Monthly Archives: March 2012

Holy Week 2012: Looking Down the Road

(Note:  This coming week, the regular posts will be suspended, and I will write a daily meditation based on the Gospel lesson for each day in Holy Week.  Regular posts will resume on Monday, April 9th) Reading for Palm Sunday:  … Continue reading

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In-Sight: The Need for Technological Morality

I receive a daily e-letter that keeps me connected to “the outside world,” and especially the high-tech world.  In today’s edition, one of the featured articles was on the growing need to figure out how to make machines “moral” as … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Visitation Privileges

Chapter 61 of the Rule takes the principle of humility in Chapter 60 and applies it to those who come to the monastery as visitors. Even those who come for a short time are to accept the “community life” that … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings: “Deep and Wide” (3)

The church in Antioch was deep and wide, exhibiting a communal identity, a laity foundation, and a social unity. It also (fourthly) had a worshipful center. The late Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, wrote that worship is the central act … Continue reading

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In-Sight: How The Light Gets Out

I attended a retreat during this Lenten season.  The opening session was after dark. We were gathered in a beautiful chapel—a location I’ve been in many times—enough times to know that above the altar is a lovely stained-glass window, depicting … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: Bulls or Blessings?

We’re exploring the personhood of clergy.  Most of us have lived long enough to have met pastors who were “bulls” and those who were “blessings.”  The question is what makes us one or the other? The answer is—Christ. He is … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: “Let us Pray…”

Before there was a theology of prayer, there was a prayer:  the Lord’s Prayer. In fact, before there was a Creed, there was a prayer.  It was Thomas Merton who first pointed me to the fact that the first theological … Continue reading

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Connections: The Praying Life

Jeannie has been sharing meditations with me from a site called “The Praying Life.”  I have been blessed by the contemplative spirit which they so powerfully and beautifully represent.  I’m ready to connect you to this ministry site as well…. … Continue reading

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Listenings: “Time Out”

Just a reminder that we are moving to explore Henri Nouwen’s Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit (HarperOne, 2010) edited by Michael Christensen and Rebecca Laird. I want to give you time to get this book if you … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: March 25, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 12:20-33 Meditation:  “Looking at the End” Jesus gave his final public discourse in today’s lesson.  “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified,” he said (v. 23).  We will never know what was going … Continue reading

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Gleanings: The Immeasurable Value of Friends

Henri Nouwen has written about the immeasurable value of friends…. A friend is more than a therapist or a confessor, even though a friend can sometimes heal us and offer us God’s forgiveness. A friend is that other person with … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: No “Inside Track”

Chapter 60 of the Rule sets forth an essential element—namely, that no one comes to the community with any claim to superiority over anyone else. One of the tests of our commitment to Christ is whether we are willing to … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings: “Deep and Wide” (2)

In addition to a communal identity, the church at Antioch had (secondly) a laity foundation.  I’m not speaking of the spiritual foundation, but rather of the institutional one.  We read in Acts 8:1 that when the persecution of believers broke … Continue reading

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In-Sight: How The Light Gets In

Recently, a blog posting contained this lyric from Leonard Cohen’s song, “Anthem”…. “Everything has a crack in it.  That’s how the light gets in.” This captures the purpose and spirit of Lent.  The purpose of a penitential season is not … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: The Pastor as “Person”

I want to use upcoming posts to look more closely at a much-needed dimension of pastoral life—the necessity of remaining rooted in our personhood. The basic definition of “person” is human.  Related to the general definition is also the idea … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Prayer as ‘Practiced’

If you’ve been reading Oboedire for a while, you’ve noted my reference to “sapiential theology”—theology which includes both belief and practice, set in the context of our larger search for God. Before we leave Bunge’s introduction, we have been brought … Continue reading

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Listenings: Transition

We have come to the end of Evelyn Underhill’s The Spiritual Life.  Our Monday posts will continue to focus on what we’ve been calling “a mini school of Spiritual Formation.” We will turn next to Henri Nouwen’s Spiritual Formation: Following … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: March 18, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 3:14-21 Meditation:  “Lift Up Christ!” I believe the Christian mission can be summarized in the three words of today’s title:  lift up Christ.  It’s exactly what Jesus told us to do, and his instruction carries with it a … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Connections: Robert Sutton

I may be way behind you on this recommendation, but today I have run into Robert Sutton, professor of Management Science at Stanford University.  I’ve made a quick run through his archived writings, and he clearly is a respected spokesperson … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Preparing in Advance

Chapter 59 of Benedict’s Rule deals with the offering of sons and property to the monastery.  Because this practice is foreign to my Christian traditioning, I must look for an abiding principle within the specific practice. What I find here … Continue reading

