Monthly Archives: May 2012

In-Sight: Creating the False Self (1)

Father Richard Rohr is posting on his blog some teaching having to do with the way in which the “false self” (fallen self) comes into existence.  Because this is so important when it comes to spiritual formation, I will post … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Ministry Musings: On A Brief Hold

Having just completed a three-part series on evangelism, Ministry Musings is on a temporary hold.  In the meantime, I’ll return to the “Gleanings” category and post quotations I believe you’ll find helpful.

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Shepherd’s Care: A Loss-Prone Vocation

You may notice that I occasionally refer to Dr. Archibald Hart in my writing about ministry and stress.  Dr. Hart taught for many years at Fuller and was a great help to countless clergy in my generation.  I believe he … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Grace and Response

Another issue faced by the early Christians was the relationship between God’s grace and human response.  As with contemplation and practice, the early Christians sought to keep the together, forming a dynamic unity. For them, God’s grace is always primary, … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

Followership: An Emerging Reality

If Jesus was indeed identifying himself with the Eastern understanding of Reality of “way” in somewhat the same manner that the Western mind understood it as “word,” then the disciples must have been utterly amazed and greatly encouraged. This makes … Continue reading

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Listenings: Not an Esoteric Journey

The journey into a “heart spirituality” is not reserved for those who have the luxury of unhurried leisure or  unceasing quietness.  In another of his books, Nouwen wrote that if we cannot find God in the center of our lives, … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

The Holy Gospel: May 27, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 15:26-27; 16:4-15 Meditation:  Jesus Puts a Face on God Pentecost Sunday is a good time to focus on one aspect of the significance of the incarnation; namely, Jesus puts a face on God.  Jesus said it: “He who … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Followership: Jesus as Way

Jesus’ choice of the word “way” is most likely his way of  responding to Thomas’ question, where the same word was used to frame the question, “How can we know the way?” But it should not escape our attention that … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Impossible Tasks

Chapter 68 of the Rule takes us to a very delicate, but important dimension of spiritual formation: dealing with “impossible” tasks. The word “impossible” may throw us off a bit.  Benedict is using it as the early response a monk … Continue reading

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Gleanings: The Face of God

“If Jesus is the face of God, we’re in luck.  This really looks good for all of us.”  Richard Rohr.

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Ministry Musings: Making Christ Known (3)

Before we leave our brief consideration of conversational evangelism, I want to be sure to emphasize that sometimes our “conversation” is an action—an act of compassion and/or service.  An act of love. A lot of people think that religion in … Continue reading

Posted in Ministry Musings

Followership: On the Way

After challenging his readers to lay down the largely-secular model of the “CEO Christian leader,” Sweet turns his attention directly to Jesus, interpreting his statement, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” in the bulk of his book. … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: Missing the Way

We make a mistake in thinking that “hurry sickness” (Archibald Hart’s term) is a modern phenomenon.  About 3,000 years ago, Solomon wrote, “he who makes hast with his feet misses the way” (Proverbs 19:2). “Busyness” is a state of mind, … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Action and Contemplation

The attempt to rank practice (praktikos) and contemplation (theoretikos) is an ancient debate.  Bunge shows how the two became conjoined in early Christianity. Evagrius preferred contemplation because it was the “observation point” from which the rest of life is seen.  … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

Gleanings: Human, then Holy

Richard Rohr recently posted a meditation reminding us that higher needs (goodness, beauty, truth) cannot be attained before lower needs (food, clothing, shelter) are tended to.  He put it this way…. When you cannot enjoy the lilies of the field … Continue reading

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Listenings: Eyes of the Heart

I like Nouwen’s image of the “seeing” heart.  If we combine it with Jesus’ reminder that if our eye is singular, our lives will be full of light, we have come near to one of the classic definitions spiritual formation:  … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

The Holy Gospel: May 20, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 17:6-19 Meditation:  “Christ is Praying for You!” Jesus had just declared victory (16:33), and the very next thing he did was to pray.  In many respects this is the Lord’s prayer; it is surely his high-priestly prayer. As … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

In-Sight: Would Jesus Be Surprised?

