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  • Conversations Journal – 2012 – April
    Spiritual practices can sort of rub off others onto us Hence the presence of a very good person in our lives has an enormous result I saw this a while ago As I sat comfortably nestled under a bunch of telephone kiosks in Chicago O Hare Airport I worked hard on notes for a class I was going to teach on contemplative spirituality The only electrical outlet I could find for my laptop was located in this cubbyhole and I was relishing how hidden I was from others Read More Post a comment 2 Journaling to Discover the Stranger By Don Simpson April 16 2012 in Blog Welcoming the Stranger There is a wise saying by Fr Hilary Ottensmeyer that goes Until you are convinced that prayer is the best use of your time you will not find time for prayer A few years ago I found myself in a place that was painfully true of Fr Ottensmeyer s warning I was stressed on several fronts work life family life social life and dealing with a complicated set of health issues I was so busy and distracted that my prayer life had completely dried up Read More Post a comment 2 Conversations Guide by Kim Engelmann Download PDF Volume 10 1 Spring Summer 2012 Features Download PDF Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Comments Off on Conversations Guide Conversations Guide By Kim Engelmann Welcoming The Stranger Living Out God s Soul Stretching Love Jan Johnson In this article Jan discusses the importance of welcoming the stranger and in so doing creating a home for them Jesus himself identified with the stranger in his statement when I was a stranger you welcomed me This is a poignant reminder that when we welcome strangers we are welcoming Jesus himself This welcoming posture is not just a warm feeling but actually is something we must learn to do and ought to have practical results in terms of meeting the needs of those we welcome Even in the Old Testament welcoming the stranger was a command often it was the Israelites themselves who were strangers and sojourners and who needed to be welcomed In the parable of the Good Samaritan it is clear that the stranger the unclean sinner from the Jewish perspective is the one who shows hospitality to the wounded traveler Not the priest or the Levite but the stranger who himself has been ostracized has learned empathy for others who are left by the side of the road Jan challenges the reader to reach out to all people as God has reached out to the entire world even those who don t belong to our own group This welcoming reach must extend to outcasts those unacceptable in normal society like sex offenders wrong doers people outside their own territory political refugees or anyone who is different from us politically ethnically or theologically Anyone we are tempted to exclude or ignore even the elderly we must be watchful to welcome as Jesus

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  • Conversations Journal – 2012 – March
    clearly at God s leading which had stopped abruptly in a dark woods An orbit which held me fast in its gravitational pull A complex maze which only God could lead me out of My struggle revolved around a vocational conundrum I d endured five years of searching wrestling initiating and waiting without discovering a path to freedom Read More Post a comment 2 Garden of Goodness By Pat Russell March 23 2012 in Blog In 1999 I underwent surgery for breast cancer and subsequent chemotherapy It was a grueling process which ended in November of 1999 I wrote consistently about my experience both in my journal and to my friends via email no Facebook in those days In November I wrote this reflection for my friends It was for me a resurrection period in my life I am now 12 going into 13 years out from the cancer experience Read More Post a comment 2 Resurrection Resistance by Larry Warner 7 comments On reading the theme for this month s blog resurrection moments resistance spontaneously rises a wincing from deep within causes me to internally recoil As I consider this reaction I think it flows from a tendency I see in many Christians to view following Christ as a carefree stroll down the yellow brick road rather than an arduous trek along the via Dolorosa way of suffering or way of grief This combines with two other thoughts that simultaneous float into my mind as I read the words resurrection moments 1 there is no resurrection without a crucifixion 2 we as Christians tend to jump to the ultimate while minimizing or completely disregarding the penultimate These ingredients mixed together create an inner aversion for me to the words resurrection moments Read More Post a comment 7 A Gift Gone by Valerie Hess Comments Off on A Gift Gone Years ago a gift was taken away from me It was a God given gift but I was worshiping the gift and not the Giver So God took it away I am a church musician I have a Masters in Church Music and Organ and have worked as a church musician since I was 12 years old From the womb I believe music and faith have been intricately intertwined for me I could sing the liturgy from memory when I was 5 years old I loved practicing for hours first the piano then the organ violin harpsichord and recorder I sang in church and school choirs from early on But the gift is never more important than the Giver So in my early twenties God took it away It wasn t like I forgot where middle C was or couldn t sing on key any more but I couldn t play the organ Practicing didn t help My hands and feet lost their coordination It is hard to explain other than to say the gift was gone It was a hard time A death a desert a wilderness Not fun

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  • Conversations Journal – 2012 – February
    of their own experiences Imagine a writer saying that he did not know what his own experience of forgiveness was like but he was going to describe it to us anyway Read More Comments Off on Mysticism Awareness of God and Postmodern Confusions An Exercise in Faith How Hospitality Invites Us To Believe God More Deeply Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 10 1 Spring Summer 2012 Section Classical Spiritual Exercises Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Comments Off on An Exercise in Faith How Hospitality Invites Us To Believe God More Deeply Hospitality has fallen into hard times these days Worse yet the commercial world has picked up the word and used it for its own ends such as the phrase hospitality industry which refers primarily to hotels and convention centers There s nothing wrong with commerce that is we need thriving businesses for our economic growth But Christian hospitality goes a bit deeper than making money off of people you don t know and never will see again To me this is an abomination of the word s meaning far too shallow to capture the ancient biblical vision I would like Christians to reclaim the word for what we do in our homes and churches Read More Comments Off on An Exercise in Faith How Hospitality Invites Us To Believe God More Deeply An Empty Square Day Further Reflections of Rublev s Icon of the Trinity Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 10 1 Spring Summer 2012 Section Features Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Comments Off on An Empty Square Day Further Reflections of Rublev s Icon of the Trinity Friday The small square on the calendar is empty No appointments No job site meeting with my client and the architect No phone calls to make No need to leave the house Empty square days are the days when I can sit in the black leather armchair in the living room for as long as it seems good These are not ordinary days when my time is cut short by the note in the appointment calendar My place of prayer is in this room My prayers meander and wander prompted by the view out the window the reading of Scripture and the reproduction of Rublev s icon of the Old Testament Trinity painted by my friend Dan Cassis Read More Comments Off on An Empty Square Day Further Reflections of Rublev s Icon of the Trinity O Taste and See A Meditation on Rublev s Icon of the Trinity Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 10 1 Spring Summer 2012 Section Features Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Comments Off on O Taste and See A Meditation on Rublev s Icon of the Trinity One cannot think of Andrei Rublev the Orthodox monk who at the turn of the fifteenth century produced this icon near Muscovy the precursor to modern day Moscow

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  • Conversations Journal – 2012 – January
    to use lectio and listen for God regarding our past year Frankly I had never considered the idea Read More Post a comment 16 Contemplative Prayer More Essential than Esoteric by Gary W Moon Volume 4 2 Fall 2006 Section Front Page Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Comments Off on Contemplative Prayer More Essential than Esoteric This summer I was vacationing with my family in Europe when I was slapped in the face by a sentence hiding in a book We were near the end of our adventure and had worn most of the print off our four Eurail passes My wife and two daughters were napping and by reading Huston Smith s The World s Religions I was trying not to join them Somewhere between London and Edinburgh I found the words that left me red faced Paul whose letters epitomize the concerns of the early Church knew what Jesus had taught but he almost never quotes him Read More Comments Off on Contemplative Prayer More Essential than Esoteric Being With God The Practice of Contemplative Prayer by David Benner Volume 4 2 Fall 2006 Transformational Theology Section Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Comments Off on Being With God The Practice of Contemplative Prayer To anyone who knows me even superficially my writing an article on contemplative prayer might seem ludicrous By temperament I am far from being a natural contemplative I am active often impulsive restless and non reflective And anyone who knows my spiritual life well knows also that I have always struggled with disciplined prayer in fact with spiritual disciplines of any sort How then could I be one who dares to offer others anything about this seemingly most advanced of all forms of prayer Read More Comments Off on Being With God The Practice of Contemplative Prayer Christian Meditation Experiencing the Presence of God by Jack Finney Volume 4 2 Fall 2006 Transformational Theology Section Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Comments Off on Christian Meditation Experiencing the Presence of God After graduating from high school James Finley did something unusual He became a monk For the next six years he lived at the Abbey of Gethsemane and learned from one of the great contemporary spiritual figures Thomas Merton Now married and the father of two Finley has built a career as a teacher clinical psychologist writer and speaker He is the author of Merton s Palace of Nowhere The Awakening Call The Contemplative Heart and Christian Meditation Experiencing the Presence of God Read More Comments Off on Christian Meditation Experiencing the Presence of God The PAPA Prayer by Larry Crabb Volume 4 2 Fall 2006 Section Life Together Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Comments Off on The PAPA Prayer Ever since I ve been a Christian I ve asked God for lots of things He hasn t given There have been times I ve begged

