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  • Conversations Journal – 2011 – August
    my life like a solvent stripping away the hardened veneer In the desert God empties me of the toxic cargo I carry opening space for the Holy Spirit to fill like ballast in order to keep my life upright Read More Post a comment 1 Wilderness Cell by Marlena Graves 4 comments My painful childhood experiences drove me to immerse myself in scripture In fifth through seventh grades I cloistered myself away in my closet of a room for up to three hours a day in our flimsy walled green trailer In my room I d lay down with my Bible and soak in visions of God elicited from my Bible reading I was like Jacob at Bethel with visions of angels ascending and descending on the ladder to heaven Only he was outside with a stone for a pillow Read More Post a comment 4 Not Alone In The Desert by Joannah Sadler Comments Off on Not Alone In The Desert I will never forget this awful time as I grieve over my loss Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this The faithful love of the Lord never ends His mercies never cease Great is his faithfulness his mercies begin afresh each morning I say to myself The Lord is my inheritance therefore I will hope in him The Lord is good to those who depend on him to those who search for him So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever Though he brings grief he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow Lamentations 3 20 26 31 33 Read More Comments Off on Not Alone In The Desert Life Without The Desert by Juanita Campbell Rasmus Comments Off on Life Without The Desert The time of really going thru feeling isolated from God from the familiar comforts of life whether it be a state of contentment or familiarity of a normal routine the desert time is often as though you ve turned off onto a road that you ve never encountered Now all the senses are on alert and there are no familiar icons pointing out the right direction The desert times are often disorienting and can easily stir up just beneath the skin anxieties that seem to lie dormant until times like these These are the times when illusion and reality seem equally illusive Read More Comments Off on Life Without The Desert Glory and Heartache by Nathan Foster 2 comments God created lands filled with water as a place for man to live and the desert so that he can discover his soul Rene Wadlow From reading and listening to those much further along than myself I ve picked up the idea that all earthly saints are slowly marching toward the desert and if we ve already been to the desert we are most

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  • Conversations Journal – 2011 – July
    a genuine reminder to me of how unique these individuals are in the sight of God Read More Post a comment 1 Mountains and Valleys by Chuck Conniry Comments Off on Mountains and Valleys C S Lewis in his well loved novel The Screwtape Letters poignantly describes the strenuous mystery of human spirituality He does this by way of the character Screwtape a senior demon that offers the following advice to his demon in training nephew Wormwood Read More Comments Off on Mountains and Valleys Relief From Guilt by Jan Johnson Comments Off on Relief From Guilt Many people think guilt is God s way of motivating us to behave better Not until I heard Dallas Willard make the blanket statement that Guilt never helps did I realize guilt just makes people hopeless It fixes my eyes on me what I ve done wrong moves me away from God Read More Comments Off on Relief From Guilt The Sea of Doing Too Much by Juanita Campbell Rasmus 8 comments I am learning that I am probably headed away from God when I am not taking care of my SELF I met with my therapist last week I m officially living in the m word menopause and I am grateful for her stabilizing influence on this sea of change Read More Post a comment 8 Pen And Paper Discernment by Elizabeth de Smaele 2 comments Journaling is my most valuable ally in the discernment process Time and again I ve gained clarity about the movements in my soul and my interaction with the world by engaging in reflective writing Not long ago I attended a conference aimed at healing deep seated pain One evening I felt a strong urge to write although I was unsure about what needed to be expressed

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2011/07/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Conversations Journal – 2011 – June
    of well being that exercise raising your heart rate and good old fresh air bring Yesterday I got an email from the London Olympics confirming that I have been one of the lucky ones and have four tickets for Artistic Gymnastics OK not the most exciting event in my mind my two young girls are very excited but I would happily trade them in for the 100metres final if anyone wants to swap Read More Post a comment 2 Home With A View by Keith Meyer Comments Off on Home With A View My rural home s screened in porch two stories up and in view of my own private nature preserve has been a sanctuary for me where God has met me so often that it formed within me the same kind of space inside my heart We might have to downsize in a move this year but its gift is now in me and I will take it wherever I go It leads me in a powerful vision for the Lord s Prayer Read More Comments Off on Home With A View The Shores of their Faith By Tara Owens June 20 2011 in Movies There are few movies on the subject of faith that linger with me inviting me to examine my assumptions about life with God prodding me to consider my sins and the price paid for them There are fewer still that inspire me to love God more deeply to follow Christ more closely In the past years I can could them on one hand Into Great Silence and Doubt are two that spring to mind In the past month I have added a third Of Gods Men Read More Post a comment 1 Get Low By Fil Anderson June 16 2011 in Movies I ll admit that whenever a movie touches a place deep within my soul my obsessive compulsive tendency kicks into high gear If you re catching my drift then you won t be too startled to hear me say You absolutely must see Get Low Read More Post a comment 2 Soothing The Soul By Katie Rider June 17 2011 in Movies Television Since the age of 12 when my grandmother introduced me to the outlandish and extravagant 1958 film Auntie Mame I have been an avid lover of film and television classics In fact I have often remarked jokingly to family and friends that I was born in the wrong century for my preferences mannerisms and demeanor tend decidedly toward the old fashioned Read More Post a comment 3 Doing The Right Thing By Chuck Conniry June 13 2011 in Movies A few weeks ago I watched The Dilemma on a cross country flight I don t want to say too much about the movie so here s a synopsis from the official website Vince Vaughn and Kevin James headline an all star comedy from director Ron Howard Ronny s Vaughn world is turned upside down when he inadvertently sees

