Podcast 175: Practices of a Healthy Church (Alan with Jason Feffer)

May 17, 2021

If you’re a follower of Christ, and most of you who listen to this podcast would likely describe yourself that way, a big part of that experience is church. The church is a gathering of fellow-students of Christ. The church is people. The church is a kind of kingdom outpost wherever it has been planted in the world.  

Today, I’m talking with Jason Feffer about the community he leads called The Practice. We talk about our experiences of church, and how God has been...

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The Way of Love

May 12, 2021

A verse of scripture has been dancing around in the back of my mind for a while: “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Profoundly simple, right? God could choose any word he wanted to describe himself, and the word he chose is love.

 

Love is paradoxically simple and complicated. I do not fully understand all the intricacies and dynamics of love, but I do know that in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul does a great job of giving us a peek into the heart of love. Phrase by phrase he paints a...

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Podcast 174: The Neuroscience of Creativity (Gem with Amy Pierson)

May 10, 2021

Today we find ourselves at the intersection of neuroscience and creativity  with my friend, Amy Pierson. Amy firmly believes that creativity cracks open the soul, each and every one of us is God’s favorite, and living artfully is living authentically.

Amy is a long time friend from the spiritual formation community. We met many years ago and have only been together in person a handful of times, but she is the kind of person that you simply pick up where you left off the last time....

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Presence and Silence

May 05, 2021

Recently, I’ve restarted my daily practice of silent prayer. Like many who try this practice, I feel an immense amount of resistance arising within me against my intention. But that’s not a good reason to avoid the practice. What we truly and deeply desire is often quite different from what we prefer or feel like doing in a particular, narrow little moment.

 

What seems to work for me is to set a 25-minute timer on my smartphone and then turn it facedown so I’m not...

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Podcast 173: After Doubt (Alan with A. J. Swoboda)

May 03, 2021

If you were to walk around our neighborhood these days, you’d see a number of homes that are being remodeled. Some of the work is so extensive that no one is living in those homes while the work is being done. But the goal is, of course, to rebuild those houses so that they can become homes again. 

Many of us are experiencing what some have called the “deconstruction of faith.” Something that made sense and worked before doesn’t seem to anymore. The constructions...

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The Fullness of God

Apr 28, 2021

Your first tooth . . . your first day of kindergarten . . . your first car . . . your first kiss . . . your first home. Life is full of firsts. We spend our lifetime taking first steps that lead to growing up and maturing into functioning adults.

 

Along the way, our souls are taking first steps as well. The first time we heard about God. The first time we heard the name of Jesus. The first time we saw an answer to prayer. The first time we acted...

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Podcast 172: The Art of Letting Go (Gem with Marla Christian)

Apr 26, 2021

Letting go is hard, isn’t it? For most of us, it’s about admitting that we aren’t in control, and that is difficult. My dear friend, Marla Christian, is with me today and we’re going to talk about the freedom of releasing our grip on people and circumstances. 

Marla has long been a part of the Al Anon community and I have learned so much from her about letting go. I can’t wait for you to learn from her. 

Marla Christian is the CFO of Corporate Benefit...

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Focusing On Our Fallenness

Apr 21, 2021

I tend to have a scrupulous soul. I find it easy to slide into self-accusation, even self-condemnation. I’ve joked that I’m a recovering perfectionist. Sometimes my recovery isn’t going so well.

 

Are my shortcomings and offenses real? Of course. But are mercy and grace real? Even more so. I was reflecting recently on a practice that has come to have much more meaning for me as an Anglican priest than it did when I was a Baptist pastor. I’m talking about the...

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Podcast 171: Unhindered Abundance (Alan with Ken Baugh)

Apr 19, 2021

I want to read some familiar words from the scriptures that I think have special relevance to the situation in which we find ourselves these day. Jesus is speaking, and says, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, [they] will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” 

I really appreciate that last line. The life Jesus has come to announce to us and make...

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The Loving Embrace of God

Apr 14, 2021

Many years ago, on a typical summer day, Alan arrived home from work. As was his habit, he came to me for a welcome-home hug.

Our oldest son, then just three years old, came running up to us yelling, “Wait! I want to be in your love!”

He then proceeded to squeeze between us as we embraced, creating a hug sandwich with him as the filling. I will never forget that moment…or that phrase: I want to be in your love.

Over the years I have grown tired of my own inner...

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