Sunday, July 1, 2018

Moose Dreams

Broken, desperate people will often unwittingly look to equally broken desperate people for help.  }:- proverb on the hoof 

Desperate times may indeed call for desperate measures, but the very best measure is total surrender to God.  }:- another proverb on the hoof

There is much more good going on than we can see, and in it we are far richer than we know.  }:- yep, another moose proverb 

The way to an abundant life, even heaven on earth, is a counterintuitive, holy contradiction, a downward path of surrender and submission to the Lover of all souls.  }:- proverb on the hoof

Last night I had dreams of my high school and college days, they were anxious, troubling dreams.  Oh not without some fond memories, but overall troubling.  Then (God) entered into them to help me make sense out of chaos.

I saw again my blessed early childhood as a "gifted" one, then immediately my terrible accident that resulted in a fractured skull and brain injury.  From then on I recalled the struggle to be whole in a broken world and among other broken people.  I found deep, healing friendships in high school, but then came more brokenness of heart and soul - mental illness of depression and anxiety.  Along with it failure in college and a failed marriage, yet (God) Lover of my soul carried me, though I knew (Him/Them) not.

Eventually, a blessed marriage, children and grandchildren, a "successful" career, but most important of all a growing "face to face" experience of that same Lover of my soul Who had been with me all along.  Through the one called Jesus of Nazareth, the "Christ of God", I met fully the Lover of all souls, the Relationship at the Center of All, (God by any other name).  Oh and I do not yet fully know, but in this one, Christ Jesus, dwells the Fullness. 

My passion, my heart's desire is that all humanity would know this Truth.  And so I go about my days in surrender to the Spirit of Truth (God) trusting the "Message" will be conveyed to other hearts.  In this way, I am a simple anonemoose monk, a wounded healer in the hands of God.  I do write about it a lot, but it is in intimate, one to one encounters of Grace that we experience the Lover of our souls together.

Ah, so much truth for an old broken brain to comprehend, but the heart can contain it even as it overflows with blessings upon others, all by the infinite Grace and Mercy of (God).

Grace, Mercy, Compassion, and Peace wash over all of you, Beloved kings and queens of Divine LOVE Themselves.

}:- ❤️ anonemoose monk
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Hoofnote:  More of my story at various "pages" and writings out there, but also in those with whom I've been shared the communion of LOVE (God).


#mysticmoose

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Fulfillment --

Fulfillment of all law, prophets, religion and philosophy -- the Kingdom "at hand"

All of my favorite books and authors on spirituality (Christian in this season of my life) share this great Truth (above).  They may arrive at it differently, they may be talking about different aspects of life, but the overarching theme is this Truth of the Cosmic Christ of God; Lover of all souls, Relationship at the Center of All, Divine LOVE, in Whose image all humanity is created.

And, in this season, I see now that all the wonderful truths I saw while studying world religions and more are pointing to this Truth.  I am the Calormen warrior come face to face with Aslan. (C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle, final book in the Chronicles of Narnia)

So, whether you are reading Lewis, or another of the hundreds of contemporary authors, or you go back into history and read #DevotionalClassics, I believe you will see too the "golden thread" common to all.  Here are a couple lists, one from an individual who left out many of my favorites and another list from a Christian bookseller: https://www.sharefaith.com/blog/2015/07/top-10-christian-authors/, https://www.christianbook.com/page/christian-authors.  A few years ago while studying for a graduate degree I came up with an annotated bibliography of all the books and authors I used in my studies, but now even that list has expanded.  I will include it as a "Hoofnote" below for any who may be interested.  };-)

My point in this already lengthy post/reflection is to suggest three shorter meditations/reflections that encompass what I see all of my favorites pointing to.  Oh by all means read the others as they expand on Holy Scripture in the Spirit of Truth, but return here (to these three, a trilogy, a "holy trinity" if you will, of Truth).

