When the Persecuted Become Persecutors

martin luther

Since that legendary day in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door’s of the Wittenberg church building, the last 500 years have been filled with movements amongst God’s people that have brought change, reformation and transformation amidst churches, cities and nations never to be forgotten. It’s not that great stirrings never happened prior to the great Protestant Reformation. It’s just that, for the better part of half a millennium, following the breaking away from the state-institutionalized church of Rome, God’s people have been perpetually prompted towards reformation and transformation.

The unfortunate thing is that, when such movements of reformation have stirred over the past 500 years, at times, there has been an extreme amount of persecution against such groups. And much of it has been offered by religious leaders within the ranks of the church. Perhaps that is part of the nature concerning persecution – the establishment of the day will always persecute. Such was the reality as Jesus walked the dusty roads of Judea, Samaria and Galilee.

Continue reading

Friend of the Soul

friend of the soulJust this week I finished reading Friend of the Soul: A Benedictine Spirituality of Work by Norvene Vest. Vest is a spiritual director and author who focuses much of her work on Benedictine spirituality. I was looking for some more resources around vocation and calling as I develop a new course called The Religious Dimension of Work, so this work was recommended to me by Chris Smith of the Englewood Review of Books.

Who is this friend referred to in the book’s title? It is work. Through the Rule of St. Benedict, Vest offers that work is to be our friend, a friend of the soul. For me, this was a beautiful, fresh insight!

Not that I don’t already know that work is good and all work of all types can be done to the glory of God. But seeing work as our friend calls us to see it as something very personal, very intimate. Even more, rather than seeing work as something we simply deal with or, worse yet, despise, I have come to better appreciate work as our companion of the soul. Continue reading