“Contemplation is very far from being just one kind of thing that Christians do: it is the key to prayer, liturgy, art and ethics, the key to the essence of a renewed humanity that is capable of seeing the world and other subjects in the world with freedom – freedom from self-oriented, acquisitive habits and the distorted understanding that comes from them. To put it boldly, contemplation is the only ultimate answer to the unreal and insane world that our financial systems and our advertising culture and our chaotic and unexamined emotions encourage us to inhabit. To learn contemplative practice is to learn what we need so as to live truthfully and honestly and lovingly. It is a deeply revolutionary matter.”

-Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury

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Navigating the New Reality

Repentance is not an end in and of itself for the sake of moral excellence (which only leads to a pious superiority). Rather, repentance is the removal of distractions that keep us from perceiving the presence of God within us and all around us. It is a preparation to see God in a whole new light and in the new reality.

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Awakening to Presence

Advent is a season of expecting the unexpected. This kind of preparation can be difficult when we’ve become too familiar with the trappings of our Christianity, mistaking them for intimacy with God. To counter this stagnation in the spiritual life, the Spirit often breaks into our lives in unimaginable ways, disrupting our routines and schedules.

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Jesus is Still “Ghetto”

On the cross, we see an immense miracle—the death of God. As long as we refuse to follow Christ into this humility and forgiveness, our world’s history will be violent, and our personal stories will be identities defined by conflict and opposition.

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When Our Personal Temples Lie in Ruins

In the Christian tradition, Jesus is seen as the summary of every imaginable image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), and at the crucifixion, this ultimate image of the unseen passes away in death. At the resurrection, it’s interesting that the image or appearance of Jesus is fluid and continuously shifting.

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Living the Resurrection Now

The “age of the resurrection” is one that completely dissolves the false image of a God that uses a “blessing and curse system” in which certain people are “blessed” because they have received children, prosperity, health, etc. while others are arbitrarily left out of that blessing or even cursed with tragedy.

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When the Soul Becomes the Entire Vineyard

As long as one remains exclusively in his or her “group,” he or she will never grow past the tenets of the tribe’s echo chamber. The call of Jesus challenges us to leave the neighborhood of our patriotism, religious affiliation, and family loyalties, and go outward to what’s unfamiliar and uncomfortable: “following Jesus outside the camp, bearing His reproach” (Hebrews 13:13).

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Forgiving Reality

Here’s a great reflection from Richard Rohr: Forgiveness of Reality: Daily Meditation from Richard Rohr…

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The Prayer of the Heart

It seems there is a dialogue in the New Testament surrounding spiritual formation in becoming Christlike. One voice urges the follower to emulate Christ’s footsteps and virtues through willful discipline, while the other voice advocates that it’s the reality of the indwelling Spirit that forms Christ within us. In other words, we don’t become someone else: we become the child of God we’ve always been, “before the creation of the world.”

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Real Friendship

“Real friendship or love is not manufactured or achieved by an act of will or intention. Friendship is always an act of recognition.” – John O’Donohue,  from Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom…

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