Center Down: Prayer in the Struggle for Justice

Today’s blog is by Jessie Smith “How good it is to center down! To sit quietly and see one’s self pass by!” — “How Good To Center Down,” Howard Thurman Spiritual nurture: essential and pragmatic Walking the three or four blocks to Capitol Hill from Union Station week after week takes its toll. For the […]

Finding Hope

Today’s blog is by Mary van Balen People long for hope, for peace, for cooperation. While some are bent on stirring up distrust, and spreading fear based on dividing the world into “us” and “them,” most of humankind is looking for a better way in 2020. Many I talked with over the holidays desire an […]

Reimagining Confession As Noticing

Confession has always been a part of the Christian tradition of spiritual deepening. As such, it has all too often been understood within a dynamic of payment due, penance to be done, conditional forgiveness, substitutionary Christology. No doubt for many, a deepening of their spiritual lives and even a re-formation of the direction of their […]

Snowdrops

Today’s blog is by Bill Dietrich Recently someone who knows I enjoy gardening asked what I did during winter when there was “nothing to do in the garden.” I found myself reacting impulsively with a “to do” list of garden tasks: pruning, raking, protecting tender plants, building retaining walls, tidying up the compost pile, and, […]

What Holding A Newborn Can Teach Us About God’s Amazing Love

Today’s blog is by Tom Adams Sometimes I find it very difficult to appreciate and accept how much God loves me and you. The world seems kind of gloomy; my own and others’ imperfections seem to shout at me. Other times I get a glimpse of the tenderness and sweetness of God’s love and am […]

To Have Eyes to See as the Saints See!

An Evening in Assisi In the spring of 2016, I spent ten days in Assisi and its surrounding region on a Shalem pilgrimage to visit the sacred sites of the lives of St. Francis and St. Clare. I went without knowing much about either saint or Assisi, but trusting that whatever the trip offered would […]

Learning To Sit With Not Knowing

Today’s Special Video Blog is by Carrie Newcomer, the recipient of Shalem’s 2019 Contemplative Voices Award on October 27! “Learning To Sit With Not Knowing” from “The Point of Arrival”   “Abide” by Carrie Newcomer and Parker Palmer from “A Permeable Life”   “Room At The Table” from “A Permeable Life”

Discernment as Responsible Love

Article by Rose Mary Dougherty, October 2019 eNews How can I be sure that I am doing God’s will? How do I know that what I discern is really what God wants and not just what I want? How can I be certain that I’ll make the right decision? These are the questions most frequently […]

A Beautiful Soul

Today’s blog is by Ernest Yau. “The meaning of earthly existence lies not, as we have been used to thinking, in prospering… but in the development of the soul.” (Alexander Solzhenitsyn) As I gaze at him, every inch an ordinary man, I spot something extraordinary: an alive body, a surrendering mind and a loving heart. […]

Children, Chaos, and Contemplation

Today’s post is by Bryan Berghoef

There is never a dull moment at our house. My wife and I have four children—amid the flurry of homework assignments, birthday parties, sibling spats, and dinnertime squabbles—there’s a lot of constant noise and movement.

One of the delightful things about having young children is their unbridled enthusiasm and overwhelming energy. They are fully present, without a sense that there is anything else to be. They are fully in the moment. This is a gift of being a child, not being weighed down by thoughts of the future, or by a sense of responsibility, or worry. They are right here, right now.

The downside is that everything is so important, and when something doesn’t go their way, right now, it’s reason for complaining, crying, sometimes even—panic. Spilling milk really is something to cry over. A favorite toy breaking feels like the apocalypse. Even as I write this there is fighting in the sandbox. (Don’t worry – we have plenty of moments of calm and laughter as well in our household!)

I long as a parent to be able to maintain an inner calm amid all this outer chaos and confusion. I find that I very seldom am able to cultivate that on the spot. It is something I need to consciously develop in other moments, so that when the chaos comes, I have a reserve of calm from which to draw. It might be a daily time of prayer and silence, a quiet walk outside, Scripture reading, or some other practice.