March 23, 2019

I thought it might be interesting to post a spiritual practice today. This a common spiritual exercise I use when leading folks through times of retreat. The goal isn’t earning “points” per se, the goal of the disciplines is never “earning.” As Dallas Willard once said, “Grace is opposed to earning, not to effort.” A spiritual practice is an effort that is met, sustained by, and infused with grace. The act of fasting, worship, service, silence, and solitude (among others)… Read more

March 21, 2019

If I had to define a primary influence for the growth – personal, spiritual, relational, etc. – throughout my life, it would be “reading broadly.” A food metaphor hits the heart of “why” this influence has made such a difference: Growth is not a steak, it’s a stew. The idea that growth in physical health can come from exercise only, or that growth in relationships comes from conversation only misses the point of what growth is. Growth comes when multiple sources and viewpoints… Read more

March 15, 2019

I had a wonderful conversation yesterday during a podcast interview about writing and creativity. It reminded me of an idea that came while I was preparing to lead a retreat, and the idea is this: There are multiple “spirits” that go into our creativity. When I say creative work, I mean any work we do where we are “speaking” things into being. Whatever medium you use – whether painting or writing, yes, but also cooking and parenting. It is important to… Read more

March 11, 2019

Distraction comes for us all, in the end. The past few weeks have been interesting in the Tygrett house. Preparing for a book launch requires a LOT of social media presence, strategizing when to release posts and what to include. Add to that reading and preparation for other ongoing projects, and eventually my brain began to bog down. Something had to give. When our brain is pressed to the point of slogging, we have to decide on a change. One… Read more

March 7, 2019

Today, I want to invite you to engage in “noticing.” This is the time of year that my wife and I pay attention for signs of spring. Our bodies begin to press back against the deep chill, and we look for any hints of life. A sprig of green grass left over from the past year; a small pot of tulips bring color to the grey-light days. It is a time when we sharpen our ability to notice. Easter is… Read more

March 4, 2019

I pulled off for gas at the Hinsdale Oasis. Not exactly a place where one would expect a moment of tenderness. Driving home from a radio interview, my mind was humming with conversation. Talking about my next book, writing in general, and other assorted topics filled me with energy. It wasn’t enough energy to fuel my vehicle, however. In a related story, I tend to press my luck with the low fuel warnings in my car. I push past where… Read more

March 1, 2019

This is part two of the post from Monday, talking about two different kinds of spiritual formation or training. Previously, talked about “active formation” that occurs when we make intentional choices, training us for spiritual growth. Today, we cover the other side of the coin – passive formation.  It Happens To Us The large majority of spiritual growth comes from the things we experience in life. Often, it comes in the things that happen to us. We feel the sting of unmet… Read more

February 25, 2019

Spiritual health doesn’t always follow the path you expect. The moment came, and my daughter was elated. We were on our way to church but first we made a stop at Starbucks. We didn’t stop for me, we stopped for her. She was ready when the drive-thru voice crackled to life: I want a venti Ultra Caramel Frappuccino with regular whipped cream.  I tried to deliver it with the same gusto, the same energy that she had, but I fell… Read more

February 21, 2019

The biggest obstacles to our spiritual life are often our own healthy survival mechanisms. I suppose that phrase needs some unpacking. I recently had the privilege of interviewing Ed Cyzewski for the otherWISE podcast, talking about his book “Flee, Be Silent, Pray: Ancient Prayers for Anxious Christians.” The thrust of the book is quite simple, namely that learning the practices of contemplation and contemplative prayer help to lift us out of our spastic, reactionary spiritual lives. The beauty of contemplation… Read more

February 19, 2019

Every day has grace of its own. My daughter, affectionately known as “The B,” turned to me and asked for my phone. We were settling into the car, headed to school. “I want to play some music this morning,” she said quietly as she tap-tap-tapped her way to Spotify. The rough morning journey to school came as expected, a pre-teen unhappy with the hour at which she had to rise. I hadn’t showered yet, which was fine, the dried salt of… Read more

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