Monthly Archives: February 2012

In-Sight: Experiencing Lent

Each Wednesday during Lent, I will post a second Oboedire blog, focusing on some specific aspect of our Lenten journey. This week, I’ve been thinking about sacrifice in relation to spiritual formation.  I believe that a lot hinges on whether … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Shepherd’s Care: The Power of Clear Vision (2)

We’re exploring Jesus’ call for us to have “eyes to see.”  We turn to a second area where clear vision is necessary—the behavior known to us, but not to others. In historic Christian spirituality this was contrasted with the deadly … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care

Gleanings: The Explosive Nature of Christianity

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove recently posted this quotation from Soren Kierkegaard, saying that it has “rocked his world.”   Like Jonathan, I find Kiekegaard’s words (below and elsewhere in his writings) to be places of awakening and challenge.  So, I pass this on … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Desert Wisdom: Next Steps

I am not moving immediately to another study, because I want to give you a little time to order the next book that we will be using as the basis for these weekly posts. We have kind of established Tuesdays … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Discipline and Discipleship

Discipline is the other side of discipleship. Discipleship without discipline is like waiting to run in the marathon without ever practicing. Discipline without discipleship is like always practicing for the marathon but never participating. It is important, however, to realize … Continue reading

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Listenings: Spirituality and Psychology

Evelyn Underhill’s fourth question and response revolved around the relationship between spirituality and psychology, particularly in relation to psychology’s call for full self-expression and spirituality’s call for absolute self-surrender. Like the other questions she deals with at the end of … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

The Holy Gospel: February 26, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 1:9-15 Meditation:  “Now Hear This!” We only read of God speaking outloud a few times in the Bible.  This is one of those times.  We trust the “whispers” of God through the Spirit; we must pay attention to … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Benedict’s Rule: The Table That Touches Others

The abbot’s table is reserved for guests and travelers.  It is the abbot’s table that touches the world.  This both intentionalizes the hospitality of the monastery (i.e. serving guests as if they are Christ), but it also allows the monks … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings: Jesus on Mainstreet (2)

One evening in my first pastorate I asked a small group to name the apostles.  In short order we had done so.  Then I said, “Okay, that’s good.  Now, name the apostles.” There were a few odd stares, but they … Continue reading

Posted in Ministry Musings

In-Sight: Ashes To Go

Each Wednesday during Lent, I will offer a second post—one focusing specifically on our Lenten journey. Today is Ash Wednesday, and I want to share a story I recently heard Diana Butler Bass tell. The Episcopal Bishop of Chicago was … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: The Power of Clear Vision (1)

Jesus said that the people of his day had eyes to see, but did not see.  The lack of vision led to multiple perils and was arguably the major reason why he could not break through to reach their hearts. … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Famous Last Words

We have come to the end of our brief look at The Desert Fathers, the sayings from early Christian men and women who lived as monastics.  We have limited our study to three sayings per Chapter in the original text.  … Continue reading

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Listenings: The Will of God

The third question Underhill responds to is this: How are we to know, or find out what the will of God is?” Once she has asserted that we discover the will of God in relation to the great truths and … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: February 19, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 9:2-9 Meditation:  “The Voice” If you’ve been following this blog, you know I approach biblical texts and other literature trying to “find something new” for the edification of our faith.   But I also think there are times when … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: The Man Makes the Clothes

Chapter 55 of the Rule is something of a reversal of the old saying, “Clothes make the man.”  In monastic community, it’s the man who makes the clothes. The abbot is charged with providing clothing for the monks, both inside … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings: Jesus on Mainstreet (1)

For the next few weeks, I want to invite you to join me in reflecting on a recent ministry event that I conducted at our 2012 Kingdom Encounter at the seminary.  It was a seminar entitled, “Jesus on Mainstreet: Moving … Continue reading

Posted in Ministry Musings

Shepherd’s Care: The Illusion of Vitality

I’m on the lookout for statements which surprise me—statements from people I would not necessarily expect them to say.  Some years ago, I found one from Bill Hybels. A friend asked Hybels, “How can pastors stay spiritually vital?” Hybels’s response … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: The Progression of Evil

Poemen was once asked to comment on the phrase, “Do not render evil for evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:15). Poemen spoke of the progression of evil in four stages: beginning in the heart, then in the face, then in words, and … Continue reading

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Listenings: What’s Going On?

