Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category
About three or four years ago, I began reading and studying the lives of many of the great forefathers, foremothers, leaders, and saints of the church. People like Blaise Pascal, Thomas Merton, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Teresa of Avila, Martin Luther, Francis of Assisi, Thomas a Kempis, Augustine, Julian of Norwich, George Fox, John of the Cross, and others.
As I’ve studied and learned from these people’s lives, I’ve noticed my own faith journey take on a richer and more substantial depth – for probably two reasons: One, I was raised in a Pentecostal environment that tended to put a much heavier focus on what God was doing “now” as opposed to what God had done hundreds of years ago.
Secondly, the more I’ve learned and studied these great followers of Jesus, the more I’ve come to realize that the majority of them have struggled with many similar challenges that so many of us struggle with in regards to our faith today. Imagine that! As young, emerging leaders, our struggles and challenges with faith, church, humanity, and God are really not as unique as we might be tempted to think they are.
Now of course, are some of these people controversial? Yes, of course they are! And for most of them, more so today than when they were alive. To the fundamentalists, that’s a problem. To me, it’s actually quite an encouragement.
All this to say that this weekend we are starting a new series at The Orchard entitled, “Prayers of the Saints”. The series was inspired by a music project of the same name that I discovered about a year ago from the folks at Trinity Anglican Mission (formerly Trinity Vineyard) in Atlanta. The project is a series of prayers from various saints that have been turned into songs. You can purchase the album via iTunes here.
Over these next few weeks we are going to sing, pray, and learn from these prayers. I can’t wait. They are both personally challenging and theologically rich. We’d love for you to join us. Or you can follow along via The Orchard’s podcast here.
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this "emotion" is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder, or stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. His eyes are closed.
In his book, The Holy Longing, Fr Ronald Rolheiser shares the writings of an Italian spiritual writer – Carlo Carretto. Rolhesier says (in reference to the church) that Carretto "captures well both its scandal and its grace." I think I agree.
How much I must criticize you, my church and yet how much I love you!You have made me suffer more than anyone and yet I owe more to you than to anyone.
I should like to see you destroyed and yet I need your presence.You have given me much scandal and yet you alone have made me understand holiness.
Never in this world have I seen anything more compromised, more false, yet never have I touched anything more pure, more generous or more beautiful.Countless times I have felt like slamming the door of my soul in your face – and yet, every night, I have prayed that I might die in your sure arms!
No, I cannot be free of you, for I am one with you, even if not completely you.Then too – where would I go?
To build another church?But I could not build one without the same defects, for they are my defects. And again, if I were to build another church, it would be my church, not Christ's church.
No. I am old enough. I know better!
Amen and amen.
This is beautiful.
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing alarm you.
While all things are passing;
God is unchanging.
Be patient and you will gain everything.
With God in your heart nothing is lacking.
God alone suffices.
Words found inserted into the prayer book that Teresa of Avila was
reading at the time of her death. It's known as "Teresa's Bookmark".
1. Superiority – "I have the truth and they don’t."
2. Separation – I no longer spend time with them. They are seen as "impure."
3. Caricature – Because I don’t know them, I caricature them. They now become one dimensional.
4. Passive & Active Oppression – Now these become the type of people I can push away and ignore. Passively at first, then over time, actively.