Monthly Archives: March 2013

Gleanings: This is the Day

These words from John Henry Newman provide a good meditation as Easter Day comes to a close… And here we are, even on this great Day, this Day of days, on which Christ arose from the dead,—here are we… as … Continue reading

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Holy Week 2013: The End of Weeping

Easter Sunday John 20:1-18 Today will be the last day of weeping for many people, just like it was for Mary.  The risen Christ comes to us and calls us by name, putting an end to the primal sadness that … Continue reading

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Holy Week 2013: Exposed!

Holy Saturday John 19:38-42 Nicodemus had come to Jesus by night, apparently to keep his visit with Jesus a secret.  Joseph too was a “secret disciple.” Neither of them would have been expected to be the two who showed up … Continue reading

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Holy Week 2013: Martyrdom or Atonement?

Good Friday John19: 16-18 Good Friday is a day to ponder the difference between martyrdom and atonement. I once overheard an interesting conversation.  The first person was emphasizing the message of the Gospel that “Jesus died for you.” The second … Continue reading

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Holy Week 2013: The One Sign

Maundy Thursday John 13:1-17; 31b-35 How many times will we have to read this passage before we get it? There is only one sign to the world that Christianity is real—Christians love each other. Whenever we play “one upsmanship” in … Continue reading

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Holy Week 2013: Handed the Bread

Holy Wednesday John 13:21-32 Have you been handed a piece of bread by Jesus?  I have.  It is not the bread of forgiveness.  It is the bread of betrayal.  Like Judas, I have found myself at the table, knowing full … Continue reading

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Holy Week 2013: Lent As Eucharist

Holy Tuesday John 12:20-36 When we receive holy communion, we say, “Christ has died.  Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” The journey of holy week takes us through the same three dimensions of faith.  The death and resurrection of … Continue reading

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Holy Week 2013: Death By Association

Holy Monday John 12: 1-11 Tucked away in the holy-week story is a verse about Lazarus that we can easily overlook.  John tells us that he was in the chief priests’ cross-hairs along with Jesus.  Apparently, Lazarus’ experience and his … Continue reading

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Holy Week 2013: Shouting Stones

Palm Sunday Luke 19: 28-40 Sometimes the church embarrasses me by its silence–that is, by its failures to proclaim the gospel in word and deed.  Sometimes I join the failure with a witness that leaves the gospel silent in a … Continue reading

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In-Sight: “The Presidency of Love”

Just yesterday, I learned how the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) came to be viewed as the leader among peers.  I had thought it was because of Rome’s power and/or St. Peter’s being the first Pope who led from there. … Continue reading

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In-Sight: The Purpose of Lent

As we draw near to Holy Week, I have been using insights from a homily I read recently to think about the purpose of Lent.  Each year, we go on this lengthy journey.  Why? The homily put it starkly:  to … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Creativity

At first glance, it might seem that the vow of stability would produce stagnation.  But for Benedict, the exact opposite is the case.  It produces creativity.  Why is this? Simply because it is as we focus ourselves that our minds … Continue reading

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Editorial: In Memorium–Gordon Cosby

Yesterday (Wednesday), one of God’s modern-day saints went to heaven.  Gordon Cosby (1918-2013) along with his wife, Mary founded The Church of the Savior in Washington D.C. in the 1940’s. For many in my generation, the Cosbys were inspirations and … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings: Aim at Improvement

(Note: This is the final post on the subject of discernment.  If you want to review the entire series, go to “Ministry Musings” on August 30, 2012, where the first posting was made)…. A surprising discovery I have made in … Continue reading

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Wesley’s Way: A Comprehensive Hermeneutic

We continue to look at the foundational elements in Wesleyan spirituality.  Today, we turn to Wesley’s hermeneutic—that is, the means by which he interpreted the authenticity and relevance of the spiritual life. We have come to call it the “Wesleyan … Continue reading

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Gleanings: True Community

Henri Nouwen reminds us about the nature of true community… As long as we relate primarily to each other’s wealth, health, stability, intelligence, and soul strength, we cannot develop true community. Community is not a talent show in which we … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Experience, Necessary but Limited

St. John of the Cross offers this important word about Christian experience, the necessity of humility, and the inevitability of Mystery… “However elevated God’s communications and the experiences of his presence are, and however sublime a person’s knowledge of him … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Audible Prayer

If you have been to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, you will be able to connect with today’s post.  As you stand there, you can detect a kind of murmuring–a whispering of prayer. The early Christians usually prayed like that—in … Continue reading

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In-Sight: The Many Faces of Christ

Richard Rohr writes, “Christ takes on the face and features of each person God loves’” This has prompted me to ponder “the many faces of Christ.”  Here are a few examples.  To them, add your own… To the cosmos, he … Continue reading

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Listenings: From Resentment…

Nouwen defines resentment as “cold, agonizing anger” (p. 59)–the feeling that arises in us when we feel that we have been let down or failed to have received what we think we should have. Resentment impedes spiritual formation because it … Continue reading

