Monday, August 17, 2009

Sin- proposals/theories, Adam Miller

Miller weighs in on what sin is, by dissecting the blockage of grace and suffering. Interesting proposal.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Book Review -Rhythm in Life (vs. balance)

I'm linking to my book review, because it suits the topic of my Life As Prayer blog very well.

Read a to-the-point review of "Your Life in Rhythm," by Bruce Miller, from Tyndale Publishing, and a mention of another helpful read, Ruth Barton's, "Sacred Rhythms."

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Mosaic Bible, worth a look

I'm a featured as a contributor with a meditation in Tyndale’s Holy Bible: Mosaic NLT, coming Fall 2009. pre-orders reduce the Tyndale list price of $49.95 to just $19.95. This authoritative Bible translation is rendered faithfully into today’s English from the ancient texts by 90 leading Bible scholars.
According to Tyndale website they describe the project this way.
Holy Bible: Mosaic is unlike any Bible that you have used before. Encounter Christ on every continent, and in every century of Christian History. A new genre of Bible—a weekly meditation Bible—Holy Bible: Mosaic is an invitation to experience Christ both in His word, and in the responses of his people. Each week, as you reflect on guided Scripture readings aligned with the church seasons, you will receive a wealth of insight from historical and contemporary writings. Full-color artwork will engage the soul; quotes, hymns, prayers, and poems enhance the rich devotional experience, and space is provided for your response to God’s promptings. It also includes a Dictionary/Concordance, NLT word study system with Hebrew/ Greek dictionary. A beautiful layout of art and devotional content, and an online community and content (coming Fall 2009) will extend the experience.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Believing stuff

I've been wondering about what makes a person believe something they did not believe before. I don't just mean life-after-death, or that God is there, or something really huge. I mean even something mundane, like that a certain product is actually better, or that a new friend is a true "keeper," or that the GPS person (voice speaking) isn't lying (read: mistaken) when they say, "turn right now."

I know it must have to do with trust. Some people will do that better, or more quickly. Others are just plain more skeptical. But are they more discerning, or more scared? Maybe both. Maybe they've been screwed over, and tricked, maybe too they have an analytical and curious mind that must investigate a good bit first. 

Maybe-on the other side-the quicker believers aren't just more susceptible to belief, but willing to growth and try, a bit more readily. They are perhaps flexible in their quests, and not pinned down like rigid thinkers can be.

Besides that-The two opinionated sides of the spectrum: Dogmatic types and Skeptic types are really both stuck. They both will have a difficult time improving, or having the abilities to take in new, useful information, because their minds are, in effect, made up.

What is the psychology at the turning point of belief...
for you, or in general...?
The spiritual (what is beyond the physical) plays a big part.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sometimes the righteous people don't get it (then and now)

Copied from my post contribution on

This is a nice series Ed, and thanks for putting it down.

Many approach “witnessing” as debate, and/or a goal-oriented task…the goal is convert…The guilt runs high too. The stakes are SO HIGH. The eternal soul! But, God is awfully big and powerful, and the Holy Spirit is at work, so being like Jesus is our best bet. I feel really comfortable with God’s capabilities.

While it’s true that Jesus told some to “go and sin no more,” he must have done it gently with sincere love, because sinners loved to be with him, and their lives were transformed. Jesus’ harshest words were very fiery, but they were expressly for the religious establishment–a wake up call. It gives one pause. Maybe righteous types just don’t “get it”? The story of redemption has far less to do with anger, in fact, it has almost nothing to do with it, unless you split up the Trinity into three gods. A Holy God needs recompense for sin before reconciliation, yes. But God provided a way to himself. This is a message of hope, love, and grace. To give a message that will sink into the heart of people, we have to remember we are saved to something, not from something. (Even now, without God, unbelieving sinners are caught in the “hell of self”.) It’s time to just invite them home.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

On violence

Ken Miller, PhD 5/5/09
On violence of the crucifixion-
God used our violence, and submitted to it, (in Christ's death) to solve the problem, to save us from our violence.

Friday, April 24, 2009


I was responding to a friend's Facebook Note on joy (asking for a definition) so I thought I'd post it here.

My short definition is:
Joy is sturdy happiness.

I think it points off the map to the Divine. 

