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  • Conversations Journal – 2013 – August
    lives Read More Post a comment 1 Serenity Courage and Wisdom By Jan Johnson August 15 2013 in Blog After eighteen years of doing laundry at the drop in center for the homeless where I volunteer my job has changed I now meet with clients one on one I m not doing spiritual direction or counseling it s more like being a 12 step sponsor While we all help clients move toward getting a job and obtaining a living space my job is to look at the inner issues involved Because faith is often foggy or even objectionable to clients I ve scrambled for an approach As a decades long 12 stepper I ve leaned on the serenity prayer to word the goals Read More Post a comment 2 Hope by Lisa Van Engen 4 comments We gathered right before bedtime on either my brother or my own bed There my Dad read a Bible story each night The children s picture Bible pages were thick and the cover brown The stories became a parting promise to sleep On a nail above my little white bed hung a small glow in the dark cross The stories were pressed into my heart over time Read More Post a comment 4 Reading the Bible to Discover the Word by Robert Rife 4 comments The Bible and I have had a long love hate relationship Like star crossed lovers we seem not to show up to the right moonlit balcony at the same time or on the same night As the sacred words on the page call my name my ears are stopped up tight to their romancing sighs I come to those pages lusting for truth and have often found a cold shoulder pointed in my direction My numerous study Bibles and

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  • Conversations Journal – 2013 – July
    This was to be one of the great pivot points of history Into this world in transition where those seeking to be most fully devoted to God escaped empire by fleeing to the desert as hermits or gathered around a guru was born Benedict of Nursia Benedict s Rule a model of Christian discipleship that was community centered has endured as a living text for more than 1500 years making it according to some the most influential text on Western society after the Bible Even more impressively Benedictines are widely credited with having saved Western civilization from the ravages of the barbarian invasions Read More Post a comment 1 Benedict for Today Pt 2 Dailiness Scripture and Prayer by Christopher B James BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT In the previous post link I considered the relevance of the Benedictine vow of for stability to those unready to commit to new monastic living A second dimension of Benedict s insight for today lies in what Joan Chittister a Benedictine sister calls Wisdom Distilled from the Daily According to her Benedictine spirituality brings depth and focus to dailiness Benedict considers his a little rather than heroic Rule and its daily routine is served up with large helpings of work and relationships exactly the stuff of contemporary life for average men and women Rather than considering people an obstacle to contemplation or work a distraction from prayer Benedict s rule is founded on the firm conviction that God is present everywhere Read More Post a comment 0 What Churches Can Learn from New Monasticism Pt 1 by Christopher B James 1 Comment The rise of the new monasticism to popular awareness in recent years might lead the uninformed to imagine that Christian communalism is a recent phenomenon The truth is that Christians have lived in intimate community settings since the very beginnings of the Way What is new about new monasticism is largely a matter of its historical and geographical contexts the catchy moniker and the recent dialog with the Benedictine tradition Christine Pohl the author of Living into Community Cultivating Practices that Sustain Us considers this conversation to be among the most promising in the church today This the two posts in this series explores the resonance between these two expressions of Christian communalism and the contributions they might make to more traditional institutional Christian congregations Read More Post a comment 1 What Churches Can Learn from New Monasticism Pt 2 by Christopher B James BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT In this post I will offer some reflections on how the three Benedictine commitments explore in Part One to stability to seeking personal and social transformation and to living under authority might serve to challenge and provoke local congregations as environments for discipleship While these three commitments could manifest in myriad ways within a congregations life I will focus specifically on its implications for membership standards something that Luther Smith and more recently new monastic author Jonathan Wilson Hartgrove have highlighted Although

