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
This compelling love, steeped in silence, is required of every soul. This obedience to the present moment is, moreover, an act whereby they dedicate themselves totally to the external will of God as a matter of course. This is their rule, method, law and way. Pure, simple and sure, it is a straight path along … Continue reading adesse.
A little lifting-up of the heart is enough; a short remembrance of God, an interior act of worship, made in haste and sword in hand, are prayers which, short as they may be, are nevertheless most pleasing to God. ~~unknown
Thomas suggests instead of seeking a "method" of prayer, we should choose a "life" of prayer. It should be intentional behavior to life and not akin to the enthusiasm of acquiring a new skill. God calls us to life with HIm; prayer is that response. In meditation we face the harsh realities of ourselves and … Continue reading A cuppa tea with… Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer
"In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present." ~~Tao, 8.
Thomas mentions the various forms of contemplative prayer including psalmodia, lectio, oratio, contemplatio. These prayers are a way to turn from the world to God, but "to separate meditation from prayer, reading, and contemplation, is to falsify our picture of the monastic way of prayer." Singing hymns and songs of praise, sharing in the liturgy, and … Continue reading A cuppa tea with… Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer
Pray with me. Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives … Continue reading John 17:6-19
The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but ceased to have any power over the present. Health and hope grew strong in them, and they were content with each good day as it came, taking pleasure in every meal, and in every word and song. ~~J.R.R.Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
We do not want to be beginners. But let us be convinced of the fact that we will never be anything else but beginners, all our life! ~~Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer
So whatever form of prayer, meditation, or activity leads you to the highest and purest desire for Him, and to the deepest experience of Him, will be the means by which you may best seek and find Him. ~~Walter Hilton, The Ladder of Perfection, 57.
...that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands... ~~1 Thessalonians 4:11
"Turn my eyes from watching what is worthless; give me life in your ways." ~Psalm 119:37.
We do not want to be beginners. But let us be convinced of the fact that we will never be anything else but beginners, all our life! ~Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer.
That our thoughts spoil everything all the trouble begins with them. We must be careful to reject them immediately [when] we see that they are neither necessary to our occupation at the moment nor conducive to our salvation, and return to our communion with God, wherein is our only good. ~Br. Lawrence, The Practice … Continue reading adesse.
It is only when one makes a relentless and unswervingly concrete commitment to prayer that it becomes possible for God even to begin to act significantly in that life. ~Fr. John-Julian, "The Dance of the 13 Veils"
Agnes, Martyr of Rome, 304 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 … Continue reading Millstones and Innocents
This realization of your own unworthiness will drive out of your heart 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. ~Walter Hilton, The Ladder of Perfection.
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 … Continue reading my fault, my fault, my most Grievous fault
Practicing Present-ness. "Growth in prayer is growth in simplicity, and as the powers of the soul become united with the will in the act of love, which is prayer, [the] method of operation alters and becomes less deliberate, until [those in prayer] appear to be doing nothing, a fact which often causes much heart-searching to the … Continue reading adesse.
What is the point of baptism? Why should we view that event with such reverence, and in some traditions, why is it a holy sacrament? Historically, God stated in Ezekial 36:25, “I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse … Continue reading Eww! Stinky! My soul needs a BATH!!
Practicing Present-ness. "That our thoughts spoil everything, all the trouble begins with them. We must be careful to reject them immediately [when] we see that they are neither necessary to our occupation at the moment nor conducive to our salvation, and return to our communion with God, wherein is our only good." ~Br. Lawrence, … Continue reading adesse.
Practicing Present-ness. "The heroic minute. It's time to get up, on the dot! Without hesitation, a supernatural thought and . . . up! The heroic minute; here you have a mortification that strengthens your will and does not weaken your body." ~Josemaria Escriva, The Way, #206.
If we spend all our energies defining what we AREN'T and vehemently defending our side of the line, we will not only alienate ourselves but also find it difficult to define who we ARE. And if we've been so militant in our description of who we AREN'T, given our behavior, will there even be anyone … Continue reading Keep Out!
Why is it so difficult to rouse children from their beds during the year for school, yet they spring out of bed and dash outside quicker than you can say “Jack Sprat” during the summer months? There is an enthusiasm for summer: freedom! New adventures to be had, vacations to take, visits with grandparents, … Continue reading Summer Camp was SOOOO Long Ago!
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 … Continue reading Leading from the Front
What's that you say?? You DON'T consider Jesus as your friend?!?! No, not at that point....yet!
The Angelus tolls in the crisp air, and I am reminded of the gift of God bestowed to the Virgin Mary. As the bell continues its patterned ring, I speak my prayers and offer my heart to the Lord. May this pause offer an opportunity to be mindful of Christ in my life … Continue reading Without Ceasing…
Before the days of cell phones and texting, many children knew when it was time to go indoors in the evening by the sunset. When that last sliver of the sun sank into the horizon, we knew we had to stop playing hide and seek or riding our bikes or fishing for crawdads at the … Continue reading St. Teresa of Avila
1 Peter 13-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who … Continue reading I’m suffering… Where’s the protection??
Last week, when I was doing a residency week at Nashotah for my next course, some friends of mine and I were invited to share supper with a resident and her husband. When I walked in, I immediately heard the phone ring several times and wondered why no one attempted to answer it. As … Continue reading “Hello! My name is Chad!” squawked God.
"But busyness may sometimes be an excuse for laziness. As Eugene Peterson observes, busy people are too lazy to take control of things, so they fit themselves into other people's demands. Activities can be an excuse for spiritual inertia or acedia, an unwillingness to accept God as God, that is, his absolute claims on … Continue reading Ouch!
In completion of McGrath’s Christian Theology, he discusses the doctrine of the church and the sacraments, Christianity against the backdrop of world religions, and eschatology. First, McGrath presents the populations of the church through the ages. Isidore states the church is “‘the assembly of saints joined together by correct faith and an excellent manner … Continue reading Last McGrath and a Smidge of Eschatology
Are you addicted to religion? As some may know, I have become disillusioned (Ha! interesting word considering what I'm about to say...) with evangelical, emotion-laden, mega church environments that seem to be taking over the Christian world in these last several years. I do not agree with a church environment that attempts to illicit … Continue reading Skeezer wants an Abe of Kibbles and Bits
Alister McGrath, in his Christian Theology, spent the last two chapters discussing the doctrine of God and of the Holy Spirit. It stands to reason that his next chapters discuss the doctrine of Christ and Christ in history. Christology, the doctrine of the person of Christ, seeks to understand what Christ reveals in an … Continue reading Down with Enlightenment!
"Bless, O Lord, this House, set apart to the glory of thy great name and the benefit of thy Holy Church; and grant that thy Name may be worshipped here in truth and purity to all generations. Give thy grace and wisdom to all the authorities, that they may exercise holy discipline, and be themselves … Continue reading Daughter of the House
"Donald Miller" This name has spawned a bit of backlash recently. Why? He wrote a blog post about why he doesn't attend church much, if at all, anymore. I read his original post here. I then read his follow-up post here. I then read some responses to is blog here ... and here ... and here ... … Continue reading Where Are You Going?
My Systematic Theology class had an online discussion thread going last week regarding the reading for Alister McGrath's Christian Theology. The thread began with a question of natural catastrophes on the planet and where God is (if anywhere) in that event. McGrath speaks of "influence and persuasion" regarding God's nudging man to righteousness. Numerous … Continue reading “And Job died, an old man, and full of days.”
I've been following a pastor out of Canada on his blog for a while now. Carey Nieuwhof. He makes excellent points regarding church growth, connecting with one another, how to look at your church without a filter, (more importantly?) how to look at yourself without a filter, and so much more. What he says, … Continue reading I’m Liking This Guy
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, … Continue reading Can You Say That a Bit Slower This Time
Abstract: The project will reveal the significance of the sacrament of baptism in the work of the church, both regarding the baptismal candidate as well as the catholic church. Jewish history reveals purification ceremonies that, with the baptism of Jesus, have marked a critical moment of the believer in a bath of both water … Continue reading Water & Spirit
Continuing with Allen’s and Springsted’s Philosophy for Understanding Theology, the last two chapters discuss the issues within postmodern philosophy as well as its ethical concerns. A working definition of “postmodern” cannot be framed without first a foundation of what “modern” philosophy is. Modern philosophy must be objective and universal, and it must have guidelines … Continue reading Watch out
"Theology is the science of faith. It is the conscious and methodical explanation and explication of the divine revelation received and grasped in faith." ~~Karl Rahner
In Allen’s and Springsted’s Philosophy for Understanding Theology, chapters 7 through 11 builds upon the established philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, and Barth. They move to modern philosophies as methods for understanding how man assesses his relationship to The Divine. The authors illustrate in the seventh chapter through several approaches: moderate realism, humanism, hierarchical … Continue reading Just Under the Wire!
Okay! Here's the deal! Do you REALLY care... that I'm not from Montana; that I went to a Baptist university; that I don't like my foods touching each other on my plate; that I love dogs AND cats; that I have two finches named Drambuie and Benedictine; that I like tomatoes and spaghetti and tomato basil soup but … Continue reading thisisnotasitappears
John Donne penned: "No man is an island, Entire of itself, Every man is a piece of the continent, A part of the main…" There is so much negativity in the world and in the community. There can be so much that can come against us that seeks to tear us down, hurt us, diminish … Continue reading What You Don’t Know
"And the great street of the city was gold, like pure transparent glass." NIV If the great street of the city is paved with the precious gold of a fried egg, it truly WILL be Heaven, indeed!!!
"The common nature of several individuals is distinct from what individuates them as different individuals." Allen & Springsted
“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 NRSV. We arrive with knowledge of God, the One, through Aristotle’s methods: “...as is possible for us … Continue reading “My thoughts…your thoughts…”
"Fill me with your Holy Spirit." "Make me more like you." "Show me your way." These are all phrases that I've said in my life at some point or another. Heartfelt. Impassioned. Sincere. But these are inaccurate. In order to be like Christ, the divine, I must be empty. Void. Bare. Nothing. If I … Continue reading Fill ‘er up!
It's Tuesday, right? My mind is a jumbled mess! Dimensions of theological study. Sacred theology. Natural theology. Spiritual theology. Philosophical theology. Nothing moves outside of God = unmoved mover >>> Aristotle. Recidivism vs. Relativism. Fukuyama. Adler. Barth. Solzhenitsyn. Nietzsche. Aquinas. Lewis. Pannenberg. Jungel. Plato. The "mystery" of faith. Wisdom of God (Truth). Holiness of … Continue reading Kenosis
"The heroic minute. It's time to get up, on the dot! Without hesitation, a supernatural thought and . . . up! The heroic minute: here you have a mortification that strengthens your will and does not weaken your body." Josemaria Escriva, The Way, #206.
Alabaster trees huddled as sentinels, guarding the quietly powerful spirit within. The silent soldiers give way to fields of pristine banks of snow. Untrodden by neither human nor animal foot. Nestled amongst the drifts are stone edifices blanketed with white cottony snow. Purity. Knowledge. Answers. Definition.
I dropped my pup off at Animal Lodge in Laurel for the week. I miss her already! She's always so happy and sweet and quiet and gentle. I hope they are good to her there. I left her a fluffy blanket and one of my t-shirts so she can snuggle. I'll see you in a … Continue reading I Miss You Already!
"I know I got really, really angry. And I kinda feel bad about that. But they really, really pissed me off! And I was justified to get angry -- I really was justified! *hands on hips for emphasis* I don't think I should have to apologize. Well, I'll just get them a small gift instead. … Continue reading Is it really so difficult?
1. David Gray 2. VNV Nation 3. Rush 4. Covenant 5. Wolfsheim 6. Enigma *I know, that's 6!*
I've been on the hunt for blogs and websites to follow. A friend from Baylor posted this article on her FB page, and I just had to link it through. The blog is "In The Parlor". We're getting all mired in the details of condemnation . Yes, we must speak our truth as I stated … Continue reading Blog: “In The Parlor”
I saw a couple of interviews from Phil on Duck Dynasty. These interviews were done a while back, but he has a very good take on what's going on with the media and its twisting of reality. Phil ain't no redneck dummy! Click the link here and have a look. I also posted my comment … Continue reading I See What You Did There
I wonder... Why don't we sneeze in our sleep? We yawn. We poot. We scratch. We talk. We move. Some walk. Some eat. But we don't sneeze. Curious.
* This is a not cohesive post! It started out with a singular thought, and morphed into a mass of opinions and responses. But I will leave it as it is without editing, a jumbled mass, and let you sift through it. 🙂 * I have been following the Duck Dynasty, much like many others, … Continue reading A Murder of Crows
I read a thoughtful article over on a blog I follow called Facebook Apostles. The article helped briefly to define our motivation for serving: ego or calling. I was struck by the last bullet point: "Ego wants to preserve the self. Calling wants to impact others." I am discovering this difference for myself now. Ego … Continue reading Le’go my ego!
Today is a brilliant day! I have been formally accepted into graduate school at Nashotah House Theological Seminary! I truly don't know how I got here, nor do I know how it will all go from here forward. But for right now I want to bask in the joy and the fear! This picture was … Continue reading Nashotah House
I read a post this morning on a website/blog I follow for youth ministers call MorethanDodgeBall.com. This post questioned the reasons Pope Francis was named person for the year for one of two reasons: "because of how he embodies Jesus Christ or because of how he embodies Jesus Christ in ways that are 'nice' and … Continue reading Pope Francis as Time’s “Person of the Year”?
Tuesday, December 10th, was my birthday, and it was a wonderful day! From dawn to dusk! I was reminded of amazing aspects of my life that I am ever-so-grateful for. I have loving and kind parents who have supported and encouraged me and allow me to be me. I have the world's best cousin who … Continue reading Make a Wish
Merriam-Webster: entropy -- a degradation or running down or a trend to disorder. Chaos is a living, breathing, viable being hell-bent on one purpose: to devour, to consume, to obliterate. We arise in the morning facing a new dawn, a fresh chance, a blank slate. Clear. Barrier-less. Free. Smoke creeps along the edges of the … Continue reading Entropic Deterioration
It's -19 degrees in Billings, MT, today. I went outside to shovel a small patch of frozen ground out of the ice and snow for my long-hair dachshund to potty. As soon as I stepped outside and I breathed the ice-crystal-saturated air, my nose hairs bristled and my eyes stung. It. Is. Cold. And my … Continue reading Wisdom Denied
When we get caught doing something wrong, whether is it secretly snatching a cookie, gossiping about someone, or cheating on a loved one, why are we sorry? Are we sorry because (1) we committed the wrong in the first place? Or, are we sorry that (2) we committed the wrong, got caught, and ultimately hurt … Continue reading Busted!
I’m in the airport looking forward to my return flight home to Montana. I’ve got all my security items with me: cell phone, books, planner, laptop, lip balm, cinnamon gum, small Americano. I have had a wonderful Thanksgiving visit at my parents’ with Dad’s family visiting. Too much food. Lots of peace and quiet. … Continue reading The Bulkhead Did It!