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  • Lectio | Conversations Journal
    thought Read More Comments Off on Addicted to Prayer Reading Beyond the Headlines by Jan Meyers Proett 1 Comment Writing a blog for Conversations Journal is intimidating Though I know it is illusion I have this image of a typical reader to be someone who lives in holy rhythms all day long a communal lunch perfectly placed between lauds and vespers silence and service My rhythms look a bit more like ventricular fibrillation I am also a reluctant blogger So this should prove a good discipline for me making a blog offering each month as topics are assigned This month s topic Do a Lectio Divina of my life in this past year Wow Starting easy huh Read More Post a comment 1 Will You Let Me Care For You by Juanita Campbell Rasmus 16 comments I am a journal keeper I m so grateful that our editor at Conversations invited us to use lectio and listen for God regarding our past year Frankly I had never considered the idea Read More Post a comment 16 Fear Not by Alan Fadling 2 comments In one word a primary theme for me in 2011 was fear and overcoming mine Perhaps there are some for whom fear is not much of an issue I don t seem to know too many of them And I m not one myself Fear has always been a deep struggle for me It s probably good as someone has counted that the word to fear not occurs 365 times in the Bible I need at least that many reminders Read More Post a comment 2 Confessions of a Flip Flopper 2011 In Retrospect by Beth Booram Comments Off on Confessions of a Flip Flopper 2011 In Retrospect As I reflect on this last year I notice a pattern emerge that makes me sort of uncomfortable It looks an awful lot like flip flopping I ve changed my mind gone back and forth discovered and re discovered what I believe to be God s path forward for me particularly as it relates to starting Sustainable Faith Indy SFI an educational retreat center Yet as I reflect on how God is speaking to me through this year in retrospect I see that this circuitous path is helping me discover God s will Read More Comments Off on Confessions of a Flip Flopper 2011 In Retrospect God s Sorrowing Vigil by Chuck Conniry Comments Off on God s Sorrowing Vigil Six years ago I walked away from a 20 year spiritual discipline reading through the Bible every year I needed the break Read More Comments Off on God s Sorrowing Vigil Is 40 Good or Bad by Bob Fryling Comments Off on Is 40 Good or Bad This past year Alice and I celebrated our 40 th wedding anniversary with all of the appropriate dinners family times and weekend get a ways It was wonderful to affirm God s faithfulness to us and our faithfulness to each other We

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  • Scripture | Conversations Journal
    Fil he said you are constantly quoting authors who have influenced your life but you rarely mention the Bible Though I am confident there was no malice intended his truthful words hurt and even today I feel their sting Yet following the initial sadness and shame came eventual transformation as I began to discover that reading the Scripture is a way into prayer Read More Post a comment 5 The Word Intervenes By Debby Bellingham August 22 2013 in Scripture She was eight years old vulnerable and wearily wise She had been taken from her home by the Child Protective Services because her brother had sexually molested her She sat in my office brave and amazingly unscathed by the trauma Read More Post a comment 3 Reading the Bible to Discover the Word By Robert Rife August 15 2013 in Scripture 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 countless marking pens brought me neither appreciably closer to God nor to Christ likeness I was left to wonder why In fact it was actually starting to become boring and stale Read More Post a comment 4 Hope By Lisa Van Engen August 10 2013 in Scripture 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 Be the Boat By Debby Bellingham August 7 2013 in Scripture It s not unusual for me to pray using Ignatian prayer Praying in this manner involves entering into the story with your imagination being part of the scene using your senses to let the narrative come alive within you Imaginative prayer allows God s word to access your whole person it is not just your mind that is connecting with God your emotions are involved as well Be warned though it is also very provocative You never know what is going to be touched by the Holy Spirit as you prayerfully follow the gospel narrative Read More Post a comment 3 A View on Scripture By Valerie Hess August 1 2013 in Scripture Thomas Merton said it was actually dangerous to put the Scriptures in the hands of people whose inner self is not yet sufficiently awakened to encounter the Spirit because they will try to use God for

