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Living Spirituality

A blog engaged in exploring Living Christian Spirituality

Updated: 2018-01-16T14:48:14.909+01:00


Reflection for the Week - January 16


Jesus’ parables aim to subvert and shatter, yet they also reconstruct in the wake of the debris. The attacking, overturning, and revealing character of parables is not to be missed. Parables also disorient, shock, and surprise, while announcing reversal and re-orientation in the disclosure of new understandings about Jