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  • Conversations Journal – 2014 – December
    happened before it most of the Gospel history Is the coming of God into the world the precursor to the main event or the main event itself Yes Read More Post a comment 1 The Kind of Person You Can Talk to about Spiritual Things By Jan Johnson December 18 2014 in Blog Emmanuel God With Us BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT How was Dallas Willard able to act as an informal spiritual director to so many people Why were they able to talk with him so easily about the primary topic in spiritual direction how they ve been interacting with God lately or not For example Dallas did this with me the first time I met him After one of his talks I was thanking him for writing The Spirit of the Disciplines In my earnestness to be authentic I spoke of not trying to ingratiate myself to him Then he made a ridiculous suggestion saying Why don t you try not affirming anyone for a while and see what happens I knew this had to be wrong because encouraging people is a good thing so I dismissed the suggestion Read More Post a comment 0 O Come O Come Emmanuel By Valerie Hess December 3 2014 in Blog Emmanuel God With Us BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT It was a tough couple of years with a lot of loss in a variety of areas There were times when Advent s cry of Maran atha Come Lord Jesus was all I could manage My prayers bounced off a brass ceiling I ran a low grade depression in my soul similar to a low grade fever in my body I just didn t feel well I couldn t get enough sleep I gained weight from stress eating I spent a

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2014/12/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Conversations Journal – 2014 – November
    More Post a comment 1 The Universe in a Cup By Robert Rife November 12 2014 in Blog Bread Wine 4 Comments So at the end of this day we give thanks For being betrothed to the unknown And for the secret work Through which the mind of the day And wisdom of the soul become one John O Donohue from his poem The Inner History of a Day Not unlike any other boy of eight or nine I was entranced by the world around me inexplicable broad and spacious and wild Atoms just kept getting tinier stars brighter planets bigger forests darker oceans deeper plants and animals more strange and my world more mysterious than the day before I read everything I could find a habit that has followed me into late middle age Astronomy dinosaurs oceanography geology and theoretical physics well Jules Verne really all found their place among Hardy Boys and comic books It was a blurry haze of wonderful Read More Post a comment 4 Big Medicine and Strong Magic By Valerie Hess November 3 2014 in Blog Bread Wine 1 Comment I don t know and can t imagine what the disciples understood our Lord to mean when His body still unbroken and His blood unshed He handed them the bread and wine saying they were His body and blood I find substance in Aristotle s sense when stripped of its own accidents and endowed with the accidents of some other substance an object I cannot think On the other hand I get no better with those who tell me that the elements are mere bread and mere wine used symbolically to remind me of the death of Christ They are on the natural level such a very odd symbol of that and I cannot

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2014/11/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Conversations Journal – 2014 – October
    profit them Such injustice especially by Christians really upsets me How can they do that Read More Post a comment 0 The Good Life Lessons from Brendan the Navigator By Robert Rife October 6 2014 in Blog Living Well Flourishing 2 Comments Shall I abandon the comforts and benefits of my home Shall I take leave of my friends and my beautiful native land King of the mysteries will You set watch over me Christ of the mysteries can I trust You on the sea Christ of the heavens and Christ of the ravenous ocean wave I will hold fast to my course through the dangers I must brave O Lord I pray that in You I ll break ground both fresh and new As a student let me stand Break the hardness of the land with Your forgiving Father hand Have I the faith to leave old ways and break fresh ground with God Read More Post a comment 2 Becoming Fire By Valerie Hess October 3 2014 in Blog Living Well Flourishing All of creation it seems has been obedient to its destiny each mortal thing does one thing and the same myself it speaks and spells crying What I do is me for that I came Gerard Manley Hopkins As Kingfishers Catch Fire Wouldn t it be our last and greatest humiliation if one day we realized that all other creatures have obeyed their destiny with a kind of humility and with trustful surrender All except us Fr Richard Rohr To live well is to be fully who I was created to be by God Period Living well is a quality that is not dependent on demographics or other external circumstances Living well does not necessarily mean being continuously upwardly mobile or a house in the suburbs

