Monthly Archives: October 2012

Gleanings: The Necessity of Compassion

Here’s a good second post for Wednesday—the day we focus on clergy and spiritual leaders here at Oboedire.  Henri Nouwen reminds us of the importance of compassion in the practice of ministry…. The Church often wounds us deeply.  People with … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: The Necessity of Virtue

We’ve been looking at some of the key “ingredients” in a ministry based upon a vocational paradigm rather than a professional one.  Our location, values, humanity, and giftedness combine to give us a sense of mission. But “ingredients” are not … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Church of “The Weakest Link”

Henri Nouwen speaks another powerful word to us.  From the vantage point of my Wesleyan tradition, I can say for sure, “John Wesley would love this….” The most honored parts of the body are not the head or the hands, … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Desert Wisdom: Fasting (1)

Bunge moves from examining the times for prayer to the theme of fasting and prayer—an often-combined emphasis in early Christianity—a combination noted in the Bible itself.  We will spend several blogs on this connection. As with prayer, Jesus and the … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

Gleanings: Forgiving the Church

Henri Nouwen’s writings in Bread for the Journey are currently dealing with the church, and I’m finding a number of them to be particularly inspiring, especially as we live in a time when some are advocating a “churchless Christianity.”  Nouwen … Continue reading

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Listenings: Transformed for Mission

Nouwen ends Chapter One with the reminder that the “transparency” and “transformation” which we receive in contemplative prayer is intended not only to shape us into greater conformity to Christ, but also send us into the world to make him … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: October 28, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 10:46-52 Meditation:  “The Way is Open” How many times have you told yourself that calling out to God about something would be a “bother” to God?  How many times have you allowed someone to convince you that you … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Benedict’s Rule: Invitation

The most important thing for us to grasp at the beginning of our second journey through Benedict’s Rule is that it is an “invitation to life.”  We need to have this idea firmly in mind, because we can so easily … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings: What Discernment is Not (4)

Discernment is not knowing God’s will “down to the detail.” For example, we may have discerned that it is God’s will for us to go to school.  For God-given reasons, we need to study further (either in an actual degree … Continue reading

Posted in Ministry Musings | 2 Comments

Shepherd’s Care: Ingredients (2)

The ingredients of our mission include more than geography.  They include bearing witness to the two great commandments:  loving God and loving others. As I have understood this more and more over the years, it’s amazing how both the message … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care

In-Sight: Where is the “Stretch”?

While watching football yesterday, I noticed the commentator’s remarks that the players were going through their “stretching” exercises.  I hadn’t thought about that in a while, but I know it’s their way of helping to insure that they are not … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight | 2 Comments

Desert Wisdom: Removal of Distractions

Bunge closes out his section on Night Prayer with comments on this time as a means of getting away from distractions. When the Spirit spoke to Arsenius with three instructions (flee, be silent, and pray), he took the exhortation literally … Continue reading

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In-Sight: The Reunion of the Church

I was reading Thomas Merton’s journal (April 28, 1957) in which he was pondering the unification of the church after centuries of being divided.  He wrote, “I will create in myself a reunion of the divided Church.” His words spoke … Continue reading

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Listenings: Human Transformation

A look at Nouwen’s comments on nature and time reveals that he understands spiritual formation within the larger context of transformation.  God is in the process of “converting” all of life, and spiritual formation is the way he describes the … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

The Holy Gospel: Octobber 21, 2012 (Year B)

Read: Mark 10:35-45 Meditation:  “Oops!” Jesus repeats the forecast of his pending crucifixion and resurrection in the verses skipped over in getting to today’s lesson. But no sooner had he used the encounter with the man in 10:17-31 to restate … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Benedict’s Rule: Not Just For Monastics

One of the first things to get clear is that The Rule of St. Benedict is not just for monastics.  It began as an in-house manual for monks, nuns, and the eventual Benedictine Order (and other Orders too), but it … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings: Discernment is Not (3)

Today we explore the fact that discernment is not the opposite of what you want to do. I don’t know how the notion God started that God’s will is opposite to our will.  Of course, there are times when it … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Nouwen’s View of the Church

We’re living in a time when the church is struggling.  Some are even advocating a “churchless” Christianity.  The e-meditation that came to me today from Henri Nouwen keeps the perspective we need, in order to be both committed to the … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: The “Ingredients” of Our Call

Over the years, I have found Acts 1:8 to be useful in periodically reviewing my calling.  Last week, we shared the three levels of calling, but those levels must be lived in various “locations”—Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Prayer Unites Us To The Heart of Christ

