Classic Cards

Icons for our Time

As our community is being formed by the Fisherfolk symbol, many of us have started meditation practises with sacred text. Arthur Paul Patterson blends his love of images with his reading meditation to share with us Classic Cards. We hope, like classic icons, these meditations can be guides for your spiritual journey.

Surrendered in Grace

The past month I have been meditating on Andrew Murray's classic of spirituality Absolute Surrender. Some of you have read, or are starting to read, this inspirational encouragement toward a more Spirit-empowered life...


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Spiritual Performance Anxiety

Yesterday, I suggested a typical but torturous back and forth process involving the attempt to correct imbalanced points of view on the Spirit's work. The specific nature of the imbalance redressed by Andrew Murray and the Keswick movement involved the issue of power...

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Purification and the Spirit

Lately we've been speaking a lot about listening to the Spirit bearing witness within us. Over the years this is something that has been an integral part of my understanding of spirituality. But the Spirit is constantly speaking beneath all the 'monkey mind' and white noise that our consciousness throws up into our thought life...

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Seeing What's There

Of all the portrayals of Watershed's mission I am most fond of the version that reads, "Watershed's purpose is to enable individuals, in the context of community, to make decisions that lead to consciousness." I like it because it does not create a chasm between community and individual goals, and it emphasizes the importance of making decisions that deeply affect our everyday lives...

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Giving To You What Is Mine

J. I. Packer finds the central metaphor for the Holy Spirit's work in the Gospel of John. John emphasizes the Spirit as the Advocate or paraclete (one who comes along side). The Spirit comes alongside to do a very specific task which becomes the correcting and organizing center of what Packer calls the sweet 'p's': power, performance, purification, and presentation...

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The Spirit of Mediation

How does the Holy Spirit mediate the presence of Jesus to us on a practical level? J.I. Packer points to three types of awareness mediated by the Holy Spirit. He believes that the Spirit helps us to understand Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of Scriptures, once crucified, now glorified...

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Spirit Gifts

In the mid-1970s I had my first encounter with the charismatic movement. Keith Matthews, the young adult sponsor in our church, had been profoundly influenced by the movement. The best argument that could be made for the supernatural empowering of the Holy Spirit's gifts was the vibrancy of life that we all experienced through Keith...

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What Are We Waiting For?

These paragraphs describe occasions of waiting. The first situation describes anticipatory waiting, waiting for the familiar. Jesus is telling his friends that when the Spirit comes they will recognize him because of prior Spirit-inspired experiences...

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Water Into Wine

While reading Origen I had an image of the Scripture being like the swaddling clothes that were wrapped around Jesus at his birth. It was as if this mental image was a picture under which the words, "Christ Comes Wrapped," were written. Origen constantly speaks about Christ incognito, through a variety of types and allegorical images. He takes us far above history and grammar into the realm of eternity where there seems to be a host of theophanies all lined up, ready to reveal the eternal Word...

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Word Medicine

Origen, whom some believe was the first systematic theologian of the Early Church, is undoubtedly a master wordsmith, especially when he speaks of the meaning and function of scripture. Origen blends the medium and the message tightly together in a way that speaks for itself...

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Theonomous Personhood

As I've been reading about the Trinity, I've found myself admiring the community orientation, relational closeness and effective communication among members of the Trinity. God desires that we share in the Trinitarian life but we must first understand of what that life consists. It is one thing to admire a good relationship from afar and quite another to be invited to become part of that relationship. Already we've seen some features of Trinitarian life: love, reciprocity, equality, responsibility and recognition of what it means to be a distinct individual...

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Soul's Soil

Origen's allegorical method reminds me of a lot of Fowler's Stages Of Faith or Beck's Spiral Dynamics, or any other developmental theory. Moving from Flesh to Soul to Spirit is precisely what Ken Wilber talks about when he says that our consciousness develops from the eye of the flesh, to the eye of the soul, and on to the eye of the Spirit. The way in which we appropriate and act upon what we hear in scripture is undoubtedly a product of our conscious development and spiritual growth...

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Philosopher Saint

The Apostle Paul called himself a person born out of time (1 Corinthians 15:8). He wished that he'd have been born earlier and come to maturity during the time of Jesus' ministry; he longed to know his master intimately and firsthand. Conversely, Origen of Alexandria seems to have been born precisely at the right time for his world. His genius came slamming into world history five years after Commodus (of Gladiator fame), the reprobate son of Marcus Aurelius, began his infamous reign which led to the destruction of Rome. Edward Gibbon the famous Roman philosopher said that the century proceeding Commodus' reign was the longest time of peace and prosperity that the world had ever known. It was followed by years of tyranny and decline with only short breaths of peace...

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Circle of Trust

I have been drawn to the gospel of Luke, partly because we will be studying it, but also because Luke seems to be a gospel addressed to those interested in a universal perspective and in communication with culture. As it happens, my reading for the day came from Chapter 7, the healing of the centurion's slave....

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