Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Spiritual Rant or How I Talk With God

If you will allow me to rant a little, here goes:

 I get so sick and tired of all the endless posturing and religious arrogance Christians perpetrate against each other in the name of God.

As for me, I have no one left to impress and nothing left to prove. I'm in God's hands.

So when you've got a sword at the base of your neck, what does it matter? Do all the differences of our faith matter? Did Jesus die only for the Catholics, or the Orthodox, or the Pentecostals? Does Jesus only respond to a proper Eucharist, or does he  respond to our faith, our lives flung on his grace and mercy?.

Over the years, I've been excluded by the all-inclusive and the fundamentally exclusive, but never by Jesus.  So I'm with Jesus. I include anybody or group He includes.

What blows me away is that "If we are faithless, he remains faithful for he can't deny himself." This whole Christian life,  It doesn't depend on you, or on me. We GET to enter into the divine dance.  I think of the song: In Christ Alone.

For me, my time is short, and all the spiritual rabbit trails, theologies, and  just plain nonsense I've fought and quibbled over the years are lost in the face of Jesus. He takes up my whole attention. He is becoming more and more the object of my love, my affections and my actions in this world. For me, I'm learning to walk on holy ground.

Thank you for letting me rant.

The Critical Importance of a Daily Devotional Practice with A Spotlight on Advent.

It has been my experience that most questions are resolved during our daily devotional practice.

Like the colorful, fall leaves that drift off the trees while the sap runs to the roots, to deepen and strengthen, to harness the life hidden in the roots, so our lives are hidden in Christ.

Good devotional practices help discipline and shape our lives so that we might better express and integrate our spiritual life within.

Buds grow and burst into flowers and leaves, as we begin to grow the fruit of the Spirit, * the character of God in our lives.

As the love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are eternally born and grown within our lives, this eternal fruit/character radiates and remains.

In essence, we become as Jesus Is, and apart of who he was, the Theophany in the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Life. Mankind chose the first tree, and our character sprung from the knowledge of good and evil. Now in Jesus, we can choose Him, the Jesse Tree, which our Christmas tree symbolizes. We can choose Jesus, and partake of the Tree of Life, eternal life.

Jesus says it like this: "I Am The Way, The Truth, and The Life,"  These breakthroughs of eternity are incarnate in Jesus and come from Him who we receive as our Lord and Savior, Jesus our Messiah.

* Note on Holy ie. Holy Spirit: for Holy think Wholeness not performance. The shining, burning wholeness of God. A burning perfection greater than the bigest, brightest star He's made. We receive this wholeness in Jesus and this wholeness is grown with, and worked out into our lives. What does Holiness look like? The face of Jesus. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Crowded Room

Are you having trouble quieting your mind and shifting into your spirit? Do your running thoughts steal you away and suddenly you find yourself swept downstream? Hey, it's normal.

Our mind is constantly working things out, trying to solve, trying to reconcile on a conscious and subconscious level.

It never stops. Our old self is trying to save us. On the other hand, our new self, our spiritual self-speaks with the mind of Christ we've put on...the wisdom of the endless ages.

What I want to give you is an image of the process of shifting from the labyrinth of our soul into our spirit.

The Crowded Room

Picture yourself in a large crowded room, like a lunchroom with big picture windows looking out on a wide-open peaceful landscape. Conversations are swirling all around and everybody's trying to get your attention, but there's a door on the other side of the room to the outside.

You've got to break from the noise to head outside. The draw you're feeling is God calling you out. But you don't know what you'll find out there. It's always an act of faith going out, but you do feel the breath of fresh air calling you out.

So you cut off the endless conversations and turn to the door. No matter how desperate and urgent the voices are you ignore them and head to the door. We focus on that feeling, that one voice calling us out into the vast stillness of our spirit and oneness with God.

The voices crescendo and cry out to us as we reach the door and turn the handle. We open the door the fresh winds of the spirit rush in silencing every voice and so begins a reordering of our soul. Our soul begins to magnify what it sees of God's light streaming through the door.

Our yearning of love causes the seismic shift from our soul to our spirit. Our heart and not our head is the key to opening the door and leaving the room of go outside, to enter the vastness of silence, of spirit, of Being...'to walk in fields of grace.'

The fact that after fifty years of meditation,  I still have a head full of noise is proof that I am still a beginner every single morning. That I have to die daily to my old self to awaken to my new self is proof that I still need a daily practice, morning, noon and night.

But such is love that draws us out of ourselves and into the presence of God from where we practice our transformation in Jesus.

