Category Archives: Books and Articles

Prayer for my day

Esther de Waal in her book The Celtic Way of Prayer quotes this prayer which is from Carmina Gadelica, III, p. 178.  It is a prayer prayed as the prayer was leaving his house for whatever task lay ahead. 


This morning, I am leaving the house for a whole whack of things that have to be done – strating with driving my daughters to their high school soccer game, then groceries, then who knows what!  It’s an ancient prayer for the day but fits my busy today one.


God, bless to me this day,

            God, bless to me this night;

Bless, O Bless, Thou God of grace,

            Each day and hour of my life;

Bless, O bless, Thou God of grace,

            Each day and hour of my life.


God, bless the pathway on which I go,

God bless the earth that is beneath my sole;

            Bless, O God, and give to me Thy love,

O God of gods, bless my rest and my repose;

            Bless, O God, and give to me Thy love,

And bless, O God of gods, my repose.

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Where do I fit?

Just finished reading Brian McLaren’s A New Kind of Christian.  I am feeling a bit overwhelmed because I agree with most of the stuff he says but how to work it out?  Where do I fit ?  What to do next?  These are all questions I need to think about and talk over.  So for now I’m back to re-reading parts of this book.

There is a whole big world out there – loved by God – but mostly avoided by those of us who call ourselves Christians.  In fact we are so awkwardly out of our element that when we find ourselves in contact with the “world” – it’s needy people and their culture- we find that we can’t present Christ to them because we don’t even speak the same language.  If we isolate ourselves from the world and the culture around us, we will be failing to carry out Gods mission for us on this earth.  If we immerse ourselves into the culture around us then we have to be careful that it dosen’t overtake us. I guess we have to learn to walk a tightrope with God himself as our balancing pole.

We have to have ways of enriching our faith so that it grows into something strong – a light shining in the darkness – a beacon.  Yet beacons are never put on the safe shores – just in the dangerous spots.  Maybe there is a lesson for us there.  If we are going to be any use as a beacon we have to be in a spot where there is danger and that is not likely inside a church or Christian community.  On the other hand the community of faith needs to be there for us to support us in our faith and help us to keep those beacons glowing.

I find myself being more and more drawn to participate in the world around me – to be a fellow human being to my family and friends – to separate myself less rather than more.  If I don’t I will lose significant contact with some people who are very dear to me, as well as friends, staff and more casual acquaintances.  I need at the same time to remain true to my faith.  And more than ever I know I want to pass on the importance of my faith to those I love the most – my kids.  They will need God’s presence and a solid faith base as they head out into their culture using the gifts God has given them to make an impact on the world.


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Reading: The Story We Find Ourselves In

I have just finished reading Brian McLaren’s book The Story We Find Ourselves In. I don’t think I have been so profoundly affected by a book in a long time. Let’s see if I can come close to explaining why.

First of all it tells a story that describes my faith. It tells the story of God as I have gradually been coming to understand it over the years. What he says isn’t new to me but it confirms and validates a lot of what I have come to understand about my faith over the years.

Secondly I learned a lot of new things. Some of the doctrines of the church are extremely hard to comprehend. So, usually, what I do with stuff I don’t understand is to place it in it’s own little closet and shut the door. I know what I should be believing, or what someone has told me I should be believing, but since it doesn’t make much sense to me, I just store it. Now I think I see and it is starting to make sense.

Thirdly I have been frustrated by the lack of relevance of the church in my children’s lives. I see I am not alone. And this book has given me some hope that I might learn better how to communicate this story of God to them so that they see where they fit in too.

Fourthly and this is sort of sad, I can see where some of those of you involved in church ministries can be so frustrated. We in the congregation have been sidetracked into following a path where no one else is going anymore except ourselves. Jesus is out there walking with the people in the world and we’re oblivious that we took the wrong turn back at the fork in the road. Put our songlasses on so the light wouldn’t hurt our eyes so much or something! Now we hardly need them any more because the light is not so bright!

Fifthly – and this part is scary. The ending of the book is all too likely a possibility and I don’t want it to happen. But for it not to happen we the congregations of churches – have got to make a major shift. And are we ready? I feel like I have very little control over the ending but maybe that is part of my role as a church leader to make the ending for us turn out differently. At least I will be alert.

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An Aceptable Time by M. L'Engle

From An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L’Engle. The words are hers, the pictures are from my trip.

“Hold me in peace while sleeping

Wake me with the sun’s smiling

With pure water slake my thirst

Let me be merry in your love.”

Reading fiction by authors like Madeleine L’Engle makes me more aware of the mysteries that exist in this world. I think she delves into some of the true mysteries of God and his universe – things that are way beyond our comprehension. I like the way she approaches science – as being a part of the mystery but not all of it. I know it is only fiction, but it speaks to the mystic in me and helps me to accept as unknowable by me, but true none the less, some of the great events and truths described in the Bible.

She talks about the power of words.
“Words -runes, for instance – were sometimes misused. They were meant to bless, but they were sometimes called on for curses…Yes runes were sometimes abused, but it was never forgotten that they had power…
“But Polly, interested, asked, ‘You mean the old rhyme ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me’ is wrong?”
“The bishop agreed. ‘Totally.’ “…
“The bishop continued, ‘That little rhyme doesn’t take into account that words have power, intrinsic power. I love you. What could be more powerful than that small trinity? On the other hand, malicious gossip can cause horrible damage.”

And for an author whose medium of communication is words, words have incredible power. Through them we are taught all sorts of things, complex ideas are transmitted to us, and through them we can share thoughts and even a part of what makes us who we are. We should never underestimate their effect on others.

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PA Pearls

A friend of ours and noted writer of important medical trivia writes a medical journal of note. Want some fun medical reading check out the PA Pearls

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Alex McManus

Flipping through some of the blogs and stuff I read, I came across this article by Alex McManus I thought it described people in churches/fellowships pretty accurately.

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More Harry Potter

Sometimes I just wish we could be left alone to enjoy our good reading without having to analyze if it is “Christian ” or not. Most of what I read is probably not Christian but it is either enjoyable, makes me think or I learn something from it or it won’t get read. Most of what I read is really boring work related stuff – Essentials of Facial Growth – for example. So please indulge me a bit of pleasure!

All my life I have thrived on reading fantasy – Superman, The Borrowers, Alice in Wonderland, C.S. Lewis’s books(all of them), Madeleine L’Engel’s books and Tolkein. I have shared the magic of them with my kids. Funny, but the kids who enjoyed the fantasy books with me the most are the ones with the faith in God.

I think my faith was also shaped by these books. I learned to love the mystical and there is a lot of mystery in what God has done for us. I learned to see God in my surroundings, to understand that there is a lot more to life than just the seen and the touchable things. Reading these books helped me to see that I was not alone in this type of experience. I looked for the evidence of God in such books and I was not disappointed. I would like my children to experience this too so I encourage them to read and then we talk.

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