Monthly Archives: October 2011

Journey in the Word: Israelite Backsliding

Week 8 Read:  Judges 2:11 The world God intends falls apart when people do what is right in their own eyes.  But that’s the way the Book of Judges summarizes Israel when the nation was at its lowest point. The … Continue reading

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Listenings: Things Have Gone Badly Wrong

When we accept the world as  our sphere of service, it doesn’t take long to realize the truth of what Evelyn Underhill wrote,  “something has gone wrong, and badly wrong” (p. 91). One of the most amazing things about some … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: Keeping the Covenant

Week 8 Read:  Joshua 24:25 It’s all about Covenant.  God is faithful to it, and asks us to be also. I agree with Stott’s summary.  The covenant is God saying, “I will be your God, and you shall be my … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: October 30, 2011 (Year A)

Read:  Matthew 23:1-12 Meditation:  “Overdosing on Religion” Apparently, something happens when people get “too much” religion.  We become addicted to it, and get intoxicated by it.  The Bible is full of stories where people started out well, but ended poorly.  … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Journey in the Word: Taking Possession of the Land

Week 8 Read:  Joshua 21:43 Today, we have been “shot from a cannon.”  Stott’s desire to get us to the birth of Jesus on time, forces him to move through the rest of the Old Testament, leaving more out than … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Common Edification

Chapter 38 in the Rule deals with what seems to be a very routine and practical event in the daily life of a monastery:  choosing and training the one who reads outloud while the other monks eat. I really enjoy … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: Commandments 8 and 10

Week 7 Read:  Exodus 20:15 and 20:17 I believe that Stott combines the 8th and 10th commandments in a good way, but I am not sure whether doing so is in keeping with the intention for the original list.  I … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Followers and Worshippers

Jesus never asked anyone to worship him, but he invited everyone to follow him.  This is an important insight I received from reading something from Richard Rohr.  But I am responsible for the rest of this post—not him. Maintaining the … Continue reading

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Let Us Pray: Prayer After the Fall

Prayer as “walking and talking with God” is severely contaminated in the Fall.  In fact, the first two prayers which come after the Fall are prayers of blame (3:12-13) and justification (4:9). Adam tells God that what’s happened is all … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: Commandment 9

Week 7 Read:  Exodus 20:16 After establishing the foundation of human life—reverence for the one true God, the commandments then build upon that foundation with commitments to the things that make for a strong society: the family unit, humanity at-large, … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: The Summation of Ministry

We conclude our look at 1 Peter 5:1-4. Peter’s words end with the summation of ministry.  When all is said and done, our ministry will be received by Christ, the chief Shepherd, and it will become part of all the … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: Commandment 7

Week 7 Read:  Exodus 20:14 In a sex-saturated culture, where sexual activity is put on virtually the same level as a recreational event, it’s difficult to grasp the significance of the seventh commandment. God’s prohibition of adultery is not to … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Who Are The Saints?

Oboedire intentionally describes and commends a classical/historical vision for Christian spiritual formation.  In that context, we pay attention to the saints who have preceded us, in keeping with the perspective provided for us by Hebrews 12:1. But…who are the saints? … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Calculated Generosity

We end our look at Hospitality (Book 13) of The Desert Fathers with this interesting story. A priest, who had a reputation for generosity, was approached by a widow asking him for a little barley.  He told her to go … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: Commandment 6

Week 7 Read: Exodus 20:13 In the last meditation on the commandments, I made a connection between the first four and the Lord’s Prayer. But I also see them following a similar pattern to that described in the creation narratives.  … Continue reading

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Connections: Spiritual Teachers Project

I have previously connected you with the “Spirituality and Practice” website.  It’s an eclectic site featuring many vantage points from which to view the spiritual life.  Not all of it is within the Christian tradition, and not all of it … Continue reading

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Listenings: Everyday Spirituality

Evelyn Underhill’s words suffice for today’s meditation…. So now we come back to this ordinary mixed life of every day, in which we find ourselves–the life of house and work, tube and tram, newspaper and cinema, with its tangle of … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: Commandment 5

