Definitely. I love that concept.

Somewhere, I've never understood this, but it's also linguistically related to "the milk of humankindness." Some of the lexicons say that it's related to that concept, too.

You show how often Luke emphasizes prayer. When Jesus is asked, "Lord, teach us to pray," and He says the Lord's Prayer . . .

The short form.

Yes, it's so short that it's almost the space of a breath.

You can say it in a breath. That's right.

Then I was thinking about how Paul admonishes us to "pray without ceasing," how sometimes, if I think of prayer as something that is going to take a lot of time, I just don't know how to do that.

I don't think that prayer without ceasing means words without ceasing.

Of course.

I think it becomes this posture, this connectedness that you keep with you. The whole meaning of the shortened form of the Luke prayer just dawned on me the other day. People come to Jesus and all the gospels have this block of unorthodox stories—where Jesus doesn't pray like other people, he doesn't fast like other people, he doesn't observe the Sabbath like other people. The people come to him and they say, "You don't pray like John the Baptist or the Pharisees." I think that's why they said that; I think when he did pray, it was this little short prayer, and he was done, and people would say, "Huh? What was that?" It irritated people that he didn't pray right. At the same time, he prays all night long in the wilderness. I don't know how to reconcile those two things.

It's interesting to me because part of the way I came to Catholicism was that I wanted to understand how people like Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross sat in the presence of God without speaking and simply experienced the joy of God's presence. That's prayer.


I love Christ sharing this prayer that is so short. It's tied into the imagination, too—if you're walking around during the day and you're thinking about a phrase of the Lord's Prayer and how it impacts what you're experiencing. I consider all of that as related to prayer.

I do, too. It's like worship; it's much bigger than we can conceive. I think someone like Teresa of Avila hints at that.

I haven't done a study of a particular book of the Bible for a long time.

Me, too!

I find it refreshing to be going through the book chronologically because there's so much you don't notice, even in following the lectionary. For instance, I really liked how you talked about the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin and how those two short parables left a question mark at the end . . .

They rev up.

. . . that led up to the parable of the prodigal son. I never noticed that before.

And obviously, we hear sermons based on one verse a lot, or maybe on a story, but we hardly ever get the larger picture. Occasionally, we'll have people who go through the whole Bible, Genesis to Revelation, and give the flow, but rarely do people take a book like Luke and say, "here's the flow." Rarely do I do it. What interests me is to go from gospel to gospel and see how each one of the writers has a different understanding of what the flow is.

If you get the flow of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, of the synoptics, Jesus' ministry lasts six months. If you read John, it's three years. You read the synoptics, it's like he concentrates in Galilee for a while, then He takes the trek to Jerusalem, and then it's over. With John, he's back and forth. I think they [the gospels] complement each other; I don't think they conflict with each other.