Part 1 from the series "Community", as part of Practicing the Way. We kick off our summer practice with a teaching on the fallout of individualism in the Western world – loneliness, and its dark twin: tribalism. Is there a practice from the way of Jesus that would set us up to live in a rich web of relationships where we grow and mature into Christlikeness? Yes, it’s community, Jesus’ school of love.
When Jesus returns to the familiarity of his home and his family he is met not with a celebratory welcome, but with skepticism and rejection. The divisive nature of Jesus’ person and teachings serves as both warning and encouragement for all who would follow in his footsteps: Rejection is inevitable.
Throngs of people crowded around Jesus on a lakeshore. The question on their minds was, “what is the coming Kingdom going to be like?” Jesus’ answer is surprising, frustrating, and seemingly foolish: God’s rule is like good people and bad people growing together.
Matthew 13 begins a series of teachings of parables. These common stories are meant to surprise us and invite us to re-evaluate our lives from the ground up. Jesus begins his parabolic teachings with a story about a farmer sowing seed, encouraging his audience to think and re-think whether or not they have truly heard the message of the kingdom.
Part 10 from the series "Naming Your Stage of Apprenticeship" as part of Practicing the Way. We end our spring practice on stage theory with a case study from the story of Rachel and Leah. At first glance, it’s just a story about patriarchy and sex and power dynamics in family, but upon closer inspection, we realize it’s actually story about the ideas from the last two months of teaching – first and second half of life, the wall, the dark night, and the tragedy of what happens when people don’t make the transition to maturity, as well as the invitation and hope for those who do.
Part 9 from the series, "Naming Your Stage of Apprenticeship", as part of Practicing the Way. In this follow up teaching on the dark night of the soul, we explore St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila’s paradigm of the “dark night of the senses” and the “dark night of the spirit,” and they fit into the ancient stage theory paradigm of the “three ways.” Whether you agree with their view or not, and regardless of whether you’re in a dark night, or a season of the felt-presence of God, the spiritual journey is always one from attachment and anxiety to freedom to love, and into a growing sense of union with God.
Part 8 from the series, "Naming Your Stage of Apprenticeship", as part of Practicing the Way. At some point in the spiritual journey, we come to what St. John of the Cross called “the dark night of the soul” – a season in which our experience of God feels more like absence than presence. God intentionally withdraws the felt-sense of his presence to do a work of purgation and preparation for a deeper intimacy. But few of us have a category of this, so we misdiagnosis the phenomena and often run aground in our journey. In part one of a two-part teaching on the dark night, we explore Jesus’ invitations to us in seasons of darkness and dryness.
Part 7 from the series, "Naming Your Stage of Apprenticeship", as part of Practicing the Way. America is a first half of life culture. As a result, most of our spirituality focuses on the first half and very little is offered about how to navigate the shifts that occur during the second half of life. In this teaching with Morris Dirks we highlight the spiritual challenges as well as the opportunities as we climb the “second mountain.” It’s never to early to ask the question, “What kind of an old person do I want to be?” If we want to go the distance Jesus calls us to move from the “identity journey” to “wisdom journey”. Listen in to learn more about following Jesus in the second half of life.
Part 6 from the series, "Naming Your Stage of Apprenticeship", as part of Practicing the Way. In this teaching we introduce an ancient paradigm called “active and passive spirituality,” a key idea in spiritual formation that we’ve lost in the modern, Western church. We mature by a combination of practicing the way of Jesus (active spirituality) and accepting the invitations of Jesus in our pain. A key question we must ask daily is: What is Jesus trying to do in my life, and how do I cooperate?