Monthly Archives: June 2011

Ponderings: Does God Text?

If you’re willing to cut me some slack in this post, I hope it will have a message for us all.  If you can separate functionality from meaning, you’ll be off on the right foot.  If you’ll remember that I … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: Sabbath

For many of us, the final segment of Jesus’ invitation to the apostles will be the one that touches us the most: the invitation to “rest awhile.” After monitoring my own life and interacting with other clergy for decades, I … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Burglarized

We continue our review of Book Eight of The Desert Fathers, “Nothing Done for Show.”  The following story reveals another aspect of the danger of living by appearances. The monks praised a brother to Antony.  Antony went to him and … Continue reading

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Listenings: The Ruling Fact of Existence

People live by an integrated value system, even if they are not consciously aware of it a lot of the time.  In historic philosophy and theology the dominant value systems have been described as money, sex, and power—or more currently, … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: June 26, 2011 (Year A)

Read:  Matthew 10:40-42 Meditation:  “Achievable Discipleship” One of the faults of some approaches to discipleship is that they look like they are meant for super-saints, for men and women who appear to be “spiritual olympians.”  Nothing turns people away from … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Pastoral Atmosphere

The abbot or abbess knew they could not care properly for a community without help.  So, in Chapter 21 of the Rule there is provision to recruit deans to serve as under-shepherds.  The purpose was that a pastoral atmosphere would … Continue reading

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Ponderings: The Heart of Jesus

Each morning I visit “the great cloud of witnesses” by reading about the saint of the day, as designated by our Roman Catholic friends.  I have been blessed to meet a wide variety of men and women—ancient and modern—who have … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: Silence

We live in a noisy world.  The great danger of unceasing sound is that it either distracts us or it drowns out our ability to hear things that matter more than our latest musical download.  A whole industry has come … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Deadly Daggers

Today, we move into Book Eight of The Desert Fathers, a chapter entitled “Nothing Done For Show.” “They said of Arsenius and Theodore of Pherme that they hated fame and praise more than anything.  Arsenius avoided people likely to praise … Continue reading

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Listenings: The Transforming Moment

The moment we awaken to the reality of God and engage ourselves to live in congruence with this Reality, we begin the transforming process we are calling “the spiritual life.” Evelyn Underhill looked at her time and place and was … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: June 19, 2007 (Year A)

Read:  Matthew 28:16-20 Meditation:  “Our Ordinary Business in Ordinary Time” I like the fact that between Pentecost and Advent, we celebrate what’s called “ordinary time.”  If you’re a regular reader of Oboedire, you know that I often emphasize the sacredness … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: More Than Arrangements

Chapter 20 in the Rule strikes me as a kind of “pause” from the sea of details which Benedict has given about the daily worship of the community.  For whatever reasons, he seems to feel it’s time to remind his … Continue reading

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Ponderings: The Church, Our Mother

The Christian tradition has a stream running through it—the idea of the Church as our Mother.  I have been thinking about this notion in relation to the current phenomenon sometimes referred to as “churchless Christianity.” There are those who believe … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: Solitude

Jesus’ invitation to the apostles in Mark 6:31 was a call to separate themselves from the frenetic pace of ministry which they had been experiencing.  But it was not a call to become isolated; it was a call to be … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Go to Work

I hope you have been able to purchase a copy of The Desert Fathers: The Sayings of the Early Christian Monks (edited by Benedicta Ward) for yourself.  If so, you realize how much I am leaving out by only selecting … Continue reading

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Listenings: Wide-Angle Spirituality

Failing to give sufficient attention to our souls reduces and restricts our ability to live as God intended.  Evelyn Underhill wrote, “Our field of attention is not wide enough for that; our spiritual senses are not sufficiently alert….But when, for … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: June 12, 2011 (Year A)

Read:  John 20:19-23 Meditation: “The Holy Spirit’s First Move” Today is Pentecost Sunday—the day when we remember and celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit to the church.  The reading from John’s Gospel adds the detail of Jesus giving the … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Holy Ordering

There is no indication in the Rule as to why Benedict chose to order the daily services as he did.  But chapters 9-19 provide a detailed ordering of the community’s corporate worship.  While most of us will not arrange our … Continue reading

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Ponderings: The Idea of Perfection

The idea of “perfection” runs throughout scripture and tradition.  But because of the word “perfection,” many turn away from the notion, reading into it their own stereotypes—the greatest of which is the simple sentence, “No one can be perfect.” But … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: Separation

We move to the third phase of Jesus’ relationship with the apostles in Mark 6:30-31.  Having “returned” from the ministry Jesus had sent them to perform, and having “reported” to him all that they had said and done, he invited … Continue reading

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Site Update: Subscriptions

Good Afternoon, Everyone! I’m already enjoying the more-relaxed “one a day” posting, but I do want to keep the major themes going through the summer. You have probably already seen the “subscription” feature on the sidebar of the Home Page.  … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: A Long Journey

Fortitude is not only about strength, it is also about endurance. A hermit went to abba Theodore, complaining about anxiety.  Theodore asked him, “Tell me, how many years have you been a monk?”  He said, “Eight.”  Theodore said, “I’ve been … Continue reading

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Listenings: Underdeveloped Souls

Evelyn Underhill identifies an ongoing deficiency in contemporary living: “Most people work so hard developing their correspondence with the visible world, that their correspondence with the invisible is left in a rudimentary state.” (p. 48) We would be hard pressed … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: June 5, 2011

Read:  John 17:1-11 Meditation: “Fresh Wind Blowing” A fresh wind of the Spirit is blowing on the earth today.  Some call it a “new Pentecost.”  Others call it a “new Reformation,” and still others a “new Great Awakening.”  Whatever we … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: It Seems Reasonable

Chapter Eight of the Rule has this interesting phrase, “it seems reasonable.”  If that were the only golden nugget in the Rule, I would still want to make an appointment with St. Benedict in heaven and say, “Thank you.” I … Continue reading

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Ponderings: The Paradox of Prayer

The world will never understand us.  We will never understand ourselves. About what?  About prayer. It is only in prayer that we can believe, at one and the same time, God is good even when our circumstances are not.  We … Continue reading

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First Day: Digital Discipleship

In our “first-day meeting” this month, I’d like to raise the issue of what some are calling “digital discipleship.”  There is a new book out by that very title. I have been reading some on this subject, and it is … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: In Community

The apostles reported everything to Jesus.  But they also did it in community. My mentor, Dr. Dennis Kinlaw, taught me long ago to pay attention to the pronouns.  In Mark 6:30-31, the pronouns are plural, indicating that what is occurring … Continue reading

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