Sometimes we have sparks of joy. Perhaps seeing the innocence in our children when we play with them in an unguarded moment, or in a perfect sunset, or some beautiful simple pleasure we love. It is not circumstantial, but exists under and even through the ups and downs of life's curvy road. And no, we don't always sense it, but when we rest in it, my goodness, what a blessing.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Spirit as creativity.

From a great store house creativity can burst forth invigorating our life, charging with life force. It regenerates, revives, and it is a any wonder why? That creative Spirit that gives people life is the Source of Creativity itself. It seems we may glance, or touch the hem of the Divine as we take part in expression of art and creativity. This may be what pulls us to them (in general) in music, fine art, film, theatre, and so forth. Many excellent things generate a new breath for us.

Maybe we can meditate on this for a bit.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Freedom through Twitter discipline

read time 3-4 min:

Discipline sometimes gets a bad rap, or connotation. It’s mainly because we don’t connect it to freedom. We assume that we are slaves to discipline, but actually we are set free by it. It is our compulsions and excesses that rule or enslave us. It’s discipline that throws the prison doors wide open.

Before I set out on the "tips and tricks" part, first think of five things you would like to do with more time. For me, it would be cycling/exercise, gardening, de-cluttering/house up-keep, reading more books, and writing more. Now, think of yours. Go ahead, really do it. Get them down on paper. I’ll wait. Once you have them, the reasons for reading this will be far more worthwhile and concrete.

The facts are that Twitter is fun, helpful, but addictive and it sucks away time, right? Eventually, it enslaves until, or unless, we become disciplined, and put it in its proper place. Once that happens, we can do more things we’d like, and make sure Tiwtter works for us, not the other way around. Working on the computer for a living adds to the draw of continual Twitter tweet too, but it cuts down our efficiency overall. This happened to me.

First, to convince you further, it may help to know that there are some unattractive Twitter traits that are red flags of an undisciplined life (Twitter life, or otherwise).

1. Maybe you like to give lots of mundane tweets that you care to reveal, but no one really cares about like. “I’m eating Fruit Loops.” or “Good Morning, Tweeps!” or “What a lot of calls I have to make, yuck, Mondays.” This clogs the Twittersphere, and really sidelines you as irrelevant, to be honest. As the funny guy in the video link below says, “People with friends don’t shout into the darkness hoping someone will listen.”

2. Maybe you self-promote: If you are on Twitter mainly trying get customers, it’s usually really obvious, and annoying. Try to limit your trolling for consumers, because Twitter is not really the answer to all your business acquisition needs. Balance is key.

3. You are unemployed. If you are tweeting a lot–this will be assumed by your followers, all too soon. Sometimes “Entrepreneur” or “self-employed” is another title for this predicament people use in their bio. The over-tweeter has too much time on his/her hands, or maybe obsessive issues, or may really need to diversify his or her interests. The constant tweeting really pegs one as desperate, in some kind of way, seriously.

What can you do to rein things in, and use your time in the wisest ways possible?

•Time managing software like Rescue Time is free, and is very helpful with this. It will tell you what you are doing while you are on your computer in graph form, specifically, and give you reminders (set by you) that keep you concentrated on actual goals. The low tech version can be great too. Setting a fifteen-minute allowance on your mobile phone alarm, or a kitchen timer (one can purchase in any supermarket) works too, if you abide by it.

•Limit Twitter time to only two or three bursts per day, instead or going back to it all throughout the day. We just have to remember we are gaining our freedom back. This will be a very good, and life-giving improvement. Your productivity will increase, and even your energy level.

•Plan one new endeavor away from the computer to accomplish that will take some time, and take action this week. A short project, or a new skill is a good place to start. Like running a half mile, building a shelf or flower bed; or something relational, like helping a neighbor regularly, or preparing a brunch (or eating breakfast out) with a friend once a week.

I’ve found freedom this way. My time on Facebook and Twitter has gone down, yet my pleasure in these activities has gone up. I also have more time for other things I enjoy doing. I hope you find these ideas helpful and hopeful.

Here's the hilarious cartoon video link with some truths about life on Twitter.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Prayer Exercise for Groups-Jacob's Ladder

Visual: Jacob’s Ladder by William Blake

Prayer Exercise
Dreamwork – Praying using Images and Symbols

Jacob's Ladder

A portal, a threshold,
To the Presence
The unconscious awakens
In another realm
To Spirit, and symbol
Upon heights where angels
Murmur and gaze
And saints gather
In the Light

Reading: Genesis 28:10-19

Prayerfully listen to the reading, and sketch
images that come to mind during reflection or
prayer time. (Or note words from those images.)

