Sacred Space.

Mary Magdalene, in a dramatic 19th-centuryImage via Wikipedia

Talking to God? In theory it sounds great – in practice its not very easy. Why? Well, we all have our reasons. I struggle because He doesn’t speak back to me in a loud booming voice. Sometimes I say, “God, could you speak up a bit?” I’m not being sarcastic – but it is the cry of my heart. It’s hard to hear His voice sometimes. Then there is knowing what to talk about…and feeling like you are just repeating yourself over and over and over again. Sometimes I feel like I should just go out and do it – rather than sit silently and wait upon His leading – especially because I have a hard time hearing Him. Of course, all this is extremely complicated for me because of my struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (which I’ve chronicled here). In any case, we struggle with talking to God – and yet in theory – it should be one of the most important practices of our lives.

If given the chance to speak with Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, George Bush, George Clooney, Liam Neeson – or any famous person – wouldn’t we jump on the opportunity? Yet God begs us to sit and talk with Him and we are too busy, too distracted, or too bored. I’m not trying to make us feel guilty – nothing of the sort – I just ponder the irony of it. We are so eager to talk to one another, but someone who is so much bigger than us garners so little of our attention.

Well, I can’t claim my prayer life is amazing – in fact it is a continuous struggle. But I have found a website that has helped me significantly in my prayer life. It’s run by Irish Jesuits and its called Sacred Space.[1] They offer guided prayer meditations. Its not liturgical prayers, it is suggestions on topics to pray and contemplate on. They help us remember to take time to simply sit before God, to praise Him for His goodness, to see His work in our lives, to repent of our sins, to ask for our needs, to learn of His limitless love. Its all done is a soft and beautiful way and takes only ten minutes to work through (though one could spend much longer). I highly recommend it!

  1. [1]Yes, I am a Protestant – yes, I think there is a lot we can learn from Catholics – and a lot they can learn from us. No, I’m not for compromise, but I am for conversation which leads to a more whole and healthy understanding of ourselves and God. I think breaking off into so many denominations and fractions has been a tremendous mistake – something reflected by some of our great church leaders who attempted reform within their respective churches, not by leaving them. When we isolate ourselves into groups that only believe exactly as we do we abandon our ability to converse and grow holistically.

Book Review: Metamorpha (Author: Kyle Strobel)

Cover of Kyle Strobel's book Metamorpha
Cover of Kyle Strobel’s book Metamorpha.

Coming in with Low Expectations…

I am a voracious reader and my interests cover a variety of topics. One of my specialties, so to speak, is books on Christianity. I enjoy a number of Christian authors and am constantly expanding my interests.

Not too long ago I received a promotional copy of a new book by Kyle Strobel entitled Metamorpha: Jesus as a Way of Life. Promotional books oftentimes aren’t of the greatest quality and when I saw that this was, in fact, Lee Strobel‘s son (Case for Faith, Case for Christ, Case for a Creator) I was underwhelmed. I had tried Strobel’s Case for a Creator and while the volume had grasped my interest initially, I became discombobulated and bored as the volume continued.

I felt like Lee’s writing skills as an investigative journalist didn’t carry over well to full-length volumes and this challenge for journalists seemed to be confirmed by David Aikman‘s The Delusion of Disbelief. In any case, my skepticism was high, but I began to plunge ahead – and I was pleasantly surprised.

But Pleasantly Surprised…

Kyle Strobel writes with clarity, honesty, and wisdom I have seldom encountered except among some of the greatest authors. I can rank him without hyperbole alongside C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity, Chronicles of Narnia) and George MacDonald (Diary of an Old Soul, Unspoken Sermons). The quality of his writing is superb, the content is clear and concise, the depth of his knowledge is impressive.

Strobel is young. Very young. But his work deserves the attention not only of this generation but also of the elder generations. With the wisdom of Solomon he carefully examines the faults of the elder and younger generations. Unlike so many contemporary writers who are blinded by the faults of the other generation Strobel is careful to pull the plank out of each generation’s eye as he seeks to unfold a clearer vision of following Christ.

Read If…

If you are looking for visionary insight into following Jesus,
Or you desire to deepen your walk with God. Or even to understand who this God is and why you should care,
If you find yourself in conflict with those of other generations,
Or are simply looking for deep, heart-wrenching, intellectual, theological stimulation – get ready to take a wild ride.