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  • Conversations Journal – 2011 – May
    slowly working through books and taking devotional time He recommends Everything Belongs by Fr Richard Rohr Where God Is Leading Us By Trevor Hudson May 18 2011 in Books Just over 20 years ago I found my way to a little monastery in Johannesburg and asked one of the monks there to lead me through the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius Very kindly he agreed In our first interview together he spelled out the time commitments I would need to make For about nine months I would need to set aside an hour in the morning for prayer and meditation while in the evening I would need to spend about ten minutes or so doing what he called an examen of consciousness I had no idea of what this strange sounding phrase meant Patiently my new found monk explained what this exercise in reviewing my day would involve For the following nine months this evening exercise became the highlight of the whole Ignatian adventure Right up to this present day it has been foundational to my journey with God Read More Post a comment 0 Caring For A Good Life By Stephen A Macchia May 17 2011 in Books I m doing a slow read through the classic The Imitation of Christ It is best read slowly reflectively and prayerfully It s too much to absorb as a quick read and it s impossible to complete in one setting I decided to pick it up once again after nearly two decades since I first read it Already about a third of the way through and I m convicted on many fronts Read More Post a comment 1 Finding Everything Belongs By Lyle SmithGraybeal May 23 2011 in Books I grew up in the Church in a small Kansas town baptized in the Disciples of Christ congregation then spending time in the Southern Baptist then in the United Methodist where the youth minister discipled me and the girls were cuter At each of these I was exposed to the Bible and the personal reading of Scripture though I don t remember the suggestion of reading it for a devotional or formational purpose Mainly we spent time with Scripture for an assurance of eternal salvation or for helping others get saved Read More Post a comment 0 More Than Just Kid s Stuff By Nathan Foster May 12 2011 in Books Can I confess that some of the most spiritually impactful books I ve read have been children s literature I m not sure if it s the content or the limitless possibility of the imagination they tend to evoke Maybe I m just drawn to stories that capture unadulterated goodness Most likely it s because this is the most consistent reading I ve gotten to do in the last four years Reading time with my 10 year old daughter is something sacred that is only missed on the rarest of occasion Sharing a story with her is no longer a parental

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2011/05/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Conversations Journal – 2011 – April
    your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you whom you have received from God You are not your own 1 Corinthians 6 19 If our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit then shouldn t we do all we can to keep those temples in good repair Does constant junk food or a lack of exercise create a good space for the Holy Spirit to dwell in Does gluttony smoking abuse of alcohol and drugs create a temple worthy of God We are not our own despite the mantra of many in this culture about what they can and cannot do with their bodies we belong to God and therefore are held to a different standard and understanding of the purpose and goal of our lives Read More Post a comment 0 Human In Every Way by Don Simpson 1 Comment During his passion Jesus remained fully aware of what was going on around him and to him He participated fully in his body even as he hung on the cross He refused the wine mixed with myrrh that might have given him some pain relief His intent was to be fully aware and to participate in every aspect of his humanity Read More Post a comment 1 Reclaiming Purity by Stephen A Macchia BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit 1 Cor 6 19 Paul is asking the question in an assumptive posture hello people didn t you know this Then why are you partaking in sexual immorality and giving your body away to unhealthy ends Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself Then flee from such immorality vs 15 18 Read More Post a comment 0 My Soul s Address by Fil Anderson 1 Comment Recently I ve been pondering author Barbara Brown Taylor s outlook on how our body s condition affects our spiritual health In her book An Altar in the World she writes Whether you are sick or well lovely or irregular there comes a time when it is vitally important for your spiritual health to drop your clothes look in the mirror and say Here I am This is the body like no other that life has shaped I live here This is my soul s address Read More Post a comment 1 Talk the Walk by Bob Fryling 1 Comment I was on an island off the coast of Seattle I was there for a directed three week retreat of silence and I was struggling with how to pray It wasn t that I didn t want to pray or didn t have time to pray Rather it was that I felt very disconnected between my body and spirit I tried kneeling sitting standing lying down prostrate and every other biblical prayer posture I could think of However none of these positions seemed to work well for very long Read More

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2011/04/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Conversations Journal – 2011 – March
    couple which is doable given Holland s networks of bike paths and public transport and the mirror has moved inside to my home Read More Post a comment 0 Outward Bound For The Soul by Fil Anderson 1 Comment Despite its emphasis on abstinence the faith tradition I grew up in taught me nothing about Lent But I won t be critical or hold anyone in contempt From what I can gather the same would ve been true if I d grown up in the early church Apparently the custom of spending forty days in self denial and repentance in preparation for Easter wasn t introduced until after the initial surge of Christian adrenalin waned and believers became lackadaisical about their faith Read More Post a comment 1 March Theme Lent by Tara Owens 1 Comment It s hard to believe that it s March already Time seems to have sped up somehow in 2011 or maybe it s just that I ve had a full calendar so far this year Either way I m looking forward to this month s Conversations blog theme as a way to slow me down and remind me Whose calendar I m truly meant to be ruled by Read More Post a comment 1 Not Getting What I Want by Jan Johnson BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Lent is all about abstinence not doing things that prop us up If I don t eat chocolate what will I do for joy If I don t talk too much how will I be noticed If I don t shop how will I feel They re all about learning to be sweet when I don t get what I want Read More Post a comment 0 Lent Is About Letting Go by Juanita Campbell Rasmus 1

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2011/03/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Conversations Journal – 2011 – February
    an embarrassment of riches when it came to valuable entries on January s theme of Spiritual Practices So we ll be interspersing a few of those entries like Elizabeth de Smaele s excellent reflections on simplicity below here and there throughout February Enjoy Simplicity is my spiritual theme for 2011 When Christine Valters Paintner of Abbey of the Arts invited her readers to share a word which captures our desire for the year simplicity emerged for me as a timely and necessary practice This realization surfaced during a time of forced simplicity Around Christmas a health issue ushered me involuntarily into a simpler world For a time my energy was severely limited so that in addition to tending to my basic needs I had the choice of which one thing I would tend to that day Read More Post a comment 0 Building a Rule by Lyle SmithGraybeal 1 Comment Editor s Note This excellent entry by Lyle SmithGraybeal deals so well with the concept of a Rule of Life that we just couldn t deprive you of it At St Brigit Episcopal Church in Frederick CO where I am a parishioner and Felicia my spouse is the Vicar we take a fair bit of inspiration and guidance from the Celtic Christian tradition Brigit more often spelled Brigid was a contemporary of St Patrick the abbess of a convent and through the mistake or inspiration of a visiting cleric a bishop of the early Church Read More Post a comment 1 The Day I Submitted To My Kids by Nathan Foster 2 comments My daughter Autumn recently expressed interest in some of the spiritual formation activities I ve been working with this last year After some discussion I agreed to involve her in an exercise of submission I decided to spend a whole day donating my complete attention to my 10 year old daughter and 4 year old son by doing only what they wanted to do in hopes I would learn more about my chronic desire to have my own way After placing a budget and clarifying just how much candy and travel could be involved a date was set As expected the kids were filled with Disney like enthusiasm and excitement Read More Post a comment 2 Not My Responsibility by Fil Anderson 2 comments Reflecting back on my life as a husband and father of three grown children I can recall times when the mere mention of spiritual formation and families was all it took to make me sweat and begin feeling like a failure That s because I was living in the illusion that my family s spiritual formation was ultimately my responsibility However the reality that I ve been waking up to in recent years albeit later than I wish is that I can t manage or control the work of God s transforming presence neither in my own life nor in the life of my family Read More Post a comment 2 How Marriage

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2011/02/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Conversations Journal – 2011 – January
    your quads but all of the little stabilizing and supporting muscles around it Usually these workouts include balancing endurance and odd angles as well Instead of working out your body very specifically your body is learning to respond to any and every situation with stability and strength Bryan didn t always love these workouts though When he first started he felt like the young skinny kid in gym class who is about to get picked on We live in the town that hosts the Olympic Training Center and my husband s workout partners occasionally included bronze medal winning weight lifters He was definitely out of his class He had to fight through feelings of inadequacy and the sense that he might be the only guy in the world who couldn t do a pull up Fast forward a year though and Bryan is holding his own Not only that he feels better he s eating better and he s lost weight At a not so diminutive 6 6 in height he has struggled his whole life with weak knees Today he doesn t even think about whether or not his knees can hold him steady while he balances hundreds of pounds on his shoulders When it comes to the spiritual disciplines I ve regularly heard them described as a workout for your soul something that allows you to open yourself up to God through indirect effort when you can t necessarily do it directly by your own willpower I believe that to be true What s made this come alive to me this year though is watching Bryan s unconscious confidence in his own body build through just such a process It s inspiring What would it be like if I could so confidently trust in God s goodness in my life because I ve practiced a discipline of gratitude even when I didn t want to What if because a habit of listening prayer I became so sure of the voice of God in my life that I trusted His words to me no matter how much pressure I was shouldering at the time Bryan s crazy workouts aren t the way that I choose to maintain a healthy lifestyle and stay fit for me it s a combination of home workouts running and boxing training And the spiritual disciplines that I undertake won t necessarily be the ones that you need to inspire and move you toward a deeper experience and love of God in your life And yet we can all be motivated by the fact that God s response to our consistent application of spiritual practices whether they make us feel sideswiped by a bus or not is to strengthen us on a soul level As the writer of Hebrews says No discipline seems pleasant at the time but painful Later on however it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it Therefore strengthen your feeble arms and weak

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/2011/01/ (2016-04-28)
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