Silent Prayer:

God, Great Dreamer, Creator of our waking and
Our sleep. Meet us in our dreams. Speak to us with
Your Presence, and your whispers Divine. Awaken us
To your Reality evermore even from the shadowy
Realms of our slumber, that we may plunge further into your
Love. Amen.

Music Presentation:
Artworks by Victor Bregeda. Song by Paul Lisney, Jacobs Ladder

(artwork/music presentation full link:

Friday, March 20, 2009

No future tense...

"I shall not want." It's a popular second half of the verse 1 of the 23rd Psalm. the trouble is, it's just not very accurate. There is no future tense in Hebrew. There is no shall or will. This verse talks about the now. (Sometimes it is translated "I lack nothing," which is closer to what the Hebrew says.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Age of the Sage...gone? or personal taste?

Have you noticed some people really appreciate wise Sage advice. Could it be personality style? Maybe for those who feel they are journeying--something like Frodo in Lord of the Rings--they imagine others are down the road a bit ahead of them, and maybe those folks (like sages) can see around the bend, and be a guide.

Other people scoff at Sage information giving as arrogant. Thinking, "It's all personal perspective. No one can't really speak into my life, and know–or even assume to know–what could be helpful for me. "Sage authority" is quite suspect for them.

Where do you line up? Do you value Sage wisdom?

If you welcome it, and could ask for any sage advice at all, knowing there would be no judgement pointed toward you, what would you ask?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

If you have located God...

If you have located God, whether in experience or locale, mode or method, be assured it cannot be the Divine. God is not fully known, or knowable. For God is no-thing, no object, no sensation, no perception that we should confuse with that with the real "him" (Spirit). We know in part. We glimpse the light trails. Both cannot be true that he can be everywhere and Spirit, and also so very graspable in the ways we usually think so. That is why the Logos of God is so helpful. (Christians call him Jesus. God in flesh.) But God, worshiped in spirit and truth, the Eternal, is always with us, always Other, always approachable, and always incomprehensible, immeasurable. Unpinned down, except in our delusions.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Habits can turn into compulsions. They often do. At this point they become choice-less. They take away our freedom. We cling to them out of fear of loss. The anxiety creeps in so that a once comforting habit becomes an enslavement as a compulsion.

Growth is caught in a rut in those areas where compulsions rule.

Can you identify any for you? They can be routines, rituals, ideas, practices, ways of feeling secure, and so forth.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

worry vs. prayer

Worry is like meditating wrongly on all the things you can't control, enough to grasp them unwell, and hurt yourself by it.

Prayer is like meditating on all some things you can't or can control, enough to let them go well, so they will not harm you.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Scholar produces fantastic translation

Renown Hebrew and Old Testament scholar David Dorsey gave us a copy of his new translation of Ecclesiastes. Some people get confused or depressed reading this book. He says it is his (biblical) favorite. It's probably because from his in-depth studies he's seen the hope and well of wisdom throughout the work. He claims there are currently no quality translations available to read (in English). Translators have to make decisions on the words chosen, and for this book it seems they often don't convey so accurately the main theme, and some important ideas.

To sum up this translation: Ecclesiastes is about trying to communicate the transitory nature of existence. Not in a morbid or hopeless way though. The wisdom of the author comes out as he explains that he has done it all, tried it all, and seen it all. He pursued wisdom, knowledge, wealth, all his desires, and considered–quite wisely–all the big issues that plague human experience. He understands that, in reality, there is a certain kind of pointlessness to life because both the good and the wicked prosper. Sometimes good people are hurt and ruined, and come on calamity, while the wicked proper. In the end we all come to the same end. The author of Ecclesiastes explains that contentment is what is most important. (And often this is what is most illusive, especially for the wealthy.)

Friday, March 06, 2009

escaping God

I remember being five and hiding under my blankets and thinking, "God can't see me here. Nobody can see me." I knew this probably couldn't be true, but I remember even then wanting privacy. The bigness of God is frightening if we really consider the reality of it. And for that reason, I suppose it is no wonder we wouldn't try to run, even if it might be in vain. Even if we know it is in vain. Just as much as it can be frightening, it can be comforting too, and overwhelming if we realize the immensity of all that power and love turned toward us. It is willing turned toward us.

I used to think God was basically displeased with me, and with humanity. I think I was sold a human idea of God. Maybe it was a doctrine based on keeping people in line. If behavior modification is what religion is for, then it's nonsense. But I don't believe that's it. If God is Creator, then "he" knows all about us. "He" is acquainted with our instinct to run off, and still loves us. Just like I love my daughter and son, despite their less than wonderful actions sometimes. And I imagine God is much better at patience than me. God does epitomize all of my ideals of perfection, and hold in "himself" the capability to love without end and bounds, seeing and knowing all. There is always someone to come home to. That home is begins with awareness, that God will/does abide within.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Discovering/re-discovering God-Continuing Theology

Resistance lives on the fringe of growth, near our periphery. When we have to reconsider what we’ve known, and adjust to realities bigger than what we first realized. God is bigger…always bigger than we figure on. Just when we get a grip on our theology, he will stretch us further. The bounds of his mission, his grace, his love, and his “Otherness” pushes us further on, into this unknown, and really unknowing.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

vice / virtue - 1st half of life / 2nd half of life

It's been said that the thing that are your vices in the first half of your life may turn to into the virtues in the second half of your life. And also the virtues of the first half of your life may likely turn into your vices in the second half of your life. Gives one pause, doesn't it?

What might this look like in real life?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


The Lifeway Group, the Southern Baptist folks, have started placing warning stickers on books in their stores that don’t meet their standards and suit their tastes. They say, strangely enough, “Read with Discernment.” This is probably a nice way of saying, “This book is full of crap, but we’ve decided to sell it anyway because times are tough, and this book is selling quite well.”

I was wondering if I got the sticker on the book I hope to be selling very soon, "Life As Prayer: A Paradigm for Contemporary Spirituality Inspired by Ancient Piety” if I would get the sticker. I probably would, because I would be using Brother Lawrence as a case in point, and he was not Evangelical. He was Catholic, and it was well after the Protestant Reformation, so the choice was his to follow the true teachings of the Bible, now wasn’t it? So, I might get the sticker slapped on my book.

However, would this hurt or help book sales? It might help. It might make the book seem daring or edgy. People might feel a little rebellious, sort of, when buying it. They might feel like they aren’t part of the establishment, they are post-something, on the cutting edge. Yes, whole sections of Baptist will fear buying it, or leaving out on the coffee table, out in the open, but the sticker could give the book “street cred.”

I hope all books are read with discernment. When is a book written that is 100% perfectly by a perfect author who has direct, unencumbered communication with God? I think as mature people we can read what Christians of many traditions have to say, discuss what is helpful, and sift away the rest. The panic mentality - sticker shock- if you will, is not surprising at all. It gains strength from creating an insider mentality, and propagating fear and mistrust. It also smacks of a mild form of book burning-a smolder. Oh, what to do with hysterical Christians! How quickly we forget all the fire and brimstone types of messages Jesus gave were really for the religious folks. Is it any wonder?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Birthday-give-away: Details (including mystery prize)

The items here are all the gifts I'm handing out for my birthday 2/23, plus there is one collection of gifts for a mystery gift.

To join in the celebration, you may request one of these gifts one of the following ways:
1. tweet me either @lisacolondelay or direct message @lisacolondelay (include which one you'd like)
2. email (include which one you'd like)
3. send me a facebook message. Lisa Colón DeLay. (include which one you'd like)
Each gift recipient will be picked at random based on a formula and the number of participants.

I am also giving away one mystery package of odd, fun, goodies and treats.
To get this one, do can do any of the above, but you just need to be more creative. Maybe include why you'd like the mystery prize. This is the big one.
Most creative participant will win this one.

Description of gifts show:
(click on image for larger view.)

Upper left: Mini frame. unfinished wood frame. frame opening measures 1.75" x 2.5".
Upper right: handcrafted tiger bead wire ring. Size 6.5, includes gift box.
Second down left: semi precious stone necklace.
Second down right: leaf bracelet.
Third down left: asian motif embroidered coin purse.
Third down right: beach charm bracelet.
Fourth down left: 3 unfinished wooden frames (from IKEA), 10x15cm, (4"x6".)
Fourth down right: 5 Pilot v-7, (7mm) fine point pens.
Bottom left: 8 mini candles and 4 glass holders. Lightly scented lavender.
Bottom right: IKEA metal basket 10x7x6cm, with screws for hanging.

Blessings to you.

Pictures and info about gifts to come soon

Check back soon for pictures and details of the gifts I'll be giving away for my birthday. It's fun to celebrate this way with you. Enjoy life, and spread the love!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Title change

If you've been here before, you might notice I changed the title at the top of the page here.

In English the word "Spirit" is derived from the Latin word "Spiritus" which is translated from the Greek word for "breath" (Pneuma).

Realizing that God is Spirit and has no body, it may give new perspective to the Scripture:

Genesis 2:7 (New International Version - UK)
The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fantastic Freebie- IKEA organizing tube for computer cables

Picture all the crazy wires and cables behind and around your computer bundled in a tidy tube. These 3 packages of IKEA organizing tubes with fasteners can be yours as part of my February giving spree, when you Tweet my Twitter account lisacolondelay telling me why you need them (for you or someone you know) in 6 words or less. (Yes, I give points for creativity.) Also, you may email following the 'get in my loop' link at my website Spread the word, other fun give-aways to come this month.

Have fun. : )

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

(continued from Feb 6) ... adult development / identity crisis

If you found yourself falling into the list on the Feb 6 post, you are like many adults. You find yourself floating mainly in a "stage 4" of adult development (see: Erikson, Leibert, Kolhberg, Fowler, etc). The trouble with this is that a crisis of identity is likely near at hand, or a transition from this stage may cause emotional and spiritual turmoil that may feel disconcerting, surprising, or troubling.

It is quite common in midlife, or sooner, (especially if one is reflective, or experiences tragedy) to question the deeper meanings of existence. At this point, people tend to either regress, or move onward to deeper spiritual progression. While some get fast sport cars, a mistress, or plastic surgery, (perhaps a regression, or a misguided and roundabout way to finding meaning) others might re-think their priorities. They might down shift from the fast lane of high paying jobs and big mortgages, and spend more time with family and walking with their Maker. Each person's way will look different.

You will find your movement to the next stages more obvious when some of these qualities emerge:
- Neat boundaries for knowing become more faint and less certain
- Interests take on aims beyond self-preoccupation into other's realities
- Self-reflection for the purpose of betterment is more possible as the needs of others become more of a focus
- Once cherished boundaries are less important as one's sense of grace and justice for all takes hold. (boundaries like ethnicity, nationality, denomination, religion, class, etc.)

Send your questions or comments-

Monday, February 09, 2009

Broken love, and Other

A most difficult epiphany is to realize people, though sometimes well-intentioned, do not love well. Their love will be somehow contaminated by unmet longing and human imperfection. And in them, we will wish for our desires to be fulfilled. So, we get it wrong, and we try again. Or we start to protect ourselves.

When we reach up, or out, or in, (because God is Omnipresent, that is, everywhere present) to the Other that is not us, that is Supreme, a kind of Love may be found that can satisfy, and fill up with renewable love. This has been termed "saving grace" and "living water", and it will fill and then will and can spill out from us on to others for their benefit. I've found it's the only non broken kind of love. For human kinds of love, we must hold them loosely-not hoping they quench something for us. And we must love freely, drawing from this better Spring/Source.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Spiritual remedies for cabin fever

This time is dangerously close to the "dead of winter". Typically it's not a good time of year for me, and many others, emotionally, and sometimes spiritually. I've been considering ways to make things different this time around.

Today it was almost "warm"... it was in the low 40s, so I took my kids for a walk, after we bundled up. I tried to consider the beauty of the created world, and be very present in the moment--being aware of who I was, and who I belonged to. I belong to the Divine. The Divine is mine and I am the Divine's. When you grasp your bearings, you can know yourself, at least for a bit, until you find there is more to learn. Cabin fever, for me, can tear that process away from me a bit.

I could use some tips, how do you remedy cabin fever?

Friday, February 06, 2009

How to know if you will suffer an identity crisis in the next 5-10 years

Will you suffer an identity crisis (or spiritual crisis) in the next 5-10 years:
(or sooner...perhaps, even now... but I won't tell.)

- If you are over 25 and are still using your energies for clear definitions and establishing self-identity.

- If you are over 25 and you try to impress others with your achievements, capabilities, or who you know.

- If you are over 25 and find yourself becoming upset when you lack validation from others.

- If you are over 25 and you find yourself hoping that people like you.

