Monthly Archives: March 2011

Soul Byte: Looking Back

We cannot travel by looking back, but we cannot learn to travel without looking back

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Ponderings: Religion or Magic?

Nothing should trouble us more than the rejection of religion by a large and growing number of people in Europe and North America.  It is to our shame that people can look at us and our religious institutions and conclude … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

Soul Byte: Calling

If God assigns us to scrub the floor, we will never be asked why we didn’t clean the chimney.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Shepherd’s Care: Depression

The final stage in Archibald Hart’s “Downward Spiral” is depression.  This is the level when we begin to lose our ability to simply “work our way out” of our dilemma.  We lack both the motivation and the strength to deal … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care

Soul Byte: Positive Thinking

Positive thinking is not the Gospel, but without it the Gospel becomes a very dreary, demanding thing.

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Desert Wisdom: Enough to Spare

A monk named Daniel spoke about Arsenius, “All the years he lived near us, we gave him the minimum amount of food  to last each year, and every time we went to visit him, he shared it with us.” (DF. … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

Soul Byte: What God Wants

God does not ask us to perform according to the actions of someone else, but only to do our best.

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Site Update: Changes on April 1st.

“No fooling”  🙂 Friday, April 1st will bring some changes to this site. First, the daily blog topic will be posted at 1:00 a.m. rather than at 7:00 a.m.  Some of you are getting away from your computers before 7:00 … Continue reading

Posted in Site Updates | 3 Comments

Listenings: Spirituality is Reality

The spiritual life is not an escape into the eternal; it is living our lives in the light of eternity.  This includes all of our life:  the bad as well as the good, the unpleasant as well as the pleasant, … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

Soul Byte: God’s Standard

Holiness is God’s standard, not to discourage us, but to destroy every last molecule of egotism that would make us think we can save ourselves or live without grace.

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

Read:  John 4:5-42 Meditation:  “Well Talk” God speaks some of His most-important words in the familiar places of our lives.  We all have “wells”—places where we routinely go; the daily round of our lives.  God sits at the “wells” of … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: “Answers”

The person who has “all the answers” has failed to ask all the questions.

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Connections: Ancient Christian Devotional

A “missing link” in a lot of spiritual formation is Tradition.  We jump from the biblical text to the present, almost as if nothing significant was said about the passage in between.  On the contrary, there is a rich history … Continue reading

Posted in Connections

Soul Byte: No Interruptions

There are no interruptions in life, only opportunities to pay attention in ways we had not planned for.

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Editorial: “Mynd” Scanner

A company has just announced the production of a brain-scanning device called “Mynd.” It claims to use EEG readings to do a “full brain scan” that reveals what stimuli capture our attention.  Not surprisingly, the first use the device is … Continue reading

Posted in Editorials

Benedict’s Rule: Time for Amendment

We have finally made our way to the end of the Prologue in The Rule of St. Benedict. Our exploration of this document is going to be akin to “a long obedience in the same direction.”  But it is better … Continue reading

Posted in Benedict's Rule

Soul Byte: Open to Life

Humility and meekness are the means for keeping our lives open, so God can address us anytime, anywhere, through anyone, about anything.

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Ponderings: The Case for God

Given last week’s “Ponderings,” I thought I’d continue to consider the existence of God, and do it in relation to Stephen Hawking’s The Grand Design. If you haven’t read it, it is another volume from the brilliant physicist, continuing his … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: Hope

Hope is the message from the end of the book—the message toward which all the other chapters are moving.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Editorial: Gratitude

Years ago, Jeannie and I were attending the rededication of the monastery church at the Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky.  We were there, in part, to represent Asbury Seminary.  So, I was feeling the need to say something “special” to … Continue reading

Posted in Editorials

Shepherd’s Care: Burnout

If we do not deal with our fatigue, it will spiral downward into burnout.  For a long time I equated burnout with milder forms of depression, and there are similarities.  But thanks to something Will Willimon wrote, I came to … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care | 2 Comments

Soul Byte: Thinking About Home

Lent is a good time to think about the house of God—our home, especially if we have moved away.

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Editorial: “Numerical” Visions

We seem to feel the necessity to connect a number to a vision.  I remember one denomination had a vision for growth at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st.  So, their slogan was “2000 … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Think It, Say it?

This week we come in contact with Book Four of The Desert Fathers, the one that collects sayings related to “Self Control.” The first saying is the story of a group of monks who wanted to visit Antony.  They boarded … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

Soul Byte: Healing Grace

Grace is the thermometer that records our fever and the aspirin that breaks it.

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Editorial: What’s Old is New Again

The merger of AT&T with T-Mobile has prompted one journalist to say, “Ma Bell is back.”  Some of you may know what that means.  Bell Telephone was dismantled in 1984, in the belief that creating multiple telephone systems would improve … Continue reading

Posted in Editorials

Listenings: The Essence

Evelyn Underhill is well-known for her assertion that we spend most of our lives conjugating the wrong verbs:  to want, to have and to do.  Instead, she says, we must conjugate our lives in terms of the verb to be.  … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

Soul Byte: Our Singular Identifier

The only place to find our identity is in God.  Otherwise, we will try to find it in our damaged egos (either inflated or deflated) or in what others say about us.  We are God’s beloved sons and daughters.

