Colorful paint textured background with silhouette of church in foreground

“For worship to be as glorious as it should be, for it to lift people out of their mundane cares and fill them with adoration and praise, for it to be the life-changing and life-defining experience it was designed to be, it must be inspired by a vision so great and so glorious that what…

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Part Five

You can also read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of this series. They urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed it and…

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A Spirituality of Racial Justice

In this ongoing series we reflect on the spiritual truths and principles that undergird the fight for racial justice, the Spirit that animates the fight and the spiritual practices that will sustain us in this very human struggle. No one post will be the full word or the last word, but taken together, diverse voices will seek…

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A Spirituality of Racial Justice

Editor’s Note: In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we offer the next installment of our ongoing series, featuring an excerpt adapted from the introduction to James Cone’s The Cross and the Lynching Tree. This is Cone’s own spiritual reflection on his story as a Black theologian wrestling with the dark aspect of racial injustice…

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“A leader is a person who must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside him- or herself, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of leadership create more harm than good.” –Parker Palmer Yesterday morning we published a Beyond Words blog post highlighting the beginning of Epiphany—the season of the church year in which  we…

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Lectionary Readings for Epiphany: Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12 Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you! Isaiah 60:1 Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. – Mary Oliver Today, in the rhythm of the church year, we celebrate the feast of the…

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O God, we acknowledge you today as Lord, Not only of individuals, but of nations and governments. We thank you for the privilege of voting that is ours– an opportunity to influence the direction our country will take by choosing those who will lead us. Lord, we thank you for your law of love and justice…

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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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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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Lectionary readings and guidance on using the lectionary “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit a person to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can…

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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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