Category Archives: Journey

Journey: Eternal Creativity

Read: God in the End I wondered how McLaren would end his book.  I cannot imagine a finer way than with the idea of Eternal Creativity. I found myself caught up in imagining that the same flurry of creativity which … Continue reading

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Journey: God Is With Us

Read: Spirit of Hope I believe in prophecy.  I believe the Bible contains passages that point to the final triumph of righteousness, the coming of the Kingdom, and a new heaven and earth. But I have never been able to … Continue reading

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Journey: Great Expectations

Read:  Spirit of Life Someone has said that we are not ready to live until we are prepared to die.  McLaren agrees, and he writes a powerful chapter about what happens to life when it is viewed in relation to … Continue reading

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Journey: Get on the Arc

Read: Spirit of Holiness The world (that is, everyone and everything) is heading toward judgment.  The Bible makes that clear, and McLaren does not sidestep that fact, or dismiss it in this week’s reading. But what kind of judgment?  If … Continue reading

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Journey: Push Back/Push Back?

Read:  Spirit of Power When we follow the Spirit, we eventually experience push back from a person or group who feels we have ceased to do good and begun to do harm.  That’s because no one and no community is … Continue reading

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Journey: Ripple Effect

Read:  Spirit Conspiracy The coming of the Holy Spirit was like a big divine rock dropped into the lake of life.  Like any splash, it created a ripple effect which continues to this day.  In this week’s chapter, McLaren describes … Continue reading

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Journey: Going Down!

Read: The Spirit of Service A long time ago, Henri Nouwen introduced me to what he called, “the selfless way of Christ,” what McLaren refers to in this chapter as downward mobility.  I have not found any concept in the … Continue reading

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Journey: The Lifegiving Difference

Read: Spirit of Unity and Diversity As far back as my seminary days in the early 1970’s, I can remember Dr. Dennis Kinlaw saying that the Trinity is the distinguishing mark of Christianity.  And since then, I have heard him … Continue reading

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Journey: Love In A Big House

Read:  Spirit of Love–Loving Self By including “as you love yourself” in the second great commandment, Jesus created a God-other-self love that requires all three expressions to be in place if things are to work as God intends. But in … Continue reading

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Journey: Loving Neighbor

Read: Spirit of Love–Loving Neighbor McLaren has chosen the right passage to explore the love of neighbor.  The Gentiles epitomized “the other”–racially, religiously, every way.  Even though Peter had rightly interpreted the Day of Pentecost as the outpouring of the … Continue reading

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Journey: Loving God

Read: Spirit of Love: Loving God If we are moving with the Spirit, we are moving into love. McLaren takes to the right place–the two great commandments, beginning this week with the first one: loving God. If you follow Oboedire, … Continue reading

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Journey: Walk On!

Read: Moving With the Spirit McLaren leads us into another crucial area in this week’s readings: walking with the Spirit.  This is not only possible for those of us who can literally walk, but also for those who are unable … Continue reading

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Journey: In-Spired!

Read: The Spirit is Moving! All the way back to my childhood, one of my favorite hymns has been, “Breathe on me, Breath of God.”  Maybe that is why the image of the Holy Spirit as breath (wind) has been … Continue reading

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Journey: Holy Generosity

Read: “The Uprising of Stewardship” As with so many other things, we move too quickly to plans and formulas in much of North American Christianity.  We want to know “how” to do something before laying the foundation of “why” we … Continue reading

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Journey: Moving Toward Freedom

Read: “The Uprising of Partnership” We do not see the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God before the end of the New Testament, but we do see the trajectory that will increasingly bring in God’s reign in the ensuing centuries–a … Continue reading

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Journey: Worship Alive!

Read: “The Uprising of Worship” The incarnation transformed humankind’s understanding of God.  As E. Stanley Jones put it, “Jesus put a face on God.”  The face was attractive, so it is not surprising that the early Christians gathered to receive … Continue reading

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Journey: The Two-Word Gospel

Read:  “The Uprising of Discipleship” Using another week of fictional narrative, McLaren invites us into the apostolic fellowship once again.  This time he takes us to what must surely be the essence of the Gospel–two words, “Follow me.” Perhaps like … Continue reading

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Journey: Gathering

Read:  “The Uprising of Fellowship” Jesus’ death had confused, frightened, scattered and even fragmented the apostolic community.  It literally took Jesus’ resurrection to restore what the crucifixion had undone.  McLaren does a good job writing a narrative that enables us … Continue reading

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Journey: The Uprising Begins

Read “The Uprising Begins” without an additional meditation by me.

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Journey: Doubt, Darkness, Despair

Read “Doubt, Darkness, Despair” without an additional meditation by me.

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Journey: Everything Must Change

Read “Everything Must Change” without an additional meditation from me.

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Journey: A Table, A Basin, Some Food, Some Friends

Read: “A Table, A Basin, Some Food, Some Friends” without an additional meditation from me.

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Journey: Peace March

Read “Peace March” today (Palm Sunday) without an accompanying meditation from me.

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Journey: So…what?

[Note: this meditation is coming to you on Saturday, as a way of synchronizing it with McLaren’s writing, which next corresponds to Holy Week] Read: “The Choice is Yours” Every good preacher ends a sermon with some kind of decisive … Continue reading

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Journey: From the Inside Out (2)

Read: “Why We Worry, Why We Judge” I see this chapter in tandem with the last one, so I have titled this week’s post and last week’s the same.  The difference is that last week, I noted that healing comes … Continue reading

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Journey: From the Inside Out

Read:  “Your Secret Life” Not long ago I got a spider bite.  Truth be told, I should have gone to the doctor.  But, well…you know…it’s a guy thing.  I promised myself to keep an eye on it and to go … Continue reading

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Journey: “Tra–di–tion!”

