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Showing posts from January, 2016

Thoughts on Faith

I have thought about some topics for decades now.But it is always wonderful to come across someone who can shed new light on an old subject.One such topic I have pondered for years is faith.Anyone who has engaged religion in any form probably has thought about faith.I reckon I first thought about faith---what it is and how it works---as early as high school.Perhaps I thought about it even earlier than that, but I can’t remember.However, I am sure faith was involved in my life long before I thought about it!
To be sure, faith is a word that is usually involved with religion and the religious journey.I would even use it with respect to spirituality, assuming there is some difference between religion and spirituality.But faith is not simply a word used in conjunction with religion.And I would contend, it is not a religious word.Rather, I might call it a human word.If you are human, faith is part of your vocabulary and part of your life. My earliest forays into faith led me to believe fai…

Practical Contemplation

The Timing of Encouragement

Sometimes I get ideas for this inspirational reflection out the routine of my day.Fortunately, I have learned to pay attention to life, even when its ordinariness would suggest nothing special would happen.Certainly in the realm of the Spirit, our most likely experiences of the Spirit come in the midst of our routine and ordinariness.Of course, most of us would like mountaintop experiences, but we can’t manufacture them.And usually, they don’t come with much frequency.And most of us realize very few people actually live on top of the mountain of the Spirit.I am not one of those people!
My idea for this one emerged in the middle of a conversation I had with a coach.I spend a fair amount of time with coaches and relish that.I have found coaches are quite thoughtful.In effect good coaches are first of all teachers.Knowing this means they have much more in common with me than one might expect.Of course, on game day their job is different than mine.No one would confuse a final examination …

Hospitality: Making Friends from Strangers

I am a Benedictine oblate.When I was a Quaker kid growing up in rural Indiana, I would not have known what either of those words means.I am sure I never heard about “Benedictine.”I would not have known they were monks.If someone had told me that Benedictines were monks, I am not sure I would have really known what a monk was…or did!
After too many years of school and a great deal of experience in the ecumenical and interfaith worlds, I know much about Benedictines and about monasteries.Benedictines are monks (men and women) who follow the Rule of St. Benedict.Benedict was an Italian Christian who lived in the late 5th and early 6th century.It was a time of turmoil in the so-called “barbaric” period of the early middle ages.The Roman Empire had fallen a century earlier.All of Europe was politically, economically, and socially a mess.Benedict wanted to find a way to practice his faith in a serious fashion.He found many local churches wanting.In many cases they were merely Christian ins…