Monthly Archives: November 2012

Benedict’s Rule: Heightened Awareness

I’ve always been intrigued by the question people ask Jesus at the end of the age, “When did we see you?”  It is a question asked by folks just like us—people who lived through the days of their lives without … Continue reading

Posted in Benedict's Rule

Ministry Musings: Discernment Is…(4)

Discernment is paying attention to “nudges.” We’ve all had moments when we “just feel like I’m supposed to do something.”  Clearly, those moments are not always correct, but they are important.  We must not ignore them. Here are some examples … Continue reading

Posted in Ministry Musings

Shepherd’s Care: Vision (2)

I think there are four key dimensions to a vision—not four separated visions, but four dynamics at work to produce an abiding sense of vision in us… First, a foundational vision.  We sometimes call it a dream.  We can see … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care

Desert Wisdom: The Manner of Our Praying

While the establishment of places and times for prayer is important, the more-important reality is the disposition with which we enter into prayer.  Bunge turns to this in Chapter Three of his book. He rightly notes that the establishment of … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom | 1 Comment

Listenings: Prayer is Wasting Time With God

As far as Nouwen is concerned, no word destroys the spiritual life more than the word “useful.” Is it useful?  That’s the question asked by a utilitarianism that ascribes value only to those things that “produce results.”  And because we … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: November 25, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 18-33-37 Meditation:  “You Say So” Pilate’s interrogation of Jesus largely revolves around his interest in him.  What seems like a generic question, “Are you the King of the Jews?” comes out of the clear implication that if Jesus … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Benedict’s Rule: A Hidden Way

Before we move beyond the notion  of ordinariness, we must connect it with the commitment to hiddenness. Taking Paul’s words in Colossians 3:3, “your life is hidden with Christ in God,” many of the early Christians sought ways to live … Continue reading

Posted in Benedict's Rule | 1 Comment

Ministry Musings: Discernment Is…(3)

Discernment is a repository of life experience. We make a mistake if we think we have to treat discernment as if it is something required in each new situation.  On the contrary, we already know how to live in many … Continue reading

Posted in Ministry Musings

In-Sight: Ministry “In Jesus Name”

A few days ago (November 18), I read a meditation from Henri Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey that puts our ministries into their proper context…. Ministry is acting in the Name of Jesus.  When all our actions are in the … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Shepherd’s Care: Vision (1)

We have come to the final category we’re using to explore the vocation of ordained/professional ministry. We spoke of the “ingredients” for vocational ministry:  values, call, and mission. We then moved on to look at the “integrity” for vocational ministry:  … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care

Desert Wisdom: Fasting (4)

Bunge treats a third reason for fasting: the spiritual purpose (p. 94). Citing Evagrius again, he points out that fasting makes the soul like a high-flying eagle—a soaring soul that rises above the lethargy of gluttony.  Like a cleaned mirror, … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom | 1 Comment

The Teaching Life: Maintaining Sacred Space

This morning’s post about prayer as “sacred space for God,” reminded me that teaching requires the maintenance of sacred space—surely space for God, but also the space that spark’s a student’s own creativity and interest. If the space is too … Continue reading

Posted in The Teaching Life

Listenings: Prayer is Creating Space for God

Prayer can be described in a wide variety of ways.  Nouwen addresses a number of views as he moves into the chapter. First, he says that prayer is creating space for God (p. 18). Life in the fallen world is … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

The Holy Gospel: November 18, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 13:1-8 Meditation:  “Not So Fast” Like the original disciples, we can be quickly and easily taken with impressive things.  The great buildings with their massive stones caught the attention of one of Jesus’ followers.  It seemed as if … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Benedict’s Rule: Ordinary Holiness

One of the problems of history is that certain people seem to turn into what Thomas Merton called “plaster saints”—icons from the past that appear to have lived an extraordinary Christian life. Some have looked at The Rule of Benedict … Continue reading

Posted in Benedict's Rule

Ministry Musings: Discernment Is… (2)

Discernment is a revelation of God’s heart. Obviously, this is the most important thing, but I put it second because if our hearts are not disposed to God, then God’s revelation will pour through us like water passes through a … Continue reading

Posted in Ministry Musings

Shepherd’s Care: Morality

We’re exploring the subject of integrity as it relates to the vocation of ministry.  Clearly, we are doing little other than scratching the surface on huge issues that can make or break us, and our ministries.  But perhaps even a … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care

Desert Wisdom: Fasting (3)

Bunge examines briefly a second reason for fasting—its practical significance (p. 93). He uses a quotation from Evagrius, which essentially says that a full stomach will make us dull and drowsy, and thus unmoved to pray—whereas  a “famished stomach” will … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom | 1 Comment

Listenings: Spiritual Formation is….

The second chapter begins with a powerful statement by Nouwen regarding the nature of spiritual formation.  I want to use it as the focus for today’s post…. Spiritual formation is a call to discipleship, a call to follow Jesus radically … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

The Holy Gospel: November 11, 2012 (Year B)

Read: Mark 12:38-44 Meditation:  “The Great Contrast” Artists often convey their message through contrast.  In today’s lesson, Jesus uses the same technique to show us what true religion is. It’s not walking around in long robes, being greeted in the … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Benedict’s Rule: A Signpost

When we understand that the Rule of Benedict is an invitation to live deeply in Christ, and when we find the motivation which comes from that invitation, we come to realize (as de Waal points out) that the Rule does … Continue reading

Posted in Benedict's Rule

Ministry Musings: Discernment Is… (1)

We begin an exploration of some of the things that discernment is… Discernment is a disposition of the heart–a general life orientation.  It is not so much figuring out God’s will in a given situation as it is a desire … Continue reading

Posted in Ministry Musings | 1 Comment

In-Sight: A Leadership Revolution

It’s plain as day for those who have eyes to see…. We are experiencing a leadership revolution.  The old model that included top-down, high-control, chain-of-command, limited reporting systems, and high regulation is going the way of the dinosaur. Rising in … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Shepherd’s Care: The Bedrock of Character

We’re continuing our exploration of the ethical dimensions of vocational ministry.  If we give ourselves to “the virtues” (essentially understood as the fruit of the Spirit), those qualities of life produce character in us. Character is the word we use … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care

The Teaching Life: Heart to Heart

One of the joys of teaching is watching something that has deeply influenced my life have a profound effect on someone else.  When it happens, it’s a feeling that says, “this is not going to die with you; it is … Continue reading

Posted in The Teaching Life | 2 Comments

Desert Wisdom: Fasting (2)

Once we have the historical grasp of fasting in place, Bunge says we must turn to understanding the purposes of fasting.  He selects three, and we’ll use this week’s post plus the next two to explore them…. First, we fast … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

Listenings: A Time for Review

I realize that not everyone who follows Oboedire has the various texts in hand as we move through them on different days.  I know that will be the case for some of you as we spend our Mondays on Nouwen’s … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

The Holy Gospel: November 4, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 12:28-34 Meditation:  “Right on the Border” That’s the way Eugene Peterson translates “you’re not far from the Kingdom of God” in The Message.  His rendering caught my attention, and has stuck in my mind. What was it that … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Benedict’s Rule: Motivation

Esther de Waal notes that the invitation to set out on our journey with Christ comes to us as an arousal of our will, an awakening out of apathy (p. 28). Some have called it a sense of urgency, meaning … Continue reading

Posted in Benedict's Rule

Ministry Musings: What Discernment is Not (5)

Today, we explore one final thing in relation to what discernment is not.  It is not always what other think you should do, or worse, what they expect you to do. Discernment surely involves a submission of ourselves to the … Continue reading

Posted in Ministry Musings | 1 Comment