April 25, 2015

Christian Wiman on religious despair

Religious despair is often a defense against boredom and the daily grind of existence. Lacking intensity in our lives, we say that we are distant from God and then seek to make that distance into an intense experience. It is among the most difficult spiritual ailments to heal, because it is usually wholly illusory. There […]

Emerging from Gethsemani: What I did and what I read

I spent Monday through Friday last week at one of my favorite places in the world: The Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, near Bardstown, Kentucky. This was my third retreat at Gethsemani, and each of them has had a different purpose. I went in November 2011 in a state of exhaustion from a heavy […]

Ron Rolheiser on Priestly Prayer

I have an idea some people have a misconception when I tell them I am going on retreat to a place like the Abbey of Gethsemani, where I am this week. I know I’ve had such wrong notions in the past, especially in my free-church evangelical days. This is especially true regarding the daily services […]

Randy Thompson: Religious Virtuosity — The Spiritual Life on Automatic Pilot 

Growing up is, among other possibilities, a process of learning how to do things. We learn to walk and talk, to tie our shoes, and to tell the difference between the men’s room and the ladies’ room. Much of what happens later in life builds on such foundational skills. For example, we learn to drive […]

Damaris Zehner: Ponderings on Permaculture

It’s almost spring, and I’m reading about gardening.  It’s my yearly ritual to keep hope alive over the winter.  This winter I’ve focused on permaculture.   I like permaculture because it deals with growing things in a sustainable and sane way, but it has also led me to three related thoughts. Permaculture, I’ve learned, is […]

Mud season and me

These are the ugly days. Before the new season springs forth in delicate color and texture, the world looks like a frat house the day after. The grass is patchy, brown and nubby, and with every step comes the possibility your sneaker treads will lose the battle with God’s good mud. Whatever snow remains crouches […]

Nostalgia. As bad as relevance.

Nostalgia. It’s as bad for you as “relevance.” Sunday in church, the pianist played a lovely arrangement of the old Maranatha! chorus, “I Love You, Lord.” Then in response, we sang another chorus that has been a big part of my adult Christian experience, “Give Thanks.” In the more traditional service at our church, we sprinkle […]

Empathy

Note from CM: I received an email from Mike Bell yesterday asking for a leave from writing for IM for awhile. They have received some bad news about a family member whose cancer has returned, and Mike will have additional responsibilities in the days to come. He is also facing some increasing demands at work. Please […]

Practices that help keep Jesus in the center

We here at Internet Monk are committed to continuing Michael Spencer’s legacy of what he called “Jesus-shaped spirituality.” I am always happy to shore up our understanding and practice in this area, as one of our commenters suggested in last week’s post about what conversations we should be having in 2015. If you follow the link […]

Another Look: The Limits of Vulnerability

This is an excerpt from a post published in January, 2013. It has been edited and updated. • • • I think that the practice of “vulnerability” as personal transparency may have gone to seed. Just take one flip around the TV channels and you can see that. What are all of these confessional talk […]