Often, people who’re outwardly open and liberal, when pressed on deep seated issues, are in fact rigid and uncompromising. And often people who’re outwardly more structured and intolerant, when pressed, are in fact open-hearted. People who seem outwardly neurotic and broken often actually have it together. And people who seem outwardly pressed, plucked, and put together are often barely holding together their fragmented selves. People have numerous layers and when the layers are peeled back I’m often surprised.
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My most fanatic peers overreacted to growing up in extreme environments. One peer became reactive to his hippie parents whose radical openness (to everything from recreational drugs to an open marriage) threatened his sense of stability and security. In reaction he became ultra-conservative. Another peer is the opposite. Her extremely conservative background in Houston, Texas compelled her to swing to the opposite extreme of misguided utopian experiments, a strict vegan diet, and unbridled Northern California whims, which include giving all of her disposable income to her guru.
Balance prevents backlash. When sojourning down a particular path, there’s a tendency in all of us to overdo. When I started riding an exercise bike three times a week, I started out going for half an hour each session and overexerting. I dreaded the fatigue in my thighs following workouts. So, my good intentions waned, and then were abandoned.
When I began silent prayer I practiced an hour every morning. Soon I burned out. It was too much. Since then, I’ve gotten back into exercise and centering prayer, but now I give myself slack. At present I often exercise for short bursts, realizing the main point is habitual exercise. The same is true of Centering Prayer. I started with twenty minutes every morning and didn’t worry if I occasionally overslept. Because of the moderation at the outset, now both practices have become ingrained habits as familiar as breakfast or brushing my teeth. And as the months and years pass I periodically do longer prayer and exercise sessions. There’s beauty and poise in moderation.
Learn methods practiced by Christian mystics for centuries to consent to the action and presence of God within, including Centering Prayer, The Examen, Lectio Divina, Christian Meditation, and the Jesus Prayer
David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners, and then guides us experientially through core prayers and meditations.
Enjoy Rich’s post: How I Use My Prayer Bracelet.
Check out Simply Good News by New Testament scholar and author N. T. Wright. It is based upon his book Simply Good News. You will instantly get into the heart of the idea of ‘good news’ as it was understood by the 1st Century writers of the New Testament. It works well for group studies.
Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright. Enjoy an article Rich wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.