Monthly Archives: February 2013

Editorial: Take a Deep Breath

As you may know, Pope John Paul II spoke of the Western and Eastern churches as the two lungs of the Body of Christ, reminding us that the Body needs both lungs to be healthy. Last week, while processing Pope … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings: See God in All Things

We call God “sustainer.”  That means there is not a split second or square inch where God is not present and active.  Discernment is learning to look for God in every moment and every event of our lives. In the … Continue reading

Posted in Ministry Musings

Editorial: Looking Unto Jesus

We are living through a time of great shame and challenge for the church. Pride and presumption are like termites in the temple, eating away at the pillars and posts of institutional Christianity. Pride has created sensationalism where self-declared “superstars” … Continue reading

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Wesley’s Way: Living Faith

For Wesley, theology is a combination of belief and practice.  He called it “practical divinity.”  In taking this view he was standing with pre-Enlightenment Christianity’s commitment to sapiential theology, theology which responded to two questions: “What do you believe?” and … Continue reading

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Gleanings: A Transforming Use of Scripture

Richard Rohr recently (e-letter 2/22) commended the following use of the Bible… When the Scriptures are used maturely, they proceed in this order: 1. They confront us with a bigger picture than we are used to: “God’s kingdom” that has … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Short and Sweet

Saint Augustine wrote that the early Christians believed prayers are to be “extremely short and hurled like spears.”  Bunge explores this on pp 113-120. Many of these prayers were Scripture verses—e.g. “I will fear no evil, for you are at … Continue reading

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Listenings: Walking Together (2)

When Jesus walks with us on the journey from sorrow to joy, he not only enters into our suffering, he moves us from what Nouwen describes as “foolishness.” Nouwen rightly points out that to be called “foolish” is a hard … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: February 24, 2013. (Year C)

Read:  Luke 13:31-35 Meditation: “Finishing Well” Jesus ‘s entire mission was about redemption (v. 34).  This passion kept his mind focused and his heart singular all the to the Cross.  Jesus finished well. But he did not do so without … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Two-footed Christianity

Richard Rohr (e-letter for Feb 20) offers us a good image of our Christian walk… “The Jewish prophets had one foot in Israel and one foot outside and beyond. So must you have one foot in your historical faith community … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Spirituality is Reality (2)

The vow of stability provides a second major benefit:  it does not hide or delay the challenges that come with living an authentic spiritual life.  When the seeking brother was received into the community, he was “told all the hardships … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Of “Use” to God

Oswald Chambers has been a good guide for me for decades.  I read his book, My Utmost for His Highest, year after year–and like plowing a field, I keep turning over new, rich soil. This morning, I was challenged by … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings: Practice Lectio Divina

Discernment is praying to know God’s will.  Much of that will is already revealed in Scripture.  So, discernment is always connected to reading the Bible in order to find out what God has already revealed. We join with the saints … Continue reading

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Connections: Talking in the Dark

Just a reminder that Upper Room Books has published my book Talking in the Dark: Praying When Life Doesn’t Make Sense as a Kindle book. 

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Wesley’s Way: From Many Streams

When the Mississippi River pours into the Gulf of Mexico, it is a mixture of water from other streams.  Similarly, when we receive spiritual nourishment from Wesleyan spirituality, it is a mixture of other traditions. Wesleyan spirituality is made up … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: A Life of Prayer

Buge brings this section of his book (pp 105-112) to an end by reminding us that prayer is a life, not merely a time. Clement of Alexandria wrote that the true Christian is one whose “whole life is a prayer” … Continue reading

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Listenings: Walking Together (1)

Nouwen calls the third step in the journey from sorrow to joy “discovering the one who walks beside you” (p. 46). The great mistake in too much contemporary formation is a spiritual expression of “rugged individualism.”  The way of true … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: February 17, 2013 (Year C)

Read:  Luke 4:1-13 Meditation:  “Confronting the Confrontation” I am not anything close to an expert in the Lectionary.  But I have to admit that the recent readings seem to me to be “skipping around.”  We were in Luke 4 a … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Benedict’s Rule: Spirituality is Reality (1)

We begin a look at stability, one of the foundational Benedictine vows—and one sorely needed today. De Wall explores it in Chapter 4. It is impossible to calculate the damage done by the “prosperity gospel” (which is no gospel).  Disillusioned, … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings: Parallel the Fruit of the Spirit

A third fundamental practice in discernment is to align it with the fruit of the Spirit.  God’s will never violates love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).  As Paul says it at the end of … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Marked by Ashes