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Editorial: Living By Values

I am amazed at how quickly Greg Smith’s public resignation from Goldman Sachs has gone viral.  I do not know the man, at all, so I am in no position to write this post on the basis of any personal … Continue reading

Posted in Editorials

Ministry Musings: “Deep and Wide” (1)

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of co-preaching a revival at the First United Methodist Church in Lakeland, Florida.  Dr. Robert Tuttle was my partner in this venture.  The senior pastor is a long-time friend and his executive … Continue reading

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In-Sight: The Naked Noun

I’ve decided to give up adjectives for Lent—that is, modifiers of the noun “Christian.” I agree with Eugene Peterson, “A healthy noun doesn’t need adjectives” (The Contemplative Pastor, 23)—only deprived nouns need them.  He opts for the naked noun. But … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: The Power of Clear Vision (4)

We come to the final dimension of clear vision: things that are not known to us or to others.  We might refer to them as things which happen “unexpectedly”—-“out of the blue,” etc.  They may be censures or leadings.  They … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Early-Christian Prayer

Well, we begin a new “chapter” in our exploration of early-Christian spirituality, turning our attention to the practice of prayer according to the patristic tradition.  Just a reminder that we will be using Gabriel Bunge’s book, Earthen Vessels as a … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Our Call

We emphasize the idea of calling here at Oboedire, and we interpret it to be largely in relation to “little things”—things “at hand.”  A recent excerpt from Henri Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey (March 10) captures this idea in a … Continue reading

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Listenings: God and Politics

Underhill ends her classic book responding to a sixth question: what is the relationship between the spiritual life to public life and politics? Her comments are not only important but timely: “It must mean, for all who take it seriously, … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Finding Your “Prayed In” Place

A couple of days ago, I read an interview with Andy Raine, one of the compilers of Celtic Daily Prayers. In one of his responses, he spoke of the need to find a “prayed in” place.  The phrase caught my … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: March 11, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 2:13-22 Meditation:  “Take These Things Away!” John was inspired to put the cleansing of the temple at the beginning of his gospel to make the point that Jesus’ life and ministry was going to involve getting rid of … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Slowing Down Our Decision

Chapter 58 of the Rule summarizes the process for admitting a person into the community. In my own experience I have found that when I teach on early Christianity’s procedures for slowing down the process for admitting people into faith … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings: Jesus on Mainstreet (4)

In this final installment of material which I recently delivered on campus, I turn to what I have come to call “locational discipleship.” It simply means that we exercise our mission in a consciously identified territory—what used to be referred … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Mouth and Money

“Put your money where your mouth is,” may turn out to be one of the best phrases for spiritual formation. In early Methodism, the concern for the poor turned into the phrase “a penny a week, and a schilling a … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: The Power of Clear Vision (3)

Jesus’ call for us to have “eyes to see,” includes the need to recognize that there are things others see in us that we do not see in ourselves. This can sometimes come in the form of a compliment.  A … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: “Time Out”

I’m continuing the “time out” on this weekly post, so those of you who want to do so can order Gabriel Bunge’s Earthen Vessels: The Practice of Personal Prayer According to the Patristic Tradition (Ignatius Press, 2002). If you have … Continue reading

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Listenings: Spiritual Life in the Whirlwind

Evelyn Underhill’s fifth question and response deals with how to have an authentic spiritual life in the midst of unceasing activity, busyness, etc.  So many were saying that they found no opportunities to cultivate their relationship with God.  We can … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Admitting our Complicity

Richard Rohr challenges us to stop and think about how we (even unwittingly) contribute to the fallen world system…. Once we idealize social climbing, domination of others, status symbols, power, prestige and possessions, we are part of a never ending … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: March 4, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 8:31-38 Meditation:  “When Religion Changes” Every New Testament scholar I know sees the time that Jesus spent with his disciples at Caesarea Philippi as the “turning point”—not only for Jesus himself, but also for the apostles.  Jesus described … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Do What You Are

Chapter 57 of the Rule addresses the various artisans who have become monks and are living in the monastery.  And from this instruction we learn a significant lesson about ourselves. The world says, “You are what you do.”  We are … Continue reading

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First Day: Transitions

Hello, Everyone! I have a number of things to share with you—all of which fall into the general word “transitions.” First, we are coming to the end of two weekly posts:  Evelyn Underhill’s book and also our look at sayings … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings: Jesus on Mainstreet (3)

Last week, we saw the transformation when we put our names on the list of those who have given themselves to Christ in the same way that the original apostles did. We enter into the world of vocational discipleship. About … Continue reading

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