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Showing posts from January, 2014

counter culture

This morning I taught a class on monasticism and we focused on the counter-cultural aspect of this particular expression of spirituality. It brought up some interesting questions: is being counter-cultural imperative if one is a follower of Jesus? How distinctive should a Christian lifestyle be? It is easy to identify certain religious sects by their dress, rituals, or closed communities, but exactly how important are these outward differentiations? I don't know that I have a definitive answer, but Jesus certainly indicated that those who follow him and embrace his teachings will exhibit certain distinctives. Here are a few that I found and none of them have anything to do with clothing, rituals, or separating oneself from society.

LOVE. This is not the same as our culture's call for tolerance. Love is more difficult than tolerance because Jesus asks us to do more than just let people do what they do. Jesus calls us to care deeply about their well-being and to lay down our li…

jump for joy

Wednesday was one of those days when I had to fight to maintain a sense of well-being. To be honest, there were quite a few moments when I didn't quite manage it. The contentment and hope that I usually live in leaked out somewhere along the way and I couldn't patch the hole fast enough to keep low level despair from moving into my soul. I could attribute this "down" day to a mistake or two I made recently (actually, make that at least three), the sinus infection that was making me woozy and slow, or some rather curt emails from a colleague which led me to conclude that he hated me. I have also been finding teaching a burden and a chore, unsure how to fill the 2.75 hours of class-time each Friday morning, certain that I don't know enough, don't explain things clearly enough, and am not really prepared for the barrage of questions that come up on virtually every topic. In addition, writing has seemed like a giant mountain I just can't climb, so I don'…

disruption

The last month has been a bit disruptive. In the midst of finishing my doctoral comprehensive exams, writing a paper for a conference, Christmas preparations, spending a week with family in western Canada, traipsing all over Switzerland, attending a conference just outside of Zurich, and diving right into teaching a course the day after I got back from Europe, some of my usual practices were disrupted. There were no blogs, my workout went out the window, quiet and contemplative times were sporadic, gluten was more abundant, sleeping habits were affected, and housework was neglected. Despite this, for the most part I have felt energetic and encouraged. And I did read quite a few books due to the amount of time I spent in planes and trains.

In general, I don't mind disruptions - in fact, I get kind of antsy and restless if the same old stuff happens day after week after month after year. I love good disruptions like vacations, unexpected dates with Dean, phone calls from family far…