The second questions which Evelyn Underhill responds to is this: When we consider the evil, injustice, and misery existing in the world, how can we claim that the ultimate Reality at the heart of the universe is a Spirit of … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: February 12, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 1:40-45 Meditation:  “No Doubt About It” There are passages in the Bible which set the record straight.  This is one of them.  It takes what we often think and compares it with what Jesus always thinks. The leper … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Benedict’s Rule: All Things In Common

Whatever else we may glean from Chapter 54 of the Rule, we must see that spiritual formation includes attention to small things as well as big ones. At first glance, it appears rather “cold” of the abbot to refuse to … Continue reading

Posted in Benedict's Rule

Ministry Musings: Meditative Prayer (4)

There’s much more to be said about meditative rayer.  But I’ll bring our reflections to a close with this, so that I can move  on to tell you about other ministry engagements I’ve been having recently.  I’d encourage you to … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: The Ripple Effect

I was speaking in a Pastors’ Conference some time ago.  I was talking about how our decisions inevitably affect others.  I illustrated it by the story of a pastor who rarely took a vacation.  After I told the story, it … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: The Necessity of Humility

The last chapter in The Desert Fathers deals with visions.  This is a very important subject to address in spiritual formation because visions have been claimed with resulting good and evil.  They are a very “mixed  bag” in the history … Continue reading

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In-Sight: The Death of Christianity

Okay…I admit it.  I entitled this post to get your attention.  I guess if you’ve read this far, it worked.  🙂 Now, to the point.  As the United States presidential-election process has moved along (for what seems longer than ever), … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight | 5 Comments

Listenings: Synonyms for God

We have completed our study of the main text of Evelyn Underhill’s, The Spiritual Life.  But she actually ends the book by addressing six questions that people asked her about the book and about the spiritual life.  We’ll spend the … Continue reading

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Gleanings: God’s Unconditional Love

“There are no ifs in God’s love.”  Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey, February 5th.

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The Holy Gospel: February 5, 2012 (Year B)

Read: Mark 1:29-39 Meditation:  “Extend Your Hand” In his Tractate on Mark’s Gospel 2, Jerome noted that Peter’s mother-in-law had to offer her hand to Jesus in order for him to take it.  Jesus did not force himself on her, … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Connections: An Interview You May Want To Read

Hello, Everyone! A while back, I told you about my new friendship with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, who is one of the leaders of The New Monasticism and also part of the related Rutba House in Durham, North Carolina. Jonathan recently interviewed … Continue reading

Posted in Connections

Benedict’s Rule: Welcoming Jesus

Chapter 53 of the Rule is one of the most-often quoted sections.  Benedictines are known even today for their hospitality.  Chapter 53 reveals the basis for it. Hospitality is nothing other than receiving anyone as if that person were Jesus.  … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings: Meditative Prayer (3)

We do not incline our hearts to God without having an intention in mind.  So, our working definition of meditative prayer at the Canterbury retreat said, “Meditative prayer is inclining our hearts to the Lord, with the intention of enacting … Continue reading

Posted in Ministry Musings

First Day: On the Journey

This month’s Oboedire family gathering is little more than a general update.   I am happy with the posting schedule that has slipped into place early in 2012.  As you know, it means that “In-Sight” becomes an occasional writing, more … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: Experience Apart from Role

Every profession has a built-in danger—the danger of becoming so role-defined that we lose the personal dimension of our vocation.  As we consider ways to recover the wonder of ministry, we must return to the cultivation of Christian experience apart … Continue reading

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