  1. https://cac.org/love-needs-face-2018-01-15/
  2. https://cac.org/incarnation-2018-01-25/
  3. https://cac.org/at-one-ment-not-atonement-2018-01-21/

[Yes, these are all from Richard Rohr and the Center for Action and Contemplation, but again I see much from my favorites (including Willard, Foster and others, and also those ancients discussed in the books Devotional Classics and Spiritual Classics).  And like all my favorites, Rohr will cite others and Holy Scripture.]
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Herewith now that annotated bibliography from years past, and a preface of my own:

Contemplation - the preparation

If in contemplation both the question and the answer to "Who is God?" come together (fusion) in our heart and soul, how then do we "position" ourselves to "hear and see"?

Ultimately, the answer is complete and total surrender and submission to LOVE, God, Lover of our souls.  But there are ways we can prepare ourselves to reach that state of surrender.

The ancient "fathers and mothers", those monastics who sought God in the desert, both physically and spiritually, perhaps took "preparation" to the extreme, but there is much to learn from them.  And, they too realized that at some point we must simply and humbly, "Go into your cell and close the door, and your cell will teach you everything."

The first "place" the ancient faithful went was to Holy Scripture, the God-breathed writings that though coming from the hand of man, truly come from the heart of God.  The practice called in Latin "lectio divina" (holy reading) is to "study" the Scriptures (and other readings too) in a state of surrender and submission to the word (and Word which is active and alive).  [In Thomas Merton's "New Seeds of Contemplation", the modern day monk explains the "Go into your cell", but he too practiced lectio divina in his own life.]

As the apostle Paul in the Spirit of Christ wrote, "All scripture is God-breathed and useful . . . ", so then where to start if we are new to this, or to return to often in our Journey?  Each of us will discover passages that touch our heart and soul over our lifetime, if we stay with it, "a long obedience in the same direction" toward our true Home in God, Relationship at the Center and Lover of our soul, and simply, humbly surrendered to Their "unforced rhythms of grace".

When others have asked me where to begin, I suggest its best to begin with the New to discover later the Truth in the Old.  Therefore, I recommend starting with Jesus; the Cosmic Christ of God, Incarnation and Perfect Revelation.  Begin at the beginning so to speak, but also mysteriously the end, "Alpha & Omega".

Luke, John, Acts & Romans -

The books of the Bible titled Luke, John, Acts and Romans are indeed a beautiful place to begin the Journey in Faith.  Therein we will discover both the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the heart of the Lover of our souls, God.  Then continue on into the beautiful letters of the New Testament (the epistles).  In these writings, Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit will reveal the Truth to us, including a proper understanding of the Old Testament.  The New will often reference the Old but in deeper revelation of the Truth, as Jesus said, "I have not come to abolish the law and prophets, but to fulfill them".  So begin with Jesus.

For Patti and I the Journey has had many twists and turns, though always headed toward Home.  We have endured trials that have driven us deeper "into God", and led us to other writers who share their own journeys and experiences in the hope that it may help others along the way.  So, while always giving priority to the Word, Christ and the Bible, we have read and recommend others too.

Devotional & Spiritual Classics (or fast-becoming such) -

I (Pat) chose to develop (with God's direction) my own doctoral program focused on spiritual formation and discipleship (life in Christ).  This adventure late in my life included a search for books old and new which could help others like myself navigate the Journey toward Home.  I am grateful to God in Christ Jesus for all the resources, people and organizations I've met and learned from and continue to be assisted by.  As part of my studies, I developed an annotated bibliography of resources to share with others.  Many of these books and resources are "go to's" for Patti and I, as well as being tools we use for discipleship with others.  Of course, even after all this study, the Ultimate goal is union with the Lover of our soul, and that in its richest form happens in complete and total surrender, contemplation, the contemplative life.

For those who may be interested, here (below) is the annotated bibliography:

Books and Authors on Discipleship & Spiritual Formation --
An Annotated Bibliography (circa 2010)

Some basic instruction on making good use of this list:  Briefly, discipleship is the journey of following Jesus, of being an apprentice to Him.  It is the “discipline” we engage in, in order to prepare (partner) in our own spiritual formation, our transformation into the image of Christ, taking on His character by the power of the Holy Spirit.  So, as you seek to use the resources on this list, to find those that suit you in your current season of life, your place on the journey, some basic guidelines will be helpful.

The number codes (1-3) are my attempt to apply a general reading level or complexity to the books; 1 being the “easiest” to 3 being fairly “deep” stuff in my opinion.
While my short annotations may be helpful, I always recommend using amazon.com to review, read excerpts, etc. to help determine which books to choose, those that will be meaningful for your particular “bent”, reading level and personality (style preference.)
Also of great use are the websites for Renovare, Navigators and Intervarsity Press (IVP); all publishers and organizations who have wonderful resources for discipleship and spiritual formation.  (links included at the end of this document.)
I have broken the list into two categories; discipleship and spiritual formation.  They are certainly directly related, but discipleship is what we do, the formation is the Holy Spirit’s work.  It’s good to understand how the Spirit works in us, transforming us into the image of Christ, esoteric sometimes, but good.  These readings require time and reflection, a reliance on the Spirit to “speak” to our hearts.
This is simply my own personal effort, and as such, is certainly not a complete or exhaustive list, but merely at attempt at a “best of” in this area of Christian literature.
You will probably find books missing that you would have included, that is not a condemnation of any authors or books, just my choice to limit the size of the list.
You will also note an absence of “emergent church movement” literature and authors; McLaren, Pagitt, Kimball, Miller and others?  I did this purposefully choosing what I felt were “timeless” or classic offerings, works that seem to be widely accepted across Christian thought and groups.  That said, I have read and appreciated what they all have to offer as followers of Jesus.
Lastly, (and to avoid being too lengthy here), the point ultimately is to apply the wisdom and practices (disciplines) we discover, to our own lives.  And, begin living the abundant life as apprentices to Jesus, today!

So, in no particular order (random, so as not to appear to be recommending one book or author over another) here are books and resources.  Have fun researching (searching for treasure) as suggested above, and enjoy the “spiritual direction” that these folks offer:

Discipleship:

The Lost Art of Disciple Making, by Leroy Eims [2] – a good general resource for pastors, churches and lay persons. An overview that includes history.  Don’t forget to visit amazon.com for reviews, etc.

Waking The Dead, by John Eldredge [1-2] – Eldredge is an engaging author that entertains while he teaches.  Touches on discipleship, among other areas of the Christian life.  Ransomed Heart is Eldredge’s website presence for those who are interested in more from him.  Some people question Eldredge’s theology, but his passion cannot be mistaken.

Transforming Discipleship, by Greg Ogden [2] – Ogden has been doing discipleship after the model of Jesus for many years.  This book, along with Discipleship Essentials, are excellent tools for anyone who wants to engage in lifelong discipleship and disciple making.  Solid one-on-one or triad formational resource.

The Great Omission, by Dallas Willard [2-3] – Willard is thought by some to be the most influential Christian author of our time.  This work is aimed at elucidating the loss of discipleship as the cornerstone of the church.  Renovation of the Heart is another work to be considered.  No less than Eugene Peterson, John Ortberg, Francis Chan, Bill Hull and many others consider Willard to be their spiritual mentor.  Great stuff from this author, although often very challenging intellectually.  (Took me three times before I got Divine Conspiracy, which is another title for those seeking the deep stuff of discipleship.  I give it a definite #3 level code!)

The Kingdom Life, by various authors [2] – A wonderful collection by several really good authors on discipleship and spiritual formation.  I hesitate to say this, but if you can read only one book, get this one.  The reason I hesitate is that another book on doing discipleship (a “how to”) would be a good (necessary) companion to this one.

