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.
As pastors and churches are beginning to explore integration of emotionally healthy spirituality into their lives and churches, I believe it is important to step back and reflect on the wider theological and historical foundations upon which we are building. The following is my list: 1. Prayed Theology 2. A Humble Spirit to Learn from the Whole Church 3. A Sense of Global Church History 4. Contemplative, Monastic Spirituality 5. Integrity in Our Leadership 6. Emotionally Healthy Practices 7. The Marriage Covenant 8. Sexuality 9. Calling, Life and Work 10. Preaching and Teaching 11. Bringing Christ to Culture (Contextualization) 12. Bridging Racial, Cultural, Economic and Gender Barriers Last week I showed our staff a four minute video on the revolution occurring in our culture with regards to social media and its implications for NLF (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVXKI506w-E&feature=player_embedded#t=92). While I am not sure of all the implications of social media for us today, I am convinced of. Read more.
Last week I took my 18 yr old and 14 year old to Disneyworld for four lovely days. It is probably one of the least contemplative places I have ever visited, but one of the most fun! The creativity, quality, engineering and beauty that Disney has formed has a definite aspect of the glory of God. All I could think of was how the parades, floats, exhibits, even the rides, reflected the image of God in humans who created and shaped such a unique place. Since there was ample time to wait on my girls during the day, I spent a good amount of time meditating on The Sayings of The Desert Fathers by Benedicta Ward. I was grateful that, after thirty years with Christ, I am finally coming to a more integrated spirituality that can enjoy the fun of Disney out of a place of communion with God. (I did meet people who have. 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.
Over time I have become more convinced, not less, of the application of the radical simplicity of the Desert Fathers of the 3rd t0 5th centuries. They fled to the desert in order to seek God and eventually serve as a life raft for a church that had become almost indistingishable from the world. The church in the West is in a very similar state. The answer begins with us as pastors and leaders of God’s flock, I believe. As Tolstoy once said, “Everybody wants to change the world, but noone thinks of changing himself.” I think he was right. There is only one pathway – the pathway of Jesus. Ronald Rolheiser in The Holy Longing outlines this as the only way to profound transformation. We repeat it over and over again in our walks with Christ. 1. Name your deaths (Good Friday) 2. Claim your births (Easter) 3. Grieve for what you have lost and adjust to the. Read more.
One of the great challenges for leadership, and the church in any generation, is to see itself as clearly as possible within the large scheme of history so as to not limit or distort the gospel to a cultural, ethnic, or nationalistic agenda. How do I be a Christian in the 21st century West dominated by pleasure, comfort, money, secularism, upward mobility and in a conflict with Islam that looks like it will go on well-beyond our generation? How do we be the church when nominal Christianity is the norm ? Last week my good seminary friend, Scott Sunquist, came and taught a church history course at New Life on Friday night and all day Saturday. For twenty plus years, I have longed to partner with someone like Scott. He is a PHD from Princeton Theological Seminary, a former IVCF staff worker and now a professor at Pittsburg Theological Seminary. He has been studying and writing on. Read more.