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Showing posts from July, 2005

The Prayer Labyrinth

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Last Friday, I travelled to the Servite Convent in Ladysmith, Wisconsin, to walk their prayer labyrinth.

I had heard about prayer labyrinths before, but never had the opportunity to walk one. Thus, I decided, after discovering one just an hour from my home, to visit it.

Driving there, I eagerly anticipated my prayer journey. The clangings and clutters of life had been too loud lately. I needed to still my soul in quietness.

The labyrinth was not nearly as impressive as I had imagined -- from a distance I could barely discern the boundaries -- and it looked more like an unkempt backyard than a sacred shrine for prayer and meditation.

Nevertheless, I entered the labyrinth expectantly -- silencing my heart and waiting to hear the voice of God.

I heard something different.

Suddenly, unexpectedly, my contemplative state was interrupted by a hideous intrusion.

"VROOM! VROOM! THWAT, THWAT, THWAT, THWAT!"

Some young punk picked that particular minute to do weed whacking at the convent. Stra…

Faithful in the Wilderness

John Fletcher, one of the early Methodists, was a great spiritual leader, and small town pastor. He served for 25 years as the Vicar of Madeley, until his early death.

Both John Wesley and George Whitefield preached from his pulpit. I had the privilege of visiting Madeley in April, and praying at his grave.

In his first year of the pastorate, he wrote a letter to his friend, Lady Huntington:

If my being stationed in this howling wilderness is to answer no public end as to the Gospel of Christ, I will not give up the hope that it may answer a private end as to myself, in humbling me under a sense of universal unprofitableness.

If I preach the Gospel ten years here and see no fruit of my labors, in either case, I promise to bless God, if I can only say from my heart, "I am nothing. I have nothing. I can do nothing."

He concluded the letter by adding, ". . . the number here has increased from 30 to above 100."

Osama

If you think you can't make a difference in the world from a remote place, think of Osama bin Ladin.

From the deserts of Afghanistan -- and now, hiding (in Pakistani caves?) he has literally changed the world with the power of hatred and evil.

Conversely, just think what a small town pastor could do with the Power of the Holy Spirit and love!

Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world! (1 John 4:4)

Why the Biblical Illiteracy?

I was reading the other day about Abraham Lincoln's heavy usage of Scripture in his speeches, correspondance, and conversations. It struck me that the hearers understood what he was saying. In other words, in the mid 1800's there was a general biblical literacy in America -- at least educated America.

Today, if you mention Jethro, Jezabel, or Delilah -- you will be met with blank stares. As Len Sweet observed, "America is no longer a post-Christian nation, but rather a pre-Christian one with no memory of biblical heritage."

How did the pool of common biblical understanding evaporate? How did this vast ocean, teeming with life, shrivel to small mudpuddles and aquarium tanks?

I don't begin to know all the answers -- but here are a few thoughts:

1. The Proliferation ofRadio, Television and Computers.
Abe Lincoln grew up with two books to entertain himself -- The Bible and Pilgrim's Progress. Our media options both widen and shallow us.

2. The Relocation of the Music I…