The Life You’ve Always Wanted, by John Ortberg [1-2] – Ortberg is a pastor (well, I guess most of these authors have been at one time or another?) who writes with humor and wit, while getting his message across.  He might call his writing a “dumbed-down” version of Willard?!   A personal friend and pastor to my boys, hope he doesn’t find out I said that!  J He has several books that are good; including If You Want to Walk on Water, You Have to Get Out of the Boat and The Me I Want To Be.

{Don’t forget, check out all these books at amazon.com to read excerpts and get a more detailed synopsis.}

Celebration of Discipline, by Richard Foster [2] – Many call Foster’s book the bellwether of the new discipleship movement (return to the first church).  Great stuff on the spiritual disciplines (the practices of discipleship.) I consider this the first of a triad of great books on spiritual disciplines, and applying them (discipleship.)

Spirit of the Disciplines, by Dallas Willard [2] – You’ll see a lot of Willard in this list, and you’ll see him quoted in many other ones here.  This book complements Celebration well, and even Willard will say that.  Affirms discipleship as the practice of the spiritual disciplines and following Jesus.

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, by Donald Whitney [1-2] – Proven and practical “how to” book that I consider the third member of the triad here.  While Whitney is a lesser known author, he does a wonderful job of taking the above two books and giving us direction in applying them to our lives.

Longing For God, by Gayle Beebe & Richard Foster [2] – I love this book for taking the ancient fathers and mothers offerings, giving us a sample of them, then helping us apply their experiences and teaching to our own lives in this time.  This is somewhat of a compilation of earlier Renovare works; Devotional Classics and Spiritual Classics, both books I highly recommend in the spiritual formation category.

Crazy Love by Francis Chan [1] – Here is a truly passionate follower of Jesus who has taken the call to obedience very seriously.  Chan appeals to a younger audience (he pastors my other son’s church, Cornerstone, in Simi Valley, but I’m not admitting any prejudice here.)  J

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, by Eugene Peterson [2] – The author of The Message version of the Bible offers his own look at discipleship based on the Psalms of Ascent, an ancient, poetic look at following God.  While not technically a discipleship book, it may suit those who don’t want a “cookbook” type of offering?

Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren [1] - The bestseller by a pastor of a megachurch (who coincidentally understands that megachurches don’t make disciples).  This is a good book for seekers and others who are new to Jesus and His church.

Complete Book of Discipleship by Bill Hull [2-3?] – Probably my personal favorite on discipleship (even though I really appreciate The Kingdom Life, in which he authors a section.)  Just a flat out excellent work, comprehensive with very good recommended suggested readings (yes, an author who isn’t afraid to recommend other books.)  If you are looking for a contemporary overview on discipleship and spiritual formation, with lots of practical advice and references, this is it!

Down to Earth Discipling, by Scott Morton [1] – Short, easy to read and practical.  Not looking for lots of theology and complex thought, this fits the bill.

Lifestyle Discipleship, by Jim Peterson [1] – Another offering from a NavPress guy (Hull and Morton are too), that gives basic life application guidance to discipling others.

Apprentice With Jesus, by Gary Moon [1-3] – 1-3 he says??!!  Well, I guess that’s because I believe you can benefit from this book no matter where you are on the journey that is discipleship (following Jesus.)  This book offers a 30 day experience in applied discipleship. A great way to inculcate the habit of discipleship into our lives, and to find some things that just “tick” with our hearts in this area.

{once again, don’t forget to use amazon.com to check out the books}

Spiritual Formation:

Devotional Classics, by Smith & Foster from Renovare [2-3] – I suppose if Hull’s book is my favorite on discipleship, then this one from Renovare is my personal favorite on spiritual formation/spiritual development?  I love the sampling of the “ancient fathers and mothers” from 300 AD to the 20th century pillars of the church.  (My wife is using this book in three different Bible study groups!)

