (Year A)

Read:  Matthew 6:24-34 Meditation:  “Singularity” A read through the sections of the Sermon on the Mount reveals that a lot of it can be summarized under one theme:  singularity.  Whether we are praying, fasting, or dealing with the world’s goods, … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Soul Byte: The Formative Flow

Jesus never asks us to go “for” him before we have been “with” him.  Check it out in Mark 3:14.

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Connections: David McKenna

Today, I introduce you to another one of my mentors:  David McKenna. Jeannie and I became friends with him and his wife (Janet) when they came to serve as the presidential family at Asbury Theological Seminary in 1982.  From the … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: At Your Side

The God who made you is with you.  God never walks away from anyone or anything He has made.

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Bendict’s Rule: Immediate Resistance

In verse three of the Prologue, Benedict follows his call to surrender with the reminder that such an action will be resisted by the enemies of Christ.  He calls those who would become part of the community to be “armed … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: Awaiting Our “Season”

John Michael Talbot rightly notes that sometimes the things which seem dead in our spiritual life are merely “asleep,” awaiting the return of their “season.”  Not everything in the spiritual life happens at the same time or with the same … Continue reading

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Ponderings: “The New Global Elite”

The current issue of Atlantic Monthly magazine features an article entitled, “The New Global Elite.”  It describes a growing identifiable community of what the article describes as super-rich, self-made people who are ambivalent about the rest of us—a group that is … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: Presumptions

Why do we think we can save our own souls when we cannot even scratch our own backs?

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Soul Byte: Little by Little

We journey with God step by step.  Amy Carmichael wrote, “If only the next step is clear, then the one thing to do is take it.”

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Shepherd’s Care: Configuration

We end our look at Mark 3:13-19 under the theme, “Configuration.” For some time, I used to end my teaching on this passage at 3:15.  But one day, I realized that by failing to deal with the list of the … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: No Better Prayer Than This

There’s no better prayer than this: “Lord, teach me to pray.”

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Desert Wisdom: False Spirituality

Appearances can be deceiving. Matrona knew this, and she called attention to it in these words, “Many solitaries living in the desert have been lost because they lived like people in the world.  It is better to live in a … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

Soul Byte: Holy Evaluation

We can use two questions to evaluate the authenticity of our spiritual formation:  (1) Do the discoveries I make about myself lead me further into God?  and  (2) Do the discoveries I make about God lead me further into myself?  … Continue reading

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Listenings: Magnificence!

When we live in congruence with God and the ways of God, we find that we have entered into a “magnificent” life—one that only God can create—one that only God can offer. When skeptics tell Christians to live in the … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

Soul Byte: The Two Best Prayers

The two best prayers we can ever pray are “Help!” and “Thanks!”  The first reminds us we are dependent.  The second reminds us that we are blessed.  Pray these prayers often throughout the day.

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The Holy Gospel: February 20, 2011 (Year A)

Read:  Matthew 5:38-48 Meditation:  “Love in Enemy Territory” To hear Jesus tell us to “be perfect” (5:48) sounds like he is telling us to do the impossible.  We have grown up believing “nobody’s perfect,” and even if we could imagine … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Soul Byte: What About Love?

I agree with Richard Rohr when he says that Christianity looks completely different in relation to how we answer this question, “Are you trying to earn God’s love, or return God’s love?”

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Connections: Donald Demaray

In this week’s and next week’s “Connections,” I want to introduce you to two more of my mentors.  Today, I want you to meet Dr. Donald Demaray.  He was the first person I literally “crossed paths” with on my first … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: Let the Bible Study You

It is a good thing to study the Bible; it is a better thing to let the Bible study you.  This second kind of reading is called Lectio Divina.

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Benedict’s Rule: Where It All Begins

The Christian life is a life lived in response to Grace.  Grace is always first, and always primary.  But in terms of human experience, the spiritual life “begins” when (as Benedict puts it) “you are ready to give up your … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: True Mysticism

To be a mystic is not to be “other worldly” and certainly not “holier than thou.”  It is to be conscious of God’s transforming presence in your life and to be cooperating with God so that grace may be at … Continue reading

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Ponderings: Short Cuts

I recently read an ad that came unsolicited to my emailbox.  There’s a place where you can pay money and get an educational degree in four weeks.  You can pick the one you want, all the way up to a … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: Need A Prayer?

Jesus is praying for you from heaven, interceding at the right hand of the Father on your behalf see (Romans 8:34 and Hebrews 7:25).

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Shepherd’s Care: Challenge

When the apostles had come together with Jesus, he reiterated the fact that they were meant to be sent into the world (Mark 3:14).  He extended this commission in the form of a great challenge: to preach and to have … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: The Journey

Amy Carmichael reminds us that if we can only see the next step, we must take it.  We can walk the entire spiritual path only seeing one or two steps ahead.

