Comments on: A Contemplative Approach to Christianity God...I thirst for you ~ Ps 63 Thu, 07 May 2015 21:37:05 +0000 hourly 1 By: Lazo Mon, 07 Jul 2014 05:38:25 +0000 Jeff, I apologize for the delay in responding. I went into a pool with my phone right after writing this blog, and have not been able to keep track of comment updates until now. But here I am.

It is interesting that you bring up “memory” as a way to connect with God: “In a recount of my day, attempting to remember my encounters with the bearers of the imago dei, I often find that God was much closer than I had realized prior or in the moments of.” I believe this is similar to a an ancient practice called “Examen,” in which the practitioner looks back on their day, and recounts how God was present in the seemingly mundane.

Thanks for sharing this. And I hope all is well at Oxford, friend.

By: Practicing Contemplative Prayer, a guest post by Brittany Volpei | Doctrine On Tap Mon, 30 Jun 2014 13:57:48 +0000 […] ← A CONTEMPLATIVE APPROACH TO CHRISTIANITY […] ]]> By: Jeff Han Sat, 28 Jun 2014 22:54:07 +0000 Great article pastor Chris. A topic that has been hot on my mind recently.

Within Barth’s Church Dogmatics, possibly volume three the section on historicity, but I do not have my copies with me, Barth mentions the necessity of how the word “god” is to be understood in a new way, or the proper way, with the historical event of the incarnation. Barth, along with a slew of other NT scholars, takes this proper understanding of the word “god” to mean many things. But perhaps one of the more shocking traits of the recorded incarnation is Matthew’s usage of the name “Immanuel.” The event that God Himself became close to humanity in a spatiotemporal way is astounding to think, especially because a deist view of a far away Jesus has been all too common. Reverberations of Genesis 1 and God walking with humanity tend to ring through my ears as I hear the nature of Jesus’ ministry. This is all very well in good on paper, yet the recognition of God not being a deist or epicurean god, far off and disconnected, is a bit difficult to accept these days. Jesus’ ascension and promise of his return leaves many to think, “well the glory days are gone. Of course Peter could stand and preach before those who had previously crucified Jesus, Jesus cooked him breakfast! But the spatiotemporal closeness of God is no longer there!”

I confess this to be true in my times of prayer. Many of my thoughts tend to lean on frustration when I am in a silent space praying for a far away heavenly kingdom in the midst of painful realities. While I can say to myself that this is where MY faith and hope must come into play, I have found another reality to be a bit more economical. I have said very little thus far on the role of the Holy Spirit. The comfort the Spirit has brought, and the role the Spirit has had in my times of individual prayer. Yet if I look back to the means of how the spatiotemporal Jesus walked in his ministry and lived with those around him, I see why some people may have been so enthusiastic to follow him (I am using a historical past tense but this does not mean a restricting one, indeed he has risen!). The traits that I find so appealing are those that the apostle Paul presents as the “fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).” I have had people who occupy space and time around me during times of difficulty, yet these two traits do not insure communing or deep relationship. It is instead the action of those around me and my reflection upon those actions that harbor those deep relationship (there is obviously an aspect of my own agency, but such would be good for another time).

It is always shocking to me that Corinthians portrays such a broken church. In light of Luke-Acts this seems a bit strange to think that the church is the means of how God will dissipate humanity’s separation from himself. Yet it is in my own life that I really cannot deny God’s choice of method. The simple acts of ordinary folk expressing these “fruits.” Those who act to a fine tuned remedy that the Spirit leads them in, have been terrifyingly consistent through my life (and I’m betting in many of ours). But in times alone, it is in fact the memory of these acts, or reflection, that I see, hear, and know God to be “Immanuel.” As terrific a day at the beach may be, often times the realization of how terrific that day is comes from a retrospective, perhaps on a stormy day. In a recount of my day, attempting to remember my encounters with the bearers of the imago dei, I often find that God was much closer than I had realized prior or in the moments of. I suppose my individual meditation is a bit of my recollection on the corporate. And at the end of the recollection, when the fears of life seem crashing down, I am indeed aware of Immanuel. And heaven does not seem so far anymore.

By: Lazo Tue, 24 Jun 2014 03:43:20 +0000 So so good.
I love this: “being so desperate to hear from Him and for just Jesus Himself.”
Thanks for sharing this, Lisah. ]]>
By: Lisah Mon, 23 Jun 2014 20:55:51 +0000 Oh also, my best friend and I have talked about this, and we’ve both done this without even discussing it, like it was just something we were both lead to do. Practically speaking, to sit on the floor in our rooms in the silence and just think about Jesus. To mediate as it were on Him and His goodness. It’s something I need to do more actually. Even though we can’t physically see Him, we can fix our spiritual eyes as it were on Him. To give attention to the unseen isn’t always easy..especially lately..been super distracted..but that inner stronghold after spending time in prayer and mediation is SO true. I read that and I was like AH! Yes! In the midst of life you can just retreat away into the awareness of Jesus and His be satisfied in’s the best. ]]> By: Lisah Mon, 23 Jun 2014 20:44:55 +0000 Interesting post! I think the idea of meditation and focus is only dangerous when that mediation and focus is outside of in, just focusing on us and our issues. I believe that when the mediation and focus is on Christ and who He is, that is simply “keeping our eyes fixed on the Author and Finisher of our faith.” As far as what I do for prayer and worship in personal time, I think I’ll just share what happened to me last year. Last year was no doubt, no exaggerations, the hardest year of my life. Without going into a sappy story, God had me in a place where I was so fully aware of my desperation for Him alone. One particular morning, I woke up so broken. I remember lots of times waking up with a cloud over my head and the only way of releasing the hurt inside was to gush out like a sponge tears into my pillow. That particular morning, the cloud no doubt was there when I woke up. I remember realizing how much I needed Jesus. I’ve been a believer for some time now, but at this point, I was so aware of my need for His comfort and inner peace. I grabbed my bible, as is my habit in the morning, and headed toward my usual spot on the couch to read. At that point the storm and tears were on the verge of coming out, and all I knew to do was to book it to the King. I remember the chorus,”Hallelujah, glory be to our great God” being in my head, so I put that song on my phone and opened my bible. I remember deciding that I needed to determine inside to shove all the problems and all the heartache inside to the side, and run to Jesus..I just remember thinking how I just wanted to go back in time, away from everything, and to be there as He spoke to the just be able to sit there and soak in His words, and let them flood into me. To not focus on anything else. So that is what I proceeded to do. After all, I did have His words right in front of me! So I opened to one of the gospels and shut everything out. As I read His words, I literally threw myself back in time, and pictured myself as one in the crowd. I soaked in His words, and fell in love with Jesus all over again, the one who alone can calm the storm inside. He is leading me to treasure Him. Of course, as an everyday practice I don’t just go through the gospels alone. But I think that the idea of being so desperate to hear from Him and for just Jesus Himself, is key to hearing from Him in His word, no matter where you’re reading. What I’m learning in prayer too, especially in praying for others, it is so awesome that Jesus knows what He is talking about. When asked how to pray, ideally, we’re to begin with worship and adoration of the just worship Him..I think that, at least for me, when my eyes are fixed on Him first, (His ability, His worthiness, His love, His strength, His holiness, His power, that absolutely nothing is too hard for Him) and I choose to believe this by faith, that prayer for others can flow from that..from His love for me, my love for Him, and His heart for others. I’m growing too, like we all are, praise God..thanks for the blog! ]]>