Monday, April 30, 2007
reconciling faith with political ambition
from Odes of Solomon
You split me, tore my heart open, filled me with love.
You poured your spirit into me; I knew you as I know myself.
Speaking waters touched me from your fountain, the source of life.
I swallowed them and was drunk with the water that never dies, and my drunkenness was insight, intimacy with your spirit.
And you have made all things new; you have showed me all things shining.
-- written in the 1st or 2nd Century, A.D.
(to be continued)
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Goodwood United Church
Yes, membership has its privileges.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
protecting your mind from evil
We have to be choosy. We have to control what – or who – we allow into our minds. What’s true of computers is true with humans – garbage in, garbage out.
Five things to guard against:
1. We are to guard our minds against false teaching.
2. We are to guard our minds against temptation.
3. We are to guard our minds against counterfeit spiritual experiences.
4. We are to guard our minds against pride.
5. We are to guard against an overworked mind.
Read the whole essay.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)
God's Spirit is with us.
Lord, it is night.
The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.
giving life to all life, moving all creatures,
root of all things, washing them clean,
wiping out their mistakes, healing their wounds,
you are our true life, luminous, wonderful,
awakening our hearts from their ancient sleep.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
-- Claude Presbyterian Church sign
Sunday, April 22, 2007
the need for quiet
Abbot Thomas comments on this need:
Our world is awash in noise, especially if you live in a big city. There is no way we can get away from it sometimes. If you have to wait on the phone, there is music. You ride in an elevator there is piped in music. The store aisles are filled with music and other noises. People have cell phones with them all the time and they are always on. Then there is the I-Pod, the radio, the computer, the T.V. Maybe you can list a few more.
What to do about it? If you really want some quiet in your life, then you will have to do something about it yourself. Don’t turn on your cell phone unless you need to, others can leave you a message. Don’t turn on your car radio, just sit in quiet and listen to the silence, or speak to God, or pray the rosary. When you get up in the morning, the very first thing you should do is take 10 or 15 minutes to read a short section from the Bible – maybe say morning prayer from our web-site, then close the Bible and sit there in silence talking with Jesus. He is your best friend and is always there for you.
If you do this everyday you will be amazed at how much your inner life calms down and is at peace.
Abbot Thomas, O.S.B.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
“We are discovering, often through painstaking, detailed examination of primary texts, that women played an essential role in the early years of the Christian faith,” says Earle. “In those first centuries, before the church was marked by the institutional division between East and West, women were functioning in a variety of roles. They were seeking to live out the faith in Christ…and living in ways that were authentic and true to the gospel. Their example challenges our ways of understanding the faith.”
The Desert Mothers: Spiritual Practices from the Women of the Wilderness provides an introduction to discover some of the foremothers in the Christian faith, and an invitation to practice their way of living. These women began to create and shape lives in the deserts of the Holy Land as “ammas,” -- literally, “mothers” -- but also implying wise guidance and care of souls.
Friday, April 20, 2007
this applies to all Christians and denominations
After describing an e-mail received from an ex-seminarian from Argentina, Ryan writes:
….He made me question my own motives for remaining in the church.
The most obvious and simple reason is that I’m used to it. I was born and brought up Catholic. I happen to be Catholic just as I happen to be American. It’s an empirical fact-the rather prosaic underpinning of my fidelity.
Because I’m a Catholic, I go to Mass on Sundays (or Saturday evening), and I’m relatively at ease. I know when to sit, stand, and kneel, and I know the responses. I am deeply aware of Eucharistic theology, and I want to respond to this gift with all my being. Yet I often feel as though I’m just going through the motions. The people around me are strangers, the music is led by a choir singing a couple of octaves above what most of us are capable of, the songs themselves are sickly sentimental, and the sermon is often insipid. . . . At church, I have the impression that we are a motley crew fulfilling an obligation. There is a clique of dedicated people in the parish who keep things rolling, but I’ve never been tempted to become part of that group. I simply don’t have a vocation to lay ministry. These are very good people who are trying their best. The worst of it is that I haven’t a clue as to how things could be improved.
So I can’t stand outside and throw stones. The very things that pain and disappoint me in the church exist in myself, and I don’t like them there either. Often I feel like a hypocrite among hypocrites-all of us pretending to live something we are constantly contradicting.
That is the nitty-gritty level. In the larger context, there is a whole litany of complaints: the church’s obsession with micromanaging the sexual life of the faithful and imposing its one-size-fits-all regulations; its courtship of the rich and powerful (who are the laypeople who sit on diocesan boards and consulting committees? Are they representative of the people of God?); the political posturing (morality must be legislated). The litany could go on and on.
* * *
Is it simply out of inertia that I continue to be a Catholic? I hope not. Faced with so much that puts me off and the temptation to simply walk away, I find myself replying with Peter: “To whom else will we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
-- Jerry Ryan “Why I Stay Catholic: The Bonds of Belief & Friendship”
Thursday, April 19, 2007
As we read spiritually about spiritual things, we open our hearts to God's voice. Sometimes we must be willing to put down the book we are reading and just listen to what God is saying to us through its words.
-- Henri Nouwen Society
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
and my heart has satisfied its longing.
I do not care about religion
or anything that is not you.
I have soothed and quieted my soul,
like a child at its mother's breast.
My soul is as peaceful as a child
sleeping in its mother's arms.
-- Stephen Mitchell A Book of Psalms Selected & Adapted from the Hebrew
Sunday, April 15, 2007
first Communion at St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church, St.Paul, MN
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Friday, April 13, 2007
It is there in all of us already.
We simply lose touch with it.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
who have grown beyond their greed
and have put an end to their hatred
and no longer nourish illusions.
But they delight in the way things are
and keep their hearts open, day and night.
They are like trees planted near flowing rivers,
which bear fruit when they are ready.
Their leaves will not fall or wither.
Everything they do will succeed.
-- Stephen Mitchell's adaptation from Hebrew
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
painting chalices for first communion
for the forgiveness of sin.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
-- Liturgy of the Hours
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Friday, April 06, 2007
-- Martin Luther
Lenten message by Fr. Richard Herbel of Saint Augustine's House Lutheran Monastery.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
-- George Matheson
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
St. Scholastica, Duluth, Minnesota
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
no simple faith
Reality, in fact, is always something you couldn't have guessed. That's one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It's a religion you couldn't have guessed. If it offered us just the kind of universe we'd always expected, I'd feel we were making it up. But, in fact, it's not the sort of thing anyone would have made up. It has just that queer twist about it that real things have. So let's leave behind all these boys' philosophies—these over-simple answers.
-- C.S. Lewis
Sunday, April 01, 2007
the dad is holding their son in this picture.
See a brief video.