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

Read:  John 3:1-17 Meditation:  “New Birth for the Religious” We severely limit the new-birth passage if we think it is only meant for sinners who need to come to God.  The fact that the conversation is with Nicodemus tells us … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Soul Byte: A Restless Soul

A soul in God’s hands will not be in “perfect peace” when other souls are not.  If our souls are troubled by things other than our own sins, it is God’s way to get our attention regarding someone else’s need.

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Editorial: The Bible and Genetics

The explosion of knowledge gained through the field of genetics is staggering.  As we continue to “de-code” more and more of our human makeup, we are certainly more-fully understanding the Bible’s assertion that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm … Continue reading

Posted in Editorials

Connections: Eugene Peterson (2)

I have previously “connected” you to Eugene Peterson, but I must tell you about his latest book, The Pastor. Whether you are a clergyperson, or not, this book contains powerful insights that can transform the church and the leaders of … Continue reading

Posted in Connections

Soul Byte: The Gospel for Everyone

The Gospel touches everyone, calling the “high and mighty” to come down and the “low and the weak” to rise up.

Posted in Uncategorized

Editorial: The “Mad Passion”

Thanks to Philip Yancey, I have just read words penned by Michelangelo near the end of his life—words I have never read before, or ever heard anyone mention. He wrote, “The world’s frivolities have robbed me of the time that … Continue reading

Posted in Editorials

Benedict’s Rule: “Good” Deeds

The responsiveness which we spoke of last week must be guarded, lest it turn into pride.  The temptation to take credit for the things we do is always at hand.  Benedict says that “while these temptations were still young, he … Continue reading

Posted in Benedict's Rule

Soul Byte: The Path of Holiness

The path of holiness is not marked by magnificent moments and “huge” acts of ministry; it is marked by little things—brief words of kindness and small acts of love.

Posted in Uncategorized

Soul Byte: Relief for Japan

Jeannie and I have discovered that World Vision is offering a means to contribute to Japan relief efforts via our mobile phones.  This agency has a tried-and-true track record, so we commend it as a means for joining with others … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

Ponderings: Good News?

I’ve been going back over some of the writings of the self-acclaimed “New Atheists.”  I agree with Philip Yancey’s perspective that while anyone has the right not to believe in the existence of God, how can that be promoted as … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: A Tiny World

When we put ourselves at the center of the universe, we create a very small solar system.

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Shepherd’s Care: Fatigue

One pastor described his life as “a never-ending round of feverish activities.”  We were not meant to live this way, much less commend it as an authentic spirituality. Most of the clergy I meet do not lack devotion; they are … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: Before and After

The Jeopardy game show sometimes has a “before and after” category, where the first word modifies the middle one, and the third word emerges from the second.  Here is God’s before-and-after: receiving life giving.

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Desert Wisdom: Complete Spirituality

Ecclesiastes 3:4 says there is a time to weep and a time to laugh.  The early Christian abbas and ammas sought to cultivate both in themselves and in others. In our day, we tend to think of spirituality more on … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

A Special Report: Japan

Jeannie and I have been away from Florida since last Thursday, and my Oboedire posts have been scheduled to appear automatically.  While we have been away, the world has literally been “shocked” by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  A … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: Paradox

Much of the spiritual life is paradox:  the way up is down, the way outward is inward, we live by dying, etc.

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Listenings: The Sacred “And”

I would like to know who first tried to divide the Gospel into “personal” and “social.”  It is one of the worst things ever done to the Christian faith.  Salvation means “wholeness,” and any division of the Gospel into parts … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

Soul Byte: Strength

Confession makes us strong because it makes us humble.

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

Read:  Matthew 4:1-11 Meditation:  “When Satan Gets Serious” The devil doesn’t spend much time on us when we are dabbling with our discipleship.  Sunday Christianity and superficial commitment are no threat.  They never have been.  But once we are baptized—that … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Soul Byte: The Gift of Tears

When Jesus was sad or in pain, he cried.  We can too.  Tears are not a sign of weakness; they are a sign that our hearts are in touch with life.  And when we are in touch with life, we … Continue reading

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Connections: The Upper Room

When I recommend an organization involved in Spiritual Formation, I do so on the basis that it not only offers beneficial resources, but that it has an underlying sense of the spiritual life.  The Upper Room is one of those … Continue reading

Posted in Connections

Soul Byte: Daze of Grace

God not only gives us days of grace, but also what Philip Yancey calls the “daze of grace”—life experiences, often not chosen or preferred, which cause us to hear the chirp of a bird…see the passing of a cloud…or feel … Continue reading

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