Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Holy Gospel: July 1, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 5:21-43 Meditation:  “Turmoil!” This section in Marks’ gospel could be titled with the one word:  turmoil. Turmoil between Jesus and religious leaders.  Turmoil between Jesus and his family.  Turmoil between Jesus and his disciples.  And today, turmoil between … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Only the Beginning

The final chapter of the Rule seems amazing at first glance.  Benedict says that the Rule just read is “only the beginning.” This is the spirit of all true formation.  As Thomas Merton put it more recently—in matters of the … Continue reading

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Gleanings: A Guiding Word

Let us not just study God’s word.  It is a word that must be prayed.  Then the Spirit will guide us, and the whole church, to all wisdom and truth. John Michael Talbot, Reflections on the Gospels, Volume 2, p. … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: The Downward Spiral (4)

If we do not deal with fatigue we spiral downward into burnout. I misunderstood burnout for a while.  I thought of it as a loss of ability, but that’s not what it is.  It is a loss of interest.  We … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Places and Times

After beginning his book with a rather “spiritual” view of prayer (psalms, prayers, meditations, etc), Bunge turns to the “physical” dimensions.  Because we are human beings with bodies, our praying is always in relation to certain physical aspects.  Chapter Two … Continue reading

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Listenings: A Few Common Elements: Reflection

There are so many churches (denominational and non-denominational) and so many “schools” of spirituality (e.g. Benedictine, Reformed, Wesleyan) that we may have the idea that spiritual formation is like walking through a maze, or a circus “fun house” where the … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: June 24, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 4:25-31 Meditation:  “Necessary Suffering” If you follow this blog, you know that I have been blessed by reading Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward.  Jeannie gave it to me as a gift, and I am so glad she did. Today’s … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Supportive Zeal

Chapter 72 continues the idea of mutual respect, as Benedict admonishes each member of the community to “try to be the first to show respect to the others” (Romans 12:10). Actions are determined on the basis of how they promote … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: The Downward Spiral (3)

If we do not acknowledge and deal with stress, we move downward to the second level, fatigue. Instead of feeling energized and sufficient, we feel drained and depleted.  The trouble is, by the time we pay attention to the fact … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Meditation

Bunge rightly deals with meditation at this stage of his presentation (pp. 44-47).  Meditation is the single word most often used to describes our response to God during our time of prayer. Literally, meditation is speaking in a hushed undertone, … Continue reading

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Listenings: The Critical Role of the Church

In last week’s posting, we implied the role of the church in spiritual formation.  Today, we follow Nouwen into a concrete emphasis upon it. He says the role of the church is critical precisely because “it is painful to realize … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: June 17, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 4:26-34 Meditation:  “Live With the Mystery” The Christian life is counterintuitive.  We live in an age when we want to “know” as much as we can.  We are accustomed to asking for answers, and (most of the time) … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: The Way We Go To God

In Chapter 71, Benedict writes, “It is by this way of obedience that we go to God” (71:2).  He is referring to the obedience that everyone gives to everyone else in the monastery. No community can survive if it experiences … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Second the Motion

All that a spiritual teacher really does is ‘second the motions’ of the Holy Spirit. Richard Rohr, Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality, p. 1.

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Shepherd’s Care: The Downward Spiral (2)

The first step in the downward spiral for Archibald Hart is stress. So much has been written on this subject that we may feel we’re experiencing information overload, but please don’t bypass today’s posting in favor of your previous knowledge. According … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Hitting “Below the Belt”

In boxing it’s illegal to hit “below the belt.”  Serious injuries can occur and moreover it goes against established rules for the match. In human relations it’s also illegal to hit “below the belt,” and I have said more than … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Prayer as Dialog

The early distinction between the psalms (God’s word to us) and prayer (our word to God) establishes the fact that prayer is dialog.  When we pray, we are in holy conversation with God.  Clement of Alexandria defined prayer as “dialog … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Creating the False Self (4)

Richard Rohr has posted the fourth “ego split” which results in the creation of the false self… The Fourth Split: Acceptable Self from Unacceptable Self The final split is the split of the acceptable self (persona) from the unacceptable self … Continue reading

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Listenings: Inherent Danger

After noting the necessity of the “inward journey to the heart,” Nouwen immediately speaks of the dangers inherent in the journey. Consequently, we must not make the journey by ourselves.  That is, we must not be left alone to try … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: June 10, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 3:20-35 Meditation:  Common Ties You’re probably familiar with the television programs that trace the ancestry of selected persons.  Almost always, some interesting predecessor or fact surfaces in the exploration.  Most of us have an interesting heritage if we … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Building a “Human” Organization

The information and evidence just keeps pouring in.  The exemplary leaders of our time are emphasizing “the human factor” in the way they lead and organize.  They are responding to what they believe to be an over emphasis upon impersonal … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Presumptive Action

Chapter 70 of the Rule is aimed to maintain order in the community.  No one is to step out of line and take matters into his own hands.  Rather, the concerned person is to take action only in ways that … Continue reading

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In-Sight: A Leader’s Vulnerability

Last week’s acquittal of John Edwards has generated a flurry of evaluative essays.  Fast Company magazine’s Craig Chappelow weighed in on a key area of vulnerability for leaders:  lack of accountability. He proposed four questions every leader should ask in … Continue reading

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0Ministry Musings: On A Brief Hold

Because of an erratic summer travel schedule, I have decided to postpone the beginning of a new series of “Ministry Musings.”  For now, each Thursday, will see a return to “Gleanings” with quotations from others I think you’ll find helpful.

Posted in Ministry Musings

Followership: We Follow a Person

E. Stanley Jones helped me a long time ago to recognize that we follow a Person, not a principle or a philosophy.  We follow Jesus. Unfortunately, some quarters in Christianity put more emphasis upon rules and regulations than upon relationships.  … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: The “Downward Spiral” (1)

Being part of a loss-prone vocation puts us on what Hart called “the downward spiral.”  We must spend time looking carefully at what this is. Generally speaking it is the degenerative experience (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social) that occurs when … Continue reading

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Insight: Creating the False Self (3)

Richard Rohr has posted the third “ego split” which works to create the false self… The Third Split: Body from Mind The Third Split is that we separate our body from our mind.  The mind is given pre‑eminence in almost … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Psalms and Prayer

We look at a third pairing of terms—this time, psalms and prayers. Today, we often speak of “praying the psalms,” or we refer to the psalms as “the prayer book of the Bible.”  But the early Christians did not blend … Continue reading

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Followership: This Sums It Up

Our invitation to walk “on the way,” is not to look down and focus our attention on the path; it is to step onto the road and follow the Person.  Sweet sums this up beautifully in the following passage… “Following … Continue reading

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Listenings: The Essence of It All

We are finding the richness of the opening pages of Nouwen’s book.  We are in no hurry to move on.  In fact, this week, I just want to post what I believe is a key sentence in the book, and … Continue reading

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Followership: Unique, But Not Isolated

When we step upon the “way,” we find ourselves entering into a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  Sweet says, “We walk along the unique path that is our one and only life” (p. 65).  Jesus has no desire … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: June 3, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 3:1-17 Meditation:  A Gold Star in God’s Window Jeannie and I have had the opportunity to watch Ken Burn’s masterful film series “The War,” on PBS.  Like Burns’ other films, this one captures the subject in ways that … Continue reading

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First Day: Two Announcements

I’m entering the “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer”—days which will include some time on the road and some temporary holds on postings from time to time.  But I want to use this monthly gathering to tell you about two … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Creating the False Self (2)

Richard Rohr adds a second deformative element, which leads us to the creation of a false self:  the split of life from death… The Second Split: Life from Death The Second Split is the split between life and death. We … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Care in Defending Others

Chapter 69 of the Rule seems odd at first glance, but as with other parts of the Rule, we find wisdom at work if we look more closely. Who would not want to come to the defense of another?  If … Continue reading

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