I am currently reading Christianity After Religion: The End Of Church And The Birth Of A New Spiritual Awakening by Diana Butler Bass.
Why did Diana write this book?
“This book is concerned with religion and change—specifically how Christianity, especially Christianity in the United States, is changing and how people are questioning conventional patterns of faith and belief.”
“To awaken spiritually means that we develop a new awareness of God’s energy in the world in order to discern what is needed to open the possibilities for human flourishing. Discernment leads to new understandings of self, neighbor, and God—a vision of what can and should be. Thus, awakening demands we act upon the new vision. Wake up, discern, imagine, and do. What will make a difference to the future is awakening to a faith that fully communicates God’s love—a love that transforms how we believe, what we do, and who we are in the world.”
Four actions jump out at me: wake up, discern, imagine, do.
Let’s discuss them one at a time.
Centering Prayer helps me discover God’s energy both in the world and in my inner world. Centering Prayer slows me down. When I slow down I am better able to open to both the presence and action of God within. I have discovered that I can also take this slowness into my non silent times of the day and open to the presence and action of God that is all around me.
Centering prayer helps me better discern the actions that I need to take. What tasks do I need to complete at work? How can I resolve an issue at work? What should I do after work? Who can I help today? When someone annoys me or hurts my feelings what next steps should I take or not take? When is silence the best course? When is no action the best action? I have noticed that when I slow down I am better able to discern the inner actions and nudges of the Divine.
When I slow down I am better able to imagine new possibilities. That once impossible task at work now seems to have a solution. I discover a better way to help my child with a situation that preciously caused him to struggle. I find a new book to read or a new show to watch that opens new vistas for me. I seem more open to trying, exploring and doing new things. At the end of the day, I like to look back and review with God the new and exciting highlights from the day.
Centering prayer reveals what actions God wants me to do today. I am better able to discern my daily and future tasks and actions. I am better able to partner with God and discern the small steps that will complete my future goals and tasks. I am better able to discern when to take no action and when to just shut up when I discern it is my emotions and not God’s inner nudge.
As I continue to wake up, discern, imagine and do, I will as Diana states communicate God’s love to both me and others that I come into contact with each day. And more importantly, God’s love will transform how we believe, what we do, and who we are in the world.
Grounded: Finding God in the World-A Spiritual Revolution by Diana Butler Bass
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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.
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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.
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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.
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.)