Inception and Formative Spirituality

I just watched Inception, the 2010 drama that won, among other awards, best cinematography and best visual effects at the academy awards this year.  I must say, I loved the film.  Then I must say, it highly disturbed me.  What was it? Perhaps it was the suspense of human frailty traveling to places that only gods should have access.  What made the movie so captivating was how accurately it portrayed the depths of the human person.

In his Science of Human Formation, Adrian van Kaam locates six different regions of the human consciousness.  Inception explored four.  van Kaam’s six include:

  1. Focal Vocal- the focused or attentive pieces of the human.  This is our awake stage.  We easily give voice to what exists in this region.
  2. Pre-Focal- This is the richest part of our consciousness and memory.  Imagine a constant interplay of our unique interests that give momentum to our focal-vocal.  We access this level often but we seldom  voice what echoes around in it.
  3. Infra-Focal- These include the bodily, life calling, individual, and personal ambitions and impulses that we are unaware that we carry around.  This is kind of like the subconsciousness.  It is somewhat buried, unvoiced but available to access. What exists in this region cannot be verbalized.
  4. Inter-Focal- The area of our sub-conscious that engage shared traditions usually stored in myths, symbols, arts, cultural writings, or family. This is a level of shared subconscious.
  5. Trans-Focal- This level is that piece of our sprit that has most direct contact with the wider spiritual universe.  This is our spirit being open to the Holy Spirit. This is where we store our aspirations and become inspired. What goes on here cannot yet be verbalized.
  6. Intra-Focal- This phrase describes the whole of our consciousness. This is stepping back and looking at the whole picture. We notice from this vantage point how our memory, imagination, and anticipation pull from and impact each level of our subconsciousness.

In the end, we continue to explore the human sub-consciousness, because something deep inside us observes an under appreciation for  the depth of the human psyche.  We know that our fears, loves, impulses, ambitions, aspirations, awe, and inspirations work together in a mysterious way that cannot be measured but only experienced.  Nice work, crew of Inception for reminding us of this.  Now we must translate the message from drama to reality…

Saturdays Through Ephesians

For me and my family, Saturdays are for rest and the Word of God.  For a time, I am dwelling in Ephesians, so I thought I would invite you along.  What you will read is my translation, which like Eugene Peterson’s translation, reads more like a paraphrase than a literal interpretation.  So, with that in mind, here’s hoping that Saturdays through Ephesians gives us both rest in a restless age.


Ephesians 4.17-24

Therefore, I say it and insist on it in the Lord:  please, do not any longer tromp about like the gentiles tromp about.  You know I have a lot to say about them.  They tromp about in the futility of their minds.  They are darkened in their reasoning, not acquainted with the life of God.  They are ignorant, really, amongst themselves.  Ultimately, their hearts are fast and closed.   Finally, after loosing a sense of shame, immersed in greed, they allow for the way of truth to be turned into all sorts of dirty acts.

But, you were not taught about Christ in that way.   If, that is to say, you heard him and were really discipled in him.  For the truth is in Jesus, and the truth has at least three implications for you.   First, it compels you to put away the way you first acted in your ruinous former humanity.  It compels you to put away those things that were really deceptive passions. Second, the truth works its power to renew your spirit’s mind.   And third, the truth seeks to enfold you with the new humanity, the way that is most in line with God’s creation.  [Purgation, Illumination, Union]. The new humanity clothes you in righteousness and commissions you for the truth.

Asbury International




Upcoming: March 25-April 1, 2011:               Anticipating: April, 2011:


Lexington Life: Scottish Country Dancing

Monday Evenings 2011 :: Arts Place, 161 North Mill St., Lexington.

Come enjoy classes in Scottish country dancing starting March 21.  Beginner’s class at 7.30pm, Intermediate and Advanced at 8.30pm. Cost is $25 per person for each 5-week session.  For Intermediate – $5/ class or $25 for 5 weeks.

To register, or for more information, call (859) 294-4790 or 396-1468 or email: or  Classes will cover Scottish country dance steps, formations and dances.  All classes taught by certificated teachers or the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.  Previous dance experience is not required, nor is it necessary to have a partner.  Come Dance With Us!

Campus Life: Modern Abolition

Monday, March 28th, 2011 :: 7.00-9.00am :: Asbury House of Prayer

Looking for worshipers and activists, intercessors and non-conformists.  The Modern Abolitionists of Asbury Theological Seminary are looking for men and women who are willing to bring together the gifts of the Body of Christ, as the Spirit leads, to build God’s Kingdom in the area of freeing those affected by Human Trafficking

One of the ways we are being transformed and transforming the world in the area of Human Trafficking is through prayer.  On Monday Mornings from 7-9 am and Wednesdays from 12-12.45 pm, we will be meeting in the AHOP space on the camps of ATS. We would love for you to join us, helping us intercede for the millions held in bondage from Human Trafficking.

Our time together will also consist of sharing testimonies of those affected by this injustice, joining our hearts for specific geographical areas with respect to certain themes, and seeking God’s will through praying His Word.  If you have any questions or need further clarification, please contact or Gary. On behalf of the Modern Abolitionists of ATS, thank you for taking the time to think and pray about joining us.  Whether God would have you join us in these times of prayer or not, be blessed as you follow the Way, liberating the oppressed and taking stands for justice.

Ministry for Global Community Development: Local Service and Community Dinner

Mondays in March 3.30-6.30pm :: Wilmore

Join the weekly rhythm of formational family friendly service opportunities. Build relationships across the ethnic, racial, institutional and city boundary lines. Start your ministry now through experiential hands on service together with fellow community members, students, and families!

If you would like to be added to the weekly service mailer, please respond to”

E. Stanley Jones School of World Mission and Evangelism:

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 :: 8.15-9.30am :: ESJ Lounge

The seminar meets every Wednesday morning, 8:15-9:30am.  The focus of the seminar is on spiritual formation, community formation, and development of academic skills.  For more information you can contact the seminar facilitator Dr. Eunice Irwin.

Chapel: Rev. Dr. Frank Reid, III Speaking

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 :: 11-12.00am :: Estes Chapel

Estes Chapel welcomes Rev. Dr. Frank Reid, III.  “Dr. Reid graduated from Yale in 1974 with a B.A. in History and African American Studies. While at Yale, he served as the moderator and president of the Black Student Alliance (BSA) and had the opportunity to meet some of the top leaders of the world. During his college years, Dr. Reid answered his call to ministry and preached his trial sermon in August of 1971 at Metropolitan A.M.E. Church in Washington, D.C. When he received his license to preach, he became the 5th generation of his family to become a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The Rev. Dr. Frank Madison Reid, III is an internationally-known leader, a pre-eminent power speaker, a cutting-edge thinker, as well as a motivator who encourages and equips people to rebuild their broken lives and communities.

Ministry for Global Community Development: Spiritual Formation for Global Citizens: Reflection in Common

Thursday, March 31,  2011 :: 6-7.30pm :: Richard Allen Chapel

We will reflect on “Firm Compassion.”  Masters include St. Paul, St. Teresa of Avila, John Wesley, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Future themes include:

  • Courage
  • Action and Peace
  • Compassion
  • Making the Best out of Hopeless Situations
  • Seeing the Image of God in Everyone You Meet
  • Learning to Call Forth The Best in Others
  • Appreciating Uniqueness in Others
  • Cultivating a Globally Responsible and Interculturally Sensitive Heart
  • Turning Depression and Fatigue on Its Head with Appreciation

Our schedule looks like this (session runs from 6-7.30pm in the Richard Allen Chapel):

  • Thursday, March 31
  • Thursday, April 14
  • Thursday, April 28
  • Thursday, May 12

We hope that you can join in this semester.


Jessamine Life: Summer of Ministry, Brownsville Texas

Help support cross cultural ministry! Laura Rogers, a local community member, is planning to relocate to the Brownsville, Texas area in July.  From July to October she will be participating in street ministry, assisting with homeless and mercy ministries locally, as well as working with the University of Texas at Brownsville House of Prayer.  Please support  this upcoming ministry time by giving generously!

If you would like more information, please contact Laura at “”

Internship/ Job Opportunities

Students should take care to notice four internships/ job postings:

  1. Heart of God: International Ministries“: Haiti. We currently have an orphanage with 77 children and 12 Haitian staff members.  We are feeling urged by the Holy Spirit to develop a full-time support staff for the Director, relieving him of some of his duties and allowing him more freedom to evangelize among his own people (this is his first love).  Although we have just begun the search, we would like to be able to have someone ready to go in May, 2011.  The next several months could be spent in raising support and additional preparations necessary for a long-term assignment. Interested applicants can contact Jan Ross, President/CEO Heart for God International Ministries at
  2. World Hunger Relief, Inc.“: Texas. WHRI is a teaching and working farm, with an emphasis on sustainable agriculture as it pertains to the alleviation of hunger worldwide. Interns & Live-In Volunteers train at the farm, learning about sustainable agriculture and technology appropriate to the developing-country setting, and leave equipped for holistic ministry through agriculture. The intern assistantship lasts 13 months, and during that time, interns receive a small stipend and health insurance, plus room and board. Interns learn by doing hands-on farming, personal experiments, and by attending twice-weekly classes, covering a broad range of topics. The classes are taught by farm staff, seminary and college professors, and local and commercial farmers. Live-In Volunteers stay for as short as two weeks, up to one year. Live-In Volunteers work 25 hours per week on the farm in exchange for room and board. LIVs do not receive a stipend or health insurance, but are encouraged to participate in all aspects of farm life, including morning devotions and intern classes. Interested applicants should contact Asbury Alum Kelly Lawson, Education Coordinator for World Hunger Relief,
  3. Internships with Good Works, INC. Not sure what you are doing this summer? Why not consider a 9-week paid internship in leadership development working with youth and adults serving at-risk children, widows, people who struggle with disabilities, people who struggle with poverty and people without homes in rural Appalachia? THE COMMUNITY OF GOOD WORKS has been providing internship experiences for 17 years. This summer, we will hire 6-8 interns who will live in Christian community and…• Oversee the relational discipleship of the visiting teens and adults who are participating in a week-long Work Retreat during our Summer Service Program. You will grow in a deeper relationship with Christ as you serve with hundreds of youth and adults who will visit Good Works from all over Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, New York and Illinois.
    • Provide leadership for our every day Summer Kid’s Discovery Club.
    • Assist with the daily Summer Lunch/Community meal provided to children and adults in the Athens, Ohio area.
    • Provide leadership for our visiting short-term mission teams in hands-on projects that serve people at their homes in rural Appalachian, Ohio who are elderly and/or who have disabilities.
    • Provide leadership for a teen agricultural summer internship program. Be involved in establishing gardens at the homes of widows and citizens with disabilities.
    • Discover and participate in direct service to people without homes who live in our shelter – The Timothy House. You will see a different model of ministry with the rural homeless.
    • Work alongside our friends struggling with poverty as they participate in service and earn “points” to obtain cars, appliances and food through our Transformation Station.
    • Participate in FRIDAY NIGHT LIFE, our weekly community meal followed by health education, Kids Club, live music, poetry readings and other community building activities.
    • Experience leadership development as you interact with the Good Works staff on the issues of discipleship, ministry with the poor, community, poverty and justice in weekly discussions. The Summer Service internship begins on June 12 and ends on August 13. Applicants must be at least 20 years old or have completed one year of college. Good Works provides housing and most of your food and pays $1,500.00. Interns can also raise additional funds. The
    deadline for applications and references is March 31, 2011.THE NEXT STEP –-
    1. Visit our web site and explore Good Works
    2. Read through the section on INTERNSHIPS.
    3. Select Summer Service.
    4. Request an application through e-mail at Applications must be completed by March 31st. Interviews are conducted at Good Works in April. THER INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
    • Good Works also offers a year-long residential internship with a stipend called APPALACHIAN IMMERSION for people 18 years or older. Interns live together in the Good Works Hannah House and are immersed into the many different outreach initiatives of Good Works.
    • Good Works also offers a one-week internship, called WEEK OF SERVICE (especially during the summer), for anyone 16 years or older. Visit our web page and click on INTERNSHIPS for more information.
  4. Missions to Czech & Slovak Republics. Since graduating from Victory World Missions Training Ctr, in 1992, the Bruners have helped establish four new churches, in Olomouc and Prerov, CR, and Trnava, and Senec Slovakia.  They have served as local pastors, taught in Bible School, raised up several music groups, and established Christian TV programs.  Their current project is a full service restaurant near Olomouc, Czech Rep. which also  houses an outdoor band stage, patio restaurant, a 6 room Bed & Breakfast, 2 indoor dining areas, and a seminar/ events hall.  It features live music each weekend in summer, and regular presentations of the Gospel thru testimonies, Bible stories, drama and skits, and numerous youth and children’s events.

