An Open Letter to Houston Mayor Annise Parker from a Pastor

Originally posted on TitusLive:

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Dear Mayor Parker,

Most folks are a little confused as to why you subpoenaed sermons from some high-profile pastors who have opposed you. I’m not. I think your reasons are obvious and they are very political. I would expect nothing less from, you know, a politician. Also, between you and me, I don’t understand why the pastors don’t just hand the sermons over. Most of them probably have a podcast or sermon video on their websites, anyway. But I doubt you’re innocent in your motivations. I don’t think it is your intention, exactly, to possess these sermons for your own personal devotion time.

But that’s what I like to call Kingdom of This World stuff, and I’m not interested in that back and forth. Really, I was just writing to say one thing:

You can have my sermons. I’ll send all of them to your office.

I’ll send you the one about…

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Prayer for Independence Day

IndependenceLord God Almighty, you have made all the peoples of the earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and in peace: Give to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Phyllis Tickle

The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime–A Manual for Prayer (v. 1)

What role do spiritual practices play in your life?

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In recent years awareness of the role of spiritual practices, sometimes called spiritual disciplines, as an important part of the Christian life has been growing in many sectors of the Church. Two of my favorite books on the topic are Richard’s Foster’s Celebration of Discipline and Dallas Willard’s The Spirit of the Disciplines. I also really like James Bryan Smith’s The Good and Beautiful Series, though it goes beyond a strict focus on spiritual practices. So, what about you? Which of the spiritual practices below have you experienced? Take a second and answer the poll below and then consider talking about the role of spiritual practices in your life and how they’ve helped (or not) in the Comments section.

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May today there…

May today there be peace within.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be content knowing you are a child of God.

Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.”

― Teresa of Avila

Did I really just use Godzilla as a symbol of humility?

Yesterday I wrote about the first sentence of the prayer that hangs on the bulletin board above my desk. Today I will look at the second.

Give me the strength that waits upon You in silence and peace. Give me humility in which alone is rest, and deliver me from pride which is the heaviest of burdens. Possess my whole heart and soul with the simplicity of love. Occupy my whole life with the one thought and the one desire of love, that I may love not for the sake of merit, not for the sake of perfection, not for the sake of virtue, not for the sake of sanctity, but for You alone.

Thomas Merton

Give me humility in which alone is rest, and deliver me from pride which is the heaviest of burdens.

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When you’ve used your strength in the waiting you need rest and not more burdens. Continue reading

Waiting

The prayer below is pinned to the bulletin board above my desk.

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Give me the strength that waits upon You in silence and peace. Give me humility in which alone is rest, and deliver me from pride which is the heaviest of burdens. Possess my whole heart and soul with the simplicity of love. Occupy my whole life with the one thought and the one desire of love, that I may love not for the sake of merit, not for the sake of perfection, not for the sake of virtue, not for the sake of sanctity, but for You alone.

Thomas Merton

It’s been there for months, but this morning the first sentence struck a chord. Continue reading

Gloriously Imponderable

Yesterday I learned that the universe shouldn’t exist. According to a new model that takes into account the properties of the newly discovered Higgs boson, the universe should have collapsed in on itself an instant after the Big Bang. I found the article and the discovery delightful to my soul.

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It’s not that I don’t appreciate the work of scientists. Continue reading

Peace Returned

This is a repost of a blog written on September 6, 2011.

Venice

As I imagine spiritual relationships it is clear that I will not please everyone and will not be liked by everyone and (the startling realization) I don’t need to be.  Rather than dwell on those who do not see eye to eye with me I will do better to focus my attention and my energies where God’s favor has opened the way. Continue reading

God’s User Interface

This is a repost of a blog written on August 31, 2011.

Grommet

A couple of thoughts this morning while walking the dogs on the great lawn at Zilker Park – Redbud Island was closed due to what appeared to be parking lot maintenance.  I thought about God’s user interface. Continue reading

Am I real?

This is a repost of a blog that written during the Advent season of 2010.

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I heard God ask me a question this morning in the prayer room at the Austin House of Prayer. I don’t say that lightly. I had just read the account in the gospel of Luke of the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary announcing the coming of the messiah and the part she was to play. Continue reading