Word of the Year: Eucharisteo – the miracle of thanksgiving.

Eucharisteo—thanksgiving—always precedes the miracle.  ― Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are   Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  (2 Corinthians 9.10-11)   Each year I select a word to focus on in my faith journey each day. Said better, God selects the word and I confirm it. Today the word came to me from Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts. The word Eucharist appears in various forms 53 times in the Greek Scriptures. Strong’s Concordance lays out three ways that these words can be used: 1. To be grateful, to feel grateful; 2. To express gratitude [...]

Word of the Year: Eucharisteo – the miracle of thanksgiving.2022-01-02T20:56:30-05:00

A Father’s Literary Blessing: a review of Ben Palpant’s Letters from the Mountain

Dear One, a father desires to share some of his hard-earned convictions and half-formed ideas with his daughter, whom he hopes will come to terms with her gifting and calling. He longs for her faith journey to culminate at the peak where the 360-degree view will undo her, where she will weep for sheer joy, where she will laugh with exhilaration. These letters are my attempt to reach out over the miles and clasp your hand as you climb. To whisper encouragement in your ear as I did when you were young. To spur you on toward love and good works. To remember our story. To lean my forehead against yours and give you my blessing: from the humble to the humble, to the glory of God. Amen. If there is one thing I did right as a father it was to pass on to my children a love of [...]

A Father’s Literary Blessing: a review of Ben Palpant’s Letters from the Mountain2021-12-02T10:37:24-05:00

Mental Illness or Demon Possession?

Let me make this clear. Mental illness is not demon possession. If you are a faith leader and someone asks you to exorcise a friend or family member, don't do it. What can you do instead? A good pastor friend of mine has shared with me a screening process to rule out lesser afflictions before one might consider a chronic diseased soul. Examine the environment. Take a particularly close look at the relationship dynamics of the person presented as the problem. Often families and other intimate groups target one member and poured all their disruptive thoughts and feelings into a scapegoat who responds with peculiar and sometimes even volatile behavior. It can be very difficult to examine the lives of those convinced they are only acting out of love. They may themselves become angry with you, even abusive. Be sure to tread lightly and have back up before you take [...]

Mental Illness or Demon Possession?2021-09-12T20:52:30-04:00

Second Chances by Cindy Higgins

Cindy Higgins was born in the seventies as the middle child in the small city of Erie, PA. Grew up Catholic but in a family that encouraged bible reading and asking questions. I don't remember when I gave my soul to Jesus. I just feel like he always had it. I honestly debated on becoming a nun but felt pulled to be a mom instead. Had a few health problems over the years but am now able to work and have fun. Currently attend a non-denominational church with my husband and two daughters. Discovered I was bipolar in high-school after my sister was diagnosed. It's been a bumpy road with anger management issues and projects that are only half finished in my house. Luckily I have a supportive and understanding husband. I am currently blessed with the perfect life: Loving husband, two healthy daughters, a dog, cat and enough income [...]

Second Chances by Cindy Higgins2021-01-19T22:17:13-05:00

Preparing for Fiery Trials

My soul is searing. Not from the burning wrath of God but from the fiery grace of Christ. The past month has been the most challenging one I can remember over the past decade. I spent 3 weeks in a dungeon of despair, lost in a thick haze of hopeless regret over perceived personal failings that left me feeling irredeemable. Then, around midnight 11 days ago  the fog lifted; my dry bones were enfleshed with spiritual sinews. I walked unweary. I flew like an eagle full of promise and purpose. The psychological diagnosis for this is bipolar disorder. The spiritual diagnosis I’m coming to discern is being tested by the Lord; or, tempted by Satan. Or could it be both? Reflecting on an emotional meltdown 24 hours ago, I’ve come to relate intimately with the baptism of Jesus followed immediately by his desert temptation by the Accuser. Jesus understood his relationship to [...]

Preparing for Fiery Trials2019-07-07T17:10:41-04:00

The Relationship Between Religion and Mental Illness by Psychosis Recoverer Peter McDonnell

We are all lucky enough to have a brain.  Some are grounded, shaped by experiences of regularity that don’t feel the need to explore anything spiritually interesting or indeed supernatural.  Some people would rather search that kind of thing out. My brain is geared toward the latter, but I have learned that an element of conventionality and being in step with the ordinary world is no less than a necessity.  Kind of like Agent Mulder from ‘The X Files’ who has his sceptical partner, Agent Scully keeping him grounded and ready to consider the more scientific answers to some of this wonderful life’s questions.   One of the biggest questions in this life is ‘Is there a God?’  My instinct tells me that yes there is, undoubtedly, based on my observations and experiences, and what I feel in my heart.  Then my more rational side prods me and says ‘hold [...]

The Relationship Between Religion and Mental Illness by Psychosis Recoverer Peter McDonnell2018-06-05T21:35:57-04:00

Good Friday: Life at Affinity Place

Good Friday. The day Christians around the world mark the death of the One equal with God, who died a horrific death on a cross so we might live with him forever. John Witvilet says this about the day: "Making peace through the blood of his cross" is like saying that a nuclear missile has become an olive-branch, that Guantanamo has become a garden of healing, that a sword has been turned into a plowshare, that a tank has been turned into a tractor. The very thought of it leaves us weak in the knees with astonishment. ("A Crescendo of Wonder," Christianity Today) Good Friday is only good because of what happens on Easter. Death is swallowed up in victory. Christ who died becomes Christ who is Risen so he can be Christ who comes again. I'm not attending a Good Friday service this year. I planned to, but evidently [...]

Good Friday: Life at Affinity Place2017-05-30T14:09:43-04:00
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