Week 7 Read: Exodus 20:12 Stott notes that some make a division between commandments 1-4 and 5-10.  He believes, however, that commandment 5 goes with the first four. I happen to believe that all ten go together.  They all reveal … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: October 23, 2011 (Year A)

Read: Matthew 22:34-40 Meditation:  “Passing the Test” From chapter 21 onward, Jesus was in sharp conflict with the religious leaders.  His parables and conversations reveal this clearly.  We cannot read any of these lectionary texts apart from that context. But … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Journey in the Word: Commandments 3 & 4

Week 7 Read:  Exodus 20: 7-8 If God is the supreme influence, it only stands to reason that we will reverence God.  The next two commandments call us to do this in two ways:  (1) by the way we use … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Caring for the Young and the Old

The young and the elderly are the focus of Chapter 37 of the Rule.  These two categories define the polarities of our existence—the beginning and the end. The attitude which defines ministry to these people is “kindly consideration” (37:3).  As … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: Commandments 1 & 2

Week 7:  John Stott underscores the importance of the Ten Commandments by devoting an entire week to them. Read:  Exodus 20:3-5 The Bible does not teach there is only one God; it teaches there is only one true God.  We … Continue reading

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In-Sight: What Do You “Miss”? (2)

Day before yesterday, I wrote that the development of mainstays and/or changes in our spiritual formation takes time, and that one way we can discern something is taking root is we miss it when we do not practice it. With … Continue reading

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Let Us Pray: The First Prayer (2)

I had intended to move on into the Bible and begin looking at actual prayers, but as I re-read the opening chapters of Genesis, and last week’s post, I was prompted to “stay put” and continue our meditation on the … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: Wilderness Wanderings

Week 6 Read:  Numbers 10:29 Stott hits the nail on the head today:  a “journey” can become a “wandering” for lack of obedience. God is our guide, but we must follow Him.  God alone knows the way.  When we presume … Continue reading

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Connections: Dallas Willard Website

Like me, some of you will have found Dallas Willard to be a good mentor in your spiritual formation.  I just learned yesterday that he has a new website. http://www.dwillard.org Check it out.  

Posted in Connections

Shepherd’s Care: Submission

It’s funny how some things stick with you.  Whenever I think of “lording it over” others (1 Peter 5:3), my mind immediately returns to an experience I had at a Billy Graham Crusade. One of the staff persons had been … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: The Blessings of Mount Sinai

Week 6 Read:  Exodus 19-5-6 In today’s reading I was reminded that when the Israelites got to Mount Sinai, they stayed there for about a year.  Sometimes when I am reading the Bible, the fact that I read on creates … Continue reading

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In-Sight: What Do You “Miss” ?

I read John Michael Talbot’s testimony that it took him quite a while to truly “live into” liturgical prayer.  His Christian heritage was initially shaped through Methodism, even though he only marginally embraced faith at that time in his life. … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Desert Wisdom: Simple Surrender

Hospitality is arguably the best expression of simple surrender. A hermit who was very holy lived near to a community of monks.  Some visitors to the community happened to go to see him and made him eat, though it was … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: The Exodus From Egypt

Week 6 Read Exodus 14:31 Every one of us has an “Exodus” in our life—an occasion and experience when God delivered us from something.  Most of us have a number of them. Our “exoduses” provide the basis for documenting the … Continue reading

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Listenings: Our Small Place

Years ago, I read a report from The National Transportation Safety Board, making its conclusion as to why an airplane had crashed.  To the best of their ability, the investigation team found that the plane came down because a critical … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: The Passover

Week 6 Read: Exodus 12:23 Today we read one of the most significant passages in the Bible—a passage that has immediate importance, but one which also illustrates the ongoing drama of redemption.  Each of Stott’s four points about the Passover … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: October 16, 2011 (Year A)

