Tag: Spirituality

66 – Michelle Collins – Okay to Be

Over the past couple of years, Michelle has become a closer friend. She is an accountant, writer, body builder, podcastor, coach and psychology buff. I think you’ll find our ecclectic coversation interesting. Her voice needs to be heard and very soon, you will get to read her book! Find her on Facebook Oh wow, my…

63 – The Naked Pastor –

David Hayward is a cartoonist, author and teacher knows as the Naked Pastor. Today, we talked about his work, including his work with the Lasting Supper online community and especially his 10 statements about spiritual independence.  It exists: To help people become and remain spiritually independent. His website: The Naked Pastor Message me at any time if you…

61 – Brandon Vedder – Stange Negotiations

Brandon Vedder is an award winning documentary filmmaker. Brandon’s career began touring with and making films about musicians. His early days had him shooting for concert film’s like Pearl Jam: Live at the Garden. In 2013, alongside Transcendental Media, Brandon produced, edited and shot the acclaimed documentary La Source, narrated by Academy Award nominated actor, Don Cheadle.…

Asking Questions

For over 20 years, I held my theology close to my chest.  There were some things that were considered “essentials.”  I often recited what is usually attributed to Augustine, “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”  Essentials are considered by many groups as the things that are written in stone—we don’t change…

55 – Matthew J. Korpman – Saying No to God

  Matthew J. Korpman is a rising biblical scholar, itinerant preacher, and theological arsonist. Currently pursuing his Master of Arts in Religion at Yale Divinity School, he holds four bachelor degrees in Theology, Archaeology, Philosophy, and Screenwriting. He has traveled and excavated in Israel and Jordan, and is proud to call San Diego, California his…

The Main Thing

Karl I am pretty sure I heard the phrase first from one of my mentors.  Although I very well could have heard in a secular boardroom. The phrase goes something like this,  “We have to keep the main thing the main thing.”   It is a little more than establishing goals or even priorities.  The phrase…

Aside

This is a part of a group of blog posts about a tea shop I visited in Taiwan. I hope it will be a book soon, but for now, enjoy this part of the visit.

“..as was His custom..” (Luke 4:16)

The events in the Tea Shop were hard to put in chronological order, but I think it happened just after we began to share tea and before his wife brought out the food. He just stood up and began demonstrating what Tanya described as part of his “practice.” To be clear, he wasn’t describing his beliefs—he was sharing his practice. In one of the pictures, Tanya captured him holding his hands in a certain way. Shortly after this, he interlocked his fingers and then twisted them in the most interesting way. It was kind of like that thing some of us did in Sunday School where we said, “Here’s the church, and here’s the steeple…,” then we would turn our hands around and say, “…and, here’s all the people.” It was kind of like that but much more complex. He went on to do a sort of prayer pose, but his hands were behind his shoulders instead of in front. I think I pulled a muscle just thinking about it.

All of it seemed to have a flexibility theme. Later, he also demonstrated balance by standing on one leg on a stool and doing something similar to what Ralph Macchio did in the movie, Karate Kid. It was impressive to see a sixty-year-old balancing like that. I have seen that happen in McDonalds before, but it wasn’t intentional if you know what I mean. I was impressed and was more than ready for him to offer to sell me a book or DVD on the process. I would actually have paid top dollar for it—here was living proof that it works. His practice was effective and I wanted some of that in my life. But, the DVD offer didn’t come—he just returned to making tea for us as we waited for supper. This was his personal practice, influenced by his teacher probably a long time ago. He was excited about it, but it was personal.

The first thing that I notice from my friend in the Tea shop is that practices are both prescriptive and personal. There was an element of the practice that had been “passed down” to him but also there was an ownership of the practice as his own personal journey. Tanya told us his mentor taught him this practice, but she described it as “his” practice. The New Testament uses a Greek word, ethos, to describe the practices of Jesus and Paul and even the people. So, there is always the element of what we inherit in our practices and what we make personal in our situation. Jesus went up to the temple, but also went out in solitude to pray. His “Spirit and Truth” speech to the woman with questions seemed to indicate that although practices are passed down to us, they can also change over time.

My personal practice has evolved over time. I was raised with very little structure—no liturgy or practice really except that we were told to read the Bible, go to church and pray. When I taught 7th graders in Sunday school, that was their answer to everything. I have found some value in things like “well-crafted prayers” and liturgies that follow the church calendar. I have also incorporated the ancient practice of centering prayer, along with yoga and meditation. The writing that I do is also part of my practice. It helps me understand what I think—it clarifies my thoughts and helps me crystalize my intentions. Some people do this in a journal—it helps me to know that I’m sharing it with others—something about accountability. But, let’s get back to the Tea Shop. I think there are several lessons to learn from the man with no name.

