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Practicing the presence of God is to deliberately engage with heart, soul, mind, and strength what Adam and Eve desperately tried to avoid after they sinned—and what we’d prefer to avoid too. That, as I understand it, is the challenge of the contemplative life and the point of every spiritual discipline.


This is my half of the Christmas letter my wife and I sent out this year.

Looking back, I can’t help but think of 2009 as the year I lost a job that I really enjoyed. My position was eliminated at the end of July; but UMPH found another position for me in the organization. I was more fortunate than some of my colleagues and friends who were laid off; still, this was (and is) an unwelcome transition, one I’m still adjusting to.

      Development editing was a creative outlet for me. So, one of the things I did to compensate for its loss was to start blogging in the fall. The blog is a place for me to put down some thoughts in writing, even if no one (or not very many) reads them.

      Another of the highlights of my fall was my first-ever retreat to the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, Kentucky, where I spent a mostly silent week away from the noise and chatter of everyday life, trying to remind myself of what was really important.

      I’m more grateful than ever for Leigh, for family, and for friends. I’m more convinced than ever that being human means living in proper relationship with God, other people, and all of God’s creation. But I’m also more aware than ever of how hard it is to do that in this day and age.

        So I look forward to 2010 with gratitude for the past year and hope for the next one. I look forward to Leigh (fingers crossed) finishing her dissertation. I look forward to the transitions and changes—whether vocational, geographical, or both—that it would bring. I look forward to spending time with friends and family, and to getting outdoors as much as possible.

      I hope for a safe and healthy 2010 for all of you, but no matter what else happens, I pray that the peace of God is always with you. 


Friends, I’ve decided to finish the gospel series early next week. I’d like to give those last 2 (possibly 3) posts some time to breath before I put them up. In the meantime, I’ll post some brief reflections on this Sunday’s lectionary readings. Also next week: a book review of Henri Nouwen’s Behold the Beauty of the Lord. Peace.

Tomorrow I’ll start a 5-part series on the question “What is the gospel?” Here’s a tentative breakdown of the week.

Monday: Other Gospels 1

Tuesday: Other Gospels 2

Wednesday: The Gospel in a Nutshell

Thursday: The Gospel I (Struggle to) Believe

Friday: Bringing It Home

Hope you’ll join in!


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