Sometimes in conversations, a person will say, “Jesus would hardly recognize Christianity if he came back today.”  Comments like this always mean that, as his followers, we have done a good job in making changes and additions which would surely … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight | 1 Comment

Benedict’s Rule: Prayer-Saturated Travel

Chapter 67 reveals another dimension of life together among the monks.  When one or more of them are sent by the abbot on a journey, they are to be prayed for continuously until they return. This might be the place … Continue reading

Posted in Benedict's Rule

Followership: Not Always Easy (3)

Sweet ends his exploration of the challenges that attend true followership by commenting on the courage to take moral action… Most everyone reading this book has both witnessed and heard stories ad nauseam of pastors and Christian leaders who behave … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

Ministry Musings: Making Christ Known (2)

Today, I want to tell you about Denny.  He picked me up at the airport, with the assignment to take me to a meeting his parents were in charge of.  He was a student at The University of Michigan, and … Continue reading

Posted in Ministry Musings

Followership: Not Always Easy (2)

Sweet continues to explore the challenges that attend being a true follower…. Leadership-centric cultures tend to create protective force fields around top-dogs.  Their attitudes and character, unseen from the pulpit and concealed in the foyer, are off-limits to underlings.  But … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: The Violence of Activism

In his classic work, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, Thomas Merton captured the essence of the problem when we violate the pace of grace… There is a pervasive form of violence…activism and overwork. (p. 86) These words were written more … Continue reading

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Followership: Not Always Easy (1)

To become a follower does not mean becoming someone who never critiques, never speaks out, or never challenges.  And it surely doesn’t mean becoming a lackey who says and does whatever the leader demands.  In fact, when we are following … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Restoring the Missing Person

Bunge believes that one of the principal values of studying early-Christian prayer is that it will lead us to the recovery of “the missing Person”—the Holy Spirit.  Bunge believes that the Spirit has been lost in some circles in Western … Continue reading

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Followership: An Easy Yoke

Spend time with most leaders today, and the conversation will move into topics related to “how hard” it is to lead today.  Specific reasons abound, but the toll which is exacted in terms of burnout and break down is clearly … Continue reading

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Listenings: Formation of the Heart

In order to live into a spiritual formation that represents “the way of the heart,” we must understand what we mean by heart. For Nouwen, the heart is defined biblically as “the place where body, soul, and spirit come together … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

The Holy Gospel: May 13, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 15:9-17 Meditation:  “From a Philosophy to a Photograph” If Jesus had said, “Love one another,” he would have said no more than philosophers and sages before him had already said.  He would have added nothing to what the … Continue reading

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Followership: Weaning is Difficult

Weaning ourselves from a collapsing “leadership paradigm” is difficult, and we must be sure that we don’t over correct and end up with an equally-false opposite. Len Sweet continues to guide us toward “followership” by suggesting that resources like Stephen … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Front-Door Hospitality

Chapter 66 of the Rule reveals another important principle in the spiritual life:  first impressions set the tone for what follows.  Hence, the choice of a good porter (now often called a Guestmaster) is crucial. I found it interesting that … Continue reading

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Connections: Upper Room Daily Reflections

The Upper Room has resumed a free, daily e-letter called “Upper Room Daily Reflections.”  It is not simply an electronic version of the devotional guide.  It is a resource that includes excerpts from Upper Room Books and other materials you … Continue reading

Posted in Connections

Ministry Musings: Making Christ Known (1)

Most people hear the word “evangelism,” and their blood runs cold.  We associate witnessing with speaking in public for the first time before a crowd of thousands. “No thank you.” But….it doesn’t have to be that way.  There is a … Continue reading

Posted in Ministry Musings

Gleanings: A Heart Enlarged

I found the following comment from Mother Teresa to be very helpful and inspiring… Prayer makes the heart large enough until it can contain God’s gift of Himself. Ask and seek, and your heart will grow big enough to receive … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: The Pace of Grace