The thing I remember most about his practice was that he was excited about it. His face lit up like a school boy at show-and-tell as he spoke and demonstrated how effective his practice was in his life. There was no doubt he believed in the practice, was committed to it and would most likely share it with anyone. People often get a little irritated because I want to talk about being vegan. Just like this man’s practice, I have to fight the urge to talk about it because it has done so much for me. It has reversed many of my health issues, I feel better, I believe in it! And, speaking of beliefs, he didn’t talk about his core beliefs at all. He didn’t try to “evangelize” us or share his gospel with us—he shared his practice with us. That meant so much more. I am curious about his beliefs because he shared his practice.

I am sure that his practice has some spiritual elements to it. It is very hard to separate the spiritual and the physical in this world. I understand them to be intricately connected, but he focused on the physical dimensions of his practice. I have seen people in religious circles almost make fun of anything physical. In Christian circles, the body is labeled as a temple. But, if we are going to espouse this as true, then how can we keep defiling this temple with what we put into it and how we treat it. This man was approximately 60 years old and moved like a teenager. I didn’t get the impression that he worshipped his body like a body builder might, but most of his practice was centered around caring for his temple. I don’t know if that’s what he called it, but he certainly treated it that way.

This care for his body even included his diet. It is pretty evident in Asian countries that there a lot less obesity and disease. This is changing in countries like China where they have heavily imported American food. Before I delve off into a rant about the benefits of a plant-based diets, suffice to say that part of our practice should be the care and nurture of our “temple” that serves as a vehicle to transport the and interact with the more spiritual parts of us. I have seen too many people claiming to be spiritual and laughing at people that care to have a practice of fostering good health. My friend in the Tea Shop found that he could do both—he was able to tend to his body and his soul through effective practices.

Since he didn’t have a DVD, I probably won’t adopt his practices. But, I probably shouldn’t do that anyway. If we lived close together, maybe I could learn more from him and that might be something I could incorporate into my practices. But, for now, it’s enough to observe and implement the things that I have inherited from my faith. Then, as I come to understand God and myself better, I can implement the practices that foster a body and soul that is healthy and vibrant and connected. By the way, I still read the Scriptures, but it much different than just a prescription handed out at a conference or a counseling session. I still pray but in a much deeper, fuller way than ever before. My new practices don’t replace those things, they only enhance them.

Like my coach used to say, “practice, practice, practice.”

Karl


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Would Jesus Go to Church?

Recently we decided not to go to church anymore.  We don’t really know whether this is a permanent decision or just what we are doing right now.  It probably depends upon which one of us you talk to and what day it is.  One thing is for sure, we need some time to heal up…

Being Where We Are

Earlier this year, I began working at a hardware store.  I had been off work for about 2 months and I needed to start earning some regular income.  I also did not want to move across the country to continue in my previous profession.  Our grandchildren are both nearby and I just built a deck…

35 – Keith Giles – Jesus Unveiled

Join Keith and I as we talk about home church, Ekklesia and his upcoming projects.  Ketih is a fellow Quoir author and friend.  It’s easy to talk to him for a half-hour mostly because he does most of the talking (just kidding). Keith is one of the important voices in the climate today – I…

26 – Mark Karris – Divine Echoes

Recently, I was able to talk to Mark Karris about prayer and other interesting things.  He is the author of the book, “Divine Echoes: Reconciling Prayer with the Uncontrolling Love of God.”  I think you will enjoy this conversation. Mark is a licensed marriage and family therapist, ordained pastor, theologian, husband, recording artist, and worship…

29 – Beau Hoffman – The Love of God

Beau Hoffman and I keep running into each other on various social media sites.  He is an attorney and recently has gone through some transformations in his faith.  The result is a deep concern for expressing the love of God to others. I think you will enjoy our conversation — and I think I have…

27 – Michael and Matthew – Bonfire Sessions

Had the privilege of having a conversation with Matthew Distefano and Michael Machuga, co-hosts of the Bonfire Sessions (a new podcast hosted by Quoir).  We didn’t really talk about anything specific, but listen for Matt’s golden answer toward the end about cussing — it’s worth the price of admission.   Find them on Facebook or…

I’m good!

Often, I wonder why people underestimate me.  Once, at the annual meeting of a denomination, I presented a report about our church.   One of the larger church pastors was truly amazed that I could speak well in public.  He actually said, “Wow Karl, you speak pretty well.  You used humor and had an organized talk…” …

19 – Keith Giles – Jesus Unveiled

I was fortunate to be able to talk to my friend Keith Giles and ask him the questions I wanted to ask him.  So, this is not your typical interview, it’s just the questions that were burning in my mind.  We did Talk about his new book, Jesus Unveiled, that will be out June 9th. To find…

Episode 10 – Delight!

