Author Archives: Steve Harper

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.

Holy Love: The Life

In the final chapter of ‘Holy Love’ I hope to turn theory into practice, beliefs into behaviors—what John Wesley called “practical divinity.”  He believed that faith had to be practiced, not just professed.  He called it “living faith”—in the spirit … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Immanuel

​Michael Card has been one of my favorite musicians for a long time, recognized by many as a musical theologian, not just a performer.  His composition, “Immanuel,” is the song Jeannie and I turn to every Advent. We are still … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Holy Love: Passages #4

Romans 1:18-32 There’s no doubt that this passage is the focal text for interpreting human sexuality in general and LGBTQ+ sexuality in particular.  Romans links in spirit and substance with Leviticus.  Just as Israel was entering a new land, so … Continue reading

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Here and Now: Resting

​Our journey this year through the lens of “Here and Now” has taken us in many directions.  As we conclude the series, we must remember that here-and-now living brings us into a deep rest.  We live from the rest of … Continue reading

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Holy Love: Passages #3

​1 Corinthians 16:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:10 Paul’s missionary journeys had taken him to Corinth and Cyprus before he made it to Rome.  So, I decided to treat these two passages before Romans 1.  What he experienced with respect to … Continue reading

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Here and Now: Engagement

​When we are  present to life here and now, we become engaged with life itself.  Communion, celebration, and compassion connect us to life in the present moment in ways that are life-giving to us and to others.  We see this … Continue reading

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Holy Love: Passages #2

Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 Honestly, I was not prepared for the complexity regarding these two passages.  Far from being cut-and-dried as a one-sentence, straightforward condemnation of male homosexual activity, the passages are in relation to a cultural and religious context … Continue reading

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The Soul of Impeachment

​As the public phase of the impeachment process begins, nothing is more certain than this: it will occur in a whirlwind of confusion, fueled to a great degree by political partisanship that will seek to frame the matter along party … Continue reading

Posted in Editorials

Here and Now: Community

Being reconciled to one another in Christ here and now, we can move to establish community.  It is community based on grace, nothing else.  We do not have to be alike.  We do not have agree.  Our community is not … Continue reading

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Holy Love: The Passages #1

Introduction  I have not counted the total number of passages in the Bible that refer to human sexuality in general or sexual behavior in particular.  There are many, hundreds I would assume.  What I do know is that only a … Continue reading

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Here and Now: Reconciliation

​When our life in the present moment brings us to the point of seeing that everything belongs, it also reveals that God has given us a ministry–the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18).  From that moment on, we know why … Continue reading

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Holy Love: Consummation

​When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we say “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  The previous facets  of the hermeneutic of love have helped us see love “on earth.” When we turn … Continue reading

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In-Sight: What a Wonderful World

Jeannie and I have just returned  from a great visit with our family in Kentucky.  The trip included several opportunities to experience the wonder and beauty of nature as fall settles in.  It really is a spectacular season. Seeing the … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Here and Now: Inclusion

​When we live in the present moment with the fullness of our true personhood in play, we experience inclusion and offer it to others.  We are included in everything, and everything is included in us.  As Richard Rohr has put … Continue reading

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Holy Love: Church

Expanding on the hermeneutic of love in the Church beyond what I write in the book means enlarging the idea of the Church as the Body of Christ.  I write some about it this in the book, but today I … Continue reading

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Here and Now: True Personhood

​Living here-and-now makes all of life formative, and it evokes the emergence of our true personhood.  By not being tethered by the past (e.g.”What I should have been or might have been”) and by not being pulled into the future … Continue reading

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Holy Love: Christ

​The fourth vantage point for seeing the hermeneutic of holy love is Christ, the one who reveals the creator (“whoever has seen me has seen the Father,” John 14:9), the one who made the creation (“ everything came into being … Continue reading

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Here and Now: Suffering

​There are other positive things we could note about living here and now.  But it would be a mistake to think that the blessings of present-moment living are limited to them.  We must include suffering as a portal for our … Continue reading

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Holy Love: Covenant

The third vantage point for seeing the hermeneutic of holy love is the Covenant.  When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we say “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  This is the creator/creation … Continue reading

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Here and Now: Gratitude

​David Steindl-Rast introduced me to gratitude as a sign that we are living in the present moment. He wrote, “Our eyes are opened to the surprise character of the world around us the moment we wake up from taking things … Continue reading

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Holy Love: Creation

Creation is the second vantage point for seeing the hermeneutic of holy love. We live in a God-made world (Genesis 1:1).  It is reasonable to assume that there would be congruence between who God is and what God has made.  … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Surprised into Transformatiom

​A writing project I am engaged in has taken me back into the books of E. Stanley Jones.  I have spent large amounts of time re-reading them. I have been reminded why he is the overall major influence in my faith … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Here and Now: Freedom

​In last week’s post, I wrote about the importance of simplicity in present-moment living.  Such simplicity is the means for another quality of here-and-now living: freedom. It is the freedom that arises when we are available to life here and … Continue reading

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Holy Love: Creator

​The first vantage point for developing a hermeneutic of holy love is the Creator.  In the previous post we began our look at God through the core attribute of love.  There are multiple words for love in Hebrew and Greek, … Continue reading

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Here and Now: Simplicity

​Nearly forty years ago, Richard Foster introduced me to simplicity as an essential discipline in the spiritual life. [1]  His own witness about simplicity has been exemplary, but he has also pointed me (and so many others) to additional witnesses … Continue reading

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Holy Love: A Hermeneutic of Holy Love

​The Bible is simultaneously sixty-six books written over a period of approximately 1600 years, and one Book that communicates a unified revelation.  With respect to a theology of human sexuality, we must begin by discerning the overarching view before looking … Continue reading