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Desert Wisdom: Simplification

We noted in last week’s posting that “quiet” for the desert mothers and fathers was essentially a quietness of the heart.  Exterior silence was a sign of an inward characteristic. Evagrius spoke freely about the challenge of finding interior quietness: … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

Soul Byte: True Spirituality

Jean Pierre de Caussade reminds us that true spirituality is simply doing the next thing we have to do, and doing it for God.

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Listenings: Congruence

Life did not begin the day we were born.  It did not begin with us.  As we exited our mother’s womb, we entered into a “life” that was already going on.  In this way, our physical birth is a metaphor … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

Soul Byte: Hurry Sickness

Beware of perpetual “busyness.”  The early Christians believed it was one of Satan’s best ways to defeat us.  God will not give you more to do than you can do; people will.  Do what you can to live in “the … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: February 13, 2011 (Year A)

Read:  Matthew 5:21-37 Meditation:  “From Lists to Life” Today’s lesson comes from the section in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus says several times, “You have heard it said….but I say to you….”  Clearly, he is laying down a … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: Do What You Can

Never compare your work for Christ with someone else’s.  We “die by comparison.”  Do what you can for Christ (Colossians 3:17).

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Connections: Shane Claiborne

Many of you will already know about Shane Claiborne and his ministry called “The Simple Way.”  He and his community members are part of the “new monasticism” that is rising in this country and around the world.  It is really … Continue reading

Posted in Connections

Soul Byte: Introduction

In classic Spiritual Formation the “amount” we read is not as important as the “attentiveness” with which we read.  In early Christianity, people would ask a spiritual guide to “give me a word that I may live.”  They knew that … Continue reading

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Site Update: A New Feature

Beginning tomorrow, February 12th, I’m adding a new feature to Oboedire.  It will appear under the theme of “Soul Byte” It will be a Twitter-style piece (usually one per day, but maybe more–or less), a “thought for the day” you … Continue reading

Posted in Site Updates

Benedict’s Rule: It Never Gets Easy

I cannot move away from Benedict’s phrase, “the labor of obedience.”  Here are some further thoughts. Nearly twenty years ago, one of my friends was retiring.  One morning he said to a group of us, “It never gets easy.”  Unfortunately, … Continue reading

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Ponderings: Christian Identity

Christianity Today magazine recently interviewed Billy Graham.  Having turned 90, he looked at his life in relation to a number of interesting topics, including things he would do differently if he could go back and make changes. He said, “I … Continue reading

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Editorial: Let The ‘Children’ Come To Me

There’s a lot of talk these days about childhood.  With concepts like “tiger mothering” and “preparing for college in kindergarten,” there’s a debate on just how much we should include in the childhood years. A recent editorial written by a … Continue reading

Posted in Editorials

Shepherd’s Care: Community

In reading Mark 3:13-19 we are struck with the plural words: those, they, twelve, and apostles.  The whole passage is set in the context of community. We make no greater mistake in ministry than practicing it alone. We become what … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care

Desert Wisdom: Watching Our Hearts

We begin a brief look into Book Two of the Verba Seniorum—a section devoted to the theme of “Quiet.” When the early Christian mothers and fathers spoke of “quietness,” they not only meant the silence which comes when outer noise is … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

Listenings: Danger!

In the early 1920’s Evelyn Underhill wrote, “The Spiritual Life is a dangerously ambiguous term.”  Given where the world of “spirituality” has gone in the nearly 100 years since she wrote those words, we are in no position to take them back.  … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: February 6, 2011 (Year A)

Reading:  Matthew 5:13-20 Meditation:  “Who You Are Is What You Do” For years I’ve heard pastors lament, “I cannot get my people interested in discipleship.”  I’ve pondered that for a long time, and I have come to believe it is … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Connections: A Pocket Guide to Prayer

I hope you don’t find this posting too “self promoting,” but I want to let you know that the project I’ve been working on for more than a year is finally finished and available. It’s entitled A Pocket Guide to … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: The Labor of Obedience

In verse two of the Prologue, Benedict writes about “the labor of obedience.”  We turn to that phrase in this post. As we have previously seen on this blog (including the name of it), obedience is “listening with the intention of … Continue reading

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Ponderings: Pain in Perspective

We have a number of people in our friendship network who are undergoing great suffering.  They are doing so despite the prayers of many people.  Some are very sick.  Others are unemployed.  Still others are going through divorce.  All are … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: Communion

As we continue our look at Mark 3:13-19, we come to a description of the call which Jesus extended to the twelve.  Mark says that he appointed them “to be with him.”  He called them into communion. No more unfortunate … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: An Argumentative Spirit

An unnamed hermit said, If anyone comes to you on a controversial matter, do not argue with him.  If he speaks well, say, “Yes.  If he speaks ill, say, “I don’t know anything about that.”  Don’t argue with what he … Continue reading

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