Dave Brisbin | 10.2.16
What worries you most? Honestly going through the pantheon of all that occupies our thoughts and disrupts our sleep not only shows us our fears, but what we expect will relieve them in terms of the outcomes over which we obsess. Now imagine that you were suddenly free of all that worry, anxiety, and stress. What would that actually feel like? Jesus says it feels like Kingdom. Maybe we’ve not had the experience since we were still in the garden of our childhood, not knowing we were naked, with nothing separating us from the moment of waking through the cool of the evening with Presence. Arguably, all of human life is a working through a return to the Garden of our childhood. How do we do this? What keeps us from seeing the journey clearly?
Dave Brisbin | 9.25.16
How important is prayer? A kneejerk reaction says of course it’s important, essential to our spiritual lives. But a more important question may be what kind of prayer is essential to our spiritual lives? When you take all the different types of prayer that we commonly think of as prayer—recited prayer, freeform prayer, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, praise—what is common to all of them are words. Words form the basis of most if not all our prayers, and yet words can never capture the deepest parts of our spirituality or the relationship we have with a God who can’t be seen or expressed in any way. The Hebrew word for prayer, slotha, points back to the roots, sela, which is actually a hunting term for laying a snare or setting a trap.
Dave Brisbin | 9.18.16
The Bible makes a big deal about knowing God. There are dozens of references to knowing that tell us this is an area to which we should pay attention. And we have been, but the solution of Western Christianity for the past 500 years to search scripture for any and every bit and piece of data to add to our collected theology has nothing to do with what the writers of scripture had in mind. To know in Hebrew is something borne of long, close association. It is an experiential knowing that could never come out of a book. Our word for such knowing is intimacy, and tellingly both words also serve as euphemisms for sexual relations: the closest and most intense knowing we experience as humans.
Dave Brisbin | 9.11.16
On the 15th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, we take a moment to remember the shock and grief of that day, how it changed us and the world, and just what kind of journey was begun that day for both our nation and for us as individuals. Especially for the 20% of the nation’s population that knew someone hurt or killed that day, 9/11 began a hero’s journey, a rite of passage for those who were willing to answer the call, and move through the pain and grief to enter a new place in their lives. When the returning Jewish exiles gathered within their newly rebuilt walls around Jerusalem, their elders read the law of Moses to them and explained what it meant to generations who had not heard it while in Babylon. And the people wept at all that had been lost to them as a people.
Dave Brisbin | 9.4.16
Ever notice how Jesus is able to get out of every thorny situation the religious leaders of his day throw at him? They bring him a woman caught in adultery and ask whether to stone her knowing he’ll run afoul of either Roman or Mosaic law no matter how he answers. Or they ask whether it’s lawful to pay Roman taxes or which is the greatest commandment of all and many others with the same intent. Each question is a carefully crafted attempt to put Jesus between a rock and hard place where any answer would discredit or condemn him with the people. How does Jesus know what to say, how to wiggle off the hook?
Dave Brisbin | 8.28.16
There are some days that are just hard. Hard to break through to meaning and purpose, hard to get up in the morning, hard to do what is required this day. On one such day, wondering if I could really do the day, with my car at the intersection where a right turn took me to work and the day’s activities, I sat and thought and then turned left toward a local wilderness park. Not knowing what I was really looking for, I found a bench with a plaque dedicated to a child, an infant, Gavin, who had died fourteen years before. The parents’ pain screamed through the engraved words until I looked up through bright green leaves lit by a perfect morning sun to the flawlessly blue sky beyond and asked no one in particular, “Why does it have to be this way?”
Dave Brisbin | 8.21.16
Most of us have heard the line that freedom isn’t free, usually in the context of supporting our military, but is there a truth in that slogan that can help us along Jesus’ Way? When we examine what the goal of Jesus’ Way really is, we start thinking of love, peace, tranquility, service to others, closeness or knowledge of God, but what are any of those without the complete freedom to be all of those?
Dave Brisbin | 7.31.16
What are God’s greatest creations? When it comes right down to the nub, arguably, they would be space and time. Space, because matter doesn’t matter if you don’t have a place to put it, and time because nothing exists at all unless it has duration—exists for some time. Jesus said to seek first the Kingdom and all else would be added…in this life, apparently, we must seek that kingdom first through the experience of space and time before all else is added.
Dave Brisbin | 7.24.16
Any look at the contemplative way of life eventually brings us right up against mystery, against the limit of what we can and can’t know in much the same way that science reaches the limit of its ability to describe phenomena edging closer and closer to infinite temperature, velocity, size. How much can we really know in this life? But more importantly how much is necessary to know in order to live in such a way that we can fulfill our purpose here as humans? If you really think about it, what would life be without mystery? The mystery in magic and stories, Christmas presents and each other is what keeps us interested and alive, guessing and engaged.