Devout Christians have long sought after something called “holiness.” We have misunderstood this pursuit as a striving toward perfection, which is obviously out of our reach in this life. Holiness is better understood as spiritual strength or fortitude, and our spirits are not made strong overnight, nor are they fortified without effort on our part. Spiritual disciplines are habits that function like exercises for the soul to make us more faithful disciples and more loving neighbors.
Sunday, September 13, 2020
Prayer is one of the most essential spiritual disciplines and one of the most widely practiced, but that doesn’t make it simple or straightforward. In fact, some of the thorniest questions of Christian life and theology are related to the act and function of prayer. Prayer means different things to different people, and that is the way God intends it to be.
Sunday, September 20, 2020
God is mysterious and God’s ways in the world are often inscrutable. But this does not mean that Christians forsake the pursuit of understanding God. On the contrary, it means that seeking a clearer understanding of our faith is a lifelong pursuit which does not yield easy or complete answers, but which is profoundly fulfilling nonetheless.
Sunday, September 27, 2020
The pitfalls of wealth and possessions are many and dangerous, and scripture is uncommonly univocal on the matter. What is less clear is what we are supposed to do about it. Sometimes we assume that the answer is to rid ourselves of our possessions, which is impractical (and even irresponsible) in the modern world. Poverty may be the opposite of wealth, but that does not necessarily make it the antidote of wealth’s perils. Rather, the answer is the hard, steady, lifelong discipline of generosity.
Solitude / Community
Sunday, October 04, 2020
In the classic lists of spiritual disciplines, we usually find solitude: the practice of intentionally removing oneself not only from people but also from the noise and distractions that daily life brings. But because solitude has become an unintentional reality for many of us during this pandemic, it is also important at this moment to acknowledge the companion discipline of community, which may actually require more focused effort right now. The two disciplines—solitude and community—work hand-in-hand to nourish our souls and strengthen our spirits.
Sunday, October 11, 2020
The ancient practice of fasting has fallen by the wayside for many Christians—especially Protestants—in recent generations. As a result, we struggle to understand how giving up food deepens our connection to God. But fasting, more than just going hungry, is about discovering what we hunger for in life. And it is only after we are aware of and honest about this that we can begin to set our priorities in the proper order.
Sunday, October 18, 2020
There is a great deal of overlap between worshiping and attending a worship service, but they are not the same thing. What happens when the community gathers for worship is a condensed and enhanced form of the kind of self-offering that God asks of us every day of the week. To worship is to make ourselves a living sacrifice for the health of our souls and for the good of the kingdom.