Today is the memorial day for St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690).  It was her conviction that prayer unites us to the heart of Christ. She believed that every moment/event of our lives is an occasion to draw nearer to Christ.  … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Desert Wisdom: Eschatology

Bunge moves on to show that Night Prayer also had a connection to eschatology. Tertullian called it waiting attentively for the angel’s trumpet.  Night Prayer was one of the ways the early church trained itself to look for the return … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom | 2 Comments

Listenings: The Sacredness of Time

Nouwen turns next to the contemplation of time (pp. 8-10). When I read his words, I was reminded of a visit I had recently with a pastor who said to me, “I can get people to write a check quicker … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: October 14, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 10:17-31 Meditation:  “Two Questions” Today’s passage unfolds in relation to two questions: one asked by the man who came to Jesus, and one asked by Jesus’ disciples.  I have never felt that I fully understand this passage, which … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Benedict’s Rule: Why All the Attention?

Wow!  It’s taken two months just to get through the Preface to Seeking God!  Before we launch into the main chapters of this excellent book, I want to take a “breath” and simply ask, “Why is the Rule of Benedict … Continue reading

Posted in Benedict's Rule

Ministry Musings: Discernment is Not (2)

We continue to look at what discernment is not…. It is not “static”—it is not an “it.” When we discern the will of God, we have not captured something.  The will of God is dynamic—alive—ongoing. One thing leads to another.  … Continue reading

Posted in Ministry Musings

Shepherd’s Care: The Call and Mission

When we are in touch with our values, our humanity, and the centrality of God (via gifts and graces), we may begin to sense “where” God is leading us, and “what” we are being called to be and do.  In … Continue reading

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Site Update: A New Icon

As Oboedire gets older, some of you ask me what books we have used (or are using) as common readers for the various daily postings.  I’ve decided to add a new icon on the Home Page that will tell you … Continue reading

Posted in Site Updates

Desert Wisdom: Vigil

The first element Bunge deals with relative to Night Prayer is “vigil.” Early Christians chose the night for keeping vigil, because they felt it was the period of the day least susceptible to distraction and interruption.  It was in the … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

The Teaching Life: Surprise! Surprise!

This past weekend, I taught the class “The Spiritual Life of the Minister” for the last time at Asbury Theological Seminary.  I taught it first in the Summer of 1981. As I was bringing the class to a close, the … Continue reading

Posted in The Teaching Life | 9 Comments

Listenings: All Nature Sings

In exploring the movement from opaqueness to transparency, Nouwen turns from a general consideration of contemplative prayer to the role the natural order plays in helping us develop a “clear vision of the nature of things” (p. 6). Quoting John … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

The Holy Gospel: October 7, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 10: 2-16 Meditation:  “No Place for Pretense” As Jesus moved increasingly toward Jerusalem, he had little time or energy for putting up with artificial or superficial religion.  There was no room for pretense.  Whenever he encountered it (whether … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: The Life of Love

I am blessed to have had Dr. Thomas Carruth as a professor when I was in seminary.  I never imagined (in my wildest dreams) that I would come some years later to succeed him as Professor of Prayer and Spiritual … Continue reading

Posted in Benedict's Rule | 4 Comments

Ministry Musings: Discernment is Not… (1)

Last week, we opened the door to consider some things that discernment is not. We said that it is not having to frustratingly search for “one correct thing,” but rather to be able to make a faithful choice between viable … Continue reading

Posted in Ministry Musings

Shepherd’s Care: The Call and God

We did not speak last week of the call and humanity because it’s more important than the call and God.  We spoke of it, because we are tempted to skip over the human factor and make our call exclusively “supernatural.” … Continue reading

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Connections: CD Baby

Jeannie recently ordered a CD from a distribution source called “CD Baby.”  You may already know about it, but if not, I want to tell you just a little. The confirmation email she received is one of the “happiest” and … Continue reading

Posted in Connections | 3 Comments

Desert Wisdom: Night Prayer

Bunge turns next to night prayer.  We’ll spend a little time on this, first of all because in the kind of world we live in today, we may have to accept the principles while altering the pattern. Let’s understand right … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom | 1 Comment

First Day: Welcome to the Fall

We have not yet felt the permanent arrival of Fall (or at least what we call “Fall”) in Florida.  It’s still HOT!  But we live by hope. As we begin a new month in the Oboedire family, I want to … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Listenings: Contemplative Prayer

The means to our spiritual formation is contemplative prayer.  Because we caricature the word contemplative to mean someone who is so heavenly minded, they’re no earthly good, we move away from the very kind of prayer which can lead us … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings