Why Pray?

Why Pray?

In high school I participated in something called Summer Institute at Eastern Michigan University. It was a great experience. For two weeks I lived on campus with a group of other high school high achievers from various disciplines. I was there for music. It was an amazing time. I learned a lot about writing and creating music. While we were there we had to do some "electives." One of them was meditation. I remember sitting on the floor on a squishy mat, that was surprisingly comfortable. The instructor spoke in a calm quiet voice and guided us through a time of meditation. I don't remember anything after the first fifteen minutes. Why? Because I fell asleep! (more…)...
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Why the Bible?

Why the Bible?

The Bible. It's one of those books that people tend to have a very strong opinion about. People either love the Bible or hate the Bible. There typically isn't a middle ground. Some people in the Christian faith venerate the Bible. They worship it like it is a god. Some outside the Christian faith believe it to be nothing more than a collection of fairy tales. (more…)...
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The Necessary Darkness

The Necessary Darkness

Have you ever been through a dark night of the soul? A time when there seems to be no voice from God? A time where you feel a bit rudderless and your soul is downcast? Dark nights of the soul are well attested to in the history of the Church. Many folks have experienced them. They can either destroy us or they can take us deeper in our relationship with God and his people. In today’s parlance we might call this, “deconstruction.” We question everything and doubt much. Our faith seems to be coming apart and we cannot wrap our minds or hearts around it. With so many having this experience it makes me wonder if this is something that is a necessary part of our spiritual formation. Could it be that we need our dark nights of the soul? What if these seasons of doubt and questioning are seasons that help us become more like Jesus? (more…)...
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Acta Non Verba

Acta Non Verba

Every time there is shooting we hear the following phrase, “thoughts and prayers.” Every time that phrase is uttered there are others who say, “thoughts and prayers are useless.” I am tired of both. I am tired of seeing the religious among us continually saying, “I’m praying” but doing nothing. I am tired of the non-religious among us shaming or mocking the religious for their prayer. (more…)...
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Your Kingdom Come…

…or the need for a new imagination. Photo by Artem Sapegin on Unsplash Christians pray the Lord’s Prayer pretty often. Some congregations pray it every Sunday. Many people pray it in their private prayer life. It is safe to say that the Lord’s prayer is central to Christian spirituality. Yet many of us haven’t take time to even consider what we are praying. We just pray it. The words of the Lord’s Prayer become rote and can become hollow. They are intended to transform us. This prayer is powerful and can change us to our core. Here is the prayer if you’re unfamiliar with it, “This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one....
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Holy Be Your Name

…or taking time to acknowledge God Photo by Thomas Griesbeck on Unsplash Over the last week I have been doing something new in my spiritual practice, not asking God for anything. I have simply been taking time to acknowledge God. It is ridiculously hard. No, I am serious. I have never done anything this hard in prayer in my life. Spending time in prayer simply acknowledging who God is has been beyond difficult. You would think that someone who has been actively seeking to follow God since 1995 and is a “professional Christian” would be able to spend hours and hours simply acknowledging God. Nope. I can’t. Monday it was about 5 minutes before my mind and heart wandered to other things and people and concerns. Tuesday it was about 2. Wednesday, I didn’t even take time to do it because, “What’s the point?” Yes, I’m firmly Gen X. Thursday, I figured I better make a bit more effort and was successfully able to focus on God and God alone...
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