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  • Conversations Journal – 2013 – June
    standing on the corner consulting a map of the city Living in a tourist city like San Francisco has heightened my awareness of how touristy tourists look And how annoying they are with their slow driving and their gawking at sights familiar to us locals I hate looking like a tourist so much so that I ve even sort of lied Read More Post a comment 1 Leaning into God by Lisa Van Engen 4 comments The kingdom of Heaven brought to earth in the here and now The worm farm of four children in the Appalachian Mountains A mentally disabled friend moved by the song He knows my Name My kids school picture full of students with different backgrounds and skin colors Singing in church in Spanish English and Swahili The courage of the girls featured in the film Girl Rising When someone speaks vulnerable words to offer hope to another College students rising up to end human trafficking Pushing my kids on a swing The sun on my face on a summer afternoon Read More Post a comment 4 Boston Strong When Fear Grips The Heart Of A City Preview Issue 11 2 Be Not Afraid by Stephen A Macchia BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Monday April 15 2013 2 49pm The Finish Line of the 117th Boston Marathon had just seen the 17 580th runner successfully cross the bright blue and yellow painted signature of the world s most famous 26 2 mile run It was a glorious spring day with the sun shining brightly over the city An international phenomenon A spectacle for runners and athletes fans family members and a city beaming with pride All seemed well in the world One minute later 2 50pm and the mood instantly shifted to fear The first of two bombs would detonate in front of the Marathon Sports store Moments later a second bomb ignited a few hundred feet away Shock and sadness Disbelief and doubt Turmoil and confusion Frenetic and fantastic response Shutdown the race Detour the remaining 5 742 runners Dial 9 1 1 Attend to the victims Don t worry about the mess Race to the hospitals Close down all subways in and out of the city Suspend cell phone service Close off Boylston Street Call the FBI Work as a team Time is of the essence Lives are in danger Confusion reigns It all happened so fast Initially the race was a photograph of Americana filled with children on their dad s shoulders and family members grinning from ear to ear In an instant a glorious day of citywide splendor turned to memories of 9 11 and the world s focus was back on Boston once more Not because we were looking for attention But simply because we were the target of a plot that unfortunately succeeded Three were confirmed dead More than 260 were injured Some were clinging to life many have lost limbs and all will certainly be scarred for the rest

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  • Conversations Journal – 2013 – May
    As we all grieve the passing of Dallas Willard who taught with great humility and kindness of the availability of the Kingdom of God we thought it fitting to share the words of Gary Moon our Executive Editor and Executive Director of the Martin Institute and Willard Center at Westmont College Please feel free to share the impact that Dallas and his teaching had on your life either in the comments or on the Memorial Guest Book that can be found here You can also read some of Dallas s own words that were printed in Volume 8 1 of Conversations Journal Getting the Elephant Out of the Sanctuary Early on the morning of May 8 2013 Dallas Albert Willard awakened to a full experience of the reality of the Kingdom of the Heavens he described so beautifully Fittingly his last two words were Thank you Thank you is the feeling I am sure so many have for the contributions he has made to their lives I believe Dallas Willard has been one of the great reformers of Christian thought of the past century and that his most powerful lessons were taught by how he lived an unhurried life in love with God At the request of the Willard family we have set up this official online Memorial Guest Book Individuals who wish to offer condolences to the family or to offer a verbal tribute to Dallas Willard concerning how his writing teaching or friendship has impacted your life may do so here The Willard Center will make sure that Jane Willard John Willard Becky Willard Heatley and Bill Heatley see your words of appreciation and compassion We invite you to share your reflections tributes comments and condolences here by posting your message in the comments below From the Willard

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  • Conversations Journal – 2013 – April
    on the prayer filled life was natural for me It s where I am most at home Read More Post a comment 0 Streams of Living Water The Six Great Traditions of the Christian Faith Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Click more to see the Table of Contents and links to articles Read More Post a comment 0 Streams of Living Water The Evangelical Tributary by Bob Fryling BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT I have been swimming in the evangelical stream all of my life For instance as a boy I remember going to a conference and seeing a big sign in the front of the worship center that proclaimed Christ Preeminent I was too young at first to know what that big word meant but I grew to understand the implications of that statement as a calling to trust and obey Jesus as Savior and Lord in all of life Read More Post a comment 0 Remembering the Streams Modeled by a Breakfast with My Dad by Juanita Campbell Rasmus 1 Comment My father has always been ahead of his time As an African American man in the late 60 s early 70 s he was self employed and while that was rare in my neighborhood it provided my sister and I with some incredible experiences My father s faith was and remains one that is a celebration of the joys of all the streams or the six great traditions as my friend Richard Foster calls them Read More Post a comment 1 The Flow of the Streams by Pat Russell BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT In a rural southern Michigan community stood a one room church with stained glass windows that reflected the light in beautiful patterns on the curved oak pews The people who built this church out in the middle of the flat rich soil of ancient Lake Erie bottom were mostly farmers They were simple people but deeply committed to living lives of holiness That community is the roots of my life in the six great Christian traditions Read More Post a comment 0 Salad Dressing the Back Stroke and a Sea of Grace by Robert Rife BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT The prevailing postmodern milieu has greased the skids for entering into conversations that only a generation ago might have been cause either for theological concern or at least further training What I mean are not the may I speak with you about Jesus questions They re more the I m not religious I m spiritual type conversations Postmodernism in general with its openness to personal narrative albeit lacking an over arching metanarrative has created a big front door to converse on matters that matter The interior life has become important again or at least acceptable Read More Post a comment 0 The Flow of the Streams by Pat Russell 4 comments In a rural southern Michigan community stood a one room

