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I am excited to share with you my review of “Water To Wine: Some of My Story”. Brian is the founder and lead pastor of Word of Life Church, a non-denominational Christian congregation in Saint Joseph, Missouri. Brian and his wife, Peri, founded the church in 1981. Brian is also the author of several books, including, Water to Wine, A Farewell To Mars, Beauty Will Save the World, and Unconditional: The Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness. Learn more about Brian at BrianZahnd.
Let me share some key points that particularly resonated with me.
Mystery, Grace and Authenticity
“I want the vintage wine. The kind of faith marked by mystery, grace, and authenticity.” Wow! Read that again. I too want mystery and the grace of God. I want to learn who this God is. How do I best do this? When I let go of my preconceived notions, I can let Mystery teach me. I agree with Brian when he says, “Years later I would discover that my faith needed more mystery if I was going to maintain energy over the long haul.”
Doubts, Questions and Perplexities
“Where there are no doubts, no questions, no perplexities, there can be no growth.” As I continue to let go and open to Mystery I will doubt and question. Doubt and question will help me grow. Eventually I will let also let go of my doubts and questions too. It is then that I will be even more open to what the Great Teacher has in store for me.
“This much I’m sure of, Orthodox mystery, Catholic beauty, Anglican liturgy, Protestant audacity, Evangelical energy, Charismatic reality—I need it all!” Yes! We need diversity. Look at God’s creation. It is indeed very diverse. It all belongs. Everything belongs!
“I’ll just say that the most important factor in my second half of life journey has involved learning how to pray well.” Brian also mentions, “Contemplation, or contemplative prayer, has the potential to be the most transformative practice in our life.” I completely agree. I have practiced centering prayer for over two years now. It has transformed me. I highly encourage everyone to find a silent prayer practice. Silence teaches us who we are. It teaches us how to live. And I too agree with Brian, “Spiritual formation happens over a lifetime, not overnight.” We just need to keep showing up.
“Salvation is about being human. This is why the Word became flesh—human flesh.” We are both divine beings with a small “d” and human beings. Of course Jesus was a divine being with a big “D” and a human being. When I let my humanity and inner divinity work together I get beautiful actions.
Read Brian’s book. I think you too will enjoy it. It will prepare you for your journey on the road of Love! “If we stay on the road following the Jesus way, what we discover is that we are walking farther and farther down the road of love.”
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I just finished Sacred Compass by J. Brent Bill and Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God by James Finley. I am currently reading The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within by Christine Valters Paintner.
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David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners.
I use a Prayer Rope after each Centering Prayer Sit.
Centering Prayer is a silent prayer practice that can move you toward a profound relationship with the Spirit of God within. It is a way of praying that opens the door to the Divine Indwelling—the ground of our being. With Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating and his colleagues Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Father Carl Arico present the first online course in this method for deepening your intimacy with God and ultimately consenting to the presence and action of the Divine in all aspects of your life.
The early Christians, teaches the Reverend Cynthia Bourgeault, were afire with the spirit of Jesus, inspired fully by his teaching of a total transformation of consciousness. How do we reclaim that fire today? On Encountering the Wisdom Jesus, this brilliant author and dynamic Episcopalian priest presents her first full-length audio course about rediscovering the Master of Wisdom. Twelve immersive sessions cover: the parables as wisdom tools; Jesus’s teachings about kenosis (or self-emptying: a path as radical today as it was 2,000 years ago); Jesus as tantric master; Centering Prayer, an approach to meditation as Jesus lived it, and much more. (Based upon her book, The Wisdom Jesus.)
Since the time of the Desert Fathers in the third century, Finley begins, Christian mystics have practiced meditation as a way of opening to the direct presence of God in daily life. Legendary seekers such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Meister Eckhart explored how meditation can lead us beyond the closed horizon of the ego, to an interior and holy refuge that is always available to us. On Christian Meditation, James Finley offers a gentle introduction to this all-transforming way of life, and the ever-deepening realization of oneness with Christ it leads us to. (Based upon his book, Christian Meditation.)
Check out my review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain.
Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright. Enjoy an article I wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.
Contemplative Light is a group of Spiritual Directors and writers. They offer a unique style of contemplative coaching based on the teachings and traditions of Christian Mysticism. Sign up for a Spiritual Map Session.