Relationships

July 30, 2015

Learning Compassion the Hard Way

By Frank Rogers
 

Blog-image_7-30-2015When our dog of 14 years died, I wanted to spread some of her ashes at the wilderness park where she and I ran most days of her life. My son, at home for her passing, had a midmorning plane to catch back to college. So I only had a short time to drive, park, spread her ashes, and make it back home.

Unfortunately, I knew I was in trouble the moment I got to the parking lot. The lot was so full, a line had formed halfway down the street. I knew of an overflow lot further down, so I bypassed the line and made for it. I could not believe it. The overflow lot was full as well, its line clogging the access street. I made a U-turn only to see a dozen cars U-turning in front of me. I was stuck between two traffic jams.

Then I saw it. The corner house on a cul-de-sac adjacent to me had an open spot in front. I zipped in and pulled up at the foot of a sign forbidding parking at night. I still had time. I grabbed the vial, leapt from the car, looked up, and immediately started to backpedal. Barreling down the driveway toward me, rakes raised in both hands as if fending off a grizzly, a large man of Middle Eastern descent screamed at me with accented aggression.

“What’re you doing?! You’re parking right in front of my house!” … read

 
March 2, 2015

Beyond Skin Color

By Upper Room Books
 
Jefferson Furtado

Jefferson Furtado

Living in a culture outside your own can be a fantastic and frightening experience. Through the past 14 years that I have lived in the United States, I have experienced both acceptances and rejection, inclusion and exclusion, love and pain, connection and disconnection. The person I am today was born through a long journey of self-discovery.

I am Brazilian but live away from home. I am American, but not North American. I am black, but not an African-American. I am Latino, but not Hispanic. So, the guiding question throughout my journey became, How do I honor my heritage while adapting to this new world? … read

 
January 13, 2015

Remembering Reuben Job, Part 3

By Upper Room Books
 

Editor’s Note: To honor our author Rueben P. Job, who died on January 3, 2015, over the next several days we will run excerpts from the Guide to Prayer series (coauthored by Rueben Job with Norman Shawchuck) or tributes from Upper Room staff members and others who knew him well.

 

 

Last Saturday [January 3, 2015], near the time of day that he used to gather us for Evening Prayer at The Upper Room, Bishop Rueben P. Job died peacefully at his home. Family members were with him, and in love and prayer, they released him into the waiting presence of the communion of saints. There Rueben found his true home — with the God of his life and love.

When I first met Bishop Job, I was a divinity school intern seeking a field education placement in prayer. Through what I still consider divine meddling, I found myself at the front door of a little house on the campus of The Upper Room, where Bishop Job had just begun a new international ministry for prayer and the spiritual life. On the morning I first met him, I knew only that he was a man named Rueben Job who, over the phone, seemed surprisingly eager to talk with this awkward student about a vague, inarticulate call to a ministry of prayer. Over the next 22 years of prayer and holy conversation, Rueben Job became my mentor, spiritual guide, and friend-for-life. And I, like thousands of others around the world, became a Christian pilgrim formed and sustained by a practice of prayer into which Rueben invited and guided me.

So as we now face this tender and difficult time to honor and remember our friend and guide, Bishop Rueben P. Job, let us do so together — all of us — by attending to the sometimes awkward, always worthy longings of God’s beloved people who seek a deeper companionship with the living God. For this, Rueben has not left us on our own, but has bequeathed to us, and to all God’s people, a life’s work of guidance — of guides to prayer and the spiritual life* — that is forever marked by the gentle, loving spirit of a fellow pilgrim named Rueben.

—Pam Hawkins
Associate Pastor, Belmont United Methodist Church
Nashville, TN

Rueben, as he preferred to be called, was a man of the spirit—the spirit of the land and the Spirit of the Lord. He had a gentle strength and genuine honesty that came from living close to God as a North Dakota farm boy—depending on God for life and health to work the land—and the honest acceptance that we all have to wait for the harvest.

When the Spirit of God called Rueben, he answered. Like the first disciples who laid down their nets to follow Jesus, Rueben laid down his farming tools and followed Jesus. That was his life and that was his message—“follow Jesus”—in prayer, in preaching, in teaching, in reaching out to all people in all places at all times. In the 34 years I have known Rueben personally, and in the 12 years I visited with him regularly as my spiritual director—he was consistently, humbly, honestly—a man of the Spirit, a man of prayer, and a man of God. He was, in his person and character, The Upper Room. All of us here will miss him greatly. Together we pray that the same Holy Spirit that called and anointed him for ministry—will fall afresh on us—that we, like Rueben, might live fully and die well.

—Tom Albin, Dean of The Upper Room Chapel and Ecumenical Relations
Nashville, TN

 

 

 
December 29, 2014

What God Imagines

By Upper Room Books
 
 What God Imagines Prayer

Read Jeremiah 31:7-14


Jeremiah, in an unusual burst of good cheer and optimism, describes the joyous return of people long exiled—those far from home; those displaced long ago; those who are socially marginalized or who find travel difficult, who are blind or lame or with child or even in labor. God will bring them home.

It took me a long time to understand the meaning of scripture passages about straight paths. As the daughter of a geographer, I wondered what God had against topography. Why did God want to exalt valleys and bring mountains low?

… read

 
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