upper room daily devotions

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ted Turner - Nothing But Nets

Now that Ashton Kutcher has gotten on the Nothing But Nets campaign wave along with Ted Turner, evidently the campaign is too cool to mention the relgious groups that have been behind it all along. I am very glad the anti-malaria movement is growing. I just wish that religion could get a break for the good things that it does and not just the denominational sniping and other less than missional activities we too often engage in.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

"Practical Matters" - A New Journal

Practical Matters is a new journal for and by scholars, practitioners, and teachers of religion. Out of Emory University and supported by the Lilly Endowment, the journal is a "transdisciplinary multimedia journal of religious practices and practical theology." The first issue is now online and is called "imagination." The goal is to publish 1-2 issues a year. The next issue will be focused on "youth."

Of the dozen or so articles included in the first issue, Monastic Imagination? A Pedagogical Reflection by Robyn Neville intrigued me the most.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Wilderness Confession

Well, I've been out of the blogosphere for quite a while. I have been wandering in the wilderness for some time, wondering what God would have me do if I would respond with a "yes" to God's call. Much of the time I feel like a spiritual coward who is unwilling to wade deeply into God's healing waters out of fear that it will do what it promises - change me and, thus, require changes from me. Fear has become, unfortunately, too normative and standard in how I live life; I allow it to dictate and limit how I live. So, I confess this fear and express a desire to move through and out of it.

I know that I am not the only person to have hopes and dreams that fall by the wayside. We say that we have obligations, that we've grown up, that our visions aren't practical. We use the pressure of normative life to let us off the hook of living the full lives that God would have us live. The problem, of course, is that we do grow up and take on obligations. Sometimes dreams aren't practical; they can be foolish. Discerning between foolish day dreaming and bold faith can be a difficult, tedious, and confusing process. This is where I am.

I want to get a PhD. I want to create a video-based curriculum focused on spiritual practices and a Christian "Way" of life that could be used in adult Sunday schools. I want to work in water management and protection: eco-stewardship. And I want to help start a new Christian community.

I want to gather people together who have a deep hunger for more meaning in life - people who find chanting the psalms, celebrating the Eucharist, and praying meaningful. I want to gather these folks together in covenant relationship taking Sabbath, Sacrament, Stewardship, Service, Simplicity, and Scripture seriously. The community would include ancient rituals and be relevant for postmodern life. There would be an intentional living community living among the poorest in my city, offering hospitality, living simply, and shining with God's love. Eventually we would have a small working farm where people could go for transition and discernment: after a divorce, after treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, after leaving a bad relationship, during times of vocational change, on sabbatical, and so forth. I see this community clearly. It is radical and faithful to the God who has captured my heart.

The question isn't "what" for my life. The question is "how." How? How does one start a project like creating a curriculum? How does one start a community with monastic components, worship components, and covenantal components? How does one do these things and pay the mortgage, maintain health insurance, and keep family intact? How can I move from dreaming to living? From fear to faith?

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