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Friday, December 30, 2011


In the last few days I've run across these statements in various ways. At this point, I'm just letting them percolate. But I know that at some point, they demand a response.

"This is the rule of most perfect Christianity, its most exact definition, its highest point, namely, the seeking of the common good. For nothing can so make a person an imitator of Christ as caring for his neighbors." John Chrysostom ("Golden Mouthed"), 4th century preacher and early church father

"Never take life for granted." Placard held by someone sitting on a downtown bench on State Street.

"Acts of mercy are needed to relieve immediate crises and human indignities. Acts of justice are needed to prevent or rectify the crises and indignities that are repeatedly visited upon vulnerable individuals and groups." John Hay, Free Methodist pastor

This is the message that the Lord gave to Israel through the prophet Malachi.
“I have always loved you,” says the Lord.
But you retort, “Really? How have you loved us?”
Malachi 1:1-2

"Christmas carnage in Nigeria; 5 Churches bombed. Pray for believers in Nigeria after Christmas day. Church bombings left 45 people dead and 73 others injured." Email from World Evangelical Alliance: Religious Liberty Commission

"The greatest test of our integrity and character is the way we treat other people." Gayle Beebe, Westmont president, quoting Peter Drucker

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

FSE #1

I'm back at home after a 3-day trip to see my folks. There was a lot of time in the car to pray and think, and in that time I pondered what is and could be ahead for 2012. I'm not a fan of resolutions I suppose, but I like to consider new things to learn and experience.

So my first new undertaking will be a humble one, but one that I enjoy. In 30 years of working with teens I've met hundreds (thousands?), and I am beyond grateful to say that I frequently get to reconnect with them in some lovely, and sometimes surprising ways. Occasionally I have written about them before

It happens enough to me that I've decided to be that much more intentional about recording them here -- for reflection, for sharing, perhaps even for teaching a thing or two. I wracked my brain for a creative name, but couldn't come up with anything other than "FSE" -- which stands for "Former Student Encounters." I'm open to nominations to call it something else. Just be nice about it :)

Unless it seems terribly necessary, I will not reveal the name of the person I am writing about. Not only do I often talk about very personal things with them (which, have no fear those of you who are former students, I do not plan on sharing in detail with anyone) but ultimately, it can be a distraction. My only goal in sharing these encounters is to continue to taste and understand a deep truth I keep experiencing in my life -- what Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove has titled "The Wisdom of Stability."

By living in the same place for so long, I have gained something I missed out on as I grew up, where I moved midway through kindergarten, and again after second grade and then once more after fifth grade. Not having a "home plate" as a child felt like a distinct loss for me, and I vowed that as an adult I would anchor somewhere. Needless to say, I am grateful that I stumbled onto this little town called Santa Barbara!

But I will heartily defend myself by saying I haven't stayed because I surf or like to work on my tan. I have remained because I started working with teens as a senior in college, and couldn't seem to shake the addiction! Commitment to students kept me here when I graduated, and then one thing led to another: first an invitation to work for Young Life full-time, then another eleven years later to plant a youth group from scratch, staying for fifteen years. Somewhere in the midst of all that I learned this truth articulated so well by Jonathan:
In short, stability's wisdom insists that spiritual growth depends on human beings rooting ourselves in a place on earth with other creatures... I am convinced that we lose something essential to our existence as creatures if we do not recognize our fundamental need for stability. Trees can be transplanted, often with magnificent results. But their default is to stay.
Thus for "FSE #1" I will share a delightful little encounter I had today as I headed out from my parents. I had re-connected with this young woman a few months ago when she wrote me out of the blue to tell me of some big changes in her life. I asked if we could catch up next time our schedules coincided. Happily, she readily agreed.

