There is a poem by Portia Nelson that tells the story of self-discovery. It goes something like this: I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost... I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find a way out. I walk down … Continue reading What should we do now?
It was Winnie the Pooh who said, “Some people say that nothing is impossible. Well, I do nothing every day.” It was Audrey Hepburn who said, “I have to be alone very often. I'd be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That's how I refuel.” … Continue reading What do you mean I have to stop?
There’s a story written by a brilliant, moral fiber of our American South. An author of significant renown who, upon hearing about the death of a neighbor, said, “I did not attend his funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying that I approved of it.” This witty man of significant depth of character, two … Continue reading What should I ask for?
Thomas Wolfe wrote an incredible story about a man named George Webber. George, our protagonist of the story, writes a scandalous yet, from his perspective, accurate reflection of his experiences growing up in deep-south Libya Hill. Initially, when news of a hometown boy’s story gets published, the town is overjoyed that one of their own … Continue reading Who does he think he is?
“The sun lay on the grass and warmed it, and in the shade under the grass the insects moved, ants and ant lions to set traps for them, grasshoppers to jump into the air and flick their yellow wings for a second, and bugs like little armadillos, plodding restlessly on many tender feet. And over … Continue reading Suffering, Relationship, and Baptism
Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote: “Below the thunders of the upper deep; Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea, His ancient, dreamless, uninvited sleep The Kraken sleeps: faintest sunlights flee About his shadowy sides: above him swell Huge sponges of millennial growth and height; And far away into the sickly light, From many a wondrous grot … Continue reading When is this ever going to get easier?
"Once there was a tree.... and she loved a little boy. And everyday the boy would come and he would gather her leaves and make them into crowns and play king of the forest. He would climb up her trunk and swing from her branches and eat apples. And they would play hide-and-go-seek. And when … Continue reading Are you sure it’s me that you really need?
I’m not a joke teller. I couldn’t even tell a knock knock joke to save my life. I always get the punch line wrong or I forget to tell an important nugget of the story that is critical to making the joke actually work. So, if you ever hear me tell a complete and funny … Continue reading Did Jesus redefine what family actually is?
I read of a Sunday School class that was studying the Apostles Creed in order to more fully understand God and the Trinity. Each member of the class was given a section of the creed to learn by heart, then Sunday by Sunday they would take turns reciting the creed, each student repeating his or … Continue reading Is There a Place for Me, Too?
One of my favorites movies, probably in my top 5 favorites, is a movie called High Fidelity. It’s about a man, John Cusack, who owns a record store and measures the activities and reactions of his life to the lyrics of music. And everything is measured on a “top 5” scale. He has a conversation … Continue reading What?! Those People Too?
It’s Spring, and many of you are outside working in your gardens, gathering up the few piles of dried leaves, pulling weeds, and planting new flowers and bushes. The process of planting and nurturing and growing can be challenging and incredibly rewarding. Click here for a link to the lectionary reading for the day. When … Continue reading Are You a Liar?
What didn't make it into the sermon from Sunday? As I worked through the lectionary readings for Sunday's sermon, the most significant image that reverberated throughout the passages (click here for a link to the Lectionary Readings for the day) was that of the Shepherd. The Shepherd who was the chief cornerstone that the builders … Continue reading Who or What is this “Hired Man”?
Every once in a while, a ewe will give birth to a lamb and reject it. If the lamb is returned to the ewe, the mother may even kick the poor babe away. Once a ewe rejects one of her lambs, she will never change her mind. These little lambs will hang their heads so … Continue reading Who is the Bummer Sheep?
To say that 2020 has been tension-filled is an understatement! But, as we continue in our Advent Season, we are reminded even more acutely the push/pull dynamic that exists both within and without us! Our passage from the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) encourages, "He has cast down the mighty..., and haslifted up the lowly...He has filled the hungry...and the rich … Continue reading Sermon Seeds: Advent 3
In the age of Gnosticism, Clement's diligence to his studies and his passion for writing powerful texts covering philosophy and theology help to pave the way for another Great of the Church: Origen. It is understood that Saint Mark traveled to Egypt's Alexandria and established the Christian Church in that region. In the 2nd and … Continue reading Saint Clement of Alexandria
My Shadow: one The Daemon never sleeps. Rests, perhaps. I should be so lucky for it to actually fall into deep slumber. Or even better, a coma. Alas, not this gnarled Beast with its fingers clutched around my brain, my heart, my stomach. Days roll, soundless, effortless. Good ones. Strong ones. Thoughts, clear and crisp … Continue reading My Shadow: two
"John was know as chrysorrhoas or gold-pourer for the elegance of his writing." One of the last Greek Fathers of the Church, John aligned with much of Aristotle for his theological foundation. Born in Damascus when it was under Muslim rule, he grew to be a leader and chief representative of the local Christians to … Continue reading Saint John of Damascus
More than ten weeks after his death, the body of Francis Xavier was found uncorrupted, flesh colored, and had no odor of death. To this day, his body remains without blemish or sign of decay. Xavier was born in Spain's Basque country in 1506, and before he was 24, he was a Master of Arts … Continue reading Saint Francis Xavier
Drawn to religious life and devotion to family, Nicholas established an extended Rule of Life at Little Gidding just outside London in 1626. Born in a time of significant travel amongst countries in Europe as well as the push into the New World of America, Nicholas also participated in travel that helped to shape his … Continue reading Blessed Nicholas Ferrár
Born in France to an aristocratic family, Charles was orphaned at 6 years old. He rejected the Catholic faith of his grandfather and joined the army as a teen. While in the army, he desired to travel to Morocco for scientific research but was denied his petition. He subsequently resigned his position from the army … Continue reading Blessed Charles de Foucauld
Lectionary Readings for Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 Often we focus our attention on the Gospel readings for Sundays and perhaps using the Epistle and Old Testament readings as periphery or context. As we all know and are probably tired or frustrated of hearing this: 2020 has been a challenging year. And, given the vast array … Continue reading Sermon Seeds: First Sunday of Advent
Gospel Reading We "title" this text as the parable of the talents, and we view it as the one worker who squanders his gift. But, I want to highlight a different player in the game: the landowner. The Gospel text tells us that the landowner was "a harsh man, reaping where [he] did not sow, … Continue reading It Doesn’t Matter What They Are Doing!
It is said that years after the passing of Saint Martin, the part of the cloak was preserved in an oratory that came to be called "The Little Cloak." In Latin: cappella. In Old French: chapelle. So, the place we now call a chapel originated from the story of Saint Martin. So, what is this … Continue reading Saint Martin of Tours
C.S. Lewis wrote in The Problem of Pain, “Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say 'My tooth is aching' than to say 'My heart is broken.' " Sleep … Continue reading My Shadow: one
"To reform ourselves is not to sever ourselves from the Church we were before." Born in one of the most tumultuous eras of English history, Richard Hooker had a great deal of social and religious influence to train his growing identity. Hooker was born in 1553; only 20 years prior, Henry VIII broke away from … Continue reading Blessed Richard Hooker
Lectionary Reading for Sunday, November 1, 2020 We celebrate All Saints Day remembering all those mighty prayer warriors and giants in the faith who have gone before us. As we pause for a moment a reflect on their lives, I pray that we dig deeply into what characteristics of their lives strikes us. Was it … Continue reading Sermon Seeds: Nov 1, 2020
Our passage in Deuteronomy informs us that God shares new information with Moses and Aaron. God has Moses climb to the peak of a hill and survey all the beautiful land below. As Moses views this vast land, God informs him that both he and Aaron will not enter into this land. And, while this … Continue reading Sermon Seeds: Oct. 25, 2020
We have one of the first examples of intercessory prayer as we see Moses appeal to God on behalf of the Israelite people. Moses implores God to "consider this nation as your people." God's promise to Abraham continues to be fulfilled as He protects and provides for the sojourning nation. As Paul begins his letter … Continue reading Sermon Seeds: Oct. 11, 2020
In Exodus, God is reminding the Israelites that His relationship with them has been established from the days of Abraham. He reinforces His faithfulness to them and underscores His name. This reinforcement comes in the form of the 10 Commandments. In Matthew, Jesus tells the Jewish church leaders that they will reject Him as He … Continue reading Sermon Seeds: Oct. 4, 2020
From the Gospels of Mark (3:21), John (7:2-7), and Luke (21:16), the relationship between Jesus and His brothers was not perfect. They neither appeared to appreciate His enthusiasm nor His claims about Himself. But, the historian Eusebius claimed that it was in fact James whom Jesus chose to be His successor and head of the … Continue reading Saint James of Jerusalem
Sunday marked the highest holy day in the Jewish tradition: Yom Kippur. Historically, this was the day that Moses received the second set of the Ten Commandments. In practice, Yom Kippur is the day one searches deep in the heart and mind and seeks forgiveness of all wrongs done against neighbors and God and makes … Continue reading Sermon Seeds: Sept. 27, 2020
Sermon Seeds: Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020 It's not about me. As Moses and Aaron led the Israelites through the wilderness, the people cried out for food. They complained about the new troubles they faced from what they had become accustomed to in Egypt. Moses and Aaron understood that instead of the Israel nation complaining against … Continue reading Sermon Seeds: Sept. 20, 2020
Sermon Seeds: Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020 "Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since … Continue reading Romans 14:5-6
My parents and I went to Branson Friday and Saturday to see Samson and another show called Six. The main show to see, though, was Samson. Several people in Mom and Dad’s church had seen the show and were going on and on about it. This was the last weekend for it, and it was … Continue reading Gratitude
“You is good. You is smart. You is important.” These are familiar words from the movie The Help. Many of you know this story, how it depicts the discrepancies within our history between the races, particularly during the Civil Rights Movement. In this film the main character Skeeter, a young, white, female journalist, asks a … Continue reading I See You
Lectionary Readings for today. As most of you know, I am an only child. I had an imaginary friend — a monkey named Muntney — that I played with and who got the blame for things I did wrong. But, I was a good girl and don’t believe I was a trouble child. My mom, … Continue reading Now Let Me Alone
Good Morning! When I wake up in the mornings, my cats are usually screaming at me to be fed while they herd me out of my room, down the hall, and into the kitchen to their food bowl. As my coffee percolates on the stove, I scroll through Instagram to see the pictures of baby … Continue reading Jesus, Take Your Time
Lectionary Reading for Today Some of us here this morning are young enough that we are building those “back in the day” stories. Some of us are, well, perhaps a little more like a fine wine or a wheel of cheese: we have lived — or perhaps survived — those “back in the day” stories. … Continue reading Who are you?
This morning I step into a unique and beautiful position. This position is one that affords a perspective of a people who has faced many challenges in the past two years. This group of people — you — have been forced to examine who you are and where you have come; in turn, you have … Continue reading The Fire is His Presence that Gives us Faith
One of my favorite books is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This story holds a wealth of lessons and illustrations and anecdotes about life, relationships, hardship, injustice, doubt, grace, and community. In the text Scout Finch is raised by many people: her father Atticus, their maid Calpurnia, their neighbor Miss Maudie, and Atticus’ … Continue reading A Handful of Humility and a Pound of Persistence
Lectionary Reading We celebrate today the nativity of John the Baptist, the prequel to Jesus Christ. We know John. We know of his jumping in the womb of Elizabeth when her cousin Mary, pregnant with the Messiah, went to visit. We know his living in the wilderness eating honey and locusts. We know his baptizing … Continue reading Nativity of John the Baptist
Seventh Sunday of Easter Readings. When I was in college, my grandmother wrote letters and cards to me quite regularly. Most of the time, her letters were not very long — a small stationary page or two. She also sent cards and would write a note on the facing page, underline or circle certain words … Continue reading Pray for the gift of unity, and we all will be changed.
Second Sunday of Easter Readings. Today, we are a week past the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. A week ago, Jesus left His disciples and walked the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Pain, alone. Some watched Him. Some left Him. One denied Him. One betrayed Him. And then there's Thomas. Our Thomas who says … Continue reading Where Have You Been?
Lectionary Readings for Maundy Thursday. Do you remember Big Boy restaurants? My MeMa, without Mom's okay, gave me my first solid food at a Big Boy. Mom was horrified, but I squealed and MeMa laughed. I also remember growing up and watching the commercials for McDonald’s with Ronald, Grimace, Birdie the Early Bird, and the … Continue reading Maundy Thursday
Lectionary Gospel reading for the Fourth Sunday in Lent. Because my parents are visiting this Sunday, I’m going to take advantage of their presence. I remember my summer between high school and college. I was working at Church’s Fried Chicken. I hated that job, but it got me out of the house. I was SO … Continue reading It’s Not What He Did
I subscribe to Christianity Today and read this article today regarding the SBC discussing the expulsion of churches within their organization who have been covering up abuse. My response is twofold. "The SBC is considering requiring background checks for denominational leaders and has urged churches to include such screening in the ordination process." This quote … Continue reading And we scratch our heads in disbelief
Our lectionary readings this morning brought to mind so many different scenarios for me. There is a wealth of instruction and encouragement from these passages, and I was inspired to reflect on stories I have heard and relationships in my life. So, this morning will be a different sort of sermon from what I have … Continue reading It’s a Matter of Perspective
I listen to a podcast from Mike Rowe. You know him, the voice behind most of our current-generation Ford commercials and dozens of nature and science related documentaries as well as the television show “Dirty Jobs.” Well, Mike has this podcast called “The Way I Heard It.” It’s reminiscent of the Paul Harvey-style of storytelling: … Continue reading .-.. . – / .. – / -… .
Sermon from The Rev. Dr. John Toles. One of my favorite bands is Rush. They have a song from their Counterparts album called "Double Agent." The first two lines of this song are, "Where would you rather be? Anywhere... Anywhere but here. When would the time be right? Anytime but now." This sermon from John+ … Continue reading What I Heard from the Pulpit
Little Nellie and her father were visiting an elderly neighbor. They were raking the neighbor's leaves, organizing the neighbor's garage, putting the trash out, and performing other small jobs around the neighbor's house. The little girl had not really seen the elderly neighbor closely, but on this day she was going to meet the neighbor … Continue reading God’s Ball of Yarn
A few weeks ago at our Wednesday evening study Kneeling With Giants, we talked abut Teresa of Avila. In that chapter of our text, we considered the various ways that we address God when we pray. For example, we talked about Jesus as friend: one who walks with us and remains with us through the … Continue reading Christ the King
“We live in the time of silence, between the flash of lightning and the sound of thunder.” My cousin Fr. John gave his sermon today regarding the Gospel passage in Mark 13:1-8 when Jesus’ disciples asked Him what the end time will look like. He told them there will be hard things happening, that there … Continue reading What Are You Doing?
Corrie Ten Boom, a watchmaker who lived with her family, helped to hide Jews during the Nazi occupation of Holland in WW2. Her family was discovered, and they were rounded up with other Dutch citizens and sent to concentration camps. Corrie and her sister Betsie were at the Ravensbruck camp. She wrote several books after … Continue reading All You Have
There’s a conversation in one of my favorite novels between a father and his six year old daughter. Scout is confused by the anger and tension that is going on in her town of Maycomb, Alabama. Atticus joins Scout on the front porch swing and begins talking to her about what’s going on. He says … Continue reading We Define Ourselves by What We Are Not
A group of 8 friends were having a dinner party out on the back deck of a home one Saturday evening. Nothing fancy. Mostly finger foods. Ribs. Plates of cheese. Olives. Chips. Wine. The friends had not had a chance to get together in a while, and their conversations flowed effortlessly peppered with Oohs and … Continue reading Would You Like a Glass of Wine?
There is a children's story written for adults. It's called The Little Prince, and it tells the story of a small Prince from an asteroid far, far away. This Prince meets an airplane pilot who has crashed landed in the Sahara desert; the pilot is attempting to fix his plane before his rations run out. … Continue reading Tend Your Baobabs
. . . this is gonna be a rant! If you don't want to read, skip it. If you agree, great. If you don't, great. Just know that these are my observations, my perspectives, my words, and (ultimately) my blog. I don't know if Gandhi actually said it or not, and I don't really care. … Continue reading Beware . . .
The squirrels are out. They’ve always been out, scampering around, chasing one another, barking and chirping at one another, flicking their tails in territorial aggression. I sit at my table and look out my back window and watch “my” squirrels. My dad made a little platform that stands on a steel pipe. This platform stands … Continue reading Be Prepared
Benedict of Nursia wrote that a monastic must have three intentional qualities of life in devotion to God: stabilitas , obedientia , and conversio morem. These behaviors -- no, relationship-bearing vows -- are what anchor a person to an ascetic life. One must be in a consistent church body home in which there is accountability … Continue reading What is Ascetical Theology?
Two chapters from Alister McGrath’s Christian Theology: An Introduction focuses on the doctrines of God and of the Trinity. The first concern addressed is the doctrine of God. McGrath offers the minor theory that God might not be male and quickly moves forward. He identifies the “personhood” of God through such philosophers as Tertullian, Spinoza, … Continue reading God and Trinity
Part 1: Culture We live in a culture that wants permanency, expects stability, desires equality. We also live in a culture that appreciates newness, anticipates change, values improvement. When we apply these aspects of life in general to the specific topic of marriage, the water can become muddied and difficult to navigate. In a culture … Continue reading Marriage and Divorce
Had I been given both of my grandmothers' first names, I would have been Nellie Margie. Thanks Mom and Dad for looking ahead into my future and bestowing your mothers' middle names to me so that I am Janie Layne. When I was growing up, my friends wanted to be "Beth" or "Liz" instead of … Continue reading What I Heard from the Pulpit
In his text Spiritual Theology Simon Chan addresses these topics: nature of spiritual theology, doctrine of God, nature of sin, and elements in salvation. Chan states that spiritual theology is quite different from spirituality: “spirituality is the lived reality, whereas spiritual theology is the systematic reflection and formalization of that reality” (16). Spirituality could be … Continue reading Simon Chan
We recall Joshua asking the people, “Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living” (24:15). We recall God destroying two peoples with fire from the heavens: “Then the Lord rained on Sodom … Continue reading Amos
Don't get tripped up on the piddly things that you lose sight of the deeper issues. In Sunday's sermon, Fr. John referenced the Gospel text in which the Canaanite woman went to Jesus and asked for help for her demon-possessed daughter. The disciples got angry, however, and urged Jesus to get rid of her: she … Continue reading What I Heard from the Pulpit…
Addressing the introduction to Julian's Showings is a challenging task, indeed. Edmund Colledge and James Walsh have densely packed their research of the text noting the differences between the Short Text and the Long Text, Julian's theology and exegesis of her showings, her keen development of the rhetorical style, the role of contemplation, and the … Continue reading Julian of Norwich
Nestled amongst the major prophets of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel lies the small but powerful book of Lamentations. While the prophets offer the dooming judgment of Almighty God upon Israel and Judah, trapped within the chaos and devastation of their own making, Lamentations allows a glimpse of the raw, exposed emotions of Jerusalem and … Continue reading Lamentations
Reading Archbishop Michael Ramsey's work The Christian Priest Today again as I am a secondary English teacher in a private Christian school, our text jumps and pops with relevance, direction, and encouragement! What speaks to me most significantly is Ramsey's direction to, "Tend the flock in your charge" (pg 69). As a leader Ramsey understands … Continue reading Tend Your Flock
The Book of Jeremiah makes its mark upon the canon by speaking of the iniquity of the people in clear and devastating terms, the anguish and fury of God, and the subsequent ripple effect that iniquity causes throughout the land and the ages. The book opens with a series of lamentations from the people to … Continue reading Jeremiah
In spite of the physical shortcomings, the emotional health, the socio-economic status, the age, the depth of spiritual maturity, and even the wavering strength of the individual, God will have His way. There is no reason or what we might consider as a barrier to Him who will see completion of His design. He is … Continue reading Discernment
Described as "a 'wet blanket in any company which was innocently enjoying itself,' " such is Margery Kempe according to a source included in Anthony Bale's introduction to her Book. Bale offers an objective -- if not twinged with tongue-in-cheek -- observation of Kempe's colorful life. He includes the standard background to the life of … Continue reading Margery Kempe
The book of Proverbs is distinct from other texts in the canon in that it offers to bridge the gap between the laws from God and the motivational behavior of the people. To put this writing into context of the Old Testament so far (succinctly): the Pentateuch seeks to establish creation, God’s relationship with man, … Continue reading Proverbs
Historical Challenge of Chronicles The inconsistencies within the text of Chronicles versus Samuel-Kings does not imply that one is truth and the other lies. Inconsistencies also occur in the creation narrative. What comes to mind, however, if we allow the inconsistencies to occur and still regard the whole text as valid is that we must … Continue reading Chronicles (in two threads)
Most likely written to an anchoress, Walter Hilton offers instruction and guidance concerning the spiritual journey towards God in his Ladder (or Scale) of Perfection. This text, however, is prefaced by Clifton Wolters in the introduction; Wolters reflects on Ladder and Hilton specifically with a sense of objectivity mingled with admiration. Wolters, familiar with Hilton's … Continue reading Walter Hilton
While not the only theme of the book of Joshua, a strong current within the text is a handbook, if you will, regarding the qualities necessary in righteous leadership. Joshua is not the first significant leader of the Old Testament; he follows Abraham, Noah, Jacob, Moses, and Aaron. However, his lot is given to him … Continue reading Joshua
