“Surely we are not blind, are we?” John 9:40 Here at the Transforming Center, we are John 9 people. What I mean by that is that this story has shaped us profoundly over time. So much so that it has become a lens through which we look at our world and process what we see.  …

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crucifix

“Lent is a spiritual season which calls for greater openness to the word of God and conversion in every area of our lives. It is a time to face the darkness within and expose it to the light. Lent is the season to confront our demons and expel them.” Michael Ford, Eternal Seasons “Jesus, full…

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“The Christian of the future will either be a mystic or will not exist at all.” —Karl Rahner Lectionary readings for Second Sunday after Christmas Day (January 5, 2020): Jeremiah 31:7–14; Psalm 147:12–20; Ephesians 1:3–14; and John 1:(1–9,) 10–18 Lectionary Calendar (Cycle A) and guidance for using the lectionary This Sunday officially marks the end…

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This week, we release our Advent podcast season of the Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership podcast! If you’ve already signed up for our mailing list, you’ll get a notification for each episode. You can also watch for the episodes to be uploaded on our podcast page here: https://transformingcenter.org/strengthening-the-soul-of-your-leadership-podcast/. “Waiting is the hidden preparation through which…

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Click here to read “Spiritual Direction (Part 1): A Vital Practice for Discerning Leaders.” “The whole purpose of spiritual direction is to penetrate beneath the surface of a [person’s] life, to get behind the façade of conventional gestures and attitudes which he presents to the world, and to bring out his inner spiritual freedom, his…

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Eventually, someone looking for a church home will ask some variation of this question:  “So, what kind of church are you?” —Kent Carlson While signing books at a conference on spiritual formation a few years ago, a sharply-dressed, middle-aged woman approached who seemed to have no interest in purchasing a book. She marched right up…

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The Transforming Center is closed today in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his courageous leadership in championing racial justice and equality through the use of non-violent resistance.  In particular, we celebrate the fact that he provided this leadership, not merely as a social activist, but as a minister of the Gospel, proclaiming the…

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“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’” Matthew 2:1 Tomorrow we celebrate the feast of Epiphany—the beginning of a season…

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stacked rocks

“At a certain age our lives simplify and we need have only three phrases left in our spiritual vocabulary: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” –Morris West Gratitude is the ultimate virtue, undergirding everything else, even love. It is synonymous with holiness. Gratitude not only defines sanctity, it also defines maturity. We are mature to…

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“Every movement toward the humiliation of the false self, if we accept it, is a step toward freedom and inner resurrection.”  – Fr. Thomas Keating  Many of us have no idea how addicted we are to human striving, hard work, and performance-oriented drivenness until we actually stop. This may be one of the most shocking…

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 “I have lived too long where I am reachable.”–Rumi It is a wonderful thing to be invited—especially when the invitation is particularly well-suited to our needs, our desires, our delights. A gifted communicator receives a significant invitation to speak on a topic that is important to them. An artist is commissioned to create banners for…

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 “If we don’t come apart for while, we will come apart after awhile.” –Dallas Willard Brad is a pastor whose church is going well. Attendance at weekend services is growing steadily, and they have just completed a building project that is enabling them to grow and provide a variety of ministries to meet needs within…

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Leadership Lessons from the Life of Moses

“We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.” —Bishop Ken Untener Strengthening the soul of your leadership is a journey that begins, continues and ends with a tenacious seeking after God in the crucible of ministry. It is an invitation to stay connected with your…

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Leadership Lessons from the Life of Moses

“Calling is a much abused word today. In the church it can be little more than a pious euphemism for doing what we feel like doing. Such abuse is brought to celebration in the secular culture, when doing what we feel like doing, attained by any way we feel like doing it, seems often to…

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Leadership Lessons from the Life of Moses

“Spiritual leadership springs forth in grace from our very desire for God’s presence. This does not take effort or striving.  It takes courage, a kind of showing up, attentiveness.” –Gerald May Moses remained in a solitary, non-public existence for a long time. It was as if—in some deep and fundamental way—he just let go. He…

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strengthening the soul of your leadership artwork

“For what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” Matthew 16:26 (NLT) I want to talk to you about the soul—your soul, my soul, and the soul of our leadership. When I refer to the soul, I am not talking about…

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Lent reflections week 5

Lectionary readings and guidance on using the lectionary Good Friday: Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 22; Hebrews 10:16-25; John 18:1-19:42 “Stay together, friends, don’t scatter and sleep. Our friendship is made of being awake.” Rumi In her book Cloister Walk, Kathleen Norris comments that in a monastery, Holy Week is “a total surrender to worship.” This surrender allows for a greater…

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Lent reflections week 5

Lectionary readings and guidance on using the lectionary Fifth Sunday in Lent: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 51:1-12; Hebrews 5:5-10; John 12:20-33 “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24 I’ll never forget walking to lunch with several…

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ash wednesday and Lent

Lectionary readings and guidance on using the lectionary Ash Wednesday: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 First Sunday in Lent: Genesis 9:8-17; Psalm 25:1-10; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:9-15 “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where for forty days he was…

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Guidance on using the lectionary. Lectionary readings for January 7, 2018: Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12 Epiphany originated in the Eastern Church in the third century as a feast on January 6 to honor our Lord’s birth and baptism. It ranked with Easter and Pentecost as one of the three principal…

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In fall the garden is spent having given its all. Cucumber vines lie exhausted on the ground Tomato plants list to one side Cornstalks stand dignified and empty Sunflower faces droop earthward, shades of their former selves. All that has not been claimed lies moldering in the dirt— a bruised tomato, a forsaken pepper… a…

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Charlottesville

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.  The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” –Elie Wiesel Remember when the question, “Where were you when Kennedy was shot?” was a point of conversation? …

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Becoming a Transforming Church retreat

“Nondiscipleship is the elephant in the church.”  – Dallas Willard Oak Hills Church was founded in 1984 with seventeen people in rented space at a strip mall in the “quickly growing but still quaint” little suburb known as Folsom, CA. Original members walked the streets, knocking on doors, inviting people to come to this brand new…

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becoming a transforming church

“Eventually, someone looking for a church home will ask some variation of this question:  So what kind of church are you?”  – Kent Carlson Recently while signing books at a conference on spiritual formation, a sharply-dressed woman approached who seemed to have no interest in purchasing a book. Instead, she marched right up to me…

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tree

Moses said to the Lord, “See, you have said to me, ‘Bring up this people’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me…If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here.” Exodus 33:12, 14 Any leader who cannot endure profound levels of loneliness will not last…

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Lent-2017

Lectionary readings for Fourth Sunday of Lent Cycle A: 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41 Guidance on using the lectionary. “Spiritual masters often refer to a kind of “dread,” the nagging sense that we have missed something important and have been somehow untrue—to ourselves, to others, to God. Lent is a good…

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Ash-Wednesday-Lent

Lectionary readings for Ash Wednesday Cycle A: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Psalm 51:1-17; II Corinthians 5:20b-6:10 and Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 Guidance on using the lectionary. I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting and self-denial; and by reading and meditating…

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Guidance on using the lectionary. Lectionary readings for January 6, 2017: Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72: 1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12 “A good journey begins with knowing where you are and being willing to go somewhere else.” Richard Rohr Today we celebrate epiphany—the “showing forth” or “the revelation” of Christ in the world. Epiphany takes its themes…

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What is Spiritual Leadership?

Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.  Those who are spiritual discern all things…  1 Corinthians 2:14-15a A pastor told me that his church had outgrown their facility, so they were asking,…

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Advent Week One

Lectionary readings for November 27, 2016: Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Rom 13:11-14; Matt 24:36-44 Click for complete Advent calendar (Cycle A) and guidance on using the lectionary. “God comes to us like the sun in the morning—when it is time.”—Carlo Carretto, The God Who Comes My favorite time of any day is the pre-dawn moments before the…

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Advent 2016

“Of all types of waiting, the waiting of pregnancy is most like the waiting that we do during Advent. The waiting of pregnancy is like the waiting we do for God.” – Wendy Wright For four years my wife and I were eager to have a baby. At first, naturally, we tried like everyone else. After…

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Election Dat 2016: Teach us to pray today

“Lord, teach us to pray…”  ~ Jesus’ disciples in Luke 11 Ok, I admit it.  I’ve been discouraged, grumpy and even a bit depressed this election season, as I’m sure many of you have been. Perhaps the most accurate way to describe my state of mind and heart is that I have experienced desolation, in…

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spiritual discernment for groups

“If we are not pursuing the will of God together in fairly intentional ways, what are we doing? Our own will? What seems best according to our own thinking and planning? That which is merely strategic or expedient or good for the ego?” —Ruth Haley Barton Years ago I remember watching the doctor who invented…

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Practicing What we Preach

“A leader is a person who must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside him/herself, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of leadership do more harm than good.” –Parker Palmer By the time you get this, I will have begun an eight-day silent retreat.  During this time, I will not have access…

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“The way to spiritual wholeness lies in an increasingly faithful response to the One whose purpose shapes our path, whose grace redeems our detours, whose power liberates us from crippling bondages of the prior journey and whose transforming presence meets us at each turn in the road.” – M. Robert Mulholland Spiritual formation has become one of the major movements…

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Guidance on using the lectionary. Lectionary readings for the Liturgy of the Palms: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-20; Luke 19:28-40 Lectionary readings for the Liturgy of the Passion: Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 31:9-16; Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 22:14-23:56 or Luke 23:1-49 “Could you not stay awake with me one hour?” Matthew 26:40 Holy Week is a bizarre juxtaposition of…

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Guidance on using the lectionary. Lectionary readings for March 13, 2016: Isaiah 43:16-21; Psalm 126; Philippians 3:4b-14; John 12:1-8 But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 A journey into God may be the best way to describe Lent and Holy Week. Of course, it…

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