Monthly Archives: April 2011

Soul Byte: The “Growing Edge”

Henri Nouwen has said that our “growing edge” is the place where our faith and our unbelief touch each other.

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The Holy Gospel: May 1, 2011 (Year A)

Read:  John 20:19-31 Meditation:  “Everything for Him” At the end of today’s lesson, John says that he wrote everything in his gospel, so we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing we might … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Soul Byte: Good Question

A friend of ours recently posted this question, “Why are our children not allowed to read the Bible in school, but allowed to do so later in prison?”

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Benedict’s Rule: Obedience

Chapter 5 in Benedict’s Rule describes “unhesitating obedience” (5:1) This is the mark of our humility, for anything other than immediate response is a sign that our ego is still in control to some degree.  The false self is still … Continue reading

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Editorial: Tell No One!

There’s a marked contrast between Jesus’ approach to miracles and the approach some ministers take today.  Jesus never set up a tent or rented a civic center to conduct a “miracle ministry.”  In fact, seven times in the Gospel of … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: Common Faithfulness

The next time you pray to be faithful, God will say, “Then do the next thing you have to do, and do it for me.”

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Ponderings: Reading and Praying

When John Wesley counseled a weary colleague to “read and pray daily; it is your life,” he was connecting with an ancient stream of Christian spirituality.  Among the various disciplines and means of grace, reading and praying occupy the top … Continue reading

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Connections: Daily Gospel Resources

If you follow the “Oboedire” site, you know that one of the disciplines I quietly commend is reading the daily Gospel lesson.  Just for review, here are the places where I have found help in doing that…. The lesson itself … Continue reading

Posted in Connections

Soul Byte: Accomplishments

If we view our accomplishments as trophies, we’re in danger.  If we view them as gifts, we’re in grace.

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Shepherd’s Care: Beating Burnout (2)

I had planned to comment on depression and bring our look at “the downward spiral” to an end.  But a few days ago, I came across this piece from Philip Yancey, and I believe it has wise counsel in it.  … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care

Soul Byte: The Greater Touch

When Jesus told Mary not to touch him (John 20:17), he was leading her to the place where she could understand that the touch of faith is greater than the touch of flesh.

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Desert Wisdom: Hope in Temptation

It will surprise many of us to learn that the early Christians actually welcomed temptation, and drew hope from it. Cyrus of Alexander put it this way, “If you are not tempted, you have no hope; if you are not … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

Editorial: Reading With the Heart

Each morning my Daily Office includes a reading from one of the saints.  It is related to the daily Gospel lesson.  As I have connected with this “great cloud of witnesses”, I have come to see the power of metaphor … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: May It Never Be!

God forbid that this sign should ever describe the church: “No shoes, no shirt, no service.”

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Listenings: Marvelous Variety

Marvelous variety marks the first creation.  I have never seen an estimate of the number of different plants, flowers, animals, birds, fish, etc, etc.  I Imagine the number would easily be in the millions. Marvelous variety also marks God’s new … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

Soul Byte: Holy Saturday

In the first creation God rested on the Sabbath; in the new creation it is the Son who rests on the Sabbath.  It is finished!  And as in the first creation, it is very good.

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The Holy Gospel: April 24, 2011 (Year A)

Read:  John 20:1-18 Meditation:  “Two Resurrections” The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the central tenet of the Christian faith, and the pivotal reality of history.  The fact that Jesus rose from the dead has split history into … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Soul Byte: Good Friday

It’s more than a byte today, but I think this prayer by Henri Nouwen will bless you… O dear Lord, what can I say to you on this holy night?  Is there any word that could come from my mouth, … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: A Holy Community

Chapter 4 of the Rule shows how the monastery is to be a kind of “school” of holiness.  The basis for every action mentioned in the chapter are the two great commandments:  loving God and loving neighbor.  Every movement associated … Continue reading

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Connections: A New Clergy-Care Blog

Michael Todd Wilson has started a blog specifically for the care of clergy.  It’s an expression of a ministry he has been engaged in for some years now. You can find it at http://blog.shepherd-care.org/ Jeannie and I met Michael at … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: Maundy Thursday

On this day, Jesus became our ultimate food and drink.

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Ponderings: “TV World”

I can remember the time when to say that immorality was running rampant on television immediately labeled you as a narrow-minded Fundamentalist.  But that is no longer the case.  A broad coalition of people are expressing concern about what we … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: Holy Wednesday

Judas and Peter both denied Christ.  The difference is not in that; the difference is in what they did after they denied him.  Judas ran away in despair–and died.  Peter returned to Jesus in confession–and lived.

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Shepherd’s Care: Beating Burnout

As we move farther into “the downward spiral,” we must deal more deliberately and decisively with the conditions we’re facing.  This week we take a look at burnout. In classical Christian spirituality burnout is most-closely associated with the word “acedia.”  … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: Holy Tuesday

We cannot fulfill our calling if we shelter ourselves from the possibility of betrayal.

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Desert Wisdom: Don’t Hide It

After the lengthy section on self-control, the Verba Seniorum has an even longer section dealing with Lust.  The early desert fathers and mothers acknowledged that it was arguably the major temptation to be faced in a life of solitude and … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: Holy Monday

Holy Week is the time to experience spiritual formation through paradox:  it is in dying that we live.

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Listenings: Willed Correspondence

Every person is made in the image of God, but that does not mean everyone is “godly” as the Bible understands that concept.  Evelyn Underhill notes this when she writes that there must be “a willed correspondence of the little … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

Editorial: Revisioning Retirement

A couple of days ago I heard the statistic of how many baby boomers are retiring each day.  I forget the estimate, but it was huge.  I’ve also been thinking about those clergy who will soon be retiring in my … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: Believe For Me!

When you find it difficult to believe that God loves you, ask someone to believe it for you until you can.

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The Holy Gospel: April 17, 2011 (Year A)

Read:  Matthew 21:1-11 Meditation:  “Holy Week Arrangements” It is right to read the Palm Sunday and Holy Week passages with the emphasis upon Jesus.  As Henri Nouwen has said, “Jesus is the Gospel.”  And this is the week when through … Continue reading

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Editorial: It Begins in 15 Seconds

If I’ve noticed it, I’m sure you have. When you go online and want to play a video clip, a little statement appears:  “Your video will begin in 15 seconds.”  And then, immediately, some advertisement tries to sell us something. … Continue reading

Posted in Editorials

Connections: Third Millennium Ministries

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to make some video tapes for Third Millennium Ministries.  It’s a ministry I have been involved with for a while, but during the taping yesterday, I realized that I needed to post it, so you … Continue reading

Posted in Connections

Soul Byte: Add “God”

The next time you think, “I don’t know how to pray,” just add God—“God, I don’t know how to pray.” You’re praying!

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Benedict’s Rule: Communal Wisdom

We hear a lot about “visionary leadership” today.  And, God knows, we need it!  But do we know what it is that we “need”? In some circles visionary leaders claim that they are the only ones through whom the vision … Continue reading

Posted in Benedict's Rule

Soul Byte: Throw Away the Oar

It’s ridiculous to paddle a boat on land; it’s unnecessary to paddle one in the stream.

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Ponderings: “Just” a Bible

I don’t want anyone to misunderstand this post.  I am not calling for an abandonment of “study Bibles.”  If I did that, I would have to have a big bonfire in my backyard.  I have accumulated a shelf (or more) … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: Your Prayer Place

“Our smallest place of prayer is large enough to contain the entire world.”  John Michael Talbot, The World is My Cloister, p. 76

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Shepherd’s Care: Fighting Fatigue

Overcoming fatigue is more than “getting a good night’s sleep” or “taking a day off.”  These are good things to do, but when fatigue has truly set in, the recovery process is more about changing the pattern of our lives … Continue reading

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Soul Byte: Blessing Catchers

A bucket catches more rain than a thimble.  Run out into God’s “rain” with a wide-open heart!

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Desert Wisdom: One Thing at a Time

One of Satan’s greatest tricks is to overwhelm us.  We look at our lives and see all sorts of places and ways where we need to make improvements and changes.  We feel exhausted before we even begin, and sometimes the … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

Soul Byte: Showing Up

I believe Philip Yancey is correct:  prayer is more about “showing up” than lifting up (requests)—more about listening than speaking.

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Listenings: God’s Pronouns

Evelyn Underhill emphasizes that the spiritual life is not exclusively about the cultivation of one’s own soul, “poking about our interior premises with an electric torch.” We can get this idea from the early days of our Christian life, when … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: April 10, 2011 (Year A)

Read:  John 11:1-45 Meditation:  “Out of the Tomb!” The Lenten passages concentrate on moving from death to life:  new birth, new sight—and today, a fresh start.  The raising of Lazarus has been exegeted and explored from every conceivable angle. Today, … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Leadership

The Rule moves quickly from the kind of monk who benefits the monastery to the kind of abbot who leads the community.  Benedict knew that the quality of any community is directly related to its leadership. Benedictine leadership is defined … Continue reading

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Editorial: Reading the Bible

I confess right up front that the discipline of Biblical Studies is not my expertise, but I have lived most of my adult life in a milieu where formidable challenges to the Bible’s inspiration and authority have been made, and … Continue reading

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Ponderings: Another Look at the Creeds

The use of historic creeds in corporate worship, common prayer, and private devotions raises the question about the place and role of doctrine in Christian formation. The conversation begins with the first two words, “I believe….” The use of the … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: Battling Busyness

For the next four weeks, I will turn to suggesting ways to address the four areas of the downward spiral.  Today, battling busyness. I say “battling” busyness, because it is a cultural condition that will never go away.  In some … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care

Editorial: Score One for Parents

I’m using all the restraint I can muster to keep this post short and sweet. We now have blatant evidence that “Madison Avenue” has had the brains bred out of them.  I’m referring to the recent marketing of push-up swimsuits … Continue reading

Posted in Editorials

Desert Wisdom: Minding Our Business

Agathao was going on a journey with his disciples.  As they traveled, they came upon a small bag of green peas on the road.  One of the disciples asked Agathao, “Do you want me to pick it up?”  Agathao asked … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom