It's a hot Wednesday night in Pasadena, California. A huddle of young philosophers and theologians occupies the upper room of Zona Rosa Cafe, all of them sipping iced coffee and paying close attention to the careful and articulate reflections of Oliver Crisp, the British analytic theologian. He's been with them for the past several weeks working through readings on Christology, atonement, justice, and beyond. Oliver's generosity and good humor (he would have spelled it 'humour') are quite the compliment to his piercing intellect. What all of this shows is the consistency between Oliver the Theologian and Oliver the Christian. He's a man of wisdom, doing theology from a disposition of devotion. Furthermore, he's an evangelical who takes liturgical life seriously. So it made sense to ask him to reflect on the theological and formational significance of Lent.
"...All the members of the congregation line up facing each other, in a long double-line like a bicycle chain. One member of the pair asks the other, in his or her own words, 'Forgive me for any way I have sinned against you.' ... In this way we take up the challenge of Lent at peace with one another."
Dust is a Lenten series of reflections and interviews with Christian thinkers and leaders, probing the psychological and transformative nature of Lent.
Today's reflection comes from Richard Mouw, who served as Fuller Theological Seminary's president for the past 20 years. Mouw offers honest commentary on the challenges of living into seasons of spiritual life.
What is the Jesus Prayer? What are it's origins and how can it be incorporated into modern contemplative life? Author Frederica Mathewes-Green (The Jesus Prayer: The Ancient Desert Prayer that Tunes the Heart to God, The Illumined Heart) exposes the deep roots of this ancient Christian practice and its ability to transform the heart.
"our early human relationships become gut-level filters that shape all future relationships, including our relationship with God."
Psychologist Todd Hall (Rosemead School of Psychology, CCT Research Fellow) writes on the power of secure human relationships to undo the sad truth that we're "Cultured to Disconnect."
This essay is Todd's contribution to the #BarnaFrames 10th Frame Contest. Read his full essay and vote for Todd by clicking here.
I am easily distracted. I can walk across my small office to do something and by the time I get to the window, I’ve forgotten why I walked to the spot in the first place. At any given time, I can feel like there are a thousand chimpanzees jumping around in my head.
Adam Green (Azusa Pacific University) writes:
"Mirror neurons quickly became a sexy topic for brain savvy folk in the ‘90s and early aughts. One of the things that helped this trend was the discovery that there appear to be neurons with mirror properties of many different kinds all throughout the animal kingdom (e.g., they are supposed to be involved in songbirds learning their songs), but they also seem especially associated with human beings.
The thought was that mirror neurons might tell us something deep about human nature. Mirror neurons were commonly implicated in imitation, action understanding, and empathy, though claims about their role in other areas were not uncommon."