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Tag Archives: contemplation

Pastoral Gleanings from the Trappists -2012

At the end of my summer vacation each year, I take a week for a retreat on the lovely grounds of St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts.  About 60-70 men live there, dedicated to a life of prayer. I love the silence, the singing of the Psalms, the beauty of the landscape, the contrast to my life in New York City. One of the highlights for me continues to be a growing relationship with Father Dominic. He his a former Dominican priest with a PH.D in Thomas Aquinas.He taught at Georgetown University before sensing a call to a greater life of prayer. This led him out of the Dominican order to become a Trappist. He now serves as the prior of the monastery (i.e. the COO, or#2 person). We met each day for spiritual direction and a “conference.” He is engaged in many “un-monastic” things, such as strategic planning, running a business, dealing with. Read more.

The Challenge of Deepening Rhythms with God

The Holy Spirit invites each of us to spaciousness and lightness, “to be a feather in the breath of God” as Hildegaard described it.  Jesus described His yoke as “easy and light” (Matt. 11:28). I came out of my 13 week Sabbatical with three very clear invitations from God: to deepen/broaden my prayer life, to write, and to feed His sheep both at NLF and beyond.  Yet, after only three weeks back in my “active” routine, I found myself challenged and besieged.  The demands were both external and internal. Breaking old habits and developing new rhythms with God is no small task. After one and half days in which I attended too many meetings, talked about too many things, engaged in too many conversations, and ignored my body that was telling me to stop, Ireturned home to “reboot” my life. In order to center I did the following: 1.     Meditated on Ps. 130-131.  “I. Read more.

Top 10 Books that Have Influenced my Life

I was asked recently the following question: “What, besides the Bible, have been the top 10 books that have influenced your formation in Christ and leadership?” The following is my answer. They are not in order of importance or rank. 1. Let Your Life Speak. Parker Palmer. Filled with powerful insights integrating faithfulness to God to faithfulness to your true self. 2. New Seeds of Contemplation. Thomas Merton. Written out of years of solitude and silence. Many of his short chapters need to be prayed in a lectio divina fashion, not simply read. 3. Under the Unpredictable Plant. Eugene Peterson.  Brilliant exegesis and application of Jonah to pastoral leadership and the reality of serving Christ with sinners in Nineveh rather than live in the “ecclesiastical pornography” of illusions. 4. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Harriet Beecher Stowe. Written in the 1850’s, it remains one of the most powerful accounts to understand racism and slavery in America. Transformed my. Read more.

Desert Rhythms: Part 2

I have just completed a month reflecting on Mark 1 and the rhythms of Jesus. The following is a nice visual of His being with God (contemplation) and His doing (activity). So the question is what might it look like for us to withdraw to a desert in our daily lives, to engage in the rhythms of Jesus of “Being with the Father” and “Doing/Activity.” The following are a few suggestions, many of which come from David Benner’s excellent new book Opening to God. •    Pause for Sabbath for 24 hr. each week (Stop, rest, delight, contemplate). •    Pause for Daily Office two to three times a day. •    Sunday worship/Small group– to worship/sit under the Word. •    Read a passage of Scripture and listening for God’s personal word to you. •    Light a candle in your home. •    Allow music to draw your spirit to God’s Spirit. •    Review your day and noticing. Read more.

Hiddenness, Obscurity, Contemplation and the Active Life

The following are a few of my recent questions, puzzles, and reflections around the working out of my active life as a Christian leader with a commitment to serve out of a foundation of a deep, interior, contemplative life. Much like Dag Hammarskjold’s Markings, some of this is disjointed as it comes out of my journal reflections, my puzzles in prayer with god, along with my readings over the past couple of months (This includes: Bernard of Clairvaux’s sermons on the Song of Songs, the Desert Fathers, Merton on St. Bernard, and Alicia Britt Chole’s little book Anonymous: Jesus’ Hidden Years and Yours.) 90% percent of Jesus’ ministry, 29 years, was spent in obscurity, hiddenness, and the unseen. This was as important as his 3 active years. They provided the character foundation for Him to walk through the temptations of the wilderness and the pressures from the people around him.  These years also empowered Him to live an eternally fruitful. Read more.

The Components of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

I am often asked, “Pete, what exactly is emotionally healthy spirituality?”  The above chart describes her five different components.  1. Contemplative Spirituality (Slow Down to Be With God).   EHS is a commitment to slow down our lives in order to create a rhythm to be with Jesus. It is about creating space through contemplative practices (e.g. Daily Offices, Sabbath-Keeping, silence, solitude and Scripture) so that we remain in Jesus’ love.  We draw deeply from the radical movement of the desert fathers as well as Moses, Elijah and John the Baptist  in order that we might love others out of the love we have first received from Jesus Himself. 2. Emotionally Healthy Discipleship – EHS recovers a number of lost biblical themes often ignored in evangelical discipleship. These include  a theology of grieving (e.g. Psalms, Lamentations) and limits,  of breaking the sinful patterns of our family of origin and cultures, loving well and brokenness as the basis by which we. Read more.