Monthly Archives: April 2012

Followership: Dance to the Music

A few nights ago, Jeannie and I watched the classic movie Footloose.  Her upcoming Sevilla (Spain) High School Reunion has taken “Footloose in Fort Worth” as its theme, and it even includes a “crazy sock contest.” If you’re familiar with … Continue reading

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Listenings: The Movements of the Spirit

Nouwen’s choice to use the metaphor of movements to describe the spiritual life (pp. viii-ix) instead of steps or stages is more in keeping with both the biblical and psychological understanding of human formation as a journey “from” something “to” … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

The Holy Gospel: April 29, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 10:11-18 Meditation:  “Good Shepherds” If you have followed this blog for a while, you have seen previous posts in which I have commended the image of “shepherd” as a much-needed model for ministry.  Today’s lesson focuses our attention … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

In-Sight: “The World’s Most Beautiful People”

People magazine has just named Beyoncé as “the world’s most beautiful person,” complete with a cover-page photograph intended to verify the decision. Why do we keep expecting the fallen world to produce what it never can—namely, a definition of beauty … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: The Holiness of Leadership

Nothing affects the life of a community more than the person who is charged with leading it.  Perhaps that is why Chapter 64 of Benedict’s Rule is somewhat longer and more-detailed than some of the ones we’ve looked at previously. … Continue reading

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In-Sight: The Gift of Critique

I know that many of you who follow Oboedire are professional leaders in the church, and the rest of you are ministers in some other form in the world.  Father Richard Rohr has written this morning about one of the … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Ministry Musings: “Jesus is Lord” (3)

We’re continuing our exploration of the phrase “Jesus is Lord.”  We have previously looked at it as personal transformation and religious scandal. Today, we view it in relation to cultural subversion. The only charge that the Jews could bring against … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: I Am My Selections

We are continuing to look at a few of the key elements that shape our lives and our ministries.  We have considered the roles that personhood and location play.  Today, we turn to the shaping power of our choices. None … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Authenticity and Crucifixion

We hear a lot today about “being authentic,” and it’s an important subject.  Richard Rohr recently spoke of it in a way we cannot ignore… The theme of suffering recurs constantly within Mark, as if the entire gospel is an … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Prayer as Receptivity

We connect ourselves to tradition in learning to pray because we understand that prayer (like everything else in the spiritual life) is “gift.”  The wisdom of the early Christian fathers and mothers has been preserved by the Holy Spirit specifically … Continue reading

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Gleanings: “Nevertheless”

Some of you will know that one of my favorite words to describe tenacity in the life of prayer is “nevertheless.”  I devoted a chapter to it in my book, Talking in the Dark: Praying When Life Doesn’t Make Sense. … Continue reading

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Listenings: The Way of the Heart

The richness of Nouwen’s book for me lies in part in the difficulty of getting beyond the Preface and into the actual chapters.  I hope you’ll bear with me, because I think there are things here that are very important. … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: April 22, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Luke 24:36-48 Meditation:  What an “Open Mind” Really Is We like to use the term “open-mindedness” as a sign of our personal health and our communal hospitality.  We use the term as way of saying we are nice people, … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

In-Sight: Body Pleas

Christians are not dualists.  We believe salvation means “wholeness,” and that there is a direct connection between what’s going on in our souls with what’s going on in our bodies. The need for true spirituality is being increasingly confirmed in … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Benedict’s Rule: Rank Without Rancor

Benedict’s Rule (Chapter 63) seeks to establish some kind of differentiation without fostering rancor in the community.  The simplest way to do it was by date of entry into the community. Benedict wrote clearly, “The abbot is not to disturb … Continue reading

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Gleanings: A Good Easter Prayer

Several days ago, Richard Rohr’s daily meditation was this prayer…. Loving God, we love how You love us. We love how You free us. We love what You have given and created to surround us. Help us to recognize, and … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings: Jesus is Lord (2)

We’re continuing our exploration of the phrase, “Jesus is Lord.”  Last week, we viewed it as a personal transformation. This week, we see it as a religious scandal. It was an immediate scandal to the Jews who would have heard … Continue reading

Posted in Ministry Musings

Gleanings: Safety and Love

Richard Rohr underscores the connection between feeling safe and being able to feel loved…. If you can’t feel safe with a person, you can’t feel loved by them. You can’t trust their love.   (Daily Meditation, April 18, 2012) Whether … Continue reading

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In-Sight: “The Weakest” video re-posted

I’ve been told that it was like searching for a needle in a haystack to find “The Weakest” video on You Tube.  When I went there, I saw how true this is! So…here is the link for it at You … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Shepherd’s Care: I Am My Situation

One of the mistakes I made early in my ministry was to unintentionally think that all places are pretty much alike.  We had experienced some really good things in one church, so when we moved to the next one, I … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Leading as Good Shepherds

Nouwen continues his look at healthy and authentic leadership in his meditation in Bread for the Journey(April 13).  I want to continue to pass these words of wisdom on to you…. Spiritual leadership is the leadership of the Good Shepherd.  … Continue reading

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In-Sight: “The Weakest”

Jeannie just showed me a video post from Leonard Sweet. Go to You Tube and put in “The Weakest.”  It will come up. It’s a synopsis of a panel that Sweet did with Ron Sider and Shane Claiborne. You’ve got … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: A Very Good Place to Start

In the movie, The Sound of Music, the song “Do-Re-Mi” contains this phrase:  “Let’s start at the very beginning; a very good place to start.” The apostle John agreed when, much earlier, he began his first letter with these words,”That … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

