The Gospel of John: John 13

Last week we saw how we cannot make it on our own. We need someone to help guide us. But what if we do not understand them? What if they are so beyond our comprehension, we cannot see what is right in front of our faces? The disciples faced that, leading into the last days of Jesus’ life. What they expected was not what was done, and maybe that is the way it is supposed to be.

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Last week we saw how we cannot make it on our own. We need someone to help guide us. But what if we do not understand them? What if they are so beyond our comprehension, we cannot see what is right in front of our faces? The disciples faced that, leading into the last days of Jesus’ life. What they expected was not what was done, and maybe that is the way it is supposed to be. Continue reading “The Gospel of John: John 13”

An Explorer’s Guide to Julian of Norwich

8737.jpgAn Explorer’s Guide to Julian of Norwich is the second Explorer’s Guide release from InterVarsity Press (the first being for Karl Barth. It is written by Veronica Mary Rolf, who is a self claimed academic of Julian of Norwich for several decades. According to her biography at the end of the books, after a long career as a Broadway actress, she is now a lecturer on “history and theology of Christian mysticism and leads contemplative retreats throughout the San Francisco Bay area.” She is also affiliated with the [World Community for Christian Meditation](https://www.wccm.org), manages a Facebook group for Julian of Norwich, and writes on her own websites: www.juliansvoice.com and www.veronicamaryrolf.com.

“People of all ages and cultural backgrounds feel encouraged to look to Julian for guidance in their daily struggles, consult Julian’s Revelations with their questions and doubts, and seek guidance from Julian in their spiritual crises.”

Rolf chooses to separate her text into two parts. The first part is called Getting to Know Julian of Norwich. In this segment Rolf does the work of putting Julian into her context. Julian is from a world that we do not fully understand today. Julian lived from 1342 till 1430. Her world was before the Reformation, ravaged by plagues, and in a time where women could be no more than wives and mothers. So Rolf seeks to gives us a firm understanding of what this looks like, while also providing some peculiarities to the life and writing of Julian of Norwich.

“all Julian’s references are to common, ordinary things that a merchant-class working woman would be more likely to notice than an aristocratic noblewoman”

The second part of this book focuses solely on Julian of Norwich’s /The Revelations of Divine Love/, with chapter 6 being an overview of the entire text. In this chapter Rolf discusses each of Julian’s revelations and what she learned from them. Rolf also points to ways that Julian’s work is different from others of her time. The reason for this is that Julian was a member of the common laity, not an academic or a cloistered nun. She then finishes the book by discussing the major themes of the text and providing guidelines for how to lead a retreat with Julian’s Revelations.

“But Jesus, who in this vision informed me of all that I needed, answered by this word and said: ‘Sinne is behovely, but alle shalle be wele, and alle shalle be wele, and alle manner of thing shalle be wele.'”
— Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love

The thing that I believe is evident from this book is the amount of knowledge Rolf has of Julian of Norwich’s /The Revelations of Divine Love/. To be a person that is not classically trained in this subject, and yet can still hold her own in writing with people who are, is a testament to her. The way she writes bout Julian makes her very approachable and alive, despite having died almost 600 years ago. Because of this knowledge, she is also able to provide a good understanding of Christian mysticism. This topic seems to be a practice that the Church wants to forget, as I had not heard of it until I started my academic career. Anytime I mention it to others, Christian mysticism is looked upon as something to be skeptical of. I find the mystics interesting and Rolf does a good job explaining Julian’s mystical theology. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to learn about Christian mysticism or any professor seeking to teach spiritual formation.

The Gospel of John: John 12

Let me start off by saying that my classes have gotten fairly crazy. Unfortunately that means I am writing this post much later in my normal cycle that I would like to be doing. I hope and pray that my rush to get this written for you does not come out in the quality of this post. But if I can believe in resurrection, I’m certain I can write well in spite of the rush. Let us focus our eyes upon Jesus, so the things of this earth can grow dim in the light of who he is.

Let me start off by saying that my classes have gotten fairly crazy. Unfortunately that means I am writing this post much later in my normal cycle that I would like to be doing. I hope and pray that my rush to get this written for you does not come out in the quality of this post. But if I can believe in resurrection, I’m certain I can write well in spite of the rush. Let us focus our eyes upon Jesus, so the things of this earth can grow dim in the light of who he is (I’m pretty sure that’s a song). Continue reading “The Gospel of John: John 12”

The Gospel of John: John 11

Last week Jesus continued to explain how he is God. He pointed towards testimonies of others, Scripture, and even the miracles he was able to perform. There were many who believed, and still many that did not. This week Jesus shows us that he is in the messiness of life with us. He does not sit above it all and never gets touched. Rather, being human, God experienced the same pain and struggles that we have to deal with on a regular basis.

Happy Thanksgiving! I know that this time of year might be hard for you with the loss of someone special. I think this week’s chapter is a good reminder that we can still be joyous through pain.

Last week Jesus continued to explain how he is God. He pointed towards testimonies of others, Scripture, and even the miracles he was able to perform. There were many who believed, and still many that did not. This week Jesus shows us that he is in the messiness of life with us. He does not sit above it all and never gets touched. Rather, being human, God experienced the same pain and struggles that we have to deal with on a regular basis. Continue reading “The Gospel of John: John 11”

The Gospel of John: John 10

Last week, Jesus healed a blind man. This miracle began to cause division among the Jews as they were not sure what to make of it. Jesus kept pushing the people in charge, telling them that they did not know as much as they thought they did. Jesus pointed out how they were missing out on seeing him for who he is. This week, Jesus continues to teach the Pharisees the truth.

Last week, Jesus healed a blind man. This miracle began to cause division among the Jews as they were not sure what to make of it. Jesus kept pushing the people in charge, telling them that they did not know as much as they thought they did. Jesus pointed out how they were missing out on seeing him for who he is. This week, Jesus continues to teach the Pharisees the truth. Continue reading “The Gospel of John: John 10”

The Gospel of John: John 9

Last week we saw Jesus make his testimony about himself. Now his attention goes to show himself to a man that was in desperate need.

Last week we saw Jesus make his testimony about himself. Now his attention goes to show himself to a man that was in desperate need. Continue reading “The Gospel of John: John 9”

Ecologies of Faith in a Digital Age: Spiritual Growth Through Online Education

5205.jpgThis month’s book is called Ecologies of Faith in a Digital Age: Spiritual Growth Through Online Education by Stephen and Mary Lowe. Both authors are involved in furthering online education at Liberty University. The main focus of this book is how the study of ecology can help us to understand spiritual growth, and that this means growth does not only happen within the four walls of an institution. Their goal is not to justify online or residential education as the better alternative, but rather to combat the idea of “students cannot receive the same spiritual development online that they can receive at [our] institution” that seems to be prevalent in many Christian institutions. Continue reading “Ecologies of Faith in a Digital Age: Spiritual Growth Through Online Education”

The Gospel of John: John 8

Last week’s chapter ended with a call from Nicodemus (yes, the same Nicodemus from chapter 3) for the Pharisees to hear Jesus’ testimony. This chapter is Jesus’ testimony, but first we have to make a small detour. There are some older manuscripts that do not have 7:53-8:11. There are some scholars that might say I should skip over it, but it is in my Bible so we are going to look at it anyway.

Last week’s chapter ended with a call from Nicodemus (yes, the same Nicodemus from chapter 3) for the Pharisees to hear Jesus’ testimony. This chapter is Jesus’ testimony, but first we have to make a small detour. There are some older manuscripts that do not have 7:53-8:11. There are some scholars that might say I should skip over it, but it is in my Bible so we are going to look at it anyway. Continue reading “The Gospel of John: John 8”

The Gospel of John: John 7

Jesus begins this chapter by traveling in secret and ends it by causing division among the Jewish leadership. What is the right thing to do? Should you follow the rules, or break them in order to do the right thing? It probably seems like an easy answer, but it certainly is not easy to practice. Jesus seems to give us an answer to this problem while teaching, once again, in Jerusalem. Continue reading “The Gospel of John: John 7”

The Gospel of John: John 6

Last week the people became so focused on what they thought about God, they missed His work right in front of them. This week they become so focused on what Jesus is doing, they misunderstand what it means.

Last week the people became so focused on what they thought about God, they missed His work right in front of them. This week they become so focused on what Jesus is doing, they misunderstand what it means. Continue reading “The Gospel of John: John 6”