spirituality

Four Things to Know About Happiness (From the Christian Worldview)

happiness depends on character which depends on God

The Christian faith, and its ancient interpreters are in agreement about many things.

One, that happiness is what we are meant for. We had original happiness (bliss) in the garden. We will have it one day in the future, either in the New Heavens and New Earth where there are no more tears.

Two, that happiness is not based on what you have around you, but what you have inside you. In other words, it is the interior world of virtue, character and morality that is necessary for true happiness. 

Essay and Reflection about Reformed Theology and the Spiritual Journey I Am On

Hi Everyone:

This is a MUCH longer blog post than what I typically write. And contrary to all advice, I have not done any work to make it more internet friendly and easier to read.

 

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I wanted to share with you a few thoughts about a very significant book I just finished. I actually bought it two years ago, and it has been sitting on my "to read shelf" (actually shelves) which I am making progress working through.

It is Life in God: John Calvin, Practical Formation and the Future of Protestant Theology by Matthew Boulton.

While this book is the stimulation for this reflection, the reflection goes much broader than the book.

The Three Parts of Wisdom

Wisdom consists in doing the next thing you have to do, doing it with your whole heart, and finding delight in doing it.  Meister Eckhart

Meister Eckhart was a mystic, and one who skirted (and perhaps crossed over) the boundaries into some questionnable theological and spiritual realms. Even so, there are so many gems of insight and "wisdom" in his writings. This is one of them. It is a beautiful picture of wisdom.

The Spiritual Life of Young Adults

Here is an incredibly insightful article about the spiritual life of young people. It was published in 2010 and comes from Biola University where evangelicals are doing some of the best work on spirituality you will find in North America. It will take about 10-15 minutes for a good, engaging read... or you can skim it over in about 3 minutes to see what is there.

Spirituality at a Crossroads

Again - this is very, very good.

I am doing some more reading and study on these issues. This article captures in a concise way what the longer studies are showing.

Pray (A Lot)

Prayer!
Give me a few minutes to talk with most Christians about their prayer life, and pretty quickly, I find out the difficulty and struggle of prayer most of them face. Here are some helpful words from Benedictine Abbot Dom John Chapman. I had not heard of him prior to seeing this quote in an essay. It is from Chapman's book, Spiritual Letters, page 53.

 

The only way to pray is to pray; and the way to pray well is to pray much.

If one has no time for this, then one must at least pray regularly. 

But the less we pray, the worse it goes.

Aspiring to Holiness

In 1 Corinthians 12:31 Paul talks about THE MOST EXCELLENT WAY. He offers this in the context of speaking about spiritual gifts. Paul then moves to his magnificent description of the way of love as THE MOST EXCELLENT WAY.

I want to borrow Paul's language and inspiring phrase and apply it to another quality of the Christian life. It is a phrase that comes from Eugene Peterson.

aspiring to holiness, Eugene Peterson

Three Quotes on Love - Each One Profound

I wanted to post three different quotes/images on loving God / the Love of God. Here they are:

First, from the mystic, Richard of St. Victor. Speaking truth out of the ardor of a burning soul.

Quote on speaking truth in love   Richard of St. Victor

Second, the person who speaks of God but does not do so from a place of LOVE.

Quote on loving God

THIRD, Anselm on the paradox on the pursuit of God's love.

The Grace of God - Here is My Definition

Definition of grace  Paul  damascus road  audacious insanity of a heavenly wisdomThe story of Saul on the Damascus Road is described in Acts 9:1-19. This is his conversion experience. This is the transformation of Saul to Paul.

This is the story of surprising mercy and unexpected love to one who was least deserving of it.

It is the story of how God's grace turns sinners into saints, rebels into servants, and persecutors into missional leaders.

We are so familiar with this story that, perhaps, it no longer amazes us with its sheer improbability. I read this and I wonder at the boldness of God! To take a murdering, persecuting zealot and call him to be the lead apostle of grace . . . This is not just boldness. Stronger words are needed. The audacity, the presumption, the insanity of such a plan!

Yet that is exactly what grace is. 

Grace is the audacious insanity of a heavenly wisdom that works miracles in hopeless places and lost cases.

Pray As You Go - The Stations of the Cross

Pray as you go Stations of the CrossPray as You Go is a well known and highly used website for daily prayer. While I do not use it on any kind of regular basis (my own regula of spiritual formation avoids social media), still, for many people it will be a wonderful experience.

Then, from time to time, they have special resources that are outstanding. If you are moved by beautiful classical music, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND to you this collage of music, scripture, prayer, spiritual reflections and guidance that takes you through ten Stations of the Cross. 

This will take you some time to go through.

Lent Reflection 01

With the Lent Season begun, I am going to do very brief reflections in addition to the normal posts. In many cases, these reflections will simply be thoughts from resources I am using. I am using two primary helps for my devotional time this Lenten Season.

The main resource is What's Gone Wrong? which I wrote a few years back as one of the volumes in The Exercises Series. This is 43 exercises, using the Ignatian Week One Exercises as the starting point for considering the problem of sin, evil and suffering. I am part of a group of about 40 people going through this spiritual journey.

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