Read:  “A New Path to Aliveness” I hardly ever read the word  ‘tradition’ without hearing the song of the same name in ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’  I don’t think it is a detour, because it is clear from the play … Continue reading

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Journey: Upside Down

Read:  “A New Identity” With laser-beam clarity and power, McLaren shows how counter-cultural Jesus was from the outset of his ministry.  The Beatitudes–those seemingly benign invitations to godly happiness–first pierced the egoic balloons of those who thought they could have … Continue reading

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Journey: Do We Dare?

Read:  “Making it real” This week, I read McLaren’s fascinating portrayal of Mary trying, on the one hand, to put her experience of Jesus into words–and doing so in a way that invites her listeners to consider him for themselves. … Continue reading

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Journey: Over the Line

Read: “Jesus, Violence, and Power” Jeannie and I were fortunate that our only trip to the Holy Land included a visit to Caesarea Philippi.  The only thing I regret is that I did not go there with as much background … Continue reading

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Journey: Hell Upside Down

Read: “Jesus and Hell” It is interesting how, when we don’t know what to do with a particular doctrine, we either over-emphasize it or under-emphasize it.  Over emphasis is often born of fear–that the doctrine will be abandoned, so we … Continue reading

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Journey: Deciding Where to Live

Read: “Jesus and the Multitude” This chapter comes with an edge, but it is an edge that can save our souls.  By revealing Jesus’ connection with the multitudes, McLaren challenges the fallen world’s fascination with the rich and famous, and … Continue reading

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Journey: The Orienting Center

Read: “Jesus the Teacher” We call it staying on message; that is, being so focused that all of our life tends toward a singular reality.  McLaren is spot on in showing how, no matter the time or form, Jesus’ one … Continue reading

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Journey: Liberating Stories

Read: “Significant and Wonderful” One of the things I like about Brian McLaren is his ability to take us beyond the paralysis of analysis.  I do believe in the miracle stories, because they do not seem too hard for the … Continue reading

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Journey: It’s All About Identity

Read: “Join the Adventure!” Most of my years in ordained ministry have been spent in a church committed to moving people from membership to discipleship.  God has blessed this effort enough for us to know we have been on the … Continue reading

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Journey: The Big Change

Read: “Jesus Coming of Age” Jesus and John the Baptist joined together in challenging people to “rethink everything” (repent).  Jesus asked his parents to do it when they found him in the Temple, and John did it when he baptized … Continue reading

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Journey: On Break

Journey is on break.  It resumes next week, January 5th.

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Journey: Sanity Through A Madman

Read: “Keep Herod in Christmas” Coming cold to this chapter, I had no idea where McLaren was going to take us.  But as with so much else that he writes, in this book and elsewhere, his masterful use of the … Continue reading

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Journey: The Impossible is Possible

Read: “Women on the Edge” I have had occasion recently to become more familiar than ever before with ancient Jewish culture (and surrounding pagan cultures), seeing how dramatically and destructively it was a male-dominated culture, where women on a good … Continue reading

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Journey: Redefining the Edge

Read: “Women on the Edge” I have had occasion recently to become more familiar than ever before with ancient Jewish culture (and surrounding pagan cultures), seeing how dramatically and destructively it was a male-dominated culture, where women on a good … Continue reading

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Journey: Field of Dreams

Read:  “Promised Land, Promised Time” I like McLaren’s metaphor of the Bible as a dream book.  Maybe it is because I sat before the television to watch Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his “I have a Dream” speech, and saw … Continue reading

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Journey: Holy Evolution

Read:  “The Great Conversation” As we move from the Old Testament into the New Testament, McLaren wants us to make the transition realizing that “we make the road by walking” as a people whose experience is unfolding and maturing. As … Continue reading

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Journey: The Stuff of Story

[Note:  I have realized that our meditations are not in sync with McLaren’s envisioned plan to read Chapter 14 the first week of Advent.  So, as a way to achieve that synchronization, I am skipping Chapters 9, 10, and 11–and … Continue reading

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Journey: The Divine Reversal

Read: Rivalry or Reconciliation? We do not go far into the biblical narrative before we run into an essential truth–one that if missed will skew everything else: God does not operate on our terms.  When the fallen world is in … Continue reading

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Journey: What Are Our Questions?

Read:  It’s Not Too Late Questioning is not doubting.  Questioning is acknowledging that the little we know is a speck when placed into God’s infinite knowledge.  Questions are our way of saying to God, “Tell me more.” McLaren shows through … Continue reading

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Journey: A Little Is A Lot

Read : Plotting Goodness Even though I have spent my professional life largely in theological education with all its technical terms and professional jargon, I am still drawn to simple ways of expressing complex ideas.  So, I was immediately attracted … Continue reading

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Journey: Seeing the Bigger Picture

Read:  In Over Our Heads One of the things I like most about Brian McLaren is that he makes me think, without ever demanding that I agree with him–which, ironically makes me more likely to agree with him.  But even … Continue reading

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Journey: Life On Whose Terms?

Read: The Drama of Desire One of our formative experiences is to begin with original righteousness, not original sin.  The first two chapters in Genesis show us, however briefly, what God intended, and how the world is supposed to be. … Continue reading

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Journey: Patterns

Read:  A World of Meaning The original creation stories bear witness to pattern, order, progress, etc.  From galaxies to atoms, everything comes from God, reflects God, and returns to God.  The single word to describe this is ‘Meaning.’ It is … Continue reading

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Journey: Relationship & Responsibility

Read: Being Human Someone has said, “Humanity is God’s best idea.”  And Brian McLaren weaves the two creation stories together to confirm that idea.  Placed in the cosmos, we are made in the image of God, with the capacity for … Continue reading

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