Category Archives: Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection

Practicing the Presence of God -Brother Lawrence

Many people have been interested in reading the short book that inspired this website.

Practicing the Presence of God -Brother Lawrence

To read it here for free click here.

Rickroll = Godroll -Part 1

 

Rick Astley '80s pop

 

by Psalmist Rick Astley

Never Gonna Give You Up 

We’re no strangers to love
You know the rules and so do I
A full commitment’s what I’m thinking of
You wouldn’t get this from any other guy

I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling
Gotta make you understand

Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

We’ve known each other for so long
Your heart’s been aching but you’re too shy to say it
Inside we both know what’s been going on
We know the game and we’re gonna play it

And if you ask me how I’m feeling
Don’t tell me you’re too blind to see

Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

(Ooh give you up)
(Ooh give you up)
(Ooh) never gonna give, never gonna give (give you up)
(Ooh) never gonna give, never gonna give (give you up)

We’ve known each other for so long
Your heart’s been aching but you’re too shy to say it
Inside we both know what’s been going on
We know the game and we’re gonna play it

I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling
Gotta make you understand

You’ve been Rickrolled

&

You’ve been Godrolled

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Still, clueless? Click here.

Trend Spike: Neo-Monasticism -part I

I’ve decided to do my final Missiology paper on Neo-Monasticism. It is a fascinating, and devoted way of life that centers on loving God, loving others, and belonging. 

There are distinct reasons way this lifestyle, or off shoots of it are springing up all over America right now, and all over the world. The tradition of Christian, in Catholic and Evangelical/Protestant circles, has always had a stream of followers who lived, played, and worked near each other in a common, and mutually agreed on life. And, I’m not talking about wearing robes, taking vows of silence, or celibacy.

To get us started, check this Seattle-area Monkfish Abbey, a community living life together. They may surprise you as far more appealing than you would first imagine. I’m considering forming a sort of group in this area, with other like minds/hearts.

One of the most influential voices in new monasticism right now is Shane Claiborne in Philadelphia, at the Simple Way Community. Here’s a short article by Josh Casper about meeting up with Shane.


Jedi Training, coming in 8 weeks.

 

jedi-t

Anyone can be a Jedi... eventually.

 

No, Mr. T is not officially endorsing my program, (which is really a focused learning group) but if he knew about it, he might.

If you’re curious, and ready to be a Jedi, click the tab at the top that reads “Jedi Training – Info.”

Only 10 people will be chosen, at a time. We begin in January.

May the Schwartz be with you.

 

Faith and Fleecing God- Hoodoo Part II

Gideon and wool

A common tactic among Christians who seek God’s guidance and direction is to follow the example of biblical hero, Gideon. (see Judges 6:1-8:32) Many people searching for God’s will, lay out a “proverbial fleece,” and ask that God show them which way to go. They hope for a sign, or at least a strong feeling.

Let’s think about Gideon for a moment. When God called Gideon to lead his people in victory over their oppressors, the man was hiding out in the bottom of a winepress threshing wheat. Remember, to thresh wheat, one needs the wind, and open air, so the chaff can blow away, and leave the kernels behind. (One doesn’t get much of that, in a pit of a winepress.) This man was scared silly. One can’t expect to feel even much of a breeze in a hole! God calls him “mighty warrior” too. HA! What a sense of humor! He was either being totally sarcastic, or meant Gideon could be this with God’s divine intervention–in the future. (or maybe both, I wasn’t there to hear the Angel of God’s actual tonal inflection) 😉

Then, Gideon starts mouthing off, acting all bitter, and asks that the Angel of God to actually prove he is really God. To my knowledge, no one else in the Bible is this brash. Graciously, God permits this, instead of just smiting his sorry butt, he obliges him, and burns up a meal, right in front of Gideon. This, of course, scares the snot out of Gideon, and he believes, sort of. He’s still a big-time coward. God instructs him to take down his family’s idols that they all worship. God’s not a big fan of idols. DUH. God was already putting up with a lot of bologna. This garbage removal is an obvious “first things first” order of business.

Everyone in Israel knows you should not worship idols, EVER (they all are aware of those 10 Commandments, and laws of Moses stuff.) Gideon is totally justified to rip them down immediately; so he marches over and does it, no problem. NOPE. Not at all. Gideon goes the cowardly route, and tears down the family idols, by sneaking out to do it in the middle of the night, with a few buddies.