Today is the celebration of the Transfiguration, a moment in Luke's Gospel (our reading passage for today) in which Jesus reveals Himself in His Divine Glory to Peter, John, and James. The sermon this morning offered a different perspective on this event. The lectionary reading also included Moses, face shining from having experienced the Glory … Continue reading What I Heard from the Pulpit…
The book of Numbers continues to establish the law in tedium and subsequently offers a case study of application to the law regarding God’s boundaries and expectations, the consequences of breaking said boundaries and exacting God’s justice, and the bestowing of God’s loving mercy when the people repent. The prescription of the law to the … Continue reading Numbers
"The quality of the contemplative effort which measures all progress in the interior life of the solitary is immediately related to the reflex conscious awareness of the self in its relationship to God, the supreme and single object of its desire" (64). While James Walsh in writing the Introduction to The Cloud of Unknowing understands … Continue reading The Cloud of Unknowing
The book of Genesis offers identity, purpose, and hope to God's chosen people through the land; this tangible gift from God allows the people to suffer and thrive according to their obedience to Him and commitment to His promise. God gave to Adam the gift of land in the garden of Eden, to tend it … Continue reading Genesis
Life is funny: there can be times when we feel so connected to one another, we are in sync and almost finishing one another's sentences, and there other times that we could be sitting beside one another right now but there is a gap miles wide between us. Sometimes we can be engaged with one … Continue reading Dancing About Architecture
"This realization of your own unworthiness will drive out of your heart all unreasonable interest in other people's affairs and criticism of their actions, and will compel you to look at yourself alone, as though there were no one in existence but God and yourself. You should consider yourself more vile and wretched than any … Continue reading adesse.
I first became aware of Josèmaria Escrivá's teachings in a little movie called The DaVinci Code. However, as we all know, that film is a highly entertaining one built upon a teeny tiny foundation of pseudo- truth and an overwhelming amount of fiction, fantasy, and "what if"? In the past few years I have discovered … Continue reading Pray for me…
Henri Nouwen writes: "Nuclear man no longer believes in anything that is always and everywhere...He lives by the hour...His art...is a combination of divergent pieces, is a host impression of how man feels at the moment [emphasis mine]." Further, "We see man paralyzed by dislocation and fragmentation, caught in the prison of his own mortality...We … Continue reading How Much Does It Cost?
I have the immense honor of writing for The Ambrose Institute, a spiritual formation and congregational development program through Nashotah House Theological Seminary. This is my latest article written for Formatio, the online journal of Ambrose. Just click the links and see the amazing work they do to form and encourage the Body of Christ!
In post-modern culture we guard the written word and even the ideas behind the ideas with patents, trademarks, and copyrights. We protect and lay claim to our creation like a dog marks its territory. However, there are some scholars who find it necessary to analyze the verbiage, syntax, and style -- to distinguish the "authentic" … Continue reading Is it live, or is it Memorex?
It seems to me that we mortal men desire to see relevance and to understand meaning in every event. We need to understand the "why" and "how" of things, and by doing so we validate that thing's presence, its breaking through into our little worlds with its disruptions or smoothing over. We need the link … Continue reading Ah! The humanity of man!
Aquinas speaks to the relation between nature and grace concerning the sacraments. However, we should first understand the value of grace according to Aquinas and his predecessors. In Question 2, Article 10, he references Augustine: “By the same grace every man is made a Christian, from the beginning of his faith, as this man from … Continue reading Aquinas, Grace, and Sacrament
I do not believe that, as a general rule, we live into the phrase "'the kingdom of God, as Jesus proclaimed. I do not believe we understand the gravity and power of its implication; because of the limitations inherent in our humanity, I believe we limit God. Let me step back and lay some … Continue reading Jesus in a Box
Think back to that year before you were officially a “teenager.” What were you doing when you were 12 years old? I think to when I was 12 and remember I was completing my last year of braces, worried about pre-pubescent acne, and getting irritated on a daily basis at how nosey my parents were. … Continue reading Agnes, Martyr of Rome 304
Silent Meditation vs Empty Chatter In this chapter Thomas moves further into meditative prayer...what it is and certainly what it is not. He encourages us that interior prayer is simple, silent, and often expressed through small acts. He cautions us that we convince ourselves that to have a "true prayer life" we must be engaged … Continue reading A cuppa tea with…Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer
Inertia. Coldness. Confusion. Thomas speaks of these as we all experience them at some point (or many points) in our prayer life. What do we do when faced with these empty spaces, these times when nothing seems to matter and nothing gains traction? He warns that this might be a time when we have separated … Continue reading A cuppa tea with… Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer