We invited two young Franciscan friars from a monastic community in the South Bronx to give the sermon at New Life last Sunday. We interviewed them for 35 minutes at each of our three services. [Spirituality and Simplicity – 10.31.10 from New Life Fellowship on Vimeo.] A Panel Discussion with Franciscan Friars from the South Bronx- As part of our Financially Healthy Spirituality series; Matthew 6:24 While we have been learning from Christians from other traditions (i.e.Roman Catholic and Orthodox) for many years, I was very aware that having monks in the pulpit might push the limits of “acceptable practice” for our interdenominational, evangelical church. It did push those limits outward and we had a few uncomfortable moments. Yet it was well worth the rich learnings for our community. These learnings included: 1. We are to be generous, not judgmental. We really are not the whole body of Christ. God is active and moving among people very different than us, even. Read more.
I am acutely aware of God’s work in me in three areas – contemplation, romance with Geri and the exercising of godly leadership. Spiritual Formation – I have been reading slowly Thomas Merton’s The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation. I relate to his description of the Desert Fathers who “knew that before they could see His face, (knew) they would have to struggle, instead, with His adversary. They would have to cast out the devil subtly lodged in their exterior self…By their renunciation of passion and attachment, their crucifixion of the exterior self, they liberated the inner man, the new man “in Christ” (p.33). I have been pondering the phrase “subtly lodged” for the past few weeks as it relates to my active life outside the desert here pastoring in Queens, NYC, married with four daughters. Romance –It would be easier to move to the desert (I think) than learn to cook and romance. Read more.