March 21, 2017

Learning to Pray

Pray then in this way. —Matt. 6:9

What is prayer?

There are probably as many different answers to that question as there are people who pray. But I think the gist of prayer is simply communicating with God. That communication can take many forms from speaking to listening to filling your mind to clearing your mind to doing God’s will. But I think speaking to God—either aloud or silently—is the first thing most of us learned prayer was.

But how do we speak to God?

March 15, 2017

Be Whole

There’s a place in Pittsburgh with a very strange name. It’s called Conflict Kitchen. [1] It sounds like the name of a very unpleasant reality TV show where the competitors are encouraged to duke it out—or at least argue—as they cook. But it’s almost the opposite. It’s actually a restaurant that serves food from places or peoples that our country is or has been in conflict with. Not necessarily at war, but at least on the outs with. And so on its menu has been Iranian food and Cuban food and even North Korean food.

Jesus commandment to love our enemies is difficult. But if we can love our enemy’s cooking, I would imagine that that’s a good start.

March 5, 2017

The Spirit vs the Letter

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
—Matt. 5:17

I. Roy, Westy, and Skinny

Roy Blakely was a Boy Scout in the earliest days of scouting. In fact, he was the leader of his patrol. Well, one day when he was following a trail left by another Scout months earlier, he suddenly found himself so deep in a swamp that not only could he not find his way out, but he couldn’t have gotten out even if the way was obvious, so deep in the mud had his feet gotten stuck. The harder he tried to free himself from the muck, the more stuck he became. He tried pulling himself up by vines and tree branches, but they were all too small or too weak.