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2013/04/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Conversations Journal – 2013 – March
    led me to the Jesus at the height of the Jesus Movement Eventually I ended up recording Jesus music with Sparrow Records a company that has since become the largest Christian recording company in the world Read More Post a comment 1 Growing in the Garden How The Streams Water Our Sprouts Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 11 1 Spring 2013 Section Features Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Christian spiritual formation with children is the process by which a child learns to live their life with God That s right the kid who last left his gum on your kitchen table is invited into the same life with God you are The one who pretends to be a dog during the entire second grade the one who sings show tunes from dawn to dusk that one is also capable of a life walking with the God of the universe Read More Post a comment 0 O Taste See Meditations on Tim Lowly s Celebrant and Poetry by Luci Shaw Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 11 1 Spring 2013 Section Features Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT When the editors set out to curate potential artwork for the cover of this issue we were tasked with a bigger project than we knew As with any issue of Conversations we aim to connect the image on the cover to the theme of spiritual formation about which we re asking writers to dialogue within the issue In the case of Issue 11 1 there are galleries full of art that depict the element of water Christocentric works Historical paintings Images of baptisms in rivers or streams flowing through the Garden We weren t short on imagery for the topic Streams of Living Water But the subtitle of this issue that little phrase after the colon Celebrating the Great Traditions of the Christian Faith presented a bit of a conundrum in our search That is until we came across Celebrant by Tim Lowly Read More Post a comment 0 Becoming Catholic at Wheaton Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 11 1 Spring 2013 Section Honesty About the Journey Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT I first encountered Richard Foster s description of the six streams in my coursework in Christian Formation at Wheaton College Graduate School As a Roman Catholic studying among evangelicals the streams concept resonated with me In fact the Six Streams allowed me to articulate for the first time what was happening to me at Wheaton my studies in a stream very different to my own not only were bringing me closer to evangelicals to appreciate and incorporate their faith perspective but were also helping me to grow as a Catholic Here is my story STARTING WITH THE STREAMS Read More Post a comment 0 Seeing As God

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2013/03/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Conversations Journal – 2013 – February
    deprivation Whenever my sisters and I complained however Mom reminded us that when she was a girl her parents made her eat barracuda which for her was sheer torture She assured us that we were getting off easy and had no room to complain Read More Post a comment 0 Hearing His Voice by Brent Bill 1 Comment Jesus turned and said to Peter Get behind me Satan You are a stumbling block to me you do not have in mind the concerns of God but merely human concerns What is happening That s what Peter had to have been wondering Just a few hours earlier Jesus had called Peter his rock upon whom his church would be built Now he s calling him the Devil Not even the son of the Devil but the Devil himself Peter may have pushed his way gruffly through the crowd Maybe he d had enough of this nonsense Jesus always speaking in riddles Peter had been faithful He d worked as hard as anybody of the disciple band to usher in the kingdom Read More Post a comment 1 Lent An Act of Love by Lisa Van Engen 5 comments To be completely honest I have not always loved the concept of Lent There was not an emphasis on Lent in my home or in my church So I usually used my peers as a barometer for the season In out spoken resolve they would declare what they chose to fast from chocolate sugar in general highly brave or television Like a New Year s Resolution the days would unfold and each one would let go of their fast well before Easter arrived Read More Post a comment 5 Burying My Alleluia by Michelle Van Loon BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT At church

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2013/02/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Conversations Journal – 2013 – January
    the middle of my journal page and wrote My New Year s Intentions for 2013 And then I began to add bubbles around it and a cluster of thoughts related to those bubbles Read More Post a comment 1 Pressing Pause by Lisa Van Engen 4 comments In the course of a year there is one time we collectively pause the moment we lean over the edge of a New Year St Ignatius used the prayer of Examen twice a day once at noon and again in the evening Twice daily I am struck by how little I engage in prayerful reflection Read More Post a comment 4 My Not So Daily Examen by Bob Fryling 3 comments When I first heard about the Daily Examen many years ago I was very attracted to it I liked its simplicity and brevity and also the collective affirmation of several centuries of Christian practice behind it So I did it Every night before going to bed I would reflect on both the desolations and the consolations of my day and seek to hear the voice of God in this practice Read More Post a comment 3 Examen ing 2012 by Robert Rife 4 comments Anyone who has ever undertaken the Ignatian prayer of examen will attest to the fact that it can be an ominous undertaking indeed It has often been so for me However it is not intended to be merely a discipline aimed at overturning stones in our spiritual rock gardens under which we discover unwanted weeds to be uprooted I like you am a complicated mix of right and wrong good and bad wise and stupid weeds and flowers As I look behind my 2012 plow and view the crooked furrow I m left with the following observations First

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2013/01/ (2016-04-28)
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