Tonight, millions of us will participate in Ash Wednesday services.  I hope this poem by Walter Brueggemann will inspire you as you prepare yourself to be… Marked by Ashes Ruler of the Night, Guarantor of the day . . . … Continue reading

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Wesley’s Way: Living Souls

No spirituality begins with a particular religion.  The spiritual life begins in creation, with humankind made in the image of God (Gen 1:26-28).  This fundamental reality means we have an instinct for God, and we have the capacity for a … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Where It All Begins

Over against a pseudo spirituality that shifts the emphasis from God to us, Richard Rohr reminds us where it all begins… God is always the initiator, God is the doer, God is the one who seduces us. All we can … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Personalizing Our Prayers

The early Christians understood there is no one-size-fits-all prayer pattern. The time, location, and form of our prayer arises in relation to the circumstances of our life.  Bunge writes about this on pp 110-112. Fixed times of prayer arise from … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Holding Creed & Experience Together

We sometimes wrestle with keeping the objective and subjective elements of faith properly related to each other.  A recent comment from Richard Rohr is helpful… “The only things we know at any deep and real level are the things we … Continue reading

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Listenings: Universalizing Our Pain

Nouwen’s second step on the journey from sorrow to joy is to universalize our pain. Unless we do this, our pains will become our fixations. Have you ever met a person who immediately begins to talk about their sufferings, losses, … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: February 10, 2013 (Year C)

Read:  Luke 9:28-36 Meditation:  “Reactions to Revelation” The lectionary reading moves swiftly.  Last week we were in Nazareth at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry; today we stand on the mountain of transfiguration.  In both places, Jesus is revealing that the … Continue reading

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Gleanings: God’s Unconditional Love

Henri Nouwen offers us this powerful word… “We often confuse unconditional love with unconditional approval. God loves us without conditions but does not approve of every human behavior. God doesn’t approve of betrayal, violence, hatred, suspicion, and all other expressions … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Freedom for What?

Ask any prisoners freed from jail and they will tell you that some of their most vulnerable days were immediately following their release.  They were “free,” but free for what? Similarly, we are a people who crave to be “free.”  … Continue reading

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The Teaching Life: More Than Legacy

The joy of teaching is more than “leaving a legacy”—a phrase which keeps the focus on the teacher and what he or she passes on. The joy of teaching Is seeing students come into their own, experiencing God’s creative grace … Continue reading

Posted in The Teaching Life

Ministry Musings: Failing Forward

Before we move to the next aspect of discernment, I want to lift up a significant role that community plays in the discernment process.  It is the context where we can fail; the net into which we can fall. We … Continue reading

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In -Sight: Enemy Visits in Silence

I am reading Athanasius’ biography of St. Anthony.  He shows how Anthony’s discipline of silence did not prevent Satan’s attacks.  In the silence Anthony was visited by anger and lust—anger when he compared his deprivation with others’ comforts, and lust … Continue reading

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Wesley’s Way: Introduction

Welcome to a new weekly posting on Oboedire.  In response to requests by others, I am beginning a look at spiritual formation through the lens of the Wesleyan tradition. As I have said previously, this is not intended to diminish … Continue reading

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In-Sight: The Mark of Holiness

Richard Rohr recently captured the historic and contemporary mark (evidence) of holiness… “Truly holy people are always humble. If you are not humble, you have not experienced the Holy One. If you don’t see humility and patience in religion, you … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Desert Wisdom: “Tecnique” in Unceasing Prayer

If our call is to “pray without ceasing” (always and everywhere), it may seem odd or antithetical to speak of any technique.  But the early Christians realized that there was a connection between Mystery and method; that the two do … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

In-Sight: The Journey

An old monk was asked, “What do you do all day long?” He replied, “We fall down, and we get up.”

Posted in In-Sight

Listenings: Mourning Our Losses

The first step in the journey from sorrow to joy is to mourn our losses (pp. 41-43). To “mourn” a loss is to bring it out in the open, not leave it in hiding.  Things left hidden only make matters … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: February 3, 2013 (Year C)

Read:  Luke 4:21-30 Meditation:  “The Challenge of Fulfillment” We are masters of deferral and delay.  But Jesus is the “here and now” igniter of fulfillment.  He stood before people in his home town who had known him since he was … Continue reading

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First Day: A Few More Developments

If you read the January edition of “First Day” (posted on 1/14), you know that things are evolving with Oboedire.  I have a couple of reminders to share today, a new venture, and an update…. (1) The reminder that NewPastors … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: A Journey of Ascent

With the soul delivered from bondage to self-will, we are now free to ascend to God.  But how?  Benedict does not leave the question unanswered, but rather uses the image of a ladder to describe how we rise to God.  … Continue reading

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