Gleanings: Internal Ethos & Leadership

Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision, has written that establishing a creative culture requires the development of an inner ethos within the organization…. Hirshberg says. It was very important to him to get culture right, “We’re always putting a fine point … Continue reading

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Listenings: A Simple Way

Our exploration of Spiritual Formation through the pages of Henri Nouwen’s Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit is under way.  I’m glad you’re on the journey.  There’s still time to invite others to join us. Ours is an … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

Gleanings: Authority and Compassion

Henri Nouwen continues to offer us wise counsel in relation to the nature and exercise of authority (in Bread for the Journey, April 12).  I want to post his meditation showing how authority and compassion must never be separated…. Mostly … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: April 15, 2012 (Year B)

Read;  John 20:19-31 Meditation:  “When It’s Hard to Believe” I think Thomas has gotten bad press.  In some ways, he was the most honest apostle of the lot.  He was not about to claim an experience he was not having, … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Authority and Obedience

Henri Nouwen wrote this meditation (Bread for the Journey, April 11) on the connection between authority and obedience…. Authority and obedience can never be divided, with some people having all the authority while others only have to obey.  This separation … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Becoming a Priest

The way we go about ordaining people has changed over the centuries.  But one thing has not changed—the need to carefully discern and choose those who are to become priests. Chapter 62 of the Rule outlines this process.  It centers … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Dethroning the Personality Cults

I wrote yesterday about Andrew Sullivan’s article in the April 9th issue of Newsweek: “Forget the Church, Follow Jesus.” One of Sullivan’s accurate critiques is how much of North American Christianity has become enamored (captured) by “personality cults” which form … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings: “Jesus is Lord” (1)

I preached recently in our seminary chapel, and I want to spend a few weeks sharing some of what I said on that occasion.  We are using The Apostles’ Creed as a basis for our worship this Spring, and my … Continue reading

Posted in Ministry Musings

In-Sight: Follow Jesus

Andrew Sullivan’s feature article in the current issue of Newsweek (April 9), “Forget the Church, Follow Jesus,” is both creating quite a stir, but also revealing a tsunamic trend occurring in North American Christianity.  We may not agree with everything … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: I Am My Self

I am not a psychologist or therapist, so in exploring the personhood of the clergy, I am not attempting to be comprehensive in my definition or analysis of personhood.  I simply want to write a few weeks on this subject, … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: The Great Reverse

Following his Introduction, Bunge formally begins his book with these words from Luke, “No one after drinking old wine desires new….” (5:39). Immediately,  we are plunged into “the great reverse” of the spiritual life.  It is the conviction that “the … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Living With Deep Roots

A few days ago (April 5), Henri Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey spoke words I want to pass on to you—reminding myself and you that it’s only when we live deeply that we live well…. Trees that grow tall have … Continue reading

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Listenings: Following the Movements of the Spirit

The day after Easter seems an appropriate day to launch a new study of Spiritual Formation.  And the sub-title to this book of Nouwen’s thoughts on the subject seems an appropriate way to begin the journey. The primal activity of … Continue reading

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Holy Week 2012: The Third Day

Read:  John 20:1-18 Every time we affirm our faith, we say “on the third day he arose from the dead.”  Why not say, “on Easter Sunday he arose from the dead?” Simply because Jesus could not make it to Easter … Continue reading

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Holy Week 2012: The Day of Numbness

Read:  John 19:38-42 “They laid Jesus there.”  That’s all that could be said.  The body was dead.  Jesus’ friends did their duty and left.  Saturday was the day of numbness. Years ago, I spoke with a man in Detroit.  It … Continue reading

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Holy Week 2012: When We See the Cross

Read:  John 18:1-19 and 19:16 The one who made the hands of his betrayers and executioners is now in their hands.  The one who has known no sin will soon become sin.  It is an amazing day, an awful day, and … Continue reading

Posted in Holy Week 2012

In-Sight: Are You Ready for a Shock?

This past weekend, Jeannie and I had the opportunity to be with Leonard Sweet in a retreat.  The opportunity came as a gift from one of our former students. It was our first time to meet him and spend time … Continue reading

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Holy Week: An Illustrated Commandment

Read:  John 13:1-17; 31-35. Educators never fail to remind us that we learn by example.  Abstract concepts, no matter how necessary and true, must be seen.  Reality never takes root without incarnation. It’s difficult enough to hear “love one another.”  … Continue reading

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In-Sight: The “Happiness Movement”

The evidence just keeps rolling in with tsunami impact—and the plain truth is that there is a mounting movement toward “workplace happiness.”  Companies as large as Face Book are not only discovering—but also communicating—that the secret to their success is … Continue reading

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Holy Week 2012: Who Will We Be?

Read:  John 13:21-32 Today’s lesson gives us the choice of becoming one of three people:  John, Peter, or Judas.  They are all involved in the text. John is the one who represents the ideal.  He represents those who “hang in … Continue reading

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Holy Week 2012: Death and Life

Read:  John 12: 20-36 We only hear the voice of God a few times in the Gospels.  This is one of those times.  God speaks about a soon-t0-come “glorification.”  Jesus interprets it (again—see John 3:14) in relation to the serpent … Continue reading

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Holy Week 2012: Dead Man Walking

Read:  John 12:1-11 When people know they are going to die, they reveal how they want to live.  In the case of Jesus, he did not have to alter his plans.  He simply continued to be the person he had … Continue reading

Posted in Holy Week 2012

First Day: Holding Steady

As we begin a new month, the word “steady” seems to characterize the way I feel about Oboedire.  A couple of new weekly explorations are getting off the ground (Nouwen and Bunge) and one other one is nearing completion (Benedict). … Continue reading

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