Monday, July 10, 2006


Much has changed in the last year, but the change really started about two years ago when my son was born. I started earnestly searching for words to describe the ideas and convictions forming in my heart and mind. Something about having a child made me want to become all that I feel I am destined to that I can be a better father, a better husband. I don't know exactly how it all works, but that's how I felt and it propelled me. I was in Borders one day browsing the spiritual section and I felt the Holy Spirit guide me to a book called 'The Way of a Pilgrim: And the Pilgrim Continues His Way.' This short volume led me into the world of contemplation and Christian Mysticism. I began to try practicing stillness in my heart and the 'Jesus Prayer' (I am radically oversimplifying here for the sake of brevity). I found my way into Thomas Merton. I read 'Thomas Merton: Essential Writings' and 'Thoughts in Solitude'. I then began to read N.T. Wright's 'New Testament and the People of God'. I read Brian McLaren's 'A New Kind of Christian' and 'A Generous Orthodoxy.' I pulled out my fat theology book from my undergraduate program and started taking a closer look at the Postmodern/Modern thing and the Sacred/Secular split. I read about liberation theology and how Marx had his effect on some of the theology of South America. I read 'Grapes of Wrath' again. I read 'Prophetic Imagination' by Walter Brueggemann. I read a bunch of articles and an ebook by Eberhard Arnold the founder of the Bruderhof community. I read 'Colossians Re-mixed: Subverting the Empire' by Brian J. Walsh and Sylvia C. Keesmaat. I read some of the 'targums' or paraphrases that they published as a companion to the book. I began to read blog sites from people who are committed Christian's and who are also active in caring for God's creation. And I'm still reading, still processing, and am in no way 'there'. I have just found a path in the woods, a direction I hadn't known before and it's just the beginning.
Basically, I began to change in very fundamental ways. It was always on it's way though, it was like some kind of 'catastrophe theory' or theory of there were things in me that were there all along but needed to reach a critical point for change to be seen on the outside. My wife and I are pretty much at the same place too, which is such a blessing because you can imagine what it would do to a marriage if the other party was still stuck driving a philosophical/theological Hummer if you know what I mean. I know that there are people that will not know what I am talking about here, but if you know, then you know. If you don't know, then please comment or send me an email so we can talk about it.


Blogger Paddy O. said...

"The Way of the Pilgrim" is certainly a good read, and it's a gateway book too which can open into a whole expanded world of Eastern Orthodox thought.

I got that then from it and from studying a bit of Wesley and his sources I came to find a set of books called the Philokalia, which I think is just about the peak of discussion on living the Christian Spiritual life. That and John Cassian's Conferences, both of which are eminently deep and practical and surprisingly honest. Very different than what one would expect from 1st millenium monks.

The first volume of the Philokalia is out of print, but a person can start with any of the four without regard to the order, and get the 1st volume later used.

11:04 PM  
Blogger Nate R. said...

Thanks for the comment... It's cool that you mentioned the Philokalia b/c I was hunting for that 1st volume for a while after reading 'The Way of a Pilgrim' I agree, the wisdom there is surprising to say the least. I found that there were some snippets from the Philokalia and the desert fathers in the back of the 'Way of a Pilgrim' book that I would read over and over during that season. I was very enriched to have come accross the Eastern Orthodox point of view and I would love to look into it more in the future. BTW, have you ever seen a used 1st volume of the Philokalia for sale anywhere?

Nate R.

2:24 PM  

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