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

Read:  John 12:1-8 Meditation:  Extravagant Love When I read this passage, I always think of Mrs. Rogers, a member of the church I served in Kentucky while I was in seminary. One day, when Jeannie and I were visiting in … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Perseverance

Stability also provides perseverance. Benedict defined perseverance as the outward expression of the fruit of the Spirit of patience.  A patient person, he wrote, can put up with unfavorable or even unjust conditions and embrace the suffering that comes unfairly … Continue reading

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Editorial: Beware Pseudo Normativeness

Pope Francis I has not been in office a day before a deformative dynamic is already in the mix–and one particularly prevalent in North American Christianity.  It is our tendency to assume the “United States view” is the norm for … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings: See Yourself as an Instrument

St. Francis of Assisi taught that we must see ourselves as “instruments” of God.  This connects with discernment in the sense that we are not practicing discernment to elevate our powers of knowledge, wisdom, insight, etc.  We are seeking to … Continue reading

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Editorial: A New Pope….If Only

Once in a while all the confusion and complexity of the world is rolled back, and we can see into the human heart.  I believe the choice of a new Pope is one of those times. If only for a … Continue reading

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Wesley’s Way: Non-Dualistic Spirituality

Wesley believed God raised up the Methodists to “unite the two so long divided—knowledge and vital piety.”  He believed that knowledge without piety produced “dead orthodoxy” (his term, and something he abhorred).  He believed that piety without knowledge produced fanatical … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: We Pray to be Converted (2)

In praying prayers to be converted, the early Christians found it natural to pray to Jesus.  Some even today still find this bothersome, wondering if we should pray to him, or simply say, “Dear God.” Bunge explores this practice and … Continue reading

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Connections: A New Book I’ve Published

I want you to know about a new book that has just been published as a Kindle Book.  It’s entitled, When TV Came to Town.  It’s a different kind of book for me, but one I have wanted to publish … Continue reading

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Listenings: Moving from Resentment to Gratitude

One of the reasons I hope you have a copy of Nouwen’s book, Spiritual Formation (Harper Collins) in hand as you read these blogs is so that you can follow the larger journey which can get lost in the weekly … Continue reading

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

Read:  Luke 15-1-3; 11b-32 Meditation:  “Stuck!” The familiar story for today tells us there were two “stuck” sons. One was stuck in the mud, the other was stuck in the field.  Jesus shows that it is actually better to be … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: An End to “Spiritual Shopping”

Ask almost anyone in the church today, and they will tell you that one of the most disconcerting things is the tendency of folks to “church hop”—to move rather indiscriminately from one alleged “hot spot” to another.  Laity are not … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Where is God?

There are times when this is the only question we feel like asking.  All the other questions collapse into this one—the ultimate one. This morning, Richard Rohr’s e-letter contained one sentence that I need very much to read, and one … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings: Focus on a Few Things

Every morning, Frank Laubach prayed, “God, what are you doing in the world today that I can help you with?”  It was a prayer of discernment that included the realization that God does not want us to do everything.  Discernment … Continue reading

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Wesley’s Way: Religion of the Heart

Wesley also referred to his theology as “religion of the heart.”  Here too (as with “living faith”) he was connecting with streams of Christianity (especially in the early church) who used heart-language. He chose this phrase for a number of … Continue reading

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In-Sight: The Ultimate Purpose of Scripture

The ultimate purpose of scripture is to connect us with God.  Revelation comes as invitation, and our reading of the Bible is one way we accept the invitation and make the connection. In his e-letter for March 3rd, Richard Rohr … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: We Pray to be Converted (1)

Last week, we noted that the early Christians prayed briefly and simply, lest they fell into the trap of thinking that the genuineness of their prayers was based on the “word count” of them. But Bunge quickly notes (pp. 117ff) … Continue reading

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Editorial: Benedict, A True Theologian

News media last week reported on Pope Benedict’s decision to live out the remaining years of his life as a monk.  Given his status as a major-league theologian in the Roman Catholic Church (even before he was chosen to be … Continue reading

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Listenings: Walking Together (3)

When Jesus walks with us on the journey from sorrow to joy, he also gives us insight. The insight he provided the couple on the road came through a connection of their current experience with scripture.  He put everything in … Continue reading

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

Read:  Luke 13:1-9 Meditation:  “Welcome to the Club!” We are not as far removed from ancient times in our hearts as we think we are.  We still harbor and promote the idea that some people are “more sinful” than others.  … Continue reading

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First Day: Just Checking In

I really don’t have anything new to share with you as we begin the month of March.  We continue in the season of Lent, and when we come to Holy Week, I will suspend the traditional themes and (as last … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Who Is Praying?

I don’t think I will ever really understand prayer, and my desire for understanding diminishes when I have to pray in the presence of confusion, suffering, and uncertainty. I’m going through a time like that right now, and just this … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: The Aim of Stability

The reality which stability provides is aimed at only one thing:  steadfastness.  De Waal writes of this on pages 56-58. Without stability (reality), our faithfulness will be sorely tested.  We can find ourselves becoming cynical (e.g. “why didn’t anyone tell … Continue reading

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