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Here and Now: Compassion

​The courage born of living in the present moment is not only what we usually think of as strength, standing up to opposition, and the will will to take risks.  It is also living so as to encourage others.  The … Continue reading

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Holy Love: The Hermeneutic

​Chapter two of the book opens the door to many things which call for our attention.  I will devote multiple posts to this chapter.  This one deals with hermeneutics—that is, the necessity and means for interpreting Scripture. Everyone reads the … Continue reading

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Here and Now: Courage

​Living in the present moment is living with “eyes wide open,” seeing into things so that their realities come into view (see Mark 8:18).  This kind of seeing gives us courage. First and foremost, we gain the courage to become … Continue reading

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Holy Love: The Journey

​When I was asked to write ‘Holy Love,’ it included the hope that I would not only write from the Christian tradition but also from within the Wesleyan tradition.  To do this meant including the hermeneutic of experience.  I accepted … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Excavating the Feminine

​One of the marks of Pentecost was, “Your sons and daughters willl prophesy….upon my servants, men and women  I will pour my spirit” (Acts 2:17-18).  This same inclusive mark is evidenced whenever the Spirit is moving.  Women’s voices arise in … Continue reading

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Here and Now: Discernment

​Life is a gift.  But like every gift, it comes wrapped.  We can think of this as the immediate impression which each moment provides.  And as with some gifts, what we see first (i.e. the wrapping paper, bow, etc) is … Continue reading

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Holy Love: Prologue

Today, we move from the larger context of the new pentecost (or whatever else it is called) to the topic of human sexuality—one particular place where the fresh wind of the Spirit is blowing.  Upcoming posts will follow the development … Continue reading

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Here and Now: Presence

​Living in the here-and-now gives us the opportunity to experience Presence.  When we are preoccupied with what has happened, or with what might happen, we risk missing what IS happening. Recent studies have shown that the notion we can multitask … Continue reading

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Holy Love: Fresh Wind Blowing #3

​The new pentecost is more of a movement than it is an institution.  Jesus said that new wine must be poured into new wineskins (Matthew 9 17)), and that is what is happening today.  The fresh wind of the Spirit … Continue reading

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Here and Now: The Pace of Grace

​Having laid our foundation for here-and-now living in Scripture and tradition, the rest of this series will be more topical in nature.  And I can think of no better segway than to look at the pace of grace. Living in … Continue reading

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Holy Love: Fresh Wind Blowing #2

​As far as I know, no one who reads my posts is a monk.  And I am guessing those who do would not hesitate to say, I am not a monk.”  But the fact is, surprising as it is, we … Continue reading

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Here and Now: William Barber, II and Liz Theoharis

​I choose to end our look at tradition (e.g. people and movements) with William Barber II and Liz Theoharis, the two co-leaders of the renewed Poor People’s Campaign.  They represent a growing grassroots movement for reform that is rooted in … Continue reading

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In-Sight: The Third Temptation

I do not usually post something on both Fscebook and Oboedire.  This is an exception. _______________________________ “The Third Temptation” I cut my teeth as a new Christian on Evangelicalism.  I developed my faith within Evangelicalism.  I lived into my sixties … Continue reading

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Holy Love: Fresh Wind Blowing #1

​In order to embrace the significance of LGBTQ+ inclusion, we must understand that it is part of something larger that God is bringing to pass on the earth today—a new pentecost.  A fresh wind of the Spirit is blowing, and … Continue reading

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A Reminder

Once or twice a year, I post a reminder that Oboedire grows almost entirely by word of mouth.  I do not advertise it. Whether you have been part of the Oboedire fellowship for a long time, or only a short … Continue reading

Posted in Site Updates

Here and Now: Henri Nouwen

​I cannot write about here-and-now living without mentioning Henri Nouwen.  Although he did not introduce me to the idea, he has added significant content and perspective to it. Nearly all his books speak about living in the present moment.  But … Continue reading

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Holy Love: Introduction

This past May my book, ‘Holy Love: A Biblical Theology for Human Sexuality,’ was published by Abingdon Press.  As with its predecessor, ‘For the Sake of the Bride’ (Abingdon Press, 2014), the book describes my journey into becoming an ally … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Life is One, Together

[Note: “In-Sight” has been an ongoing , occasional series here on Oboedire for some time.  Previous posts are archived on the righthand sidebar of the Oboedire home page.  The series resumes today as a monthly (first Saturday) post that explores … Continue reading

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Here and Now: Rosa Parks

​I deliberately write about Rosa Parks today, to point through her to the power of here-and-now living, and that with respect to nonviolent resistance to injustice and racism.  Her decision not to give up her seat on the Montgomery city … Continue reading

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Here and Now: Dorothy Day

​When I think of Dorothy Day, I immediately connect her life and work to Jesus’ words, “as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).  … Continue reading

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Beginning Year Ten

Today marks the ninth anniversary of Oboedire.  I had no idea when I began this blog that it would go on this long or take the shape that it has.  But as they say, it is what it is. Over … Continue reading

Posted in Site Updates

Here and Now: Thomas Merton

​We are fortunate to have the journals, letters, writings, and recordings of Thomas Merton.  Even a cursory walk through them confirms Merton’s intention to live in the here-and-now.  Today, I illustrate his commitment in these ways. First, he embraced the … Continue reading

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Here and Now: Jean-Pierre de Caussade

​We come to Jean-Pierre de Caussade about halfway in this series, but he was actually the first person through whom I learned about here-and-now living.  His book, ‘The Sacrament of the Present Moment’ gave me the opportunity to ponder what … Continue reading

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Here and Now: Francis & Clare

​In moving to look at Francis and Clare, we travel past about 800 years of Christian history–years that have numerous insights with respect to present-moment living.  But the best we can do in a blog series is to take some … Continue reading

Posted in Here and Now