Disciple Formation and *Raw Spirituality* by Tom Smith (a Book Review)

Raw Spirituality is written by Tom Smith, a South African minister whose heart has been formed to truly care about discipleship in the Christian community. He’s seen “discipleship” used as a sales pitch and drives us away from that in his book. He’s given us a good story on discipleship here and the end-of-chapter questions set us into a conversation with the author.

The book is Continue reading

Seasons and Ted Kooser’s *The Wheeling Year: A Poet’s Field Book* (A Book Review)

The Wheeling Year has been a study in writing the seasons. But, before writing comes noticing and with noticing comes a metaphor. This is Kooser’s gift and it’s a gift he’s sharing with me in these pages.

The gift doesn’t transfer exactly. I don’t see things like Kooser and may never see them his way. But I feel my eyes opening. Mr. Kooser is showing me how to see. He’s teaching me by sight how to become alive and call out the life that flourishes right where I am.

This is profound spirituality and Kooser is a gentle, soft-spoken prophet of God. “If you have ears, listen. If you have eyes, see.”

Thomas Merton on Balance and Sabbath

“The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its inmate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his work for peace. It destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”

– Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, (New York: Doubleday, 1965), p. 81

We Can Learn from All People (The Art of Spiritual Discernment)

A great development occurs in us all when we begin discerning who gives the right way and who gives the way that is dead.

“Watch their lives,” Jesus says.

Many have looked and sure enough – Jesus is right! Dead people speak dead advice. Living people speak life and vitality. We are learning from all people.

The hurdle is in coming to know what “living” means.

Yes: This development is a gift – we discover that we can learn from all people. We can respond with gratitude, even if we disagree.

Every day we’ll hear and see Continue reading

The World is Frigid (The One Who Conquers)

The world is frigid and I wonder, year after year, how we endure these frozen, dead months. It’s not these days we endure, but ourselves and our sanity.

The cold drives us to dwell indoors more, yet those who survive these months (even thrive in them!) are the adventurers, those who head out and work in the tundra, or maybe just play there.

This one stands and yells, “You don’t keep me locked behind the gate so to breathe my own airless disease! No! Here I am, free and inhaling God’s magnificent creation! Even if my feet are frozen, I will remain!”

This is the one who has conquered.

How Old is All that is?

I grew up in Southern Idaho, a mile and a half from a small, ancient volcano that had blown a hole in the side of itself. “Tens of thousands of years ago,” they said. Mother even decorated parts of our yard with ancient volcanic rock. And when we three boys dug around we’d swear we’d find dinosaur eggs – rocks that had to have been! They were shaped just like what you’d think. (Only the latter evidence here is suspect.)

Idaho: The Gem State. Southern Idaho: the place where Yellowstone’s hot spot used to be, millions of years ago they say.

There was also a road sign on Highway 25, one of those historical markers, that talked about Prehistoric Man and ancient fossils. You’d face north east when you’d read the sign, out toward “Hunt”, a desolate, ancient desert wilderness filled with sagebrush and antelope.

I remember thinking as a small boy

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