Monthly Archives: August 2011

In-Sight: Lectio Divina (6)

Contemplation (contemplatio) evolves into action (actio). In historic lectio divina, contemplation was the final phase, because it was understood that there is no way for the written Word to become the living Word without putting into practice what we have … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Shepherd’s Care: Prayer (2)

Before we leave Jesus’ pattern of prayer, I want to share one more post with you about it. The phrase “was withdrawing” has triggered a new thought in my mind.  I’ve already noted that the phrase in Greek indicates that … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care

In-Sight: Lectio Divina (5)

Through meditation (meditatio) we “enter into” the text.  Through contemplation (contemplatio) we allow the text to “enter into” us.  Contemplation, in one sense, completes the process which meditation begins. The word literally means “with” (con) “the template” (templari). In the … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Desert Wisdom: Sober Living

Book eleven of The Desert Fathers is entitled “Sober Living.”  It’s not a term we use a lot today, but it embodies an essential element in the Christian spiritual life. The best synonym for it today would be “Singular Living”–or … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

In-Sight: Lectio Divina (4)

We receive and accept “a word” from our reading (lectio) phase.  Now, we meditate (meditatio) in relation to it. My favorite definition of meditation comes from Evelyn Underhill:  “thinking in the presence of God.”  That takes a lot of the … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Listenings: A Convergence Of Two Worlds

In our consideration of the spiritual life as a “whole-life” endeavor (what has also been called a “God alone” perspective), we must not come to think of it as becoming so heavenly-minded that we are no earthly good. There is … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

In-Sight: Lectio Divina (3)

Prayer (oratio) winds its way through the entirety of lectio divina.  But after the initial prayer discussed in yesterday’s post, we move next to reading (lectio). We read systematically.  While there is nothing wrong with reading “here and there” in … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

The Holy Gospel: August 28, 2011 (Year A)

Read:  Matthew 16:21-28 Meditation:  “When I Am a ‘Satan’” No sooner had Peter declared Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the living God—and received Jesus’ strong commendation—than he opened his mouth and fell right into it, receiving an … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

In-Sight: Lectio Divina (2)

Lectio divina has four classic phases: oratio. lectio, meditatio, and contemplatio.  More-recent versions have added a fifth phase (actio) to be sure that we do not forget that the final aim of our reading is the amendment of life and … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Benedict’s Rule: We’ll Leave The Light On For You

We have seen in the Rule that there comes a time when it is best for everyone to excommunicate a person from fellowship.  This is still a “hard saying” for a permissive culture like ours to accept. But when we … Continue reading

Posted in Benedict's Rule

In-Sight: Lectio Divina (1)

One week from today, we will begin a group reading through the Bible, using John Stott’s Through the Bible–Through the Year as our common text.  We will use a modified version of group lectio divina.  So, I thought it might … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight | 2 Comments

Ponderings: A Higher Love

Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment:  “love one another” (John 15:12).  But those words were not new.  The Jews were already commanded to love their neighbors as themselves.  So, what’s new? The “new” in the commandment is “as I … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: Prayer (1)

Luke makes it clear that Jesus withdrew to pray (5:16).  The pattern he gives to us in these two verses climaxes in the priority and practice of prayer. I have no doubt that Jesus prayed in the midst of the … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: “Appropriate” Spirituality

We are leaving out so much in our exploration of The Desert Fathers.  If you have not yet purchased a copy of this ancient, classic text, I hope you will.  You can use it for the rest of your life … Continue reading

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In-Sight: The Hidden Spiritual Life (2)

A week ago (August 16), I wrote a post about the “hiddenness” of the spiritual life.  I want to return to that theme in this post. In his daily devotional book, Bread for the Journey, Henri Nouwen wrote, “If we … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Listenings: Incurable God-Sickness

Karl Barth once referred to the spiritual life as our “incurable God-sickness.”  That’s what Evelyn Underhill is dealing with in this section of her book, The Spiritual Life. In our day, Donald Miller has captured the same idea in his … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

In-Sight: God in the World

I’m glad that I married Jeannie for a lot of reasons.  But one is that she has helped me to see the world.  She’s lived in a lot more of it than I have, having grown up in an Air … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: August 21, 2011 (A)