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2012/01/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Conversations Journal – 2011 – December
    him that he was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary Each birth of his you see must be considered wonderful both that of his divinity and that of his humanity The first is from the Father without mother the second from mother without father the first apart from all time the second at the acceptable time the first eternal the second at the right moment the first without a body in the bosom of the Father the second with a body which did not violate the virginity of his mother the first without either sex the second without a man s embrace ACCS IVa 56 Early church writers like Augustine juxtaposed seemingly incompatible ideas to illuminate the miracle of the birth of Christ Lingering in this tension between the eternal and the temporal we receive a glimpse into the mystery of the eternal love of God as revealed in history Babylon and Egypt by Michael Glerup 1 Comment A reading from John Chrysostom But why was the Christ child sent into Egypt The text makes this clear he was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet out of Egypt have I called my son Hos 11 1 From that point onward we see that the hope of salvation would be proclaimed to the whole world Babylon and Egypt represent the whole world Even when they were engulfed in ungodliness God signified that he intended to correct and amend both Babylon and Egypt God wanted humanity to expect his bounteous gifts the world over So he called from Babylon the wise men and sent to Egypt the holy family Besides what I have said there is another lesson also to be learned which tends powerfully toward true self constraint in us We are warned from the beginning to look out for temptations and plots And we see this even when he came in swaddling clothes Thus you see even at his birth a tyrant raging a flight ensuing and a departure beyond the border For it was because of no crime that his family was exiled into the land of the Egypt Similarly you yourself need not be troubled if you are suffering countless dangers Do not expect to be celebrated or crowned promptly for your troubles Instead you may keep in mind the longsuffering example of the mother of the Child bearing all things nobly knowing that such a fugitive life is consistent with the ordering of spiritual things You are sharing the kind of labor Mary herself shared So did the magi They both were willing to retire secretly in the humiliating role of fugitive The Gospel of Matthew Homily 8 2 Two thoughts come to mind first how may I become mindful of the long suffering example of the mother of the Child in my spiritual journey Second I m reminded to pray for those who know to well the countless dangers of following Christ in a hostile world in particular to

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2011/12/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Conversations Journal – 2011 – November
    seem luminous Read More Comments Off on From Mountain Top to Mundane Life The Purpose of Spiritual Retreats In The House of My Invisible Lord Making the Stations of the Cross by Emilie Griffin Volume 7 1 Spring Summer 2009 Transformational Theology Section Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Comments Off on In The House of My Invisible Lord It was a Friday in the spring still cold weather in the Borough of Queens in New York City when I drove up the long winding drive to the Jesuit Retreat House on Long Island known as Inisfada At the time the property was large and the situation of the retreat house commanding It was a late Victorian mansion with many stories The house was set high on a rise of land Steep stone steps led up to an elaborate front entrance Such were many Catholic retreat houses I found in my exploration of the spiritual life This one like others had been given to the Society of Jesus no doubt by some Catholic family of the late Gilded Age in the expectation that the good fathers would use it in their teaching their spiritual formation of young men and their renowned retreat work with men and women living in the world Read More Comments Off on In The House of My Invisible Lord Retreat What How Why by Larry Crabb Volume 7 1 Spring Summer 2009 Section Honesty About the Journey Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Comments Off on Retreat What How Why A question from an eleven year old girl triggered the mini existential crisis that supplied the energy to write this essay A long forgotten memory retrieved during a day and a half retreat helped focus the direction of this essay And a recently devoured book one that requires stronger teeth than mine to chew properly suggested the content of this essay The girl is Josie my oldest granddaughter During a late night conversation with this budding epistemologist with little context she surprised me with this question Pop Pop if Buddhism and Hinduism are false religions how do we know that Christianity isn t just one more false religion Read More Comments Off on Retreat What How Why Retreat A Time to Listen to the Groans by Trevor Hudson Section Honesty About the Journey Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Comments Off on Retreat A Time to Listen to the Groans One of the most special gifts of being on retreat is that it gives us space to listen deeply In the silence and the solitude we are able to slow down quiet ourselves and hear those things we so often don t hear While the primary way to listen on retreat is usually through a meditation on the Scriptures I want to complement this traditional emphasis with another kind of listening Retreat I would like to suggest is also a time to listen to

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2011/11/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Conversations Journal – 2011 – October
    ll ever sleep in a cave again It was a Sunday morning and all around the world countless faithful sheep were stumbling into sanctuaries with worn hope and the fresh wounds of the week s chaos I thought of them as I knelt beside my little fire and brewed the morning coffee Read More Post a comment 3 Finding God in the Midst of Pain and Suffering by Gary W Moon Volume 9 2 Fall Winter 2011 Front Page Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Comments Off on Finding God in the Midst of Pain and Suffering A tailor prayed Lord I cheat on pieces of cloth you let babies die But I am going to make you a deal You forgive me my little sins and I ll forgive you your big ones Lew Smedes included that haunting anecdote in his important little book Forgive and Forget He uses it to call attention to a concept that might be more comfortable to ignore theodicy and the problem of pain Or more to the heart of the matter what is the impact ofour pain and suffering on the way we view God Read More Comments Off on Finding God in the Midst of Pain and Suffering Join in the Conversation by Gary W Moon Download PDF Volume 9 2 Fall Winter 2011 Section Letter From The Editors Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Comments Off on Join in the Conversation It is deeply important to us that we keep the fact that our journal is meant to be a conversation hence the name Conversations in front of us at all times We hope to prompt thought encouragement and conversation with God with others and with our editorial team If nothing else our past issue succeeded in doing just that We heard from you loudly and clearly positively and negatively We knew that we were taking a risk with the cover art for Issue 9 1 Spirituality and the Body Before the issue was published we prayed consulted our editorial board and advisors and spent a long time in conversation ourselves Read More Comments Off on Join in the Conversation What Good is God by Philip Yancey Volume 9 2 Fall Winter 2011 Transformational Theology Section Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Comments Off on What Good is God Philip Yancey In Conversation with Gary W Moon Philip Yancey is a popular author and speaker known for careful research keen insight and raw honesty Not long ago he was driving on a deserted road in New Mexico one Sunday morning when his Ford Explorer hit a patch of black ice Yancey wrestled with the steering wheel but his SUV went over an embankment shattering glass plastic metal and bones He was rushed to a hospital where after being strapped to a gurney for seven hours a doctor broke the bad news Your neck is broken and a bone fragment

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2011/10/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Conversations Journal – 2011 – September
    should be prosperous and secure Many Christians found afflictions hard to bear because they had read in the law that a prosperous and secure life was promised to those who serve God Peter therefore approaches the subject by telling them that they are greatly beloved He then goes on to warn them not to be surprised at their sufferings which come to them as tests from God Read More Comments Off on The School of Suffering An Unexpected Advance by Valerie Hess Comments Off on An Unexpected Advance A choir director I know used to take his choir on a fall advance instead of a retreat to make progress on the fall s music Usually we think of a retreat as a time to get away or save yourself as in a military retreat I think all these nuanced ideas work well together we seek to leave our normal routine sometimes as a life saving necessity to make progress in areas of our life where we feel stuck For most of us these are planned events I want to tell you the story of a forced retreat Read More Comments Off on An Unexpected Advance Please Don t Break by Anne Grizzle 1 Comment Please Don t Break by Anne Grizzle After keeping silence together where the only sounds are the wind s whistle woodpeckers drumming high pitched melodic trills from half a mile away one s own heartbeat and soul stirrings the Creator s soft whispered care it s hard to find a word that s worthy to break that clearest crystal space O Taste and See by Robert Spiotta Volume 9 2 Fall Winter 2011 Section Features Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Comments Off on O Taste and See If you are anything like me the news of the earthquake and tsunami that recently devastated the nation of Japan crept into your awareness gradually Even if you heard the news right away it wasn t until you started seeing the pictures the video the coverage that the enormity of this event truly hit you emotionally mentally spiritually Images have an impact on our souls communicating truth and suffering in ways that a thousands of words cannot Read More Comments Off on O Taste and See By Senior Editor September 30 2011 in Blog This will be published on Friday On Retreat by Stephen A Macchia Comments Off on On Retreat I find myself frequently and joyfully on retreat these days facilitating them for leaders and teams guiding them for our own ministry teams planning them for others on Sabbatical and engaging in them for myself No matter what the context or the group the purpose of a soul care retreat is pretty straight forward deepening intimacy with Christ Read More Comments Off on On Retreat Forced Desert Retreats by Marlena Graves 1 Comment We often think of retreats as times of refreshment as times when we choose to get away from our normal

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2011/09/ (2016-04-28)
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