I hope this reflection helps you in your spiritual journey!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Embracing Mystery

My heart longs for mystery that is beyond me in every way.

I thirst for mystery that draws me and calls to me...
surrounding, above and beyond me.

A mystery larger and deeper than my wildest dreams...
Beyond all that I could ever have imagined...
in a hundred million lifetimes

Mystery that will unmake me 

And from beyond time and space,
Remake, expand and transform me.

Mystery endlessly completes me 
making me grow
into a wholeness I could have never known.
I am whole and known and beloved.

So I pass by the answers and the formulas and creeds
to embrace the mystery of God alone

I embrace Jesus and I am undone
a good my heart knows

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Getting The Horse Before The Cart or How Not To Totally Throw Out The Creeds, Liturgy, and Orders

Let me cut to the chase and fill in the blanks a little later.

When we approach God through our creeds, formula's, and as answers to our questions, it's only by God's sovereign pattern disrupt that we come into God's presence. We call it a spiritual breakthrough and have made it the preferred form for spiritual superstars. But it's rare, and there's a better way. This better way was abandoned to reason during the Reformation by Protestants and Catholic alike.

Our reason and our logic were elevated over our spirit to the point of shutting our spirit down. We were relegated to wandering in the labyrinth of our souls searching for a spiritual breakthrough.

People generally have a breakdown before they have a breakthrough because we cannot expect our soul to do what only our spirit can do.

Here the skinny: As God is Spirit, we must embrace the mystery of God to know him.

There's a letting go of all we know, understand and imagine, so that we can come into a deeper knowing...into the vastness of God...into the intimate presence of beginning to know God as our Father. This letting go is dying to our self, our old man, our soul man, so that we can live to our new self, our spiritual self in God.

It's All About Jesus

Two Huge Stumbling Blocks to Entering The Presence of God

* Creeds, confessions, and liturgical formula's have their place as an outer ordering of an inner grace, but they are the cart that follows the horse. In and of themselves they will never get you into the presence of God. We must release our traditions shadows, however holy in appearance, they are still shadows and not the substance of God. Some would argue with the Eucharist, but even with the bread and the wine, as with the waters of Baptism, we enter by faith and not by sight. We enter into the divine mystery through our spirit and not through our reason.

Now, on the other side of the coin, if you are in the spirit, these creeds, confessions, and liturgical forms can be a means of meditatively working out what God has worked within us. But they aren't exclusive, hence why we have so many wonderfully unique spiritual forms in every single culture where folks have been transformed by Jesus.

*Scripture As God: As to proof texts, Jesus said, "You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!"

As the old carol says: "Cast out our sin and enter in, Be born in us today."

It's Christ in you transforming you. It's Christ's life in you and me that grows the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Our one and only job is to abide.

It's Incarnational Life, abundant life, eternal life and it's God's gift to us in Jesus Christ.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Meditations: Apart From Me You Can Do Nothing

4"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. ~ John 15
This is huge. In all Scripture, Jesus gives us a watershed moment here.

Abiding is dwelling, being at our very core. 'Abiding in Jesus and Jesus in you' is a co-dwelling, a mutual dwelling, a communion whereby we are transformed.

The staggering wonder of abiding in vine is that we enter into a divine mystery, the unfolding of eternal life within us.

Without me you can do nothing ~ Selah

Let the thunder struck of these words sink into your heart and spirit.

Jesus didn't give us a belief system, a creed to supersede the law.

Let me say it again. Jesus didn't give us a set of beliefs, a creedal performance system.

Jesus gave himself, that we might receive himself and live a new life in him and him in us.

Hear it again, Apart from me, you can do NOTHING.

You can't do it on your own. Jesus knows you can't. He wants you to rest in him so that the flow of eternal life will move you, grow you, as a vine grows fruit.

He wants you to enter your rest in him, so that you can work out of that rest, to work out eternal life in our common everyday life.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Some Cool Thoughts on Contemplation

Contemplation is a Being practice.
It is the practice of our spirit.
It's our spiritual practice of dwelling in the spirit.

Our self-help is soul work.
All self-help work is an 'outside in' practice.
It's formation work, temporal work, and it's never ending.
And as we let up, it begins the long slow degrade.

Spiritual work however, is transformative, it's eternal, it never degrades.
All spiritual work is 'inside out' work.
We work it out into our lives, we integrate the transformation God is doing within us.
We liken it to a garden in our heart, growing the Tree of Life (Jesus), or a stream of living water flowing through us, or abiding in the vine. But it always begins in our spirit and it always begins with God.