- If you are over 25 and it's important for you to "fit it", "be hip", and be "up on the latest...".

(If some of these are true, then you could be a "Stage 4"...out of 7 of the adult developmental stages. I've had to do all the reading.)

There are interesting things to consider with regards to development, and certain new perspective truly avoid unneeded turmoil too, (sooner or later)... check back in a few days.

to be continued. . .

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

3rd prize-candy

What you see featured here is a local delicacy of Schuylkill County, PA. Found only regionally, and made by the Costas candy company of Pottsville, PA since 1922, these chocolately peanut butter snack sandwiches are not all that original an idea, but quite tasty!

In the continued spirit of generosity this month, I will mail these two delectable treats to a selected person who emails me their mailing address, along with a funny short story involving themselves and candy, by Feb 10. Be creative. Go to my website listed on this page, and find the email Get in the Loop link. Best'll want these treats.

Monday, February 02, 2009

life-changing quotes . . .

This was a paradigm shifting quote I heard on the radio once, "The angriest people (in the world) are the people who are most afraid."

It didn't seem quite true when I first heard it. But it did once it sank in. I know if we waltz up to tyrannical fuming types, they may contend they fear nothing. In reality many things put them ill-at-ease. Many people, ideas, situations are too much to handle. They can't control themselves.(It makes them "other possessed" rather than self-possessed too, yeah?) This inner activity is actually often fear having a manifestation we typically term "anger". (It's just about pitiable when you think about it that way.)

Next prize-just in time for LOVE DAY - Feb. 14

Winner is most clever haiku about love emailed to me before Feb 8th. You must include your mailing address in your entry. Link to my email at my website (link is called 'get in my loop'-Joining my 'email update list' is not necessary to enter, just indicate your preference).

Ring stats:
Size 5.5. Wire jewelry (art wire) and beads, handmade my me, includes gift box. No charge for mailing costs.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Free leather bound journal give-a-way

Here's the SCOOP- It's my birthday this month, and I'm doing something a bit different. I'll be giving things away all month. No, it's not like yard sale, as someone asked me. The things will be interesting, fun, stuff I enjoy (like maybe journals, certain snack items, techno-gadgets, stuff from IKEA, pens, etc.), things I make (like jewelry, art, photography, etc.), and even some mystery prizes (I may state the monetary value, or I may keep you guessing), because suspense can be fun too. Who doesn't like to get fun free things in the mail, I ask you? I'll mail out these things to those who respond to the directions posted, and one will be chosen each time. (This is void where prohibited. You are responsible to report all gifts of value, if you get any.)

It's my way of being generous. I know...crazy. Maybe no one will think I'm serious. But, I am... I think giving is worth a try.

This time, I'll mail out 1 leather bound journal (see photo below, in previous post) to a recipient picked, who emails me with a story (a few sentences is fine) of a time when journaling or writing made a difference in his or her life. (please send your mailing address, and indicate whether your name and story should remain private, or can be published.)

To email me, Go to my website Click on the "get in my loop" link to email me. (You will not receive updates from me, if you indicate that as your preference, and I never sell, rent, email address info.)

Best wishes.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Spiritual ways & journaling

One of the things I have decided to do is start journaling again-regularly. I'm online a lot, and I blog, but this is very different. Sometimes I jot down thoughts about my reading, or a put down prayers, problems, or meditations.

I noticed during the times I have not kept a journal it's be hard to keep track to chronological time, and what God is doing in me, and in the things surrounding me as well. Keeping a journal makes it much easier to reflect on God's faithfulness, my personal growth, and reoccurring patterns I need to investigate. It's easy to splice up life, and lose track.

Do you journal, or keep track of your days?

Do you ever write down prayers?

* I'm giving away a leather bound journal as my first February prize. On the front is a small graphite sketch I drew. You can email me your address to get it, after I post the specific directions needed to be submitted to be chosen. I will post this soon.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"pray continually"

Paul talks about "praying continually"... have you given this much thought?

How might this be done?

Is this a "knowing" that God is with us, or is it saying words to him? both....none of the mentioned...

