Monday, May 20, 2013

Someone Worth Knowing

The succinctness of this quote from D. Willard pin-points why one should consider this historical figure, Jesus Christ, as more than just a cool teacher, or good man.  Amazingly, today he can be sought and found.  He can provide meaning, hope and direction... someone truly worthy of getting to know.
"Jesus’ enduring relevance is based on his historically proven ability to speak to, to heal and empower the individual human condition. He matters because of what he brought and what he still brings to ordinary human beings, living their ordinary lives and coping daily with their surroundings. He promises wholeness for their lives. In sharing our weakness, he gives us strength and imparts through his companionship a life that has the quality of eternity."
I encourage reading more:  The Divine Conspiracy  (pg. 13) 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Considering the "Laws of Nature"

Along my journey, there have been many people who have aided me in developing my thoughts about how living as a "sojourner" I should view the world around me.  One person who has influenced me greatly, though not all the time easily, was a man who was at his height of writing around the time of my birth.  This man, Clive Stapleton Lewis (often known as:  C.S. Lewis), a university professor, pointed my thinking away from my surface notions, pointing me towards a deeper way of reflecting. 

On April 4, 1945, he wrote a piece that was published in the Coventry Evening Telegraph, it was entitled "The Laws of Nature."  The piece wrestles with the thought of how some people believe that prayer is counter to the laws of nature. 

The article opened with a comment made by a friend at the start of a day before Lewis’s first student arrived. The friend expressed disagreement with something another said about her prayers being the reason her son was not killed by a bullet that nearly missed him. Before being interrupted the person concluded it “was simply due to the laws of Nature” and not prayer that it happen that way. Later when Lewis reflected on the matter he developed his argument for why upon careful analysis it isn’t just that simple. You have to consider the source behind these laws, something science is not able to explain. The essay is also available in written form in a book entitled:  God in the Dock
To give you a taste of how Lewis thought through this issue, below you'll find a video posted ( of and produced by a person named Kalman, who lives in New Zealand.  In Kalman's own words, "it is a live animation of a C.S. Lewis essay in the 1920 - 1940's 'Art Deco' style."  I hope you enjoy the seven minute video and ponder the message that it contains...

For further enquiry into C.S. Lewis:  There is a wealth of information found at a great blog: C.S. Lewis Blog:

Friday, May 10, 2013

Recognizing One Person's Contribution...

Dallas Willard, a Christian Philosopher, passed away a few days ago.  He was described as a man on a quite quest to subvert nominal Christianity.  As with all men there were aspects that some did not agree with, or understand, but he no doubt brought much to our generation regarding true Christian faith... not a religion, or a denomination, rather a life connected with the living God in a personal way!

I thought you'd like to read an article posted in Christianity Today just recently about him.  I've shortened the url so that it doesn't take up a bunch of characters...  this link will take you to a good overview of a man who's life-long heart was to honor the God in whom he believed!

Monday, May 6, 2013

What does being a dedicated Christ follower mean?

Dallas Albert Willard (born September 4, 1935) is an American philosopher also known for his writings on Christian spiritual formation. He is currently Professor of Philosophy at The University of Southern California. This interview, calmly and deliberately, shares what it means to be a disciple, or a dedicated follower of Christ. I'm sharing this on my blog because it is part of "My Sojourning" and hope it is, or will be, part of yours...

Interview with Dallas Willard from corbyn on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Observing from a Distance

I'm enjoying reading two books about the Prodigal Son: Tim Keller's - "The Prodigal God" and Henri Nouwen's - "The Return of the Prodigal Son"

I've been been touched the most by how our Father wants to place His hands on us in comfort, not just have us be 'looking-on' as the Elder son, depicted in this marvelous compassionate painting above by Rembrandt (currently graces a wall at the Hermitage, St. Petersburg)!

The question that has been haunting my thinking is who am I in this story? For so long I thought I was the 'younger son,' but recently I've been gaining a new perspective... seeing myself more as the "elder son." While Nouwen's description of his life does not fully parallel mine, there are many aspects of his story that cause me to reflect... Do these quotes from "the Return of the Prodigal Son" speak to you? Pause and ask yourself, "who am I in this rich story?"

[Nouwen...] "...I am, indeed, the eldest child in my own family, ...[I've come] to see how I had lived a quite dutiful life. When I was six years old, I already wanted to become a priest and never changed my mind. I was born, baptized, confirmed, and ordained into the same church and had always been obedient to my parents, my teachers, my bishops, and my God. I had never turned away from home, never wasted my time and money on sensual pursuits, and had never gotten lost in "debauchery and drunkenness." For my entire life I had been quite responsible, traditional and home-bound. But, with all of that, I may in fact, have been just as lost as the younger son. I suddenly saw myself in a completely new way. I saw my jealousy, my anger, my touchiness, doggedness and sullenness, and, most of all, my subtle self-righteousness. I saw how much of a complainer I was and how much of my thinking and feeling was ridden with resentment. For a time it became impossible to see how I could ever have thought myself as the younger son. I was the elder son for sure, but just as lost as his younger brother, even though I had stayed "home" all my life."

"I had been working very hard on my father's farm, but had never fully tasted the joy of being at home. Instead of being grateful for all the privileges I had received, I had become a very resentful person: jealous of my younger brothers and sisters who had taken so many risks, and were so warmly welcomed back...."

