Practicing Christ-Centered Reading
An Excerpt from Fire of the Word: Meeting God On Holy Ground

The Bible

How… might we begin to develop our ability to read the Bible more Christocentrically—that is, as a book that speaks everywhere to us of Christ?

First, it is essential that we develop the skills of attentiveness outlined in chapter ten and have some experience of using those skills in our reading of the Gospels. Until we have learned, at a deep level, to discern and respond to the presence of Christ in the Gospel narratives (where he is most conspicuously present), we will always struggle to identify how, say, Leviticus or Job might be revealing Christ.

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What Revives My Soul
By |   August 29, 2013 |   in Scripture |   4 Comments

Pain is good at getting our attention.  As C.S. Lewis has famously said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures. . . . but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”  Last fall, with megaphone-like resound, God returned my attention to His Word like never before.

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Scripture & Ourselves
By |   August 26, 2013 |   in Scripture |   5 Comments

Several years ago a close friend blindsided me with a penetrating observation. “Fil,” he said, “you are constantly quoting authors who have influenced your life… but you rarely mention the Bible.” Though I am confident there was no malice intended, his truthful words hurt, and even today I feel their sting. Yet following the initial sadness and shame, came eventual transformation, as I began to discover that reading the Scripture is a way into prayer.  

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The Word Intervenes
By |   August 22, 2013 |   in Scripture |   3 Comments

She was eight years old, vulnerable and wearily wise. She had been taken from her home by the Child Protective Services because her brother had sexually molested her. She sat in my office, brave and amazingly unscathed by the trauma.

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Reading the Bible to Discover the Word
By |   August 15, 2013 |   in Scripture |   4 Comments

The Bible and I have had a long love-hate relationship. Like star-crossed lovers we seem not to show up to the right moonlit balcony at the same time or on the same night. As the sacred words on the page call my name, my ears are stopped up tight to their romancing sighs. I come to those pages lusting for truth and have often found a cold shoulder pointed in my direction. My numerous study Bibles and countless marking pens brought me neither appreciably closer to God nor to Christ-likeness. I was left to wonder…why? In fact, it was actually starting to become boring and stale.

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By |   August 10, 2013 |   in Scripture |   4 Comments

We gathered right before bedtime, on either my brother or my own bed. There my Dad read a Bible story each night. The children’s picture Bible pages were thick and the cover brown. The stories became a parting promise to sleep. On a nail above my little white bed hung a small glow-in-the-dark cross. The stories were pressed into my heart over time.

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Be the Boat
By |   August 7, 2013 |   in Scripture |   3 Comments

It’s not unusual for me to pray using Ignatian prayer. Praying in this manner involves entering into the story with your imagination, being part of the scene, using your senses to let the narrative come alive within you. Imaginative prayer allows God’s word to access your whole person; it is not just your mind that is connecting with God, your emotions are involved as well. Be warned, though, it is also very provocative. You never know what is going to be touched by the Holy Spirit as you prayerfully follow the gospel narrative.

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A View on Scripture
By |   August 1, 2013 |   in Scripture |   1 Comment

‘Thomas Merton said it was actually dangerous to put the Scriptures in the hands of people whose inner self is not yet sufficiently awakened to encounter the Spirit, because they will try to use God for their own egocentric purposes. (This is why religion is so subject to corruption!) Now, if we are going to talk about conversion and penance, let me apply that to the two major groups that have occupied Western Christianity—Catholics and Protestants. Neither one has really let the Word of God guide their lives.

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Simhat Torah
By |   May 6, 2011 |   in Books, Scripture |   BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT

Simhat Torah


Capped heads stream to West End Avenue,

from Broadway, Riverside Drive, downtown and up.

The Methodist cross is covered for Saturday’s gathering

with Psalmist banner, “How good and pleasant it is

when brothers and sisters dwell together in harmony.”

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Meeting God
By |   January 19, 2011 |   in Scripture, Spiritual Practices |   BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT

One of my resolutions is to read the Bible in 2011.  I’ve done the one-year-Bible-read a dozen times, but it’s been a while, and I’ve gotten rusty on some things I used to recall on demand.

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