Stay tuned for many more thoughts about communing with the divine.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

2nd the motion

I was just at a congregational church meeting today. It lasted what seemed like forever. It made me thirsty, and I imagined how nice it would be to have a large beverage and a over-sized cup holder in the pew in front of me to hold it. Maybe a tray table could unfold, and a salty snack would make the whole thing more comfortable. Someone mentioned a cooler in each pew, and a BYOB (not bible) policy would be helpful. The meeting would seem shorter. Someone kept immediately seconding any motion proposed. It seemed our ideas could have been proposed and approved, but we didn't mention them. Soon another person got up and people bringing drinks in the sanctuary has been a big and messy problem. Cleaning expenses, and respect shouldn't be taken lightly.

I wonder where the balance is. We need to be sure the environment is welcoming, and not stuffy. If someone in their 20s rolls out of bed and needs some caffeine, and brings a travel mug to church, it's really good that they are there. Should we really post a sign banning their beverage and their habit? On the other hand, spills WILL happen, no doubt. Is the place of worship a special spot that should be clean and different than other spots in the building? I tilt toward a comfortable environment, maybe reinventing the space. If the carpet is the issue, rip it out. Better that people sit on mats, holding coffee, and loving God and each other, than feeling pushed away for something like what they drink. But, compromise is also important. Dialogue, peaceful relationships. The love of God, not agendas.

Who will 2nd that motion?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"Pride" the sermon lesson that seems like it's for "other people"

Jesus shared this parable:
Luke 18:9-14

The Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector -
18:9 Jesus also told this parable to some who were confident that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else. 18:10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed about himself like this: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: extortionists, unrighteous people, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. 18:12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’ 18:13 The tax collector, however, stood far off and would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, be merciful to me, sinner that I am!’ 18:14 I tell you that this man went down to his home justified rather than the Pharisee. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

This is an interesting parable. When we place ourselves in it and image we are the Pharisee, we would think, "I'm not really all that bad." If we are the tax collector." We would think, "Lord, I need you." Either way we stand to get it wrong. But why?

This parable by centrifugal force pops us back out of the parable to examen our true motives and attitudes. In truth, Pride is an ingrained human trait, a sickness, of which we are blind to. When when hear stories about it, it's usually heard as a message for "the other guy". Sure, we might be repentant, and ask God for mercy, but as we become self-satisfied with this gesture, we are back where we started in a Pharisaical mindset, thinking nothing much is wrong with us.

We bounce back and forth like this, between the two, in a polemic dynamic, though sometimes not realizing it. What might we do about it? We can start by realizing our utter dependency on grace. What a long way we have to go.

Jesus was above all things, humble. This was his chief character trait. This is quite shocking. Why would GOD have to be humble? He shouldn't have to be. He doesn't have to be. This truly is the way of God. We don't know this way, or even understand it. It's totally against our nature, and our ingraining.

The the tiny and powerful book by Andrew Murray, "Humility: The Journey Toward Holiness" shows the ministry and example of Jesus in an amazing way I never considered before.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Trinity, the model for community

As I begin my paper/project for my "Christians and Contemporary Spirituality" graduate class, something about the Trinity rises to the surface quite quickly.

I'm exploring the best-selling book "The Shack" to see if it can be helpful in reflecting God and the profound mystery of the Trinity for us through narrative in a useable way. Of course God is impossible to box, describe fully, or measure, but we can try presentations to "wrap our brains around" (as if it were possible) the Divine nature in our attempt to love and grow in relationship toward the Divine.

What is evident is that Trinity is relational and loving within "Itself" and is the perfect model of community and Christian love. When we model Triune love, we do well in modeling the love God wishes for us to have for each other.

Humanity will continue to show its flaws, and the (local) church as well, but it will also continue to have a model of perfect love exemplified in the Trinity.

How does your church show Triune love right now? How might it do it in ways it is not at present?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Who Sees Your Potential?

Does anyone see your potential, in your life, or in your ministry?

In the section "Being Known by Others" in the book "The Space Between Us: Exploring the Dimensions of Human Relationships" by Ruthellen Josselson, Josselson speaks of those who can find in us the "self that we are becoming." These people can see our true potential, and into our future, like Jesus did with the rag-tag fellows he picks for his followers. We say of these people later, "they believed in me." And we believe in their believing. They entice from us our best, because they see that we can do better than what we are doing now.

If you are not this kind of person, you can develop this quality. Look for goodness in others.

If you do not have this type of person in your life, then you are not surrounding yourself with the kind of environment to be your best self, or reach your fullest potential. Some one should see you a step ahead of where you are, and be loving you now just the same.

(TSBU 111)