Read:  Matthew 22:15-21 Meditation:  “Simulated Praise” An ancient document, called the Incomplete Work on Matthew, says that the first act of hypocrisy is to simulate praise. That’s exactly what the disciples of the Pharisees as they approached Jesus (22:16).  They … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: The Challenge to Pharaoh

Week 6 Read:  Exodus 7:5 Today’s brief reading serves as an introduction to the extended plague passages—a challenging and difficult section. Stott is correct in showing that the plagues served more than one purpose, the ultimate one being to reveal … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Caring for the Sick

Chapter 36 of the Rule begins with these words, “Care of the sick must rank above and before all else” (36:1). We are never more vulnerable than when we are sick—never more dependent—never in more need of community. To abandon … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: The Call of Moses

Week 6 Read:  Exodus 3:10 Life looks different when you’re eighty than it does when you’re forty.  God had put Moses “in to soak” in the wilderness, and the renewal of his call was marked with humility and dependency upon … Continue reading

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In-Sight: I’m Not OK

I’ve lived a lot of my life in an “I’m OK, You’re OK” environment. The only problem is—I’m not OK. I’m not writing this to advocate any kind of spirituality that makes me pathological, but I must avoid any kind … Continue reading

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Let Us Pray: The First Prayer

The first prayer occurred in a garden, not a church.  It was done walking, not kneeling.  It was conversational, not liturgical.  It took place in and around Genesis 1:28 when God gave Adam and Eve their first assignment, and they … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: A Cruel Oppression

Week 6:  “Moses and the Exodus” Read:  Exodus 2:23-24 If we have a “heart,” we quickly and easily “boil over” when we see people around us being unfairly treated.  What should be a response, turns into a reaction. God never … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: Spirit

Peter moves on to address the spirit which should characterize our ministry—a spirit that serves “not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you do it–not for sordid gain but eagerly” (1 Peter 5:2) The two key words here … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: Joseph And The Providence Of God

Week 5 Read:  Genesis 50:20 Stott’s comments go a long way in interpreting today’s reading.  The providence of God is working through all sorts of things:  history, injustices, and forgiveness—as Stott so clearly points out. Too often we think of … Continue reading

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In-Sight: “Value Free” Life

Every so often the landscape is populated with another round of people advocating “value free” living—which often includes crying out against an alleged imposition of religious values on education, public policy, or whatever else it’s being attached to. I have … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: All For Love

Book Thirteen of The Desert Fathers explores the theme of hospitality. Saying 2 leads us to a very important place with respect to the keeping of spiritual disciplines.  When Cassian and his friends came from Palestine to Egypt, a hermit … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: Jacob and the Persevering Love of God

Week 5 Read:  Genesis 32:26 I think Stott gives us an important picture in today’s reading.  There’s no use in using the word “wrestling” unless both parties are wrestling. God wrestles with us in order to get us into the … Continue reading

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Listenings: Getting in the Game

Becoming co-creators with God in the world is not an option; it is a necessity.  Evelyn Underhill describes it in these words: “We are agents of the Creative Spirit in the world.  Real advance in the spiritual life, then, means … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: Isaac and the Faithfulness of God

Week 5 Read:  Genesis 25:21 When Jeannie and I made our trip to the Holy Land, it included a visit to Petra.  I failed to connect that amazing, ancient city with Esau.  But it was from his line that the … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: October 9, 2011 (Year A)

Read:  Matthew 22:1-14 Meditation:  Preposterous! Eugene Peterson has written that no one could have heard this story without thinking, “This is crazy!  No one would act like this!.” No one would receive an invitation from the King and then later … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: God’s Covenant with Abraham

Week 5 Read:  Genesis 17:2 Stott “goes backward” to a text he might previously have dealt with.  We don’t know why.  But we do know he is dealing with the heart of God’s relationship with us:  covenant. If we go … Continue reading

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Connections: The Carthusian Way

I was recently reminded that Thomas Merton struggled with the idea of transferring from the Cistercian Order to the Carthusians.  I realized I don’t know much about the Carthusians. Thanks to a recent post by John Michael Talbot, I found … Continue reading

Posted in Connections