As we sat over lattes and breakfast during this chilly morning, I was deeply moved as we caught up on her story. I knew she had wandered around quite a bit once she graduated from high school, but beyond that I knew little. This was what she'd written in an email a few months ago:
Boy Kel, did I stray. I don't need to get into that because what's done is done and all that, but I can tell you that if ever someone was to go through a selfish phase, I sure had mine. But guess. what. Kel. I'm happy to tell you that about 2 months ago, I renewed my relationship with God!! Praise Jesus!!!!!!!!!!
(I love the multiple exclamation points. Hilarious.) Anyway, this morning in person she focused on how this return got started... It happened near the end of college, when she finally admitted to a deep ache at what she had lost -- the depth of friendships, the support, and the space to share the hard and meaningful stuff. 

She made some half-hearted attempts to find a church again, but finally moved and found a worship community that really made sense. She was blown away by the their sensitivity, and crawled back to God. What stood out to me? She could not shake the still, small voice calling her back. And she realized she didn't have to have it all together. In humility, she opened her heart again. And she is so relieved.

We explored a bit as to why she thinks she did what she did after high school... maybe she was angry, and she definitely was insecure, shaken (I found this interesting) by a teacher or two who felt the need to take her down a notch.  Anyway, while she has deep regrets, she is also thankful for her return, and the deep assuredness she has that she does not want to wander again.

I mostly listened (smiling the whole time!), but also felt it was important to acknowledge the remorse I really sensed in her words. I told her to let Jesus keep healing the shame, and to not believe the lies of the past. It was time to move forward and regain the calling she once had to lead.

She asked me how I have persevered over the years, and not been too discouraged by the many hard things I've experienced and heard over the years. I paused. Then I thought, Well, actually, I have been deeply discouraged at times, and told her that. But I just camped on what I know -- that it really helps to spend time with the Lord each day, even just a few minutes, to read and pray and reflect on what is really important. And also, as she has rediscovered, to be deeply connected to God's people.

Then she asked what she could read. I showed her a couple of daily emails I receive, that often serve to "stir the pot" of my soul. I pulled out my iPhone and together we read today's excerpt from Henri Nouwen:
A Nonjudgmental Presence To the degree that we accept that through Christ we ourselves have been reconciled with God we can be messengers of reconciliation for others.  Essential to the work of reconciliation is a nonjudgmental presence.  We are not sent to the world to judge, to condemn, to evaluate, to classify, or to label.  When we walk around as if we have to make up our mind about people and tell them what is wrong with them and how they should change, we will only create more division.   Jesus says it clearly:  "Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate.  Do not judge; ... do not condemn; ... forgive" (Luke 6:36-37). In a world that constantly asks us to make up our minds about other people, a nonjudgmental presence seems nearly impossible.  But it is one of the most beautiful fruits of a deep spiritual life and will be easily  recognized by those who long for reconciliation.
We simply smiled at each other. It pertained so perfectly to what we'd just been talking about. It was a definite "God thing," and we celebrated.

What did I think about when I got back in the car? That it pays to pursue, as Eugene Peterson teaches, a "long obedience in the same direction." Ironically, the subtitle of that book, first written in 1980 and re-released in 2000, is "Discipleship in an Instant Society." (I guess this whole "as-Christians-we-need-to-slow-down-and-stop-being-so-frantic" thing has been a drumbeat for awhile!)

Regarding this former student, she certainly didn't need judgment from me. The tears in her eyes as we talked about the past few years made it evident to me that she was entirely aware of (and grieving over) the mistakes she'd made. I simply needed to be like the father of the prodigal, running back down the road to greet her as she returned. 

As Nouwen says, we need to buck the trend in society (and in the church!) and not make up our minds about other people. May we see each person with the eyes and heart of Christ, and offer unconditional love. In this way, we fulfill our calling to be ambassadors of reconciliation:
So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 
And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 
So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (2Corinthians 5:16-21)
Whom can you reconnect with and listen to this week? 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas is Coming...

...But the goose isn't getting fat. I'm looking forward to church, then dinner with friends, which will include Christmas carols, kids and laughter. Plus a great meal. This is what I'm bringing.

Yeah, yeah, I didn't know what a "tagine" was either when I first saw this recipe. But it's easy enough to find out:
TAGINE: Various Moroccan stews featuring meat or poultry gently simmered with vegetables, olives, preserved lemons, garlic and spices like cumin, ginger, pepper, saffron and turmeric. Tagines are often served with couscous.

"A delicious and flavorful vegetarian stew that comes together in just minutes. The balance of savory and sweet is incredible, and it works really well as leftovers too. Enjoy!" (Thank you Vegetarian Times)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yields 4-6 servings

1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon corriander
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
14 oz. can of diced or crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup water
2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
10 dates, chopped (I'm using raisins - not a big date fan)
1/4 cup lemon juice
(Though not mentioned in this recipe, I'm also adding a diced carrot & 2-3 small potatoes, diced)
Cilantro and plain yogurt for garnish, if desired

1. Start couscous, or if you're gluten-free like me, quinoa or brown rice.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the onion and cook 10 minutes until starting to brown.

3. Add in garlic, the spices, the tomatoes, and the water, stir to combine, and cook for another 10 minutes.

4. Finally, add in the chickpeas, dates (raisins), and lemon juice, and keep on the stove until heated through.

Garnish with cilantro if desired, and enjoy!

Friday, December 23, 2011


Changes are ahead for me...

Starting in 2012, I will focusing the majority of my work life with the Free Methodist Church in Southern California (this mouthful is better known as the FMCSC). Since last fall I moved to 30 hours per week as the Director of Recruiting and Leadership Development, and starting next month (January), this will increase to 40 hours per week. (I will still be doing some writing, side consulting, and teaching a Mayterm course at Westmont, but I am excited to move into this full-time.) This does mean I had to finish up my role at Providence Hall. For the first time since 1984, I am not working directly with teenagers as my paid vocation. I will still be meeting with some students one-on-one, but this is a significant transition for me. It feels right, but it is certainly bittersweet.

When I tell people about this transition into full-time work with the Free Methodist Church, they get sort of a quizzical look on their faces... "What exactly does that mean?" is the gist of their response. My face brightens every time as I say, "Lots of things!" Honestly, it fits me so well that it doesn't even feel like work most of the time.

But to give a little specificity, I talk about the internship program I direct. This involves networking with faculty and administrators at Azusa Pacific and Westmont to get referrals for interns, and then in turn I contact these referrals to see if they are interested in one of our internships. So far I've connected with over 40 students from these 2 schools, and in the space of 3 days, I've had 10 of them already express a desire to be interviewed. (Hey: feel free to donate some year-end funds to this program -- I could spend hours here telling you how excited I am to be working with such gifted young leaders whom we are training to be pastors, church leaders, scholars at our Free Methodist schools like SPU and APU, and serving as Christians in the marketplace. Go to this link to give. THANK YOU.)

As the Director I also am giving shape to a new missional approach we are calling the West Coast Initiative. There are many moving parts to this that I won't describe right now, but it is shaped in great part by what we see God doing in the church in the "Majority World," (formerly known as the Third World), where explosive church growth is worth studying. In these contexts, churches are expanding at a remarkable rate by being led by bi-vocational pastors and starting incarnationally with cell groups in people's homes. I really am excited by all of it, and am making tremendous connections with church leaders in both Southern and Northern California, Oregon and Washington, not to mention leaders at Christian schools all along the West Coast. All of our work will be based out of our existing Free Methodist Center located at Azusa Pacific. We are re-launching this as The Center for Transformational Leadership at APU early in 2012, and I will be co-directing this center. I am currently visiting APU once a month to maintain new relationships with faculty, administration and students that I have been meeting at a steady rate since last August.

Meanwhile, I am still fortunate enough to be coaching some Free Methodist pastors one-on-one in strategic planning, church growth, leadership development, youth ministry and district leadership (where some pastors give leadership regionally with our other pastors).

Finally (not really, but I don't want to bore you!) I am also assisting in shaping our new social media strategy. I've started up a Twitter account for us -- find us at twitter.com/fmcsc. I've also started a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fmcsc. We are also really close to re-launching an entirely new website for the FMCSC too, and I will be assisting in providing daily content for that.

On a deeper level though, what drives me to head in this new direction? I have been doing some reading in an obscure but really fine little book that Howard Snyder compiled in 2007 called "Soul Searching the Church: Free Methodism at 150 Years." I first read Howard Snyder years ago when we were reading an amazing book of his that delineated the brilliance of John & Charles Wesley in forming small groups to create massive revival across England that is called The Radical Wesley. I have seen small groups ignite remarkable growth during my entire career, and I can only confirm that the Wesleys got it right!

But only in the last 3 years have I connected most directly with the small group ideas of the Wesleys by being in the Free Methodist Church. I continue to find this church an enchanting synthesis of earnest spiritual formation that is then lived out in corporate social action. (In the old days they apparently called this "personal holiness" and "social holiness.") But working with pastors throughout Southern California has shown me time and again that these Free Methodists put their money where their mouth is. They dearly love Jesus, and they show it best by loving the poor. They reach out to the margins and invite everyone to experience the kingdom.

Snyder and others capture so much of the soul of Free Methodism in this Soul Searching book. Here are a few quotes that sum up my experience so far:
Free Methodists believe the best way to keep the world from invading the church is for the church to invade the world with redemptive purpose. (Book of Discipline, preface) 
Accessibility and proximity to the poor clearly meant that Free Methodists were to abolish all separation and distinction within their congregations. It was not charity that they were to offer, but fellowship, advocacy, and justice. (Mark Van Valin, FM pastor) 
Seek first, in actual practice, the kingdom of God and its justice now in the present world, understanding that that's where heaven and eternal life begin; where they overlap. (Howard Snyder) 
The "comparative failure of Christianity to transform the world" is "because women are not permitted to labor according to their ability, for the spread of the Gospel... If women had been given, since the days of the first Apostles, the same rights as men, this would be quite another world."  BT Roberts, founder of Free Methodism, written in 1891.
I feel called to co-labor with this denomination precisely because it feels more like a movement than an institution, though it has existed (with plenty of highs and lows, like anything where humans are involved!) for 150 years. I am blown away that only 1 in 10 Free Methodists live in the US -- we are part of a world church! I am also excited by the doors that have been opening up as I have pursued internships and our new ideas for missional outreach, and I am humbled by those I am able to work with. Like I said earlier, it doesn't even feel like work most of the time.

In the spirit of the holiday films coming out right now, I have to admit that I feel like I'm embarking on something of a "mission impossible"... but thankfully, I am working in the name and power of the one who makes all things possible. I hew closely to the call I hear in these words:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. (Isaiah 43:1)
May God be glorified in all I am doing. I pray the same for you.

P.S. For a 5-minute video that really captures what I am experiencing with the Free Methodists, go to "Equality: The Free Methodist Church at 150."

Friday, December 16, 2011


As we approach the end of the year, it is easy to spend the bulk of our energy on Christmas shopping, finals for school, shuttles from one holiday party to the next, and tasks that have to be completed by year-end.

I had a good wake-up call this morning as to what really matters. In the midst of juggling bills, to-do's,  tests, and parties full of food that is terrible for you, take one minute to quietly, carefully read this passage from Micah 6:

 1 Listen to what the LORD says:
   “Stand up, plead my case before the mountains; 
   let the hills hear what you have to say.

 2 “Hear, you mountains, the LORD’s accusation; 
   listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. 
For the LORD has a case against his people; 
   he is lodging a charge against Israel.

 3 “My people, what have I done to you? 
   How have I burdened you? Answer me. 
4 I brought you up out of Egypt 
   and redeemed you from the land of slavery. 
I sent Moses to lead you, 
   also Aaron and Miriam. 
5 My people, remember 
   what Balak king of Moab plotted 
   and what Balaam son of Beor answered. 
Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, 
   that you may know the righteous acts of the LORD.”

 6 With what shall I come before the LORD 
   and bow down before the exalted God? 
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, 
   with calves a year old? 
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, 
   with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? 
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, 
   the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. 
   And what does the LORD require of you? 
To act justly and to love mercy 
   and to walk humbly with your God.

John Wesley's comments on this passage bring it home for me... I separate his statements to let their impact linger:
“God has already told you in his word with what you ought to come before him: 
  • To render to every one their due; superiors, equals, inferiors, to be equal to all and oppress none in body, goods, or name. 
  • To be kind, merciful, and compassionate to all, not using severity towards any. 
  • Keep up a constant fellowship with God by humble, holy faith.” 
May I not allow the "tyranny of the urgent" to hold my attention and energy captive today and in the next week. Instead, may I fix my eyes on the eternal and truly important things.

Don't forget that Advent is about the spiritual discipline of waiting. Invite your soul to be expectant as you approach this 4th Sunday of the Advent season. What are you waiting for? Are you waiting patiently? Are you pursuing justice, mercy and humility in the meantime?

I finished my morning reading with this verse:

But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, 
   I wait for God my Savior; 
   my God will hear me. (Micah 7:7)

Happy Holidays :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

To The Full

Thomas Merton wrote,
“The monk does not come to the monastery to ‘get’ something which the ordinary Christian cannot have. On the contrary, he comes there in order to realize and to appreciate all that any good Christian already has. He comes to live his Christian life, and thus to appreciate to the full his heritage as a son of God. He comes in order that he might see and understand that he already possesses everything.
This reminds me of what I read and wrote about two weeks ago, at the start of Advent. But I am thick-headed, and know that I need to hear the same things again and again... and again. I am no different from the Pharisees in John 10:6-10,
Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them. Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
We have everything we need. EVERYTHING. Make use of that abundance, and quit waiting for something else. Step into the life you have.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cold Comfort

A friend and I agreed today that while it is definitely cold these days in Santa Barbara (lows in the 30's at night, mornings very crisp and chilly), this is about as cold as it gets, so we can't really complain...

Nevertheless, I am definitely enjoying the opportunity to cook lots of comfort food. Staying cozy in a warm home at night that smells of good food is an amazing gift, and I do not take it for granted for a moment.

I have posted these recipes before, but I am taking a victory lap once again with 8 winners that others have confirmed are quite tasty. Fire up the oven or pull out the pots and pans. Eat hearty.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Little Ones

It's December 6. This morning, as I laid in bed and tried to think through my day (and all the stuff I have going this week) I thought to myself, "OK, I need to get serious about Christmas shopping really soon." So far I have not spent 5 seconds thinking about it, but I also do not want to be "that girl," shopping frantically on Dec 23...

As I got going with my day, I read this on Common Prayer for Dec 6:
The original “Old St. Nick” who inspired the tradition of Santa Claus, Nicholas was bishop of Myra in fourth-century Turkey. Little is known about his life except that he entrusted himself to Jesus at an early age and, when his parents died, gave all of their possessions to the poor. While serving as bishop, Nicholas learned of three girls who were going to be sold into slavery by their father. Moved to use the church’s wealth to ransom the lives of these little ones, he tossed three bags of gold through the family’s window. We recall this ancient Christmas gift, even as we remember that 1.2 million children are trafficked each year in the global sex trade today.
This reinforced the point further:
Catherine Booth, co-founder of the Salvation Army and a passionate advocate for children, said, “There is no improving the future without disturbing the present.
So I feel confronted, in a deep and very good way, to reconsider how I will spend my money on gifts this year. These verses completed my call to action:
One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.

But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left. (Matthew 19:13-15)
How can you change your spending this year to reflect the true history of Christmas? How can I "disturb the present"?

There are so many valuable, multiple causes... I think of International Justice Mission, World Relief, International Child Care Ministries, World Vision... I will be giving to Mission Impact, an organization that I have worked with when I have taken students to Guatemala. I can verify that it is a very solid, reliable organization.

Bottom line: how can you and I truly spend this season differently in the way we spend money? How can your Christmas not be about consumption and instead be about conviction?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Apple Fritter Rings - Triple Wow

I'm not sure where these little gems have been all my life, but thank goodness they found me. My housemate made them tonight for dessert (she only made a 1/4 batch). They are, flat out, ridiculously good!


1/2 c plus 2 tb sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 c buttermilk or milk
4 tsp veg oil, plus 2 c for frying
2 lg eggs, lightly beaten
2 c all-purpose flour (gluten-free flour worked perfectly)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine salt
4 med tart apples (such as Granny Smith), cored, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch-thick rings

1. In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 c sugar and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk milk, 4 tsp oil and eggs. Stir in flour, 2 tb sugar, baking powder, and salt.

2. In a large, heavy, high-sided skillet, heat 2 c oil until it registers 375 with a candy thermometer (or if water spatters when you flick drops of it in). In batches, coat apples in batter and fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes per batch, flipping halfway through.

3. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Toss apples in cinnamon-sugar and serve immediately. MAKES ABOUT 20.

Come Soon

On the second Sunday of Advent, these readings prepare my heart for gathered worship this morning, and help me to enter the season more attentively:

From Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
Advent is a time of waiting.

Our whole life, however, is Advent--that is, a time of waiting for the ultimate, for the time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth, when all people are brothers and sisters and one rejoices in the words of the angels: "On earth peace to those on whom God's favor rests."

Learn to wait, because he has promised to come. "I stand at the door..." We however call to him: "Yes, come soon, Lord Jesus!"
From Henri Nouwen:
"A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him . . ." (Isa.11:1-2).

These words from last night's liturgy have stayed with me during the day. Our salvation comes from something small, tender, and vulnerable, something hardly noticeable. God, who is the Creator of the Universe, comes to us in smallness, weakness, and hiddenness.

I find this a hopeful message. Somehow, I keep expecting loud and impressive events to convince me and others of God's saving power; but over and over again I am reminded that spectacles, power plays, and big events are the ways of the world. Our temptation is to be distracted by them and made blind to the "shoot that shall sprout from the stump."

When I have no eyes for the small signs of God's presence - the smile of a baby, the carefree play of children, the words of encouragement and gestures of love offered by friends - I will always remain tempted to despair.

The small child of Bethlehem, the unknown young man of Nazareth, the rejected preacher, the naked man on the cross, he asks for my full attention. The work of our salvation takes place in the midst of a world that continues to shout, scream, and overwhelm us with its claims and promises. But the promise is hidden in the shoot that sprouts from the stump, a shoot that hardly anyone notices.
1John 4:15-16
If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
As I have often taught to students, God not only loves us... He IS love. He is the source, definition, and embodiment of love. All love comes from him. To know him is to be changed.

I wait patiently, Lord Jesus, yet I yearn so deeply for you to come. During this Advent season, the beginning of our new year, I want to "rely on the love God has for us" and nothing else. I will seek to live life to the fullest every day, not because I think I somehow deserve it, but because I want to be a good steward of the life you have given to me. Thank you for your manna, Lord. You are endlessly generous and good. You are love.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Spiritual Adventure

This, of course, is what religion is about: this adherence to God, this confident dependence on that which is unchanging. This is the more abundant life, which in its own particular language and own particular way, it calls us to live. Because it is our part in the one life in the whole universe of spirits, our share in the great drive towards Reality, the tendency of all life to seek God, Who made it for Himself, and now incites and guides it, we are already adapted to it, just as a fish is adapted to live in the sea.

This view of our situation fills us with a certain awed and humble gladness. It delivers us from all niggling fuss about ourselves, prevents us from feeling self-important about our own little spiritual adventures; and yet makes them worth while as part of one great spiritual adventure.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Spiritual Life