Read:  Matthew 16:13-20 Meditation:  “From Opinion to Profession” Today’s lesson is the description of a journey every person must make, who comes to know of Christ.  It is the journey from opinion to profession. Opinions about Jesus have never been … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

In-Sight: People Won’t Go For That Today

I’d like to think that this one post could bring an end to the saying, “People won’t go for that today,” but I doubt that it will happen.  But it should. The statement is absolutely false.  But we hear it … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight | 1 Comment

Connections: A Taste of History

Do you like history and biography? If so, “This Week in Christian History” e-letter may be of interest to you.  It’s part of the Christianity Today family of publications, and you can receive it automatically and for free by going … Continue reading

Posted in Connections

Benedict’s Rule: The Final Attempt

Chapter 28 of the Rule summarizes the redemptive actions taken by the community toward a member who is refusing to keep the covenant and be a contributing member of the fellowship. If after the described measures have been taken, and … Continue reading

Posted in Benedict's Rule

In-Sight: “Reality” Check

The suicide of one of the husbands on “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” is a tragedy.  It is also a sign of something deeper happening in our culture. One of the persons who has worked in the “reality” television industry … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Ponderings: A Time to Know

Pope Benedict has been involved in conversations with leaders in the Orthodox Church, seeking to find ways to bring their two churches closer together.  One news source stated that a major purpose for these dialogs is the decline of the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

In-Sight: A Pastoral Paradigm

Since Wednesday is the day I focus upon issues related to clergy, I thought I’d share some insights I received from a recent phone call with a pastor friend of mine. A few months ago, he was appointed to a … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Shepherd’s Care: The Ministry of Absence

I had originally planned to give only one post to the idea of the “pace of grace.”  But I’ve felt a prompting to write about it one more time—and from a different angle. Henri Nouwen is my source for this … Continue reading

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In-Sight: The Hidden Spiritual Life

I recently read a meditation written by Henri Nouwen that reminded me of “the hidden life of Jesus.”  I still find it remarkable that Jesus spent 30 or his 33 years in obscurity, most likely working as a carpenter in … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight | 1 Comment

Desert Wisdom: Relax the Bow

Today we explore one of the “main quotations” from the early Christians—St. Anthony’s counsel to a stressed-out hunter (see 10:2). The hunter was shocked that someone so exemplary as Anthony would appear to be relaxing with some of the brothers.  … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

In-Sight: Politics and Religion

The quadrennial presidential campaign inevitably raises questions and concerns around the relationship between politics and religion.  Several of the candidates have already given public witness to their faith commitments, and depending on what they are, the “right” or the “left” … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Listenings: Prayer

We’re looking at Evelyn Underhill’s counsel that mortification and prayer are the two key practices in discovering the Real. As she put it, “Mortification kills the root of self-love”  (p. 59)—which means the clearing out of all the false realities … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

In-Sight: Fortitude

This past Thursday, many in the Christian church remembered the life of St. Claire, friend and contemporary of St Francis of Assisi. Many qualities characterized her life, but I was struck by her fortitude.  She remained faithful despite pressures from … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight | 1 Comment

Site Update: Coming in September

Rather than waiting until our next “First Day” post, I want to tell you three things that will change on the Oboedire site, beginning on September 1st. First, and by way of reminder, we will offer the opportunity to read … Continue reading

Posted in Site Updates | 1 Comment

The Holy Gospel: August 14, 2011 (A)

Read:  Matthew 15:21-28 Meditation:  “Leave That Place” This week’s Gospel lesson begins with the words, “Jesus left that place…”  Literally, Matthew is talking about Gennesaret.  But there’s more going on here than geography. Jesus was not simply leaving a place, … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

In-Sight: Contemplating Christ

Recently, while reading about one of the saints, I was reminded that one of the practices in early Christianity was the practice of contemplating Christ.  There is more than one way to do this, but I offer you this simple … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Benedict’s Rule: Associating With The Excommunicated