Laura and I finally got a chance to update you on what is been going on in our life and talk a little about “delight” and what we think that means.  Come along for the discussion. Blessings, Karl ** Please feel free to like, forward or comment on this blog. Part of this is for…

Darkness and Shadow

I grew up in a large family where it was never quiet. Nothing was ever totally still and there was never complete darkness. There always seemed to be a light on somewhere and, when I was young, I could fall asleep anywhere except in the dark. My children, too, could never sleep in total darkness.…

The Map is Not the Treasure

My new boss got me interested in the television show, The Curse of Oak Island.  It is a “reality” show that combines myth, legend, some history and quite a bit of mystery.  It centers around finding a treasure that seems to always be just out of the reach of the treasure seekers.  Like most reality…

The Little Things

I just got in from taking the dog out.  Honestly, it seems like we play a lot of games with things like this.  I try to do my fair share with the little things around the house, but to be honest, Laura always comes out to be the champ in that area.  Over time, little…

Invincible Preciousness

Occasionally, when I am walking, I see something that catches my attention.  There are not any specific things that I look for—it’s usually just something out of the ordinary than causes me to want to investigate further.  If I am walking, I make mental note of it and circle back to it later to discover…

Time

““I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.” ― Bob Goff, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World For most of my adult life, I have aspired to be a good time manager.  I am…

Unknowing

“Paradoxically, the challenges of our day-to-day existence are substantial reminders that our life of faith simply must have its center somewhere other than in our ability to hold it together in our minds.”[1]  Peter Enns Today, I find myself in an interesting place.  For the first time in 25 years, I find myself transitioning between…

Bypassing

About three years ago, I started eating a vegan diet.  The reasons weren’t really ethical.  The main reason was that, at age 50, I was beginning to have some worrisome health issues just like my father and grandfather.  To make it more relevant, my brother-in-law dropped dead of heart condition while at the gym working…

Evangelism

There is something of a drive in all of us.  When we believe something, we want everyone to believe it.  I imagine part of the reason is because it has “saved” us in some way.  I feel that way about my plant-based lifestyle.  I feel like eating differently has literally saved my life and restored…

The Practice

The events in the Tea Shop were hard to put in chronological order, but I think it happened just after we began to share tea and before his wife brought out the food.  He just stood up and began demonstrating what Tanya described as part of his “practice.”  To be clear, he wasn’t describing his…

My Wife

I’ve noticed when most people talk about their spouses or their children, they talk a lot about them being the “best.” I may have even done that in this series of essays. If I did, please scold me later. It’s most evident when people say, “my wife (or husband) is my best friend!” Personally, I…

Where is God?

Occasionally, my dog Winston reminds me of who he is and most of the time it irritates me.  Just a few minutes ago, he nudged me when he wanted me to go in a different direction.  I yell at him because I surmise that “one day you are going knock me down.”  He just looks…

My Son

I have always been able to relate to the “one and only son” reference in the Bible.  Although my daughters have a most special place in my heart, I only have one son and that makes it special in a different way.   He is also my firstborn, so there is that different dynamic.  But, the…

Love

If I speak with the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal[1]    The Apostle  Paul Several years ago, I was officially categorized as a missionary.  When I replanted a church in Nebraska it was considered mission work, even though I…

Delight

            This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.[1]     God In the Tea Shop, I experienced a wave of emotions.  Many of them took me a long time to decipher.  There was satisfaction, a little bit of fear, some good old fashioned joy and even some sadness…

Into the Mystic

“In the days ahead, you will either be a mystic or nothing at all.” ― Karl Rahner Recently, I have discovered the music of Van Morrison.  It’s one of those things where you say, “Where have you been all my life?”  Most people my age that like Morrison probably discovered him decades ago, but I like…

The Next Courageous Step

All the women in my house suddenly gathered around our grandson, Jackson. We were celebrating Christmas a couple of days late and were opening gifts. My mother-in-law was holding this child that was born eight weeks premature. Because of this and some other complications, his parents keep a close eye on developmental milestones. One of…

When I Look at My Kids – Part 12 (Justice)

            “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”                                                                                     Martin Luther King Jr.             “God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice…”  Jesus One of my daughters is a lot like my wife, Laura.  She always wants things to be fair.  I grew up with the assumption that…

Simply

Not a cause Not applause Not performing Not reforming Not success Not finesse Not tripping Not skipping Simply present, no matter where Simply loving, no matter who’s here Simply conscious, of all that is there Simply thankful, for all that I bear. Karl Forehand _________________________________________________________________________________________ Message me at any time if you have questions: karl@karlscoaching.com…

How I Got Inspired in Kansas

This morning I got inspired.  I’m blessed that it lasted throughout my busy day and I still have some left to, hopefully, finish this blog.  Being inspired always makes me think of a word in the New Testament, theopneustos, which is sometimes translated “inspired,” but more often translated “God-breathed.”  Since theo relates to God and…

Episode 9 – What I Learned at Prayer School

Laura and I both have different histories and came from churches that felt differently about liturgy — hers was for it, mine was against it.  Regardless, both of us agreed that our prayer life had become almost non-existent (or, at the least, ineffective).  We mostly only prayed when we were desperate or emotional.  Even though…

Episode 8 – Help for the Soul w/ Brad Hill

Brad Hill is the Executive Director of HeartConnexion Seminars and also a former pastor.  Join us as we discuss issues of the soul and purpose.  Parts of this story will hopefully inspire and help strengthen your journey.  One of his favorite phrases, “leading you home,” is what I hope you will be inspired to pursue by…