Spiritual Classics, by Griffith & Foster [2-3] – The companion book to the above, and another “sampler”.   These books introduce us to some wonderful saints, and often you will find one that you are inclined to read further.  The Imitation of Christ has become a staple at my quiet time corner since “discovering” it (Thomas a’ Kempis) in these books.

Renovation of the Heart, by Willard [2-3] – I include Willard’s book here because I honestly felt it was . . . “spiritual” . . . it was about the Holy Spirit?  Besides, most reviews refer to it as a spiritual formation book.  This is inspiring, if not a little “heady” stuff . . . typical Willard.

Sacred Rhythms, by Ruth Haley Barton [2] – Wonderful, mystical, beautiful . . . no wonder, a female author in the list, finally.  Sorry ladies, if you are wont to read female authors, please contact me as I have some suggestions, it’s just that the most widely read and accepted books on discipleship and spiritual formation seem to be from male authors.  Okay, here are some names that I have personally found inspiring over the years; Rebecca Manley-Pippert, Joyce Meyer, Joni Eareckson Tada, Madeleine L’Engle, Ruth Bell Graham, Anne LaMott, Annie Dillard, Anne Morrow Lindbergh and others.

Conformed To His Image, by Kenneth Boa [2] – A virtual college seminary course in spiritual formation, but not too difficult to read and understand, (unlike some seminary textbooks.)  J

Okay, that’s about it for my list of books. Yes, Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonheoffer, Martin Luther, J.I. Packer, A.W. Tozer and lots more are missing, I admit it.  You want to read those guys, or T.F. Torrance, McGrath, and more, I suggest you enroll in a seminary.  But, for most of us the list above will suffice.

Finally, I include the following links to those organizations/publishers I mentioned earlier above.  They provide an abundance of resources besides books, and are good places to seek spiritual direction (if not from a personal “spiritual director”.)  Always remember, Christ is our true teacher through the Holy Spirit.

http://www.renovare.us/

http://www.navpress.com/

http://www.ivpress.com/

http://www.ivpress.com/formatio/ (IVPress’ pages specifically for spiritual formation)

And for the final time, www.amazon.com for book reviews, excerpts, etc.

Only by Grace, Patrick Watters
http://pnpontheroad.blog.spot.com

Hoofnote to the above bibliography:  I have more recently been reading a lot of Richard Rohr and related authors.  I have been especially moved by the book "Falling Upward" which speaks well to me in this "golden season".  Also, I am leaning into "New Seeds of Contemplation" by Thomas Merton, which is equally delightful.  Of course at some point we must simply and humbly . . .

 “Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.”  Abba Moses 330-405 A.D. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moses_the_Black

Final hoofnote:  Of course the point of contemplation is our own transformation that we may "Go" and be the LOVE and Light of God in Christ Jesus to the world.  Colossians 3:1-17 immediately comes to mind, and heart.  }:- ❤️


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Monday, December 11, 2017

Sustainsbility -- Creation Care

As a "Christian" (and I hesitate to use that word these days), I realize I and other Christians must embrace the "heart" of this, for in it I see the heart of God (Creator, Divine LOVE "Themselves").

http://m.dailygood.org/story/1872/head-heart-and-hands-25-years-of-schumacher-college-andrea-kuhn/

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All Things New

There is much more good going on than we can see in our broken, violent world.  And in it, in LOVE (God, Lover of all souls, Creator, Relationship at the Center of All) we are far richer than we know . . . yet, we are invited to become a part of it, even partner in it!  }:- ❤️👍🏻

http://henrinouwen.org/meditation/new-heaven-new-earth/

https://cac.org/we-love-by-letting-go-2017-12-11/

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It's all a gift --

It's all a gift --

"It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.  Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing." Ephesians 2:1-10 The Message (MSG)

https://odb.org/2017/12/11/its-all-a-gift/
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#Incarnation #Emmanuel

Peace On Earth

“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

Greed, lust, power & pride are not the path to peace.  Humility, simplicity, vulnerability & love enables us to transcend.  }:- ❤️

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