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2014/10/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Conversations Journal – 2014 – September
    beautiful story of Father Son and Spirit making and remaking the world Spiritual formation takes place when we inhabit the story of God expressed in the life of Jesus Empowered by the Holy Spirit we are changed inwardly making the world a better place to the glory of God In the letter to the Ephesians the apostle Paul wrote But that is not the way you learned Christ 4 20 This verse makes me wonder how do we learn Christ MacIntyre s emphases on story gives me a clue because learning Christ has much more to do with inhabiting a specific kind of story than just reciting some prepositions Read More Post a comment 31 The Ancient Form by Valerie Hess BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Many are mourning the death of Robin Williams The Mork and Mindy house is here in Boulder Colorado where I live In the last week it has become a shrine Hundreds of people have come some from long distances to hang a sign on the fence leave a candle or flowers take pictures or simply stand in grieving silence Not knowing what else to do they have created sacred space on the sidewalk where they can mourn in community and reflect on life and death Read More Post a comment 0 Reprocessing Anger into Grace by Jan Johnson BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT I m quite fascinated by the carpenter Joseph in the Nativity story and what it must have been like to have a son who was a messiah Family life is puzzling enough without divine intervention from the get go So let s focus in on a memorable moment for Joseph Joseph has been nicknamed Joseph the Just because he is described as a righteous man Matt 1 19 This phrase usually refers to a person who obeys the law carefully Such rule followers don t bend the rules for favorites Maybe you re a little like this thinking Why can t everybody just follow directions It would be so easy Read More Post a comment 0 Avoiding the Trapdoor in Transformation Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 2 Fall Winter 2014 Transformational Theology Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Although it was nine years ago that Sunday morning is still vividly etched in my memory A few years earlier my heart had been captivated by the life giving understanding that God s intention was that the lives of Jesus followers were to be deeply transformed into the likeness of Jesus himself Since I had been a Christian for decades and seminary trained as well you might wonder why it took so long for me to come to this realization But that s a story for another time Having discovered the Father s intention of transformation I had given myself over to that process with great intentionality I read books on the topic of spiritual formation and listened to gifted teachers

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2014/09/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Conversations Journal – 2014 – August
    was asking us all to take a break and find silence offline rather than reading blogs Perhaps But we didn t want you to miss these poetic words from our non conformist blogger friend Robert Rife With the topic at hand at the risk of sounding overly clever or non conformist my post modern poet aims at a metanarrative In addressing silence I am seeking it Sometimes it s not more information that s needed Sometimes we just need to sing Listen for what finds you Listen loudly for the stirring glass of day unknowing Her constancy rewards your swelling incontinence of spirit grey and unraveled She lowers her eyes in hithering glance Read More Post a comment 0 Seeing Jesus By Jan Johnson August 18 2014 in Blog Parenting Formation BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Since my friend Dallas Willard died I ve found myself doing things that are out of the box As a self employed person I ve tried to stay focused on writing teaching and spiritual direction No distractions But as part of DW s advisory council I watched him do tangential things because I thought he wasn t staying focused Why Because he loved God and listened to God and loved people and listened to them So besides volunteering weekly at the Samaritan Center a drop in center for the homeless I now also teach a Bible study there It s intriguing to teach these friends of mine who are moved by Jesus encounter with the demon possessed boy because most have had seizures and they and I have seen others lie on our concrete writhing in seizures A few have died Read More Post a comment 0 Crucible of Parenthood By Paul Bowman August 21 2014 in Blog Parenting Formation At just 4 years

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2014/08/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Conversations Journal – 2014 – July
    service even the simple enjoyment of the things of life are buried under the oppressive weight caused by unceasing pursuit of those things we believe our happiness are contingent on having keeping or not getting Read More Post a comment 0 Silence in a Digital Age by Fil Anderson BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Years ago I spent several weeks traveling throughout Japan I vividly recall the polluted cloudlike darkness hanging over the larger cities and the constant struggle involved in breathing the smog filled air Glass sided booths lined Tokyo s streets available to pedestrians feeling desperate for fresh air I remember coming out of one hoping I d make it to the next booth without choking The memory of my ducking into those human size fishbowls to escape the toxic air is a fitting metaphor for the digital world we live in Without recognizing what s happening the constant stimulation by my devices will kill my soul as surely as the toxic air in Japan would have eventually killed my body Read More Post a comment 0 The Simple Life by Valerie Hess 1 Comment I have a hard time remembering how I communicated with people ten years ago How did I set up a meeting before the Internet or check in with my kids before cell phones How did I look up information order a book or map out driving directions It is hard to recall what it meant to phone a group of people leave messages on their home answering machines wait for them to call me back and then call everyone a second or third time Often it took days to arrange something Now a group e mail goes out everyone hits reply all and voila Dinner date reserved or meeting set up The Internet

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2014/07/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Conversations Journal – 2014 – June
    fits all and it is a fluid state as each season of life requires different things The discipline of simplicity is not poverty real or created or starkness The discipline also speaks to our calendars and our conversation An overly busy life is neither a more godly life nor a more important life Endless conversation in person or imagined through constant technology does not fill the empty spaces of one s soul What junk food is the body busyness and constant chatter is to the soul In some ways my husband and I model this discipline well We have no debt We live in 1000 sq feet Our cars have lots of miles on them We have good margins and boundaries in our daily lives Yet I personally struggle with wanting and acquiring more Even in a small space I can fill drawers closets book shelves and flat surfaces to overflowing Recently I was struck by a comment the gist of which was it is not possible to eat or buy passion with passion being defined in its classical sense of deepest soul desire I was stopped in my tracks because I recognized that too often I try to fill soul holes with food and stuff instead of relationships and creative pursuits I eat when I should be writing or painting I buy when I am feeling empty and lost These activities actually increase my feelings of restlessness rather than restoring my soul Food and material possessions are for the most part neutral at worst and good gifts of God at best Too many modern Christians still believe Plato who said that the material world was evil only the things related to the soul were good God in sending Jesus in the flesh proved that wrong but many good people still think that to live a simple life they have to have bare walls and no car In truth we can be totally focused on money and possessions while owning nothing as anyone who has dealt with the very poor will attest to We can also have a lot of possessions yet be in the discipline of simplicity because those possessions do not own us Again it is a matter of the heart truly where our treasure is One way to determine that is to begin a process of REGULARLY giving things away Not selling them but giving them And not only the junk that needs clearing out but treasured possessions I know that is the only way I know if I own the treasure or the treasure owns me Join the Conversation Have you tried radical giving If so share your experience Do you feel that you own your treasure or it owns you More is Less of More More or Less By Robert Rife June 4 2014 in Blog Simplicity It is 6 00 am I stand at our back door watching another Yakima sunrise insist upon its own magnificence In the foreground is a broken down patio

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2014/06/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Conversations Journal – 2014 – May
    can create defenses or melt them We have to use words wisely Read More Post a comment 4 Guarding Our Words by Larry Warner BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT In my own life I learned the importance and power of words as I read the book of Proverbs It was in Proverbs that I learned of the ability of words to bring healing or cause great pain I learned the danger of speaking too many words and the value of speaking no words I also learned the peacemaking power of a well crafted sentence as well as the explosive and destructive power of a single word Below I have shared the verses I memorized early in my Christian life I became a Christian at age 17 in an effort to control my tongue My words still get me in trouble but not like they did early on in my Christian life Read More Post a comment 0 Sabbath Oasis for Body And Soul By Ken Shigematsu May 6 2014 in Blog One Monday morning several years ago while I was working in Tokyo I asked a young Japanese salary man named Hiroshi What did you do last weekend Hiroshi responded Well I worked really late on Friday and I didn t know what time it was when I woke up and when I realized it was sometime in the afternoon I decided to go back to sleep and slept almost all day Sunday Hiroshi s response might sound a little unusual but most of us wouldn t think much of it But Hiroshi s colleagues found his story so riveting that they were at a loss for words They unanimously reverted to the pre linguistic guttural moans of approval that are unique to the Japanese language eeeehhh moving from a

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2014/05/ (2016-04-28)
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