"For hours I looked at the splendid drawings and paintings he [Rembrandt] created in the midst of all his setbacks, disillusionment, and grief, and I came to understand how from his brush there emerged the figure of a nearly blind old man holding his son in a gesture of all-forgiving compassion. One must have died many deaths and cried many tears to have painted a portrait of God in such humility."

The questions I've come to ask myself include: am I looking-on beholding the embrace and yet not feeling the hands; am I viewing at a distance and not feeling the warmth of the embrace; have I tried so hard and missed the full experience of acceptance within the arms of my Father? Our life is not meant to be lived out as a spectator. Our lives are meant to be full of the experience of unconditional love and acceptance... practically it can only come about through the relationship with the most remarkable "Father!"

Painting: The return of the prodigal son c.1662
Oil on canvas 262 x 206 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Monday, August 24, 2009

What's Your Story?

Everyone has a story. Put another way, everyone’s life is a story. Our personal stories are important to consider. Too often we neglect our story, or try to capture it in very simple or trite phrases like, “I couldn’t be doing better.” Many times this is a diversion technique that is used to distract a person from getting to close too the real story that is being written in our lives. There is often a discomfort in relating what is really going on because we can’t quite figure out how what we are experiencing now fits into the big picture.

For many of us, we really don’t know what to say, when someone says, “how’s it going?” Do they really want not to know? Are they interested? And, then the cold chill rises within us because we really do not know what to say. We don’t know what to respond because we have never taken time to consider our story – this has been my case!

Take a moment and consider… each person is very unique, having passed through many special experiences like no one else on earth. Consider when you were born, to whom, what your parents were like – who was your Mom and who was your Dad? Consider what growing up was like, friends, school, what games did you play and who with? These are all parts of our stories. These environments and experiences all have meaning, they are not random scenes that all pile up forming ‘your life’s story.’

Both your story and mine have unique characters, surprising plot twists, central themes, tension and suspense, and deep significance. As we think about our lives we can quickly see that they are truer, filled with more laughs and pain and more exciting than the best fiction novel.

I’m setting aside some extra time these days to study and understand my life story. There has been an Author that has been directing our stories to go towards a very specific destination. I realize that the writer of my life does not want me to just settle back and not be aware of what has been written… nor for me to merely be a reader… he’s preparing me to co-author my future.


1. The embedded video was produced for Olympus Pen - in celebration of their 50 years of being in business. The video, however, is far more than a commercial, it displays a life story that is unfolding with many twists and turns. Our life, while not including the same events, follows a similar path... I think it would be worthwhile to take time to consider your story. Your story is worthy of reading.
2. To read more about how to read your story, I recommend the following book: "To Be Told", by Dan B Allender, PHD

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Have you noticed how our society is moving away from “literary thought” and speeding towards “media guided thinking”? Our thoughts no longer get charged from something we read in the morning newspaper, a magazine, or a book that we could curl up with… no, our thoughts have become a jumbled smush of micro minutes (often Nano1 seconds) fluttering from one topic to another. Why is this?

The always-on world has become a set of handcuffs. I’m feeling deep concern about the loss of times to just “think” being replaced by reacting to the latest bit of information that the tone on my PDA is alerting me to. We are often too busy to take time to pause and even consider what is important.

Not only do we not think, the experiences that we are having right now are often not valued. Our world has become an always-on world. Our lack of focused attention has moved us to worry about what we’re missing, what else is going on simultaneously with what just might be more important than what we’re doing right now. Therefore, what we’re doing now is devalued because it might in time prove out to be not as important as something else that we could have done, so we’re caught not appreciating the moment because of what else might be happening.

Take a look at this three-minute clip of Renny Gleeson2 (found on TED), he talks about the ‘always-on world’ and the way we've learned to handle the constant thirst for the information flow that we are addicted to:

While I don't approve of some of Reeny's language, seen and heard in this clip, I don't think we can afford to miss the message being presented.... We as a society are addicted to the 'connected' need-more-information-now-streaming. We're 'always-on' and we don't have time for anything else, but to tragically grasp for more bytes of information to satiate our addiction.

A famous King of old once wrote: “I will remember the works of the Lord. Yes, I will remember the amazing things you did long ago! I will think about all you have done; I will reflect upon your deeds!3” Are we to advanced to stop and consider? There is much to learn from what has happened – can we still take time to ponder? That same King took time to ponder and then exclaimed: “O God, your deeds are extraordinary!4

I think it is time for us to unbuckle ourselves from all the 'speed' in the 'always-on' streaming and take some time to meditate as part of our Sojourn. When that famous King did that, he exclaimed, “May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.5

Along the way of My Sojourn, I've found the words of the song, 'Listen to our hearts' by Steven Curtis Chapman & Geoff Moore to go deeper and reflect thoughts in my heart - away from the busy 'always-on' world around me. Be extravagant, take some time, and listen to the words....


1. Nano: The root comes from the Greek for dwarf. The prefix was formally adopted in the late 1940s to mean one-billionth (10-9) part, as in a nanometer. The construction had been floating around since the early part of the 20th century. Nano along now carries the connotation of the very small, typically on the nanometer scale. A bond between two carbon atoms is about 1/10 of a nanometer.
Renny Gleeson: Busted! The sneaky moves of anti-social smartphone users
3. Psalms 77:11-12 (the King was David; 1023-971 BC
4. Psalms 77:13
5. Psalms 19:14