Archive for power


Posted in Life, Ministry, Theology with tags , , , , on May 25, 2009 by Walter

Over the past two weeks I have stumbled into live poetry readings.  When I was in Princeton, I walked into what I thought was the main chapel only to find their spring poetry festival where Nobel Prize winning poet, Seamus Haney was reciting some of his work.  Then a week or so later I was at a fundraiser where a few local artists also performed some of their poetry.  Now to set things straight, I have never been a “fan” of poetry outside of music, nor have I read any poetry not assigned to me by an evil high school teacher.  But, something happened to me at BOTH of those readings.

I was changed.

Something inside my soul was MOVED.

I heard these craftsmen/women express some of the deepest experiences of the human condition using only words.  They did something masterful as well.  They used some mundane everyday experiences to describe some deeply spiritual emotions.  They were able to stop and notice the Transcendant that exsists in the everyday . . . using only words.


. . . but not new.

“And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” (The Universe was spoken into existence through–words.)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (All of humanity was saved through word.)

Yes, I have underestimated the power of words.  In a world where information is the most valuable currency, we are seeing that currency becomed quickly devalued through the explosion of words through endless websites, blogs, text messages, books, magazines, billboards, songs, commercials, etc. that are all spouting WORDS without any meaning, thought or significance.  (Perhaps this blog simply is contributing to the problem.)

My foray into the world of poetry reminded me how powerful, life-giving, soul-nourishing WORDS can be.  Forget the image.  Forget the power of 24 frames a second numbing my mind into slush.  Forget print image after print image.  Without the WORD, none of these ideas would ever have existed.

Perhaps what made these two experiences wasn’t the reading of poetry, but the live performance of that poetry.  The word being active, live–as it was expressed by the author. . . kind of like Genesis 1.



Posted in disciplines, Ministry, spiritual disciplines, Teaching, Theology with tags , , , , , , on February 4, 2009 by Walter

If I am honest, one of the disciplines that I overlook and take for granted the most is prayer.  Probably because so much of my prayer experiences have been dull, boring, hard work, tedious, etc.  I cognitively know that prayer is powerful and effective.  I have been the recipient of many prayers that I know have sustained me through some really difficult times of my faith.

This morning I was reminded how fantastic prayer can be.  My disciplines class embarked upon a Concert of Prayer where I lead them through several different modes of praying, from silent meditation to group prayer, to confessional journaling, to group artistic efforts on a white board and so on.  It is always a risky effort taking people to places where they may never have been before.  I never know how a group is going to respond to an exercise like this.  This morning I dragged myself to work through 15 degree weather, sleepy, tired with a looooooong day ahead of me.  So my own soul and disposition was left wanting.  However, after an hour of recalibrating my soul, being reminded of hos God is truly at work in this world, and seeing 40 college student give themselves so freely in prayer was indescribably encouraging.  Hearing a room filed with prayers from all corners is overwhelming and uplifting.  The things you wrote on the board were rich with depth.  Just watching you as you prayed and prayed and prayed was so amazing!  Thank you Discipline Class for such an encouraging experience and uplift to my soul.

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 1:3-6