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I am excited to share my review of The Bible Makes Sense by Walter Brueggemann.
Walter is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary. An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, he is the author of dozens of books and hundreds of articles. Learn more about him at Walter Bruggemann.
Walter has both a powerful command of prose and a powerful command of the Bible. Let me share my takeaways from this compelling book.
“The God whom we confess is a serious partner in our life.”
“Nothing and nobody can separate us. Nothing can come between God and the people of the covenant.”
Our relationship with God is a serious matter. Yes, it is a relationship where we are both loved by God and we reciprocate our love for and to God. However it is much more than just this.
God wishes to be our partner in life. God wants us to make a commitment to this lifelong relationship and partnership. God is serious about His love for us and His life long partnership with us. Because God is committed, He wants us to be too! Our relationship and love for God is a wonderful, exciting, and life changing covenant that we enter into with God.
With Us and For Us
“We are bold to affirm that in Jesus we know fully and unmistakably that God is not only with us but for us.”
In Jesus God came to visit with us in human form. God did not come just to visit. God came to be for us. The actions we see by Jesus reveal the extent to which God was for us. These actions included healing and feasting. Jesus healed people to their innermost core. He made them feel whole. He accepted people that others would not accept. Everyone was welcome at His table: lepers, prostitutes, the demon possessed, the sick and the lame. It is in this way that Jesus was with us and for us. Jesus continues to be with us and for us.
“The actions of Jesus are home-bringing events. He came especially to the outcasts, displaced, and rejected ones in society (the lepers, the demon possessed, the sick, the lame). And he acted toward them in ways so that they could be “at home” again. To bring people home is God’s work.”
“It is a whole new self-understanding to know that our vocation is to end Exile and bring people to a sense of being home.”
Jesus brings us home! Jesus brings everyone home! No one is left out. No one deserves to be left out. Our vocation is to help Jesus bring everyone home. We are to end the exile in the world and let everyone know that they are loved, welcomed and valued.
Life and Death
“Life means to be significantly involved in the community of caring, meaning, and action.”
“Death means to be excluded from such a community or denied access to its caring, meaning, or action.”
Life is not an individual matter. Life is to be lived in community. It is in community where we take care of each other. We let people know that their lives and actions and have meaning. Our combined and shared actions create powerful synergy!
“The central invitation of the Bible is to embrace newness.”
“Most of us are heavily committed to what is old and exhausted, and we have quit hoping that God can do his newness among us.”
We are new creations. Christ is within us. Each day is an opportunity to take new Christ inspired action. If we open to God this newness will flow out of us!
“The Bible finally is not concerned with right morality, right piety, or right doctrine. Rather it is concerned with faithful relationships between God and the people, between all the brothers and sisters in God’s community, and between God’s community in the world God has made.”
Relationships are important to God! God loves each one of us! God will not force us to love Him but wishes that we love Him back. God also wants us to love others in our community and even those in other communities that we may or may not come in contact with. Community is important to God. The community is to love and take care of its members.
“It is here presumed that the Bible is not an “object” for us to study but a partner with whom we may dialogue.”
The Bible is an invitation to and for dialogue. When we open and read it’s pages we should feel comfortable to have honest dialogue with God and our brothers and sisters about the content on its very pages.
I am currently taking on clients for Centering Prayer One on One Coaching sessions. I am happy to setup weekly, bi-weekly or monthly sessions with you over the phone or skype to help you go deeper into your centering prayer practice and integrate it into your daily life. Contact me for more information. The first session is 1/2 off.
The Way of the Wisdom Jesus: Going Beyond the Mind to the Heart of His Teaching – If you put aside what you think you know about Jesus and approach the Gospels as though for the first time, something remarkable happens: Jesus emerges as a teacher of the transformation of consciousness. In this online course, Episcopal priest, teacher, and retreat and conference leader Cynthia Bourgeault serves as a masterful guide to Jesus’s vision and to the traditional contemplative practices you can use to experience the heart of his teaching for yourself. Based on her book, The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind–A New Perspective on Christ and His Message .
Our friends at Contemplative Light are offering Contemplative Practices. This course examines in-depth traditional practices of the Christian mystics, including: The Examen, Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, The Jesus Prayer and Christian Meditation.
I am currently reading The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – a New Perspective on Christ and His Message by Cynthia Bourgeault and Contemplative Living: An Invitation to a Deepening Journey by .
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. It is based on his book Simply Jesus. Enjoy an article I wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.
This course is a short course based on Prof. N.T. Wright’s latest book, Simply Good News. Tom Wright will guide you through the chapters of his book through videos that suggest what some of the main points are. You will instantly get into the heart of the idea of ‘good news’ as it was understood by the 1st Century writers of the New Testament. You will be brought into their world in order to make more sense of what ‘good news’ means in our world.
Check out my review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain. Explore prayer methods that go back to Jesus.
Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks – This is a great way to listen to books with your cell phone while you drive, walk or relax at home. I frequently listen in my car during my commute to and from work. I’m a proud affiliate.
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. Learn more about how to pray with a prayer rope.
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.
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.)