Monthly Archives: December 2013

In-Sight: Out of Place

     The biggest problem with Christianity is that it makes you “out of place.”  John the Baptist was out of place to tell the King he was an adulterer.  Jesus was out of place to tell the religious leaders they … Continue reading

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Listenings: Journey Inward, Journey Outward

Every tradition in Christianity has a way of describing the simultaneity of the spiritual life.  The Catholic/Orthodox traditions speak of the life of piety and mercy. The Anglican/Wesleyan traditions speak of the life of personal and social holiness. The Reformed … Continue reading

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Ancient Wisdom: December 29, 2013 (Year A)

Read Isaiah 63:7-9 Meditation: “Think About It” When I was a child, one of my favorite hymbs was “Count Your Blessings.”  It still is, and it is ajin to the spirit of our passage from Isaiah.  Look at these similarities… … Continue reading

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In-Sight: The Church’s Affirmation

     We end our Christmas-week meditations with the Church’s affirmation: “Jesus is Lord.”  This was the earliest Christian statement of faith.  It is a claim which universalizes him.  If he is Lord (that is, Yahweh–that is, God), he is no … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Peter’s Declaration

     We move on to Peter’s declaration.  When Peter told Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” he was declaring the reality of the Incarnation.  He was saying that Jesus was “eternity entering into time” (Ephesians … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Christ’s Incarnation

     Today is Christmas Day.  We receive the angel’s declaration that the Savior is born (Luke 2:11).  Like Mary and Joseph, it took angels to convince the shepherds that they were not hallucinating.  And like Mary and Joseph, it was … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Joseph’s Alteration

     We move next to Joseph’s experience.  Mary’s reputation was at stake; Joseph’s honor was on the line.  It took an angel’s visit to both of them in order to prevent them from misunderstanding what was going on.  And Joseph, … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Mary’s Anticipation

This year, Christmas falls in the middle of the week.  As a further means to our celebration of it, I will post five meditations today through Friday.  Let’s begin with Mary’s anticipation.      The angel told her she would give … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Christmas Week Meditations

If you like, I invite you to read (and share) the Christmas-week meditations I have written this Monday through Friday.  They post each day at 1:00 a.m. ET. They are my “Christmas card” to each of you, praying that as … Continue reading

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Ancient Wisdom: December 22, 2013 (Year A)

Read: Isaiah 7:10-16 Meditation:  Immanuel One of my favorite musicians is Michael Card.  He is truly a musical theologian, and his song, “Immanuel,” is a mountain peak in the range of ancient and modern music concerning Christ.  I hope you … Continue reading

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In-Sight: More About E. Stanley Jones

As interest in the life and work of E. Stanley Jones grows, I want to direct you to places where you can become more aware and involved… Facebook Pages      E. Stanley Jones      United Christian Ashrams Websites      http://www.estanleyjonesfoundation.comContinue reading

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Ministry Musings: The Home Front

     As leaders, we eventually come to see that our leadership comes more from the people we are than from the training we received.  A telling question is, “What kind of home did you grow up in?”       Our home … Continue reading

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Let Us Pray: Listening

One of the oldest and simplest definitions of prayer is this: prayer is listening.  In a sermon Eugene Peterson amplifies the definition by writing, “People who don’t listen usually do too much, or do the wrong thing, or do the … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Lifted Up, Not Beaten Up

     A reading of the writings of the early desert fathers and mothers reveals their outright refusal to condemn another person.  They did not do this because they felt sin did not matter, but rather because they did not feel … Continue reading

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Listenings: Ultimate Formation

The ultimate movement in spiritual formation is the movement from denying to befriending death.  Until we can do this we may believe in heaven, but all our spiritual energy will be thrown into extending our life on earth. Strangely, it … Continue reading

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Ancient Wisdom: December 15, 2013 (Year A)

Read:  Isaiah 35:1-10 Meditation: “Come Home” One of my favorite hymns is “Softly and Tenderly.”  One phrase in it says, “Ye who are weary, come home.” Isaiah could have said the same thing it the exiles.  They had grown weary … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings: Major Shifts

In a recent issue of the Alban Weekly, Sarai Rice listed some of the major shifts occurring in the church today. The following is longer than my usual posts, but what she notes is especially important…. Question: What are some … Continue reading

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In-Sight: The Art of Reading

     In a sound-byte world, speakers and writers “live and die” by segments. Excerpts from speeches and quotes from books are often all we have.  If we speak or write, the need to be word crafters increases when people base … Continue reading

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Let Us Pray: Prayer Alive

Just a reminder that I have written quite a few posts about prayer on a Facebook page entitled “Prayer Alive.” The page is currently inactive, but you can still access it and make use of the materials there in your … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Power Deadly

An article in The Huffington Post (11/12/13) offers us a perspective akin to that of the Gospel… “The more power we have — as seen in politicians, the media, CEOs, movie stars, control freaks, or in those who always think … Continue reading

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Listenings: Widening the Circle

Nouwen ends the movement from exclusion to inclusion with a section entitled, “Widening the Circle.”  It is very important to embrace what he says. Nouwen draws on his psychological training to enrich his theological point that our ability to become … Continue reading

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Ancient Wisdom: December 8, 2013 (Year A)

Read:  Isaiah 11:1-10 Meditation:  “Root and Branch” In looking forward to the coming of Christ, Isaiah identified the two main ingredients in any religion.  It must have a root, and it must have a branch. The root is the Source.  … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Loving the Church

Henri Nouwen supplies us with another good perspective on the Church… “Loving the Church often seems close to impossible. Still, we must keep reminding ourselves that all people in the Church – whether powerful or powerless, conservative or progressive, tolerant … Continue reading

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Ministry Musings:

One of the best sources for your theological development is Catalyst (www.catalystresources.org).  Although published for seminarians, it is an excellent resource for clergy and laity who want to practice lifelong learning. This resource is beginning its 40th year of offering … Continue reading

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Let Us Pray: Awakening

The following words from Richard Rohr remind us why prayer is more a life to be lived than a time to be practiced–more an attitude than an action…. “It is usually over time and with patience that we come to … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Gospel-Orientation

The fallen world says, “You are what you do.”  Adopting that value system immerses us in a performance-orientation where achievements, possessions, and appearances define us.  What others think of us (image) is what we work on all the time, in … Continue reading

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Listenings: Finding Our True Home

Nouwen uses his own journey into integration to illustrate the fact that it is a challenging (even scary) experience that unfolds unevenly over an extended period of time and includes ever area of life (pp 90-94). It is an experience … Continue reading

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