Outline of the internship program:

Internships may last 10 days to 3 months, between May and Sept. 30.  Some winter months programs are available on request.  The intern is responsible for their own airfare to and from Czech Rep.  We provide lodging and food, and some ground transportation.  Lodging is free in our Podskali Center facilities.  Cost of food and ground transportation varies according to number of hours the intern works in our center.  For example, interns who work 40 hours per week in our summer program receive free board, and free transportation, each work day.

Applications should be returned by mail or email within at least 3 months prior to your arrival dated.  Forms be obtained by emailing us at: Must be accompanied by written references from your Pastor or Youth Director, and 2 personal references.

Experience in missions is helpful, but not required.  Areas of need: food service and pre, music & drama, arts & crafts, English camps, sports & games, sound/lights tech., construction and maintenance.

Contact Information: Mark and Tommie Bruner USA service agency: RAIN 7600 Humbolt Ave. N. Brooklyn Park, MN 55444. tel. 763-566-7411.

Travel Diaries: Getting from Greece to Bosnia- The Journey of Destiny Part IV

Getting from Greece to Bosnia- The Journey of Destiny Part I
Getting from Greece to Bosnia- The Journey of Destiny Part II:
Getting from Greece to Bosnia- The Journey of Destiny Part III:

Getting from Greece to Bosnia- The Journey of Destiny Part IV:

10.50pm Central European Time, November 15, 2004.

So off belched the bus to Serbia, into the heart of the Balkans among the clandestine leaders of the Yugoslavian genocide.  We slept poorly bouncing along.  Morning arrived just as we pulled into what seemed to me soviet central.  We explored the streets knowing from our intuitions that we Americans were not welcome. Our breath came alive on the frozen morning air. The fish market froze the night before with its chests of fish suspended in a block of ice.  After a few short hours of pinched stomachs, we found bread and sip of milk.  Our bus would leave soon for Sarajevo, to travel along the roads of war.  I looked at our map and expected a three to four hour ride.  I had no idea we were heading into the heart of the mountains.

The bus twisted and turned around the switch backed ravines in the land between Bosnia and Serbia. Time passed slowly on the frozen bus until the snow let down.  And it fell like a blanket of thick cream.  Our driver slowed some but pressed by the snowy cliffs.  The trees, in a just an hour were weighed down heavy, bearing eight, ten inches.  We stopped for midday lunch and carried swiftly on.  I knew not when we passed the borders.  They didn’t matter at this point.  All I knew was that we seemed lost in a land of wonder which held within it palpable danger.

Guest Post by Harvey Cozart: Knowing GOD’S LOVE — Part II

Knowing GOD’s LOVE — Part I

Knowing GOD’s LOVE — Part II

…As I stepped down from the table, the crowd stepped back and parted. When the young woman reached me, she just stood there and wept uncontrollably. Without any words or even much thought, I stretched out my arms toward her. She crumpled into my arms and continued to weep. As her tears continued to flow and my arms surrounded her, I couldn’t help but feel God’s arms surrounding the two of us. In that moment I began to feel the overwhelming sense of God’s love—for both of us.

She looked up at me with tears and said, “I was laughing at you because I thought you were one of those people that was going to preach at me and tell me what a bad person I am. Then you began to talk about love and Jesus.” She hesitated and then went on, “I’ve been involved in a homosexual lifestyle and I want to change. Can Jesus love me, too?”

As God’s love flooded my heart, the only thing that I could say was, “Child, Jesus loves you so much. So much.” She prayed and asked Jesus into her heart that day. Many of the Christian students that were there cheered for her, encouraged her and prayed for her as she found her new life in Christ. Many more people came to the Lord that day as hundreds of people gathered.

Words cannot describe the love I felt that day while sharing the gospel with that young lady, but one thought kept pounding me: Why do we so often swim around in the shallow pools of God’s love (if there is such a thing) when he beckons us into its depths? It’s in the depths that we find freedom from fear and compassion for people who are lost and hungry for love. When we understand the width, depth and height of God’s love, we can see through the window of compassion straight into a person’s heart. Ephesians 3:17-19 says, “And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide, and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge; that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God”.