After gathering troops, still, Gideon struggles to feel right or the least bit courageous about God’s calling, or God’s Almightiness. This unlikely victor asks for, not just one miracle, but 2, yes two, miracles, before he follows God’s direction. Very presumptuous, indeed, not to mention faithless.

Here’s the kicker sometimes left out in this hero’s story. After a mighty, and completely miraculous victory, over a powerful and oppressive enemy, the Midianites (with a tiny fighting force of just 300), Gideon constructs a sacred golden object in his town that is soon worshiped by him, his family, and the whole community. WTHuh? I think Gideon and his ways boarder on ridiculous. He’s quite ordinary, in fact. Just like you or me?

While some use the fleece part of the story as a prescriptive idea for determining God’s will–a genuine way to find God’s guidance and will–I believe the Bible includes it as a failure of faith on Gideon’s part, one of several. Really the entire story is part of a greater witness to an idolatrous and unfaithful era in the times of the Judges. It’s really not a picture of Gideon as a good follower, at all, but instead a picture of God, and his forbearance with a very weak individual, a supremely unlikely leader, and a faithless people he has called his own, and wants to save. God continues to use misfits, and losers in his is amazing Story, but we don’t have to emulate these folks in their weaknesses.

In reality, Gideon was like a lot of godless inhabitants of the region; he was a superstitious sort. This was an unfaithful and tumultuous time in Israel’s past as they co-opted with many ungodly practices. Are behaviors of Gideon’s type really the best for us, or the most advisable? I say, “No.”

So if not, what should we do? I’d love for you to weigh in here on this! But, I’ll put in a few ideas.

First, we shouldn’t think of spirituality/the Divine as magic. “If I do this, I’ll know I should do this thing here, if this such thing happens.” Totally hoodoo. That is trying to get God to jump through hoops, so we feel more comfortable. Yes, sometimes God works with this shortcoming in us, but we should also understand that God will purposefully let us flounder sometimes.

Which way to go, or what to decide, might be part of our growth process. Also, Biblical narratives show that God will purposefully allow us to encounter temptation, or the opportunity to make an unwise choice.

Loyalty, and a close walk with him is one of the best guards against going hoodoo with God. (I call this close walk, Practicing the Presence of God. So did Brother Lawrence.) If we are being loyal/obedient, and we thoroughly love God with all we are, it is much easier to choose what God wants for us. And I really think it’s not always just one specific thing we have to pick that is his “will” for us. Sometimes, it’s the situation of good, better, and best. God doesn’t bite his nails wondering if we’ll pick the right thing, and then viola– “be in his will.” He redeems situations, even the foolishness we get ourselves into. It’s that much better if we pick wisely, and make him the center and glory of our decision making.

Yes, sometimes God will open and close doors, and almost seem to force our hand. If we love and trust him, we’ll be okay with that, knowing that he will do that sort of thing for our best benefit and interest, (though it may be hard to see what that is at the time.) To test God, by fleecing him, is to deny ourselves the opportunity for a close intimacy with God. He is a relational Being. He gives us opportunities to walk with him by faith, and not just by sight.

I would love to hear your responses to this post.

Leave a comment, if you will.

Quiz/Survey: Can your soul fit into a mailbox?

mailboxWelcome to the most popular survey at this blog!

Can your soul fit into a mailbox? Take this Survey to Find Out!

(For some, this might seem like a silly question, but let’s have some fun, okay?)

Answer these simple questions, True or False, add up your score, and I’ll give you some instructions at the end.

1. T or F On cold, windy days, sometimes it feels like the wind goes “right through you”.

2. T or F Cats and dogs bother you when you don’t want them to.

3. T or F The wrong mail has been delivered to your home.

4. T or F This wrong mail to your home stuff has happened more than once.

5. T or F Sometimes you feel lighter in the morning time.

6. T or F After a hair cut, sometimes you miss your hair.

7. T or F You feel like you’d like to “go home” sometimes, even though you might be at your own house when you think that.

8. T or F Babies and crazy people sometimes stare at you…knowingly.

9. T or F Your fear of heights has gotten worse over the years.

10. T or F You don’t wear out shoes like you did ten years ago.

Now, give yourself 5 points for every T, and 10 points for every F. Add them up.

If you scored 50-100, your soul is pretty hard to define, size and shape-wise, but I won’t lie to you, you have one. It might fit into a mailbox.

If you scored over 100, you have a soul, and a mailbox is no place to put it. Use your mailbox for letters, and small packages. Take larger packages directly to the post office, and take your soul and spirit with you.

We may not think about our spirits and souls in an everyday way, but if we hold our breath for 20 minutes, a lot of questions get answered. The life breath goes right out of us. The Greek word for spirit is literally “breath of life.” It seems there are a lot of things that aren’t incredibly easy to define. If we think we can use the Bible as a glossary, we’ll find out, there isn’t a definition of the word “soul,” “spirit,” like there would be in a glossary, which would clean up the confusion, nice and tidy-like. But, most of us realize our life experience isn’t just surface level. Are we simply machines that live a few decades, and then die? That’s the harder thing to believe, especially when we take in Beauty that is all around us.

Things like Beauty, Hope, Love, Innocence, and such, are *Ideals* that point deeper, or further out, than we can clearly perceive, or could ever accurately measure. Knowing God (who is infinite and personal) works the same way. So does a life that includes an acknowledgment of soul and spirit, and a journey toward the heart of God who is “Other,” the Source of Good, and the best of the ideals written on our hearts.

Thanks for playing.

I hope you stay, read some posts or try the other self-tests, and leave comments where you’d like to.

-Lisa

Life As Prayer Learning Group-coming in Oct. (INTERESTED?)

 

 

 

 

 

learning exchange invitation to YOU!

learning exchange invitation to YOU!

(The guy on the street corner who sold me this photo said it was a picture of an actual piece of knowledge coming down from “on high”. Apparently, it’s never been captured on film before. He either said that, or he took this when he was high, and he’s never been captured on film before. I’m not completely sure. He also owned a bridge, which I thought was PRETTY FLIPPIN’ COOL, but I could only afford this photo.)

 

 

 

 

 

This post is an announcement to introduce a learning group I will launch in October. It’s experimental, since I haven’t tried an online version before, but I hope this first group of us can test the waters for more types of group learning online.

What is it: A group of 10 of us, (max. or at a time) will all read the same material, and have a few reflection questions given out beforehand which go along with the reading. Then we will meet-up (online, perhaps using Skype, which is free-check it out) to discuss some of our insights and responses.

I will also send along related materials for your use, enjoyment, and implementation on a manageable “project,” that you come up with. It will bring the topics at hand into focus and application in a real way. This will help you, on a personal level, and be applicable in community, as well. This is the part that can really incite growth. It’s where the kind of “book club” feel to it, emerges forward into something vivacious and real–

even life-changing.

Then, a week or two later, our small group will meet-up one more time (online) to discuss our unique uses of our learning, and share our insights. We’ll exchange our ideas, lessons learn, and also brief project summaries in file form, so later it may be possible, (if we choose) to incorporate new practices into our lives out of our new learning experiences–

applications others have thought of, and already applied.

When is it: Some time in October. I will try to pick a good time so as many of us as possible will be able to interact in real time, at least twice. Probably in the evening, and perhaps on a weekend, in mid or late October for 1- 2 hours each time. (For this, I would like lots of feedback to hear what may work best. International learning gets be tricky with all the various time zones!) The rest of the time, learners will be reading, reflecting, or relating to God, self, and others at times that work best for them. There will be a place online (possibly a closed group on Facebook) where we can bounce ideas back and forth, learn, discuss reading items (not in real-time), share discoveries, etc.

Who is it: This learning group is for people who are committed to growing and searching for deeper intimacy and richer relationships with God, and others. They are curious, open-minded/optimistic, willing-to-learn and contribute, and want to apply insights from various sources including insights gained through prayer and the Holy Spirit. I will host and facilitate the group. To learn about me, click the “bio” tab, or go to my website.

What are the texts assigned: This has not been completely decided. There will be Biblical passages, and most likely, for this first learning group, the fairly brief text The Practice of the Presence of God: Conversations and Letters of Brother Lawrence. (The link above offers a free version, to print out oneself, but used copies sell for only a few dollars.) Some reading items will be sent directly to learners as PDFs, and other items could be added as I work out the specifics. Reading will be manageable, but will require a proper investment of time to be profitable for everyone involved. Expect to read 150-225 pages in total. Approx. 3-4 hrs

What the cost will be: 0$

(I always accept your generosity anytime with a cheerful, toothy grin. A link to help me is on the home page. Hopefully, learners will find the class will be worthy of a gift toward continuing this work, but one is not necessary.)

I’ll make more details available as I work out specifics. If there is a lot of interest, I’ll start a waiting list-after ten people ask to join in. But if something like what I am trying to describe appeals to you, in general, please let me know in a comment below.

ALSO- if you have suggestions for what may make this work better or more smoothly, please include that in your comment, or at any time!

This WILL be FUN!

thanks.

-Lisa