Perhaps the most significant thing that emerged from me out of my four days with the Trappists revolved around the theme of “THE DIFFICULT LOVE OF LOVING OUR ENEMIES” This was the theme of Father Dominic’s conferences. His basic thesis was that if silence and solitude with God does not lead to greater love for our enemies, then it is not worth much. UGH! I have been serving as a leader seeking to build Christian community for over 22 years at New Life. I am under no illusions around the suffering involved in modeling the love of Christ as a church. When I discovered the monastic tradition over 7 years ago, what came alive in me was contemplation with God – apart from other people. While I love our people, the connection to a greater love for people has not been a major part of this 7+ year journey. Geri, more than once, has suggested to. Read more.
This past summer I got to know Tom Ashbrook, one of the founders of an evangelical monastic order called Imago Christi, a ministry of spiritual formation within Church Resource Ministries http://www.imagochristi.org/default.aspx. He later gave me a copy of his doctoral dissertation on Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle and I was deeply impacted. I reread the Interior Castle as a result and found his work immensely helpful in my own prayer journey as well as our work in helping others to pray. Most evangelicals, he argues (rightly in my opinion), do not get beyond the 3rd mansion to the 4th and beyond. There are seven mansions. He writes: “As the believer enters the 4th Mansion, there develops a divinely bestowed absorption in knowing, loving, and seeking God. God has now enflamed the heart. The motivates are driven by love rather than by obligation, personal gain, blessing others, or even doing the right thing The beloved has heard the. Read more.
When I was in high school and elementary school, I did what most of my friends did — I skimmed for tests. Learning the material was not important. What was important was to get a good grade, to survive, to get through it. Most Christian leaders/pastors skim today. We skim on ourselves, our self-care. We have so much to do, so many demands that we figure we can catch up on our sleep some other time. The space we need for Sabbath-keeping, replenishing our soil, reading, relaxing, etc. can happen later, some some other time. We lie to ourselves that all is okay. We skim on our relationship with God. There are sermons to prepare, calls to return, people to visit, e mails to read. So our devotional lives are weak and we carry a general cloud of guilt. We skim on our marriages and children. Our families rarely demand us out of a crisis so we. Read more.