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Coffeehouse Contemplative

Coffeehouse Contemplative

By Jeff Nelson

A minister and author explores spirituality and the creative process beyond the walls of institutional religion, for those both inside and outside the church.
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Four Weeks

Coffeehouse Contemplative

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Why We Need Advent
Why We Need Advent
The season of Advent is the precursor to Christmas, but it serves an important purpose in its own right. This episode will explore why Advent is necessary for Christians' preparation for the new birth to come. NEW ADVENT EBOOK: Four Weeks: Reflections for Advent Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
34:31
November 27, 2022
Thanksgiving Hymns
Thanksgiving Hymns
Around the same time that many people like to begin singing Christmas carols, Thanksgiving hymns may be chosen for worship in many churches but might not receive the same attention. This episode is my own attempt to give them the appreciation that they deserve. NEW ADVENT BOOK: Four Weeks: Reflections for Advent Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
32:30
November 20, 2022
There's No Single Process
There's No Single Process
Taking a view of life that is ordered and linear and has very clear steps may comfort some, but for many it doesn't make much sense. Perhaps there's another way to approach life and faith that takes better account of circumstance and context. NEW ADVENT EBOOK: Four Weeks: Reflections for Advent Coffeehouse Contemplative: Spiritual Direction for the Everyday Trains, Jesus, and Murder: The Gospel According to Johnny Cash by Richard Beck Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
33:33
November 13, 2022
Four Weeks
Four Weeks
My new ebook, Four Weeks: Reflections for Advent, released on November 1st. This week's episode includes a celebration of that release, an overview of how it came about, and a couple readings from it. Four Weeks: Reflections for Advent No Perfect Time: Brief Essays on Life and Faith Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
37:08
November 06, 2022
The Three (or Four) Cs
The Three (or Four) Cs
How does one become better at something, whether art, cooking, crafting, writing, or anything else? I came up with three concepts that all start with the letter C, and then in the midst of recording I added a fourth. Whether three or four, these are what help lead greater ability in one's chosen activity. NEW ADVENT EBOOK: Four Weeks: Reflections for Advent No Perfect Time: Brief Essays on Life and Faith Lucian James Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
33:29
October 30, 2022
Don't Listen to This
Don't Listen to This
Social media can be a wonderful place of information, connection, and affirmation. It can also be incredibly addictive, and detrimental to our minds and spirits.  NEW ADVENT EBOOK: Four Weeks: Reflections for Advent Rest is Resistance by Tricia Hersey The Nap Ministry Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
34:45
October 23, 2022
All My Books, Part 2
All My Books, Part 2
In honor of the upcoming release of my new Advent ebook, Four Weeks: Reflections for Advent, I thought I'd take the time to talk a bit more about the books I've already published. This week I focus on the two books I've written that connect faith with pop culture, as well as my previous ebook. Episode 61: All My Books, Part 1 Wonder and Whiskey: Insights on Faith from the Music of Dave Matthews Band The Doctor and the Apostle: Intersections Between Doctor Who and the Letters of Paul No Perfect Time: Brief Essays on Life and Faith Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
35:10
October 16, 2022
All My Books, Part 1
All My Books, Part 1
In honor of the upcoming release of my new Advent ebook, Four Weeks: Reflections for Advent, I thought I'd take the time to talk a bit more about the books I've already published. This week I focus on the two books I've written about spiritual practice. Coffeehouse Contemplative: Spiritual Direction for the Everyday Prayer in Motion: Connecting with God in Fidgety Times Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
33:26
October 09, 2022
That Was a Bad Idea
That Was a Bad Idea
This week's episode was almost a bad idea, but then I realized that and changed it. How do we spot a bad creative idea, and what makes it bad? I explore that while sharing a few bad ideas I've had over the years. PRE-ORDER MY NEW ADVENT EBOOK: Four Weeks: Reflections for Advent Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
35:41
October 02, 2022
When You Have to Start Over
When You Have to Start Over
What do you do when some part of your life just...stops? It was a part of your meaning-making and helped form part of your identity, and now it's just not there any more? What are our options when we suddenly have to start over? 30 Days of Writing My Month of Writing, Derailed My books My monthly newsletter Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
34:49
September 25, 2022
Remembering Rich
Remembering Rich
Remembering and giving thanks for the life of a recently departed mentor, the Rev. Richard Plant. Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
33:48
September 18, 2022
Seasonal Shifts
Seasonal Shifts
When is an ending really an ending? What does it look like to measure our lives less by calendars and clocks and more by seasons? Changing our perception of the ebbs and flows of our lives may help us identify signs of change, both past and present. Episode 52: Enjoy the Day Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman Managing Transitions by William Bridges and Susan Bridges Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
33:25
September 11, 2022
It Might Be Right, But It Still Might Be Wrong
It Might Be Right, But It Still Might Be Wrong
Sometimes we do everything as best we can when discerning a new venture, but once we begin we may still discover that it wasn't the right fit after all. What could cause this, and how might we react after? Episode 55: Notes on Discernment Episode 48: This, Too, Is a Lesson Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
33:09
September 04, 2022
Notes on Discernment
Notes on Discernment
So many things factor into a good and faithful process of discerning what we are called to do. Here are 8 factors (among others) that are important to consider when figuring out where we may be meant to go next. Episode 54: Don't Say That Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck Coffeehouse Contemplative: Spiritual Direction for the Everyday Jeremiah 20:7-12 Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
35:43
August 28, 2022
Don't Say That
Don't Say That
When we consider trying something new, how often might we tell ourselves that we might be too young/old/inexperienced/quiet/outgoing/etc. to actually do it? We might be depriving ourselves by squashing our ambition before we start, or soon after we try. The story of Jeremiah's call helps give insight to moving past these initial statements. Jeremiah 1:4-10 Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
33:23
August 21, 2022
Boba Tea
Boba Tea
What keeps us from trying something new? It could be a variety of factors, some rational and others less so. But how do we know whether it will be good for us until we actually venture out and do it? Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
34:07
August 14, 2022
Enjoy the Day
Enjoy the Day
We take such great pains to try to tame or "seize" time, because we're often told that this is the way to measure our worth. But there's a different way to approach the limited amount of time that we have, and it's by something besides our calendars and to-do lists. Episode 51: Summer Sabbath Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman No Perfect Time: Brief Essays on Life and Faith Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
34:24
August 07, 2022
Summer Sabbath
Summer Sabbath
The podcast is taking July off, so this will be my last episode for a month. To that effect, I want to reflect on the concepts of rest and sabbath, and why they're so important and necessary to experience a full and joy-filled life. Genesis 1:1-2:4 Sabbath by Dan Allender Sabbath as Resistance by Walter Brueggemann The Nap Ministry My website My books My newsletter Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
33:32
June 26, 2022
Talking to Our Ancestors
Talking to Our Ancestors
Have you ever spoken to or sought guidance from a loved one or mentor who is no longer living? If you've never done so, it's not that strange of an idea. Biblical and spiritual writers offer some ideas on how to do this, but it's really as simple as imagining their presence and talking. Coffeehouse Contemplative: Spiritual Direction for the Everyday (my first book) Hebrews 11-12:3 All the Ways Our Dead Still Speak by Caleb Wilde Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
31:50
June 19, 2022
It's Fine As Long As You Don't Do Anything
It's Fine As Long As You Don't Do Anything
What truths about ourselves might we be avoiding, and why are we avoiding them? It may be because to address them is to experience discomfort and pain. But that discomfort and pain will also bring growth and greater wholeness. Millenneagram by Hannah Paasch Proverbs 8 All the Ways Our Dead Still Speak by Caleb Wilde Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
36:34
June 12, 2022
This, Too, Is a Lesson
This, Too, Is a Lesson
We may not always realize it, but everything we go through has the potential to teach us something. It may not be the first thing on our mind when it happens, but eventually we can look back and identify what we learned from both the most joyous and tragic moments in our lives. Episode 46: Further Thoughts on Healing Acts 2 Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
32:31
June 06, 2022
Lamentation
Lamentation
At the end of a hard month that has brought tragedy and uncertainty about the future, it's important to give voice to our anger, sadness, and anxiety. This week's episode explores the theology of lamentation and offers a brief guide on how to do it. Lamentations 3 Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
32:44
May 29, 2022
Further Thoughts on Healing
Further Thoughts on Healing
We may recognize when we're in need of healing. But there are a lot of voices within and outside us that will work against us actually taking time to do it. Where'd those voices come from, and how can we discern which are truly worth listening to? Episode 45: A Hodgepodge Nerdette podcast, Aim for just okay Amil Niazi, "How the pandemic Made Me Lose My Ambition" Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
35:26
May 22, 2022
A Hodgepodge
A Hodgepodge
I had a few different things on my mind this week, and rather than flesh any of them out into a full length episode, I decided to just talk about all of them. So here I talk about 1) the important messages our body sends us, 2) more thoughts on being a geek, and 3) Mother's Day. Episode 44: The Geeks Have Inherited the Earth Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
29:18
May 09, 2022
The Geeks Have Inherited the Earth
The Geeks Have Inherited the Earth
Books, movies, TV, and music help us make meaning and find community with fellow fans. They also provide ways to talk about faith and spirituality that Bible verses and theology books might not. Having just attended Cleveland Fan Expo, this sort of thing is on my mind, and so I talk about it. The Gospel According to the Simpsons by Mark I. Pinsky My pop culture books: Wonder and Whiskey: Insights on Faith from the Music of Dave Matthews Band The Doctor and the Apostle: Intersections Between Doctor Who and the Letters of Paul Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
36:29
May 01, 2022
Journaling 101
Journaling 101
After over 20 years of journaling, I’ve learned what works best for me. You may still be trying to figure out what works best for you. Here are some basic thoughts and tips for those looking to begin or improve their own journaling practice. A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren Moleskine notebooks  Zequenz notebooks Morning pages Music: “Reflections” by Wild Wonder
30:13
April 24, 2022
A Strange Easter
A Strange Easter
Many people of faith may have a strange relationship with Easter. It may be due to the past few Easters being so different due to the pandemic, or to the strange claims we make on this day, or to our pulling away from the faith community we’ve been a part of.  Luke 24:13-35 No Perfect Time: Brief Essays on Life and Faith Coffeehouse Contemplative: Spiritual Direction for the Everyday  Music: “Reflections“ by Wild Wonder 
34:26
April 17, 2022
Have a Great Week
Have a Great Week
Sometimes words are just words. But when we have stories, experiences, or personal connections to them, they become so much more. This includes the words and practices of Holy Week. NEW BOOK: No Perfect Time: Brief Essays on Life and Faith Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
33:47
April 10, 2022
The "Should" Lens
The "Should" Lens
We have an internal voice that constantly tells us what we should be doing to make ourselves more worthy of love or acceptance. This voice may come from our family of origin, religious upbringing, or workplace environment, but it presses down upon us and stifles our joy and sense of meaning. What if we viewed the world in another way? NEW BOOK: No Perfect Time: Brief Essays on Life and Faith Prayer in Motion: Connecting with God in Fidgety Times Luke 10:38-42 Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
32:47
April 03, 2022
500 Words
500 Words
Having a big dream for a new beginning or a changed lifestyle sounds great in our heads, but beginning to pursue them is something else entirely. The reality of what we need to do to make the change we seek is often jarring and discouraging. Carving out smaller steps and habits is the way to get past these times of frustration or hesitation. ALL MY BOOKS Amie McNee website Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic by Reinhold Neibuhr "Sunrise swims to cope with winter," Chicago Tribune Atomic Habits by James Clear Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
37:04
March 27, 2022
Pie, Caesar, and Shrines
Pie, Caesar, and Shrines
We each have days that are personally meaningful to us. There are the more obvious ones like birthdays, relationship anniversaries, and holidays, but we each may also have days that we ourselves acknowledge and remember but that most others have no idea about unless we tell them. And yet marking those days is as important to us as the others, and maybe even moreso. Episode 36: No Perfect Time No Perfect Time: Brief Essays on Life and Faith Coffeehouse Contemplative: Spiritual Direction for the Everyday Luke 9:28-36 Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
32:55
March 20, 2022
Dare to Be Stupid
Dare to Be Stupid
Pursuing your creative passion involves a certain amount of awkwardness, since you'll need time to develop yourself as a creator. But then when it comes time for the question of whether to share your creation with the world, that brings a new set of fears: of being laughed at, or rejected, or ignored. It can take a lot of courage to share your passion with others, but the possibility of finding your audience outweighs the risk of looking foolish. Dare to Be Stupid by "Weird Al" Yankovic Matthew 5:14-16 "Those Impious Galileans" by Jonathan D. Blundell MY NEW BOOK: No Perfect Time: Brief Essays on Life and Faith Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
32:48
March 13, 2022
No Perfect Time
No Perfect Time
On March 7th, my new book, No Perfect Time: Brief Essays on Life and Faith, officially releases. I take time this week to talk about where it came from and why I'm publishing it the way that I am, as well as read two entries. I'm excited to share this new creative work with my expanding listener base. No Perfect Time: Brief Essays on Life and Faith Episode 35: Ash Wednesday Episode 31: The Eject Button My author newsletter All my other books Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
35:49
March 06, 2022
Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday--and the season of Lent in general--is known to be a time of humility, repentance, and being honest with ourselves about our shortcomings, mistakes, and mortality. With all that's going on in our world every day, why would we want to pile more on? This episode will explore the lesser desirable themes of the upcoming season, while also exploring their positive qualities (no, really, there are some). Joel 2:12-17 Psalm 51 Reinhold Niebuhr - Time Magazine Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
28:34
February 27, 2022
No Notes!
No Notes!
We encounter moments for which we prepare carefully and with attention to as many details as we can. But then something might happen that demands our adaptation, testing our ability to change our approach in order to respond. If we try to stick strictly to the script, we may miss out on an opportunity for growth. But if we allow for this "eruption of the real" to happen, we may experience life more fully. "How playwright Tetsuro Shigematsu has transformed my homiletics classes" by John Byassee Nick Hurwitch Wonder and Whiskey: Insights on Faith from the Music of Dave Matthews Band Mark 7:24-29 Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
34:42
February 20, 2022
The Winter of It All
The Winter of It All
We tend to associate the season of winter with scarcity, barrenness, and despair, where signs of life are more difficult to come by. It's also a season where we are left with all that we are facing, with less to shield ourselves from dealing with it. But even bare seasons can carry hope and redemption and the promise of new life, even if those things are harder to see. Whole 'nother Story - February by Kevin Killeen Episode 31: The Eject Button I'm not languishing, I'm dormant by Austin Kleon Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
23:33
February 13, 2022
Illness and Morality
Illness and Morality
Many people have a tendency to see illness in terms of failure, laziness, and weakness. This view places an extra burden on the sick and disabled, which are among the last things that they need. Rather than guilt and shame, those who suffer from illness need healing and support, as well as a re-framing of the meaning of illness in general. Episode 31: The Eject Button John 9:1-41 Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
22:15
February 06, 2022
The Eject Button
The Eject Button
What’s a moment where you long considered doing something different or letting go of something, and you finally did it because circumstances pushed you into doing it? We may dwell in hesitation and rationalization and safety for so long, but eventually reach a point where staying where we are is no longer an option. Sometimes it's less than ideal, but at other times, it's exactly what we need. My new website! Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
23:56
January 30, 2022
KIME and MUSHIN
KIME and MUSHIN
Our thoughts are often scattered by the number of different responsibilities that we have to keep track of, that any one of them is always in danger of not receiving our best effort. Before taking on any helpful tips or tricks regarding how to focus, we first need to explore the issues underlying our lack of focus, which often stem from our sense of self. Be Water, My Friend by Shannon Lee Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams The First Principle and Foundation by Ignatius of Loyola Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
28:48
January 23, 2022
The Rage Room
The Rage Room
Anger is one of the most socially unacceptable emotions, in part because it makes others uncomfortable, but also in part because it is often expressed in destructive, harmful, and abusive ways. As a natural human emotion, anger is not wrong in itself, but what we do with it can be. Rather than avoid our anger, we should take time to understand it better, and to discern how best to express it. The Angry Christian by Andrew Lester Letter from a Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr. Matthew 5:21-26 James 1:14-24 Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
31:13
January 16, 2022
Based on a Freudian Slip
Based on a Freudian Slip
Some practices that help reduce anxiety may involve breathing exercises or talking things out with others. But just as effective might be actions that involve taking it out - not on people, but on inanimate objects such as hitting a bag, stomping balloons, or going for a walk or run. Sometimes we need something much more active as a form of release to bring us back to ourselves. Episode 27: Just Vibes Prayer in Motion: Connecting with God in Fidgety Times Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi One Word 2022: Flow Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
23:18
January 09, 2022
Just Vibes
Just Vibes
The past few years have been marked by anxiety, for both national and personal reasons. So where do we find peace in the midst of this? How may we be able to calm and center our minds, hearts, and spirits not just to survive, but to truly live a life? What sorts of tangible actions could we take to tap into a vibe that sustains us? NEW WEBSITE Coffeehouse Contemplative: Spiritual Direction for the Everyday Prayer in Motion: Connecting with God in Fidgety Times Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
28:54
January 02, 2022
The Holiday Special
The Holiday Special
We are now in the season of Advent, a time of 4 Sundays leading up to Christmas. It's a time of preparation for the celebration of birth, and to reflect on our need for God to do a new thing in the world. So in this final episode for 2021, I want to give a reflection meant to be a help you the listener in your own preparation leading up to this special time. Luke 2:1-20 John 1:1-14 My blog My newsletter My books Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
27:14
November 28, 2021
Coffee Meditation #3
Coffee Meditation #3
Most people associate coffee with the morning, but coffee can be for the late hours of the day as well. For many who drink it this time, it may be when coffee’s practical uses truly come to the forefront.  But again, there can be another dimension to enjoying coffee after hours. Its spiritual potential is just as strong as earlier in the day. Episode 23: Coffee Meditation #1 Episode 24: Coffee Meditation #2 Genesis 32:24-29 Barbara Brown Taylor, Learning to Walk in the Dark Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
25:53
November 14, 2021
Coffee Meditation #2
Coffee Meditation #2
Coffee has a reputation of speeding things up, but I think it can also have an opposite effect.  It can help slow us down and take stock of our surroundings. Coffee may be able to alter and enhance our awareness at the chemical level, but it can also alter our awareness at the mental and spiritual level by helping us take stock of what’s around us and within us. Episode 23: Coffee Meditation #1 Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation Rob Walker, The Art of Noticing Coffeehouse Contemplative: Spiritual Direction for the Everyday Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
29:30
November 07, 2021
Coffee Meditation #1
Coffee Meditation #1
For some, coffee is essential to waking up. For others, it's a common cause and catalyst for socialization. It can aid in our ability to reflect and observe. This episode and the ones that will follow will be a series of meditations less about coffee itself and more about the larger experiences that it helps us enjoy. How to Be Idle by Tom Hodgkinson Broken Horses by Brandi Carlile Coffeehouse Contemplative: Spiritual Direction for the Everyday Prayer in Motion: Connecting with God in Fidgety Times Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
25:29
October 24, 2021
Selective Forgetting
Selective Forgetting
“Forgive and forget” is one of those terms that people sometimes trot out in times of trauma, especially when one person has inflicted it on another. But forgiveness isn’t that simple, in part because forgetting isn’t that simple. When we experience that level of injury, it lives in our bodies, minds, and spirits. How might forgetting play a role in our healing? Or can it? Episode 21: It Never Truly Leaves Matthew 18: 21-35 Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
32:45
October 10, 2021
It Never Truly Leaves
It Never Truly Leaves
We may tend to frame our need for healing from trauma or loss in terms of "letting go" or even forgetting what happened, as if we won't truly experience wholeness again until this past event is erased from our heart and mind. But rather than erase it from our lives (which isn't really possible), we may instead acknowledge that it is part of us, and incorporate it into our new and emerging sense of self. Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
27:38
October 03, 2021
Building in a Pandemic
Building in a Pandemic
As we consider the habits and decisions that have brought us to where we are, that will especially include how this pandemic season has forced us to rethink and redirect parts of our lives. We’ve been presented with so many different changed circumstances that we can’t avoid taking into consideration that the question “what are you building” can’t be answered in the same way now. Episode 18: What Are You Building? Episode 19: Church Building Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
29:35
September 26, 2021
Church Building
Church Building
The question "What are you building?" pertains to every aspect of our lives, but let's apply it to one thing: the church. Through this example, non-churchgoers may still be able to see how this may be applied in other ways. Episode 18: What Are You Building? Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
29:46
September 19, 2021
What Are You Building?
What Are You Building?
Many events in our lives or in the world happen because they’ve been building for a while, set in motion days, weeks, years ago by a series of decisions and factors. We may or may not know it at the time, but they helped contribute to where things are today. Are we able to analyze how certain things in our lives built to where they did? Can we pause to look behind and see what we’ve been building now? Matthew 7:24-27 Episode 4: Practice Makes Proficient Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
31:34
September 12, 2021
And Then Maybe You Can
And Then Maybe You Can
After admitting you can no longer do something and entering the bare season after, you may begin to get anxious about how long that season is taking. Maybe the answer involves a slow discovery or comes as a sudden epiphany. Either way, there are certain ways in which we may take active and intentional steps to figure it out. Episode 15: Sometimes You Can't Episode 16: A Bare Season Brian Cook, The Story 2021: As You Can See, I Can't Pay You Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
28:55
September 05, 2021
A Bare Season
A Bare Season
Letting go of something can feel liberating. But then we may enter a new season where we wonder what's next, and it may take a while to figure that out. What can we do during this bare season that will help us discover what we may be called to produce next? Episode 15: Sometimes You Can't Luke 13:6-9 Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
26:07
August 29, 2021
Sometimes You Can't
Sometimes You Can't
We receive so many messages around us that no matter how hard things get, we should be able to push through. We're told to never say that we can't. And yet admitting that we don't have the energy, resources, or willpower that we really need could be the first step to greater healing and wholeness. Blog posts: Blank, Can't Handle This Bo Burnham, All Eyes on Me Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
28:39
August 22, 2021
Still Here
Still Here
It's been a long, low creative energy summer. But I'm ready to get this podcast back up and running with some new ideas and a slightly different approach. I hope that you didn't give up on me in the meantime, and that this episode popping up on whatever subscription feed you use is a welcome thing. Coffeehouse Contemplative: Spiritual Direction for the Everyday Episode 4: Practice Makes Proficient Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
15:58
August 15, 2021
Aw Hell, There's More
Aw Hell, There's More
If the concept of hell in the Bible isn’t as clear cut as many Christians believe, what do we do with it? Can we, or should we, retain the idea of hell at all? Most importantly, does hell mesh logically with the idea of an all-loving God who shares God’s grace unconditionally? Given how damaging the idea of hell has been for so many Christians and non-Christians, it’s worth spending more time with to consider how worthwhile it really is. Romans 5:12-19 The Divine Comedy Episode 6: Palm Sunday Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
27:30
June 07, 2021
Aw, Hell.
Aw, Hell.
Where did the popular concept of hell as a place of eternal torment come from, and how can we reconcile it with the idea of a God who loves humanity unconditionally? This week begins an exploration of the concept, including a brief treatment of the primary places in scripture on which the idea is based. Love Wins by Rob Bell Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
31:34
May 24, 2021
A Theology of Star Wars, Part 2
A Theology of Star Wars, Part 2
After publishing last week's episode on a theology of Star Wars, I started thinking that I wanted to continue focusing on the subject. There is so much possibility in just how the Jedi and Sith each approach the Force, that I wanted to explore it more. In particular, the Jedi tend to discourage focus on one's emotions, which ends up having devastating consequences. What can we learn from the mistakes of the Jedi to better incorporate emotion into our spiritual experience? A Theology of Star Wars My books on spirituality and popular culture: Wonder and Whiskey: Insights on Faith and the Music of Dave Matthews Band The Doctor and the Apostle: Intersections Between Doctor Who and the Letters of Paul Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
31:24
May 17, 2021
A Theology of Star Wars
A Theology of Star Wars
Star Wars is one of the most beloved and enduring pop culture franchises ever made. And it's worth asking what we might learn from it theologically. One podcast won't be able to do so exhaustively, but we can at least begin to explore the rich possibilities of this series. My books on pop culture and theology: Wonder and Whiskey: Insights on Faith from the Music of Dave Matthews Band The Doctor and the Apostle: Intersections Between Doctor Who and the Letters of Paul Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
30:56
May 09, 2021
Re-Entry
Re-Entry
I didn't have time to write and record a full episode this week, so instead I take a few minutes to process out loud what it was like to attend my first public social gathering in over a year, thanks in part to becoming fully vaccinated. Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
15:53
May 02, 2021
The Call Cycle
The Call Cycle
There are many signs and symbols that we need to watch for in order to discern our call. But after we begin pursuing it, there come times when we may need to recalibrate, and decide between recommitting ourselves or taking a different path. In that sense, calls can be cyclical, and recognizing where we are in the cycle can help us choose what to do. Anatomy of a Call Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
35:46
April 25, 2021
Anatomy of a Call
Anatomy of a Call
What comes to mind when you think of the word "calling?" Do you believe that you have found yours, or are you still searching? What goes into seeking a call, anyway? The answers to these questions may not be straightforward, but there are certain signs and elements that we can watch for. Hearing God's Call by Ben Campbell Johnson Coffeehouse Contemplative: Spiritual Direction for the Everyday Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
30:11
April 18, 2021
We Should Talk About Burnout
We Should Talk About Burnout
Have you ever walked into your workplace or some other place to which you've been dedicated, and realized you no longer have the energy to be there? Can you name something that you used to approach with energy and passion, that you now regard with cynicism, apathy, or despair? This feeling is called burnout, and we need to talk about it. Just Do Today Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
34:29
April 11, 2021
Just Do Today
Just Do Today
So many of us live closely by our schedules and to-do lists. But those schedules and to-do lists come with worries and an overdeveloped preoccupation on what comes next. We have both the possibilities and limitations of any given day, and both can be gifts. Matthew 6:25-34 Practice Makes Proficient Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
33:53
April 04, 2021
Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday
Christians know Palm Sunday best as the beginning of Holy Week, during which they are invited to reflect on one of the stories from the Gospels of Jesus' ride into Jerusalem a few days before his crucifixion. It tends to be a celebratory day, as well as a lead-in for what comes later in the week. But the story's implications carry so much more than what we may tend to see. Mark 11:1-11 Coffeehouse Contemplative: Spiritual Direction for the Everyday Prayer in Motion: Connecting with God in Fidgety Times Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
36:35
March 21, 2021
A Pandemic Lament
A Pandemic Lament
After months of watching lockdowns begin in other countries, it was the United States' turn in March of 2020. Now here we are a year later, and we have experienced and lamented so much. Have we allowed ourselves to grieve over this past year? Will we allow ourselves to deal with lingering effects of grief even after we begin to return to a post-pandemic existence? Psychology Today, When Grief Gets Physical Shoma Morita, Morita Therapy The Endgame of Grief Wanda's Grief Psalm 22 Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
31:44
March 14, 2021
Practice Makes Proficient
Practice Makes Proficient
If you were asked, "What's one thing you wish you were better at," you may actually be able to name more than one thing. We all have activities we wish we could do better, or habits we wish we could develop or break. We may recognize that the key to all of this is more practice -- "practice makes perfect," as the saying goes. But the pursuit of perfection may sabotage us before we even begin. Fortunately, there are other ways to think about practice that are more reasonable and achievable. Austin Kleon, 31-day Practice and Suck Less Challenge James Clear, Atomic Habits One Word 2021: Practice Prayer in Motion: Connecting with God in Fidgety Times Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
34:46
March 07, 2021
Everything Is Already Different
Everything Is Already Different
It's been about a year since the pandemic lockdowns began. Events have been cancelled or postponed over and over, and life in general has been turned upside down. This entire time--and more frequently now that an end slowly appears on the horizon--many have been talking about going "back to normal." But will everything really be exactly as it was, and will we really want it to be? Ed Prideaux, How to heal the "mass trauma" of Covid-19 Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
33:51
February 28, 2021
The Second Lentiest Lent
The Second Lentiest Lent
All the COVID-related lockdowns and cancellations began during Lent 2020, leading someone to create a meme that read, "This is the Lentiest Lent I've ever Lented." This year, we are still faced with going without many of the same things, and questions of where hope and new life may be found are still with us. With all that we've been through and all that we've learned, how might this Lent be a source of renewal rather than added despair? Related blog post: Five Reminders for a Meaningful Lent Benediction: Blessing the Dust by Jan Richardson Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder Find more about my writing at coffeehousecontemplative.com
30:27
February 21, 2021
Let's Begin with a Story
Let's Begin with a Story
The inaugural episode of my new podcast. Many across the spectrum of religious experience and belief carry with them a question: “Where is God beyond what I know? Where is God beyond the walls of my place of worship? Where is God beyond the pages of my sacred texts and songs?" There is no one answer to that. I figured that the best way to begin would be to tell a little of my own story, and why I'm passionate about finding the spiritual in everything. My books: The Doctor and the Apostle: Intersections Between Doctor Who and the Letters of Paul Prayer in Motion: Connecting with God in Fidgety Times Wonder and Whiskey: Insights on Faith from the Music of Dave Matthews Band Coffeehouse Contemplative: Spiritual Direction for the Everyday Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder
35:60
February 16, 2021