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  • Spiritual Practices | Conversations Journal
    or people who let their kids run wild In any us versus them situation them are the strangers The shocking thing about Jesus is that he did not merely tolerate such different people Jesus offered himself to them in self giving love I am able to do this only when I ask Jesus to reach out to others through me Excerpted from Invitation to the Jesus Life ch 5 Jan Johnson Join the Conversation Who are the strangers in your life What might be some small step you might take in welcoming one of them Practicing Christ Centered Reading An Excerpt from Fire of the Word Meeting God On Holy Ground By Chris Webb July 1 2015 in Blog Lectio Scripture Spiritual Practices BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT How might we begin to develop our ability to read the Bible more Christocentrically that is as a book that speaks everywhere to us of Christ First it is essential that we develop the skills of attentiveness outlined in chapter ten and have some experience of using those skills in our reading of the Gospels Until we have learned at a deep level to discern and respond to the presence of Christ in the Gospel narratives where he is most conspicuously present we will always struggle to identify how say Leviticus or Job might be revealing Christ Read More Post a comment 0 Simple But Powerful Practicing God s Presence By Jan Johnson November 18 2013 in Spiritual Practices An uncomplicated yet powerful spiritual exercise is to merely practice the presence of God throughout our day thanking God for a beautiful sunset or the best coffee we ve ever tasted asking God to help us with a computer problem or find something sensing God s presence as we close our eyes and listen to a favorite song Read More Post a comment 1 In The Pages Of A Magazine By Juanita Campbell Rasmus May 9 2011 in Books Spiritual Practices I have always believed that challenged relationships are usually lessons of some kind I had a little time and picked up my O magazine for a little diversion This particular issue was devoted to Inspiring the Best in You I leisurely turned pages having prayed and cried out to God for wisdom I just couldn t take the stress of the chaos from my colleague I turned page after page trying to find refuge in the beautiful colors and shiny trinkets being advertised Then I turned a page that stopped me dead in my page turning tracks May We Help You the page asked and it s subtitle Dear Me Read More Post a comment 0 Tennis Anyone By Gary W Moon April 25 2011 in Spiritual Practices The Body It was a colorful day in May The sky was bright blue the tennis courts olive green and John McEnroe s hair was wiry red I was sitting in the stands watching the final match of the NCAA tennis tournament in Athens

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  • Conversations Journal – Front Page
    inhabitant Dallas Willard When I shared with a friend of mine someone who s been a pastor missionary and is now a retreat leader in the mountains of Colorado that this issue of Conversations Journal would be on the topic of community he more than rolled his eyes As someone who helps the burned out and burdened recover from the often unsustainable demands that get placed on those attempting to love and serve God he is deeply skeptical of Christian buzzwords like community or mission And like many followers of Christ myself included he has been deeply wounded in the name of maintaining or protecting community As Dallas Willard so wisely points out God s intention in history is the creation of the very thing an all inclusive community of loving persons with Himself in the center Yet how audacious is it to say the Lord s entire purpose revolves around the thing that in its currently fallen and broken state has hurt or alienated so many of us To read the rest of this article you can purchase the entire issue or just this article through our Journal Store Tara Owens Tara M Owens is the senior editor of Conversations Journal A certified spiritual director with Anam Cara Ministries www anamcara com she practices in Colorado and around the world She is profoundly grateful to do ministry and life with her husband and best friend Bryan She is working on an upcoming book from InterVarsity Press on spirituality and the body If you d like to continue the conversation with Tara she can be reached at tara conversationsjournal com or you can follower her on Twitter at t owens Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to email this

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  • Volume 13.1 Spring/Summer 2015 | Conversations Journal
    the deepest part of you The Bible calls it your soul and makes it clear that caring for your soul is of utmost importance Matthew 16 26 1 How does a church community become centered on this journey inward What does it take to build the kind of community that can help deepen and facilitate this kind of journey And what prompts a pastor to send numerous members of his church staff through Ruth Haley Barton s two year Transforming Community experience Conversations editor Cindy Bunch was curious about all this and more so she had a conversation with David Johnson about how a pastor moves his or her community inward 1 http www thedoor org discover Accessed December 17 2014 To read the rest of this article you can purchase the entire issue or just this article through our Journal Store Becoming The Beloved Community Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 13 1 Spring Summer 2015 Section Intentionality Of The Heart Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT The human heart longs for community a place to belong to be known to be understood to be accepted affirmed and loved Yet whenever we become part of a community it doesn t take long before we begin to experience tension misunderstanding jealousies irritations and conflict Why is this Because life in community reveals who we really are It reveals the gap between what Thomas Merton called the false self and the true self 1 The people who know us best hold up a mirror that reflects our deepest wounds and greatest fears When my brokenness rubs up against your brokenness it begins to reverberate causing discomfort The people who really know us end up knowing us too well In our casual relationships over coffee or on Facebook we get to choose what aspects of ourselves to reveal But in our closest relationships we can t hide so easily Perhaps this is why we often prefer the company of casual friends to the intimacy of our closest relationships or families of origin or why so many of us move from group to group in search of the perfect faith community or spiritual companions We can learn to embrace the tension irritation and conflict we experience in our closest relationships as invitations into a deeper path of healing growth and soul transformation To read the rest of this article you can purchase the entire issue or just this article through our Journal Store 1 Thomas Merton Things in Their Identity in New Seeds of Contemplation New York New Discovery Books 1961 pp 29 36 Along Together An Epidemic In the Church It s Time To Rethink Incarnational Community Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 13 1 Spring Summer 2015 Section Intentionality Of The Heart Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Why is it that so many church people feel so untransformed So stuck in patterns that they don t understand or don t want Why in their most reflective moments do they often feel alone misunderstood disenchanted or at the very least out of place in regard to their community experience with others even in the church Certainly many reasons feed this epidemic of noncommunity but the church hasn t helped solve this quandary Perhaps a fresh look at what incarnational community is and aspires to be might be an antidote for our current malaise When Sherry Turkle 1 wrote Alone Together her deep and thoughtful book describing how technology is affecting social interactions in our present world little did she know that her book title gives voice to a much bigger problem shared even within our own sacred communities This alone together dilemma is more pervasive than the power and influence of social media affecting our relationships it is a very real disposition for many Christians in the church today I have to confess right out of the gate that this issue is important to me both on a professional level as a pastor and now professor who trains pastors and as a disciple of Jesus who believes that our current hyperindividualism and consumerism is crushing our ability to be the church whose best witness to Jesus is local groups of people churches who have become genuine loving communities My experience has taught me that I am a better person when I live within a context of other disciples who love me who know me and who have genuine connectedness and insight to help me grow when I can t see straight or even see myself in a healthy way In other words I m not at my best when I am isolated and alone You see community is a critical means for your transformation and mine But we ve lost our muscle memory of what it is though the dull ache in our hearts still remains No matter what our particular temperaments and personalities God created us as communal creatures in spite of its complications and challenges If anything else the Gospels are beautiful and messy portraits of community where we watch Jesus apprentice a diverse array of disciples as he taught modeled and formed them into a community shaped by his agape love If you doubt this intended outcome reflect again on Jesus words the night before he was taken to the cross A new command I give to you Love one another As I have loved you so you must love one another By this everyone know that you are my disciples if you love one another 2 To read the rest of this article you can purchase the entire issue or just this article through our Journal Store 1 Sherry Turkle Alone Together Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other New York Basic Books 2011 2 John 13 34 35 NIV O Taste See Meditations on Leonardo da Vinci s The Last Supper Purchase

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  • Section | Conversations Journal
    Bible calls it your soul and makes it clear that caring for your soul is of utmost importance Matthew 16 26 1 How does a church community become centered on this journey inward What does it take to build the kind of community that can help deepen and facilitate this kind of journey And what prompts a pastor to send numerous members of his church staff through Ruth Haley Barton s two year Transforming Community experience Conversations editor Cindy Bunch was curious about all this and more so she had a conversation with David Johnson about how a pastor moves his or her community inward 1 http www thedoor org discover Accessed December 17 2014 To read the rest of this article you can purchase the entire issue or just this article through our Journal Store Becoming The Beloved Community Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 13 1 Spring Summer 2015 Section Intentionality Of The Heart Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT The human heart longs for community a place to belong to be known to be understood to be accepted affirmed and loved Yet whenever we become part of a community it doesn t take long before we begin to experience tension misunderstanding jealousies irritations and conflict Why is this Because life in community reveals who we really are It reveals the gap between what Thomas Merton called the false self and the true self 1 The people who know us best hold up a mirror that reflects our deepest wounds and greatest fears When my brokenness rubs up against your brokenness it begins to reverberate causing discomfort The people who really know us end up knowing us too well In our casual relationships over coffee or on Facebook we get to choose what aspects of ourselves to reveal But in our closest relationships we can t hide so easily Perhaps this is why we often prefer the company of casual friends to the intimacy of our closest relationships or families of origin or why so many of us move from group to group in search of the perfect faith community or spiritual companions We can learn to embrace the tension irritation and conflict we experience in our closest relationships as invitations into a deeper path of healing growth and soul transformation To read the rest of this article you can purchase the entire issue or just this article through our Journal Store 1 Thomas Merton Things in Their Identity in New Seeds of Contemplation New York New Discovery Books 1961 pp 29 36 Along Together An Epidemic In the Church It s Time To Rethink Incarnational Community Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 13 1 Spring Summer 2015 Section Intentionality Of The Heart Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Why is it that so many church people feel so untransformed So stuck in patterns that they don t understand or don t want Why in their most reflective moments do they often feel alone misunderstood disenchanted or at the very least out of place in regard to their community experience with others even in the church Certainly many reasons feed this epidemic of noncommunity but the church hasn t helped solve this quandary Perhaps a fresh look at what incarnational community is and aspires to be might be an antidote for our current malaise When Sherry Turkle 1 wrote Alone Together her deep and thoughtful book describing how technology is affecting social interactions in our present world little did she know that her book title gives voice to a much bigger problem shared even within our own sacred communities This alone together dilemma is more pervasive than the power and influence of social media affecting our relationships it is a very real disposition for many Christians in the church today I have to confess right out of the gate that this issue is important to me both on a professional level as a pastor and now professor who trains pastors and as a disciple of Jesus who believes that our current hyperindividualism and consumerism is crushing our ability to be the church whose best witness to Jesus is local groups of people churches who have become genuine loving communities My experience has taught me that I am a better person when I live within a context of other disciples who love me who know me and who have genuine connectedness and insight to help me grow when I can t see straight or even see myself in a healthy way In other words I m not at my best when I am isolated and alone You see community is a critical means for your transformation and mine But we ve lost our muscle memory of what it is though the dull ache in our hearts still remains No matter what our particular temperaments and personalities God created us as communal creatures in spite of its complications and challenges If anything else the Gospels are beautiful and messy portraits of community where we watch Jesus apprentice a diverse array of disciples as he taught modeled and formed them into a community shaped by his agape love If you doubt this intended outcome reflect again on Jesus words the night before he was taken to the cross A new command I give to you Love one another As I have loved you so you must love one another By this everyone know that you are my disciples if you love one another 2 To read the rest of this article you can purchase the entire issue or just this article through our Journal Store 1 Sherry Turkle Alone Together Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other New York Basic Books 2011 2 John 13 34 35 NIV O Taste See Meditations on Leonardo da Vinci s The Last Supper Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume

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  • Front Page | Conversations Journal
    history of the Scots for example how in the world did haggis come about After an afternoon of learning about the geography and its effects on the various products that come out of Scotland the instructor said something fascinating Our palates don t fully develop the ability to appreciate a range of bitterness until we re in our late thirties or early forties Read More Post a comment 0 Front Page Lessons From A Snake Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 11 2 Fall Winter 2013 Section Front Page Features Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT When lovelessness is present we become wounded Woundedness can give rise to the two basic forms of evil in relations to others assault and withdrawal Dallas Willard Fear and love are the warp and woof of the universe opposites both physiologically and spiritually Neither can be fully alive in the presence of the other emotional oil and water I learned some of this from two encounters with snakes Have you ever met a snake so close you could see the black in its eyes Read More Post a comment 0 Healing Body and Soul Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Do you believe that a minister can cure disease by praying and putting a hand on someone s head Careful before you answer a very similar question is on a test used by mental health professionals to diagnose psychopathology and to affirm that particular item will increase your score on a scale that will make you appear to state it succinctly crazy Read More Post a comment 0 A Twice Dumb Ox by Gary W Moon Volume 6 1 Spring 2008 Section Front Page Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Comments Off on A Twice Dumb Ox Thomas Aquinas is a man of mystery Born into a wealthy powerful family he chose the simple life of a poor friar He was a large lumbering man whose classmates labeled the dumb ox Yet he proved himself quick of wit and the possessor of a brilliance so rare that his voice has been heard bellowing across the ages Read More Comments Off on A Twice Dumb Ox 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

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  • Honesty About the Journey | Conversations Journal
    So why should I try to light up the path a little Why should I presume that I have anything to say here And why should I write to people who are still on their first journey and happily so Read More Post a comment 0 Letting Go of the False Self How the Enneagram can Help You Find the True You Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 2 Fall Winter 2014 Section Honesty About the Journey Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Our daughter Elisa still remembers a terrifying moment in the produce section of our grocery store She was young too young for school but old enough to be walking the aisles of the grocery store with Mommy Somewhere between the lettuce and the grapefruit she let go of my hand and wandered a few feet away Ready to return to the security of my presence she reached up to take my hand Horrors That was not Mommy up there Read More Post a comment 0 Gathering Widsom The Golden Fruit of Later Years Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 1 Spring Summer 2014 Section Honesty About the Journey Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume 2 comments When the editors of Conversations Journal decided to do an issue of aging and passages we knew we had in our own community a voice to speak wisely and well to us In Emilie Griffin s latest book Green Leaves for Later Years she shares wisdom from her seventy five year spiritual journey Read More Post a comment 2 Older Wiser Seven Attitudes for Sustaining Love and Relationship Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 1 Spring Summer 2014 Section Honesty About the Journey Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Some time ago a friend asked me How would you define maturity I could see this was more than a rhetorical question and there was an answer lurking behind his inquiry I fed him the line he wanted How would you define maturity He quickly fired back I think it can be summed up with one critical skill the ability to postpone immediate pleasure for long term gain He expounded on how this concept was so critical yet undeniably absent from the lives of his teenage children Read More Post a comment 0 Strok of Grace Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 11 2 Fall Winter 2013 Section Honesty About the Journey Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT We live in a fear filled world Much of the fuel for the generalized angst and breakneck pace of our culture is a product of a disabling fear that lurks both in the known and unknown parts of our heart Over time we can begin to limp through our days carrying either a numb indifference or

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