I want to return to a theme I’ve noted previously, but this time I want to spend an extended period of time in relation to it.  The theme is “Renewing the Pace of Grace.” The phrase ‘pace of grace’ came … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care

Followership: Among You It Will Be Different

Here’s another post from Len Sweet’s excellent book, I Am a Follower… He writes in relation to Jesus’ words, “But among you it will be different.  Whoever wants to be a leader among you must first be your servant” (Mark … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Prayer and Spirituality

Bunge rightly points out that prayer is “the most noble expression of the spiritual life” (p. 27). This is because the essence of the Christian life is the cultivation of a relationship between ourselves and God.  And prayer is the name … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

Gleanings: The Obvious Result

Saint Raphael Baron unites in a few words what should never have been separated in the first place:  love for God and love for others…. When we love Jesus, when we love Christ, we necessarily love what he loves. This … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Site Updates: A New Blog Topic

I am so convinced that Leonard Sweet’s new book, I Am a Follower is a grace gift to us that I am going to add a new category to my Oboedire postings:  “Followership.” It will be an occasional post, not … Continue reading

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Listenings: The Way of the Heart

The editors have wisely given us the overview of Nouwen’s understanding of spiritual formation before they take us into the particulars.  And they have done this with one of Henri’s favorite concepts—and one that’s rooted in classical Christianity—“the way of … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

Sight Updates: Mobile Enabling

A regular follower of the Oboedire blog has told me about a feature that will make it easier for you to receive the posts on your mobile devices.  Since the subscription list is growing and more and more of you … Continue reading

Posted in Site Updates | 1 Comment

Gleanings: An Artificial Protection

We continue our look at Richard Rohr’s meditations on “the world, the flesh, and the devil.”  In a recent post he spoke of the dangers which can come to us when we give primary allegiance to a secondary thing… For … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: May 6, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 15:1-8 Meditation:  “How Close Can We Get to God?” Over the years of my ministry, I have been asked this question (or ones like it) many times.  Some ask with a belief that God is “somewhere out there”—far … Continue reading

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Gleanings: A Dangerous Allegiance

Richard Rohr has been writing daily meditations on the description of evil as, “the world, the flesh, and the devil.” In a post this past Wednesday, he wrote about the danger of worshiping any system—even good ones…. When you worship … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Second-Tier Leaders

Chapter 65 of the Rule deals with the prior, what we would today call the “second in command” in a community.  Interestingly, there is more space spent to the problems of having such a leader than to the person’s actual … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Invited Into God’s Heart

John Tauler (1300-1361) comments on John 10:1-10 in his Sermon 27, giving us this beautiful picture of Christ’s ministry… Our Lord says he is the door of the sheepfold. Now what is this sheepfold, the pen into which Christ is … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings: “Jesus is Lord” (4)

We conclude our brief look at what most consider to be the earliest creed in Christianity: “Jesus is Lord.”  We’ve acknowledged that it contains personal transformation, religious scandal, and cultural subversion. Today, we add the element of ecclesial creation. In … Continue reading

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Followership: You Go First!

I’ve mentioned that I am reading slowly through Leonard Sweet’s excellent book I Am a Follower. He opens his book with the conviction that it is very difficult for a person to “go first” when it comes to taking an … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: I Am My Spirituality

Today, we conclude our examination of a few selected “I am” statements that shape our lives and ministries.  The point of the past few weeks has not been to be comprehensive, but rather to illustrate the fact that (as Henri … Continue reading

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First Day: Ebbs and Flows

The main thing I want to share in this “first day” post is the inner sense I have about the Oboedire blog. Not a lot is changing on the outside of it.  The weekly themes are established, and we are … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Continuity and Identity

My choice to blog each week in relation to early Christianity is deliberate, and I assume it will remain a regular feature of Oboedire.  I simply cannot imagine trying to provide solid spiritual formation without remaining connected to this foundational … Continue reading

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