Chapters 26 and 27 of the Rule give us a picture of how excommunicated persons are to be treated.  If we read Chapter 26 in isolation, it might seem that the person is to be shunned and left pretty much … Continue reading

Posted in Benedict's Rule

In-Sight: Conviction

We fight the conviction of the Holy Spirit because our ego interprets it as God “meddling” in our lives.  But the fact is, conviction is God’s attempt to redirect our lives away from the “edge” of spiritual cliffs, where (left … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Ponderings: Jesus and Christ

There is an ongoing conversation about the difference between “the historical Jesus” and “the cosmic Christ.”  Some scholars want to treat the two as if they were almost distinct, and they want to put the emphasis upon the cosmic Christ. … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

In-Sight: Who Can Be A Guide?

Some months ago, I received an email containing a list of “dangerous people” in Christianity.  The author of the email was exhorting readers to henceforth have nothing to do with anyone on her list—note: “her” list. It was uncomfortable to … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight | 4 Comments

Shepherd’s Care: Pace

The rhythm Jesus established in Luke 5:15-16 between service and solitude enabled him to live in what my friend, Susan Muto, has called “the pace of grace.” I’ve written about this previously, but posts eventually fall into a large pile, … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care

In-Sight: Lost In The Stereotype

It’s interesting how some things get “defined” when a noun is linked with a particular adjective.  Recently, I read a secular new’s source’s story that included the phrase “the narrow evangelical agenda.” Even if the writer was correct on the … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Desert Wisdom: Discretion

We move into Book Ten of The Desert Fathers, which is the longest book (chapter) of all.  It is entitled, “Discretion.” The book begins with this saying,  Anthony said, “Some wear out their bodies by fasting; but because they have … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Spirituality in an Ayn Rand World

I admit that until about two months ago, I was a stranger to the thought and writing of Ayn Rand.  I had heard her name, but had not taken the time to become more familiar with her.  I am still … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight | 1 Comment

Connections: Journey With Jesus

I’ve been reading an online resource for several weeks, and I think you might want to check it out.  It’s called “Journey With Jesus” (www.journeywithjesus.net). It appears each Monday morning.  You can have an automatic subscription, if you wish. What … Continue reading

Posted in Connections

Listenings: Entering the Mystery (2)

I want to use another post to further reflect upon mortification.  Last week, we followed Underhill in identifying it as an essential element in entering the Mystery.  But we did not say much about “how” we actually go about de-throning … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: August 7, 2011 (Year A)

Read:  Matthew 14:22-33 Meditation:  “In the Boat” This story almost always focuses on Peter getting out of the boat, and it moves on from there to make one or more inferences about Peter’s action.  This time around, I was captured … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

In-Sight: A Parable

Once upon a time, a massive earthquake struck just offshore where a group of people were playing volleyball on the beach.  After picking themselves up off the ground and determining no one was injured, they continued their game. A short … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Benedict’s Rule: The Process of Excommunication

We continue our look at Benedict’s counsel regarding excommunication.  Chapters 23-25 combine to help us do this. Clearly, excommunication is the final stage in a process.  There are at least three steps which precede it:  two private meetings and one … Continue reading

Posted in Benedict's Rule

Ponderings: The Example of Mary

I have always felt that the Reformation, while necessary, was not perfect.  And I have always felt that one of the losses from it was the erosion of Mary’s place in the larger tradition.  We Protestants kept her in the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

Shepherd’s Care: A Pattern for Protection

Last week, we saw that in Luke 5:15-16, Jesus modeled for us the pattern for ministry.  St. John Chrysostom put it this way, “It was his will to live his live in an ordinary rhythm of interaction and solitude.” But … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care | 1 Comment

Site Update: The Oboedire Categories

One reader emailed to remind me that the daily categories are not as familiar to readers as they are to me.  Let me simply remind you that they are described in the “About the Site” section at the top of … Continue reading

Posted in Site Updates

Desert Wisdom: A Difficult Challenge

The matter of non-judgment is an extremely difficult one to practice properly.  We tend to fall off either on the side of naive latitude or the side of excessive condemnation.  The principle of non-judgment avoids the extremes. Some of you … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom