Evangelical Monk Blog

Ramblings on living a Christan life

Month: December, 2012

Foolish Fridays 14

Brennan Manning in his The Importance of Being Foolish now turns his focus – and it is a laser beam focus – upon ourselves. He points out something that is so familiar to us it is surprising how true the laser is.

Just as failure to be attentive dissolves personal love in a human relationship, so inattention to the real self dissolves loving awareness of the divine relationship.

In my readings I came across the 17th chapter of John’s Gospel, the prayer of Jesus. We often focus on the words about obedience, and glorifying the Father. All of that is well and good, but I think it is easy to miss a critical point.

Jesus prays that the Father keep them, the disciples, and ultimately us, safe,

So keep them safe by the power of the name that you have given me. Then they will be one with each other, just as you and I are one. (John 17:11, CEV).

Do you see that dual relationship need – so that they may be one as Jesus is one with the Father.

This works both ways, our human relationships, whether in marriage or in friendship, are to be models of the divine relationship. Just as we must work at forming, maintaining and growing our human relationships, we need to be attentive to the primal relationship or nothing lasts.

What do you think?

Be blessed and be a blessing.


And They All Fall Down

Remember that silly little game – ring around the rosie? And they all fall down!

From time to time as Christ followers we may be called to consider how are we doing in this faith walk. Many times I think we ask ourselves if we are also following the ideal of Western civilization – independent, self-suffcient, and such things.

I remember reading a fair amount of Brennan Manning and he speaks much about this condition – which is not terminal but may be lifelong – asking such questions and expecting to really come up with a decent answer.

Sometimes I think we have to experience “failure” in the worldly sense of that word in order to understand it really isn’t our strengths that God seeks. Here is part of the devotional from a few days ago that brought this idea home to me.

I want you to blaze a trail for others who desire to live in My peaceful Presence. I have chosen you less for your strengths than for your weaknesses, which amplify your need for Me. Depend on Me more and more, and I will shower Peace on all your paths.

Young, Sarah (2004-10-12). Jesus Calling: Seeking Peace in His Presence (p. 311). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

I’m hearing echoes of Psalm 51:16 and Jesus from Matthew’s Gospel 9:13:

Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.

What do you think?

Be blessed and be a blessing

2012 in Review

Number 1 for 2012….

“I’m going to kill myself today.”

I met a young man today. I was sitting on the steps outside the parsonage where I am currently at home, and I saw him walking down the street. He looked up at the cross on top of the bell tower and saw me. As he approached me he said “I’m going to kill myself today.”

He sat down next to me and I could see that stare off in to the distance. I called the 911 dispatch and they advised me someone was on the way. Robert was his name and he said he has given up trying anymore. His addictions wouldn’t stop and he was just kicked out of the local Sober House.

He told me he had a family, that was now lost to him, and a young daughter of 14 and a son of 8. While he wasn’t married per the state law, he had been with the same woman for many years – until the last few years due to his inability to stay clean. Maybe I said, not lost just not in touch for today. I’ve been there, and 2 years is a painful absence but I’m learning Jesus already knows that. Sometimes I want to ask isn’t there a way that doesn’t hurt so much? I don’t know why it is that way.

We talked a little about the future and how Jesus warned us not to worry about tomorrow as we only get 1 day at a time – which carries enough in it to worry about so tomorrow is another day. We talked about how our God is a God of second chances, third chances and indeed a God of many chances beyond our capacity to comprehend why He gives us so many chances, but I let him know God isn’t letting him go today. And that was all he need be thinking about – today right now and right here and being led to a place where he didn’t have to fight it all out on his own – and nothing more than that because surely I thought that was enough for the moment.

The paramedics came and took him to the hospital. But before he went into the ambulance he called me over and shook my hand and said thank you, Now I’m sitting here wondering why God led Robert down this street and why God choose that moment to have me go out to sit on the steps to soak up some sun and watch the cars go down the street.

Then again, maybe it’s not about me ever figuring out the whys – not that I really can. Maybe it’s not about being worried about saying the right things and doing the script for such situations that I was taught so many years ago – not that I remembered any of it until now. Maybe it is about somehow someway learning to be a person who when I get a call to follow I can respond like Simon and Andrew and just drop my nets and follow Him (Matthew 4:19-20). What I didn’t realize at the time was that dropping my nets meant a lot more than dropping what was holding me back but in fact dropping a huge chunk of myself. Not that such a thing makes sense. I mean how can we lose that chunk and still be who we are supposed to be when I think I hear something about losing that chunk will in fact allow us to become all we were meant/created to be.

Now my head is starting to hurt. But this is about Robert and not me. So join with me in a prayer for Robert and maybe someone else not too far down the road showing him a little of the light we know is out there.

Be blessed and be a blessing today.


In Stanley Hauerwas’ memoir Hannah’s Child, I came across this observation,

The way things are is not the way things have to be. That thought began to shape my understanding of what it might mean to be a Christian – namely, Christianity is the ongoing training necessary to see that we are not fated. We can even imagine a world without war.

There is so much in those few sentences I think. Hauerwas speaks much of contingency and our lack of control despite our intense desire to be in control. What would it be like to submit that desire to the sovereignty of God (in the fullness of the Trinity)?

Somehow I tend to think being training involves a lot more than learning the “rules” and learning to modify my behavior to conform to those rules. Can we imagine under such circumstances the absence of war and evil?

Then imagine what the world would look like if we actually were conformed from the inside out – the soul and not simply the brain. Hmmm, maybe an interesting exercise.

The big question – how do we move into that life of ongoing training?

What do you think?

Be blessed and be a blessing.