Monthly Archives: August 2012

Connections: A Source for Early-Christian Formation

I’ve become familiar with a source I want to pass on to you:  http://www.ancientfaith.com As you’ll see it’s a website for a radio-oriented ministry, but as you explore the site, you’ll discerer that there are also written posts (lectures and … Continue reading

Posted in Connections

Benedict’s Rule: Everything From The Center

In her Preface, Esther de Waal also bring Benedict’s Rule into our lives today, showing how it is having a powerful influence upon the movement referred to as “the new monasticism.” In that regard, I want to recommend a brand-new … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Faith is Surrender

Richard Rohr challenges us not to confuse faith with egotism… When Christianity aligns itself with power (and the mindset of power, which is the need to be right and certain one is right) there’s simply very little room for the … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings: Discernment–Intro

I wrote the book Talking in the Dark: Praying When Life Doesn’t Make Sense, precisely to address the place of prayer when we inevitably confront the mysteries, challenges, and inequities of life. Doing so, led me to consider the role … Continue reading

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Gleanings: The Real Purpose of Prayer

Oswald Chamber’s comment about prayer in today’s reading of My Utmost for His Highest is on target and worth pondering…. Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished. Our common ideas regarding prayer are not … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: A Vocational Perspective (3)

Living vocationally is not something abstract or detached.  When our ministry is rooted in God—when belonging to Jesus and listening to him is our primary understanding of vocation, we find that one of the first things he tells us is … Continue reading

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The Teaching Life: Asking Questions

When I began to teach, I thought my role was to sift through all the “maze” of information and pull out the best “answers” I could find, and then pass them on to the students with as much passion, creativity, … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Times for Prayer (1)

I’m reading Basil Pennington’s book Challenges in Prayer.  In it he says that the greatest challenge in cultivating a life of prayer is time itself.  The stewardship of time is the basis for so much that emerges in and flows … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

In-Sight: Language is Determinative

This morning in my Daily Office, I read Thomas Aquinas’ exposition on the Gospel of John, where he wrote about Jesus’ statement, “I am the Good Shepherd.”  Through his words, I was reminded of the fact that the image of … Continue reading

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Listenings: Early Movements

Every important dimension of our life begins with an unstrained simplicity—an easiness, if you will.  Take mathematics.  No one chastises us on our first day at school for not knowing how to do Algebra.  In fact, no one even criticizes … Continue reading

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

Read:  John 6:61-69 Meditation:  “The Saddest Question in the World” The previous weeks’ lectionary readings culminate in today’s passage.  The challenge has been extended.  The metaphors have been laid out.  The message is clear. And the response is…..”many of his … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Silent Prayer

Prayer is largely just being silent: holding the tension instead of even talking it through, offering the moment instead of fixing it by words and ideas, loving reality as it is instead of understanding it fully. We must not push … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Decisive Formation

Esther de Waal’s book is so well written, we don’t want to overlook any “pearl of great price” in its pages. Just as Kathleen Norris’ Foreword yielded valuable insights, we find additional gems in de Waal’s Preface. John Main’s assertion … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Learning How To Receive

On July 10th, I wrote about the need for “shutting the door” and praying in secret to God.  I used the experience a friend of mine had with E. Stanley Jones years ago—when Brother Stanley told him, “the person who … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: A Vocational Perspective (2)

The word “vocation” comes from the same root that give us the word “vocal.”  The simplest way to understand vocation is to realize that someone else is speaking.  This puts us into an immediate listening mode. One of the biblical … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: “Easting” (3)

The practice of turning toward the East is also a way of reminding ourselves that our commitment to live our lives in Christ is a new orientation.  We are turning from the darkness and turning toward the dawn. It is … Continue reading

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Site Update: The Next “Oasis Day”

The next “Oasis Day” retreat is Monday, October 22nd—10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Canterbury Retreat Center in Oviedo, Florida. The theme for the day is “Walking in the Light: Practicing Discernment.”  Dr. Steve Harper will facilitate the retreat experience.  … Continue reading

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Listenings: Movements of the Heart

If spiritual formation is “the way of the heart,” then the image of a journey is an appropriate one.  It is the image Nouwen employs, using the word “movements” to describe the early, midlife, and mature dimensions of that journey.  … Continue reading

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

Read:  John 6:51-58 Meditation:  “Who Does He Think He Is?” The current lectionary readings are taking us deeper and deeper into metaphor and mystery, and that’s more than the folks who demand literalism and explanations can handle. Don’t forget—the religious … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Benedict’s Rule: Seeking God

Today, we begin another journey through the Rule of St. Benedict.  But this time, we will explore key themes rather than moving sequentially through the chapters.  To do this, we will follow the outline given us by Esther de Waal … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Meditation

Meditation implies the capacity to receive grace whenever God wishes to grant it to us, and therefore [meditation is] a permanent disposition to humility, attention to reality, receptivity, pliability.  Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer,p. 71.

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Site Update: Thank You

Some of the people I know who use Face Book are becoming disillusioned with it, due to the negative and argumentative responses that get posted.  One of my good friends in ministry (who reaches over a million people a month) … Continue reading

Posted in Site Updates | 5 Comments

Shepherd’s Care: A Vocational Perspective

I’ve decided to make the next theme what we might call “Practical Formation”—a comparatively loose arrangement of postings, all of which have a bent toward helping shape our ministries in a down-to-earth way.  I want to begin with what I’m … Continue reading

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Connections: Donald Demaray Resources

I’ve just learned that one of my long-time mentors, Dr. Donald Demaray, has a website that shows all of his many publications.  I want you to have it:  http://www.donalddemaray.com. “Dr. Don” was literally the first person I met at Asbury … Continue reading

Posted in Connections

Desert Wisdom: “Easting” (2)

Facing east when praying is also a symbol of our salvation history.  Bunge notes that “the East” symbolized Paradise (p. 60)—our original home. When facing east, the early Christians were personifying their faith that through Christ, we are delivered from … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

In-Sight: A “Perfect Heart”

I am engaged in a personal study of the contemplative life and the related doctrine of Christian perfection.  In both cases, Christianity is viewed as a “matter of the heart.” At the same time, I’ve run across those who believe … Continue reading

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Listenings: A Few Common Elements: Freedom

Nouwen’s final element in his list of a few common elements is freedom (pp. xxviii-xxix). He uses the word (as with the others) to describe the larger reality he calls “the way of the heart.”  He wrote an entire book … Continue reading

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

Read:  John 6:41-51 Meditation:  “Ordinary Holiness” Jesus was rejected by the religious leaders for a number of reasons.  In today’s lesson it’s because he was “merely Jesus the son of Joseph” (v. 42 The Living Bible). In other words, he … Continue reading

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

Read:  John 6:24-35 Meditation:  “The Gift or the Giver?” The lectionary is asking us to deal with a crucial aspect of the Gospel:  the temptation to create the faith on our terms.  Last week, we saw that the crowd wanted … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel