A simple read where a husband and wife share about their journey of nurturing the faith of their own family and friends around them. The concept is toA simple read where a husband and wife share about their journey of nurturing the faith of their own family and friends around them. The concept is to be a family who lives in mission together.
Two concepts struck me.
1. The need for "spiritual parents." That is, someone like the old monastic Abba or Amma -- a person who lives a spiritually deep life and whose presence, language, and patterns of living effect your own, intentionally and unintentionally.
Who is (are) my spiritual parent(s)? Who can be a companion, someone who is more than an advice giving mentor or information center, but sometime whose life you resonate with and want to imitate.
2. The need for predictable patterns, or really, a disciplined way of life. Again, the ancients called this a "regula" or rule of life. Something that defined "normal," (like a ruler defines normal measurement).
What I see in the Breens' book is that nothing new comes under the sun. They're describing an old monastic way of life and applying that to family life. This has been done for centuries now, and I appreciate their take on it. The ancient Catholics seem again to have a few things figured out, if the rest of us would just appreciate what's been done before......more
This guidebook is a simple outline for people wanting to launch a missional community of some kind. It provides a sketch for what to do, how to preparThis guidebook is a simple outline for people wanting to launch a missional community of some kind. It provides a sketch for what to do, how to prepare, and what to talk about. It's helpful, though I would like to see more intentional words from Jesus in the outline. There's space for it. Maybe they intend leaders to find and add their own words from Jesus. ...more
The Sin of Certainty gives permission for relational faith, for letting go of control, for touching the event horizon of “apophatic” life with God. EnThe Sin of Certainty gives permission for relational faith, for letting go of control, for touching the event horizon of “apophatic” life with God. Enns’s writing is humorous yet witty, lending well to giving yourself permission to not have a perfect theological universe in your head.
The point, Enns suggests, is that our questions might be the best gift we can give to some people. Conviction still has a place in the life of faith, but this conviction changes as we live life with God. It goes through stages of orientation, disorientation, and reorientation (these are Bruggemann’s words describing the Psalms).
Orientation is like awakening to the faith, collecting the answers and doctrines, creating a systematized self, perhaps.
Disorientation occurs when a striking question slashes our bag of answers and our thoughts fall on the ground. This happens mostly through emotional turmoil rather than intellectual alone.
Reorientation takes you back to the Lord with a new-found necessity, a necessity not to put the answers back together again, but to do life especially when the answers don’t seem to fit. There’s a trust that God alone, as a person, can make the answers fit together, so a person’s faith now, in this reorientation stage is rather simple, maybe even childlike....more
A Spirituality of Listening is a great starter text for people who know they need to slow down and pay attention. Anderson’s book is filled with helpfA Spirituality of Listening is a great starter text for people who know they need to slow down and pay attention. Anderson’s book is filled with helpful practices that fit in everyday, ordinary life. His writing is approachable and friendly. The best part of the book were Anderson’s quotes from wise teachers through history. He gleans a sentence here and there and you feel him connect you to a way of life those ancients lived, a way of life we desire just to touch....more
Annie Dillard stopped writing. An NPR story told me. And as I read The Abundance I wondered what Dillard, the writer who stopped writing, wanted to teAnnie Dillard stopped writing. An NPR story told me. And as I read The Abundance I wondered what Dillard, the writer who stopped writing, wanted to tell me.
Dillard is among a gifted few who notice things so well. Who can describe what she notices too. As I read, I too then noticed (I thought) that I was reading a memoir, a slow unfolding of life story, years unfolding like we unfold tablecloths.
Maybe this is what Dillard was telling me: life is lived when you notice the details. Attend to the moment and play out other moments by describing your experience. Turn it all into flowing story, eager, page-flipping story. But not too eager. While we’re excited by the unfolding cloth, we’re also nudged by Dillard to pay attention. Be excited, but not impatient. Dillard’s kind see things because they wait around that extra moment. Most of us wander away just a second before. Then we hear Dillard yell, “Oh look!” We turn. It’s gone.
Attend, my friend. Attend. Stick around for that extra moment. You’re about to see something....more
Reminds me of something Thomas Merton said -- that the goal, perhaps an essence of being saved, is to become fully who you are to become. To be you inReminds me of something Thomas Merton said -- that the goal, perhaps an essence of being saved, is to become fully who you are to become. To be you in absolute freedom (not hedonism, but with full capacity for doing and not-doing). I read something similar in a Lutheran article on discipleship -- that perhaps the goal isn't to imitate Christ or be Christ but to see Christ liberate you and me to be you and me, for which Christ gives himself as example. It's like he says, "Here's how I do it. Now you try."
Bell's book is a light read that focuses on this same thought: become freely, fully you because that's what God intended. Some struggle with a message like that. They say, "Who I am is corrupt and dead," or, "I hate myself. I want a new me, not a full me." I can receive that. I can also echo Merton and Bell (what an odd pairing) and say: It begins now, not later. Liberation from God begins in this moment. Yes, anticipate a full liberation in the future, but the goal of God's kingdom springing up around us is that new life is available to us now. This is why John's Gospel usually speaks of eternal life in the present tense. ...more