Praying with Flannery O’Connor

UPS just delivered my copy of the new Flannery O'Connor prayer book, published by Paraclete Press. I'm looking forward to spending the next week praying through it. There are morning and evening liturgies for each day.The choice to include only morning and evening prayer comes from a letter O'Connor wrote about her personal spiritual practice that was collected in The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O'Connor: "I say Prime in the morning and sometimes I say Compline at night" (159-160). … [Read more...]

A Guide to Firsthand Experience with God

(David Benner, Spirituality and the Awakening Self: The Sacred Journey of Transformation, Brazos Press, 2012, 240 pages) I had not heard of David Benner prior to being invited to review his latest book, which is my loss. It turns out he is a well-respected author and editor of more than twenty books at the intersection of psychology and spirituality. And his new book comes with recommendations from Margaret Guenther and Tilden Edwards, two writers on Christians spirituality I have long … [Read more...]

Synchronicity, Coincidence, and “Jeff, Who Lives at Home”: Jungian Spirituality for Lent

Note: This post is part of our Lenten study of Joyce Rockwood Hudson's book Natural Spirituality: Recovering the Wisdom Tradition in Christianity. Links to the previous installments in this series on “Jungian Spirituality” will be included at the end of each post.  18 Moses said to God, "Show me your glory, I pray." 19 And God said, "I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, ‘I Am'”.... 20 But, God said, “You cannot see my face; for no one shall … [Read more...]

Jesus’ Subversive Donkey Ride (A Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary for Palm Sunday)

In Mark’s fast-paced style, we see three different days of Holy Week in chapter 11 alone. The first eleven verses are what we celebrate as Palm Sunday. But in verse 12, we see a clue (the words, “On the following day”), which indicate that the events regarding the fig tree and the aggression against the Temple happened the next day. Monday continues through Mark 11:19, where we read that, “when evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.” And in verse 20, Mark lets us know that Tu … [Read more...]

Ron Sider: An Evangelical Christian Worth Listening To

(Ronald J. Sider, Fixing the Moral Deficit: A Balanced Way to Balance the Budget, InterVarsity Press, 2012, 171 pages.) The title of this post could be seen as flippant, callous, arrogant, or all of the above -- implying that an "Evangelical Christian Worth Listening To" is such a rarity as to be worthy of remark. Well, in an age in which many conservatives exclusively watch Fox News (read: "Faux News"?) and read The Wall Street Journal, whereas many liberals watch MSNBC and read The New York T … [Read more...]

A Dream Uninterpreted Is a Letter from God Unopened

Note: This post is part of our Lenten series on Joyce Rockwood Hudson's book Natural Spirituality: Recovering the Wisdom Tradition in Christianity. Links to the previous installments in this series on “Jungian Spirituality” will be included at the end of each post. 5 One night they both dreamed—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison—each his own dream, and each dream with its own meaning. 6 When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they … [Read more...]

Have You Heard the One about the Pope Who Quit? (Seriously!)

(Jon Sweeney, The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation, Image Books, 2012, 288 pages) Jon Sweeney has written a relatively breezy history of an obscure chapter in church history: the story of Peter Morrone (1215-1296), a saintly monk, revered sage, and confirmed hermit, who stumbled backward into becoming Pope Celestine V. His immediate predecessor to St. Peter's throne, Pope Nicholas IV died on April 4, 1292. The normal procedure called for a new pope to be … [Read more...]

“Sorry I’ve Been Busy!” How to Bring Your Life Back Into Focus

(Arthur Boers, Living Into Focus: Choosing What Matters in an Age of Distractions, Brazos Press, 2012, 226 pages) "I'm sorry it's taken us so long to get in touch. I've just been so busy recently." I hear myself and my friends make apologies along these lines far too frequently. But "busyness" is rarely an idle excuse. Most of us are overwhelmed with responsibilities much of the time. And it can be easy to slip into the trap of wearing our busyness as a badge of honor or of trying to prove that … [Read more...]

Sermon Series Retrospective: “The Gospel According to Mark”

During Ordinary Time in 2010, we studied The Gospel According to Mark. The following are the sermon titles and a brief excerpt of the content. Most of the sermon titles are links to the full manuscript. Some of the earliest sermons in this series are not online, but copies are available on request:"What Is the Good News of Broadview?" (Mark 1) The only reliably effective way of growing a church is for the current members of the church to tap into their existing social networks. As continue t … [Read more...]

Sermon Series Retrospective: “The Gospel According to Matthew”

During Ordinary Time in 2011, we studied The Gospel According to Matthew. The following are the sermon titles and a brief excerpt of the content:“The Fathers (and Mothers!) of Jesus” (Matthew 1) Given the ‘dirty laundry’ in Jesus’ family tree, the ironic and unexpected — yet nevertheless clear — invitation is to see that no matter who you are, what you’ve done, or who your family is, God is working through you to birth new life, new love, and new hope in the world. “Listening to God in Your … [Read more...]