[You can learn more about Harvey Cozart at his website: Life Awakening Ministries]

[You explore more of Harvey’s teaching at YouTube]

Guest Post by Harvey Cozart: Knowing GOD’S LOVE — Part I

As I reflect on God’s great love, I would like to share an experience I was a part of where I witnessed the power of His love.   Several years ago I decided to do some open-air evangelism on campus with a friend of mine, who was involved in the same campus ministry I was in at that time. After much prayer we decided to do some preaching in the free speech area on the campus. I was nervous, but felt confirmation that this was what God wanted. On a cloudy Monday morning I met him there and to my surprise there were several students there also. My friend had made some calls the night before to tell folks to come out and support us in prayer.

So we all joined hands and began to pray for God’s will to be done. As students began to offer up prayers to God, other students joined us. At least thirty students ended up gathering together that morning to pray. I started to feel more confident. It was like being in the huddle of a basketball team, motivating each other before a big game. I was ready to tell the world about Jesus.

As I climbed onto a concrete table that elevated me above the crowd, I noticed the clouds fading away, allowing the sun to make its grand appearance. I looked at the slim crowd waiting in anticipation for what I was going to say. Others walked by with books in hand, giving me a quick glance as they moved on. Things seemed normal during that moment—people talking with each other, some reading books quietly to themselves and others just enjoying the sun’s rays. But when I opened my mouth to speak, everything changed. All attention was focused on me.

As I began to talk, I noticed the unusual loudness of my voice and how far it carried. I thought, Whoa, Harvey, are you really doing this? Many more people started to gather around and listen to what I was saying. I began to share with them about the love of Jesus and how in his great love he bore our own sins upon himself. I said, “God is not out to condemn you and tell you that he hates you, but he desires to save you and tell you that he loves you.”

As I continued, I noticed a young student who joined in heckling and laughing with the small group of people she was with. They pointed at me and made gestures as if to distract me. Her preppy look stood in contrast to the all-black attire her friends wore. For some strange reason I focused right on her. She became my only audience as I continued to talk about the love of Jesus.

Then something powerful happened. Her laughter stopped and her face contorted in confusion. Tears slowly began to stream down her face, and she started to walk toward me. Her friends looked as puzzled as I felt. They called out to her, “Hey, come back. What are you doing?” Her tears were followed with loud sobs as she sped up her pace in my direction…

[You can learn more about Harvey Cozart at his website: Life Awakening Ministries]

[You explore more of Harvey’s teaching at YouTube]

Wilderness Theology: It’s Not Just the Quiet Time, Soli-dude

-Intro to Lenten Reflections-

I have been known recently to criticize the “quiet time.”  Evangelicals for decades have stressed this importance of time alone with God.  The message goes like this: Do you want to learn about God, hear his voice, discern His will for your life?  Do you want to be spiritually healthy?  Have a daily quiet time.  There’s nothing essentially wrong with that message.  It is what we are not saying that is the issue.

First of all, Christian masters for centuries have been saying that God and God’s will for our lives can and must be found in quiet AND in situations and conversations, and counsel, and mostly in living out our callings in everyday life.  Second, Christian masters for millennia have suggested that union or intimacy with God is often found in the ordinary turned extraordinary by those who have eyes to see.  After all, if you want to get close to God, try going to the places of society where he likes to hang out: among the poor, with the persecuted, inside the margins of our communities.  It is true that God is with us in the comfort of our cluttered homes.  Yes, God can speak to us there.  But our pride can too often convince us that we are communing with God when we are just reading about him and hearing voices in our head.

Caretto says about solitude:

But the same way is not for everybody.  And if you cannot go into the desert, you must nonetheless, “make some desert” in your life.  Every now and then leaving men and looking for solitude to restore, in prolonged silence and prayer, is the stuff of your soul.  This is the meaning of “the desert in your spiritual life.”  One hour a day, one day a month, eight days a year, for longer if necessary, you must leave everybody and retire, alone with God.

The quiet time is nice,  but utilized as the sole, pressure filled way to God, can be outright unhealthy.  Live the robust spiritual life that is devoid of real pressure.  With it you will learn to love silence and solitude and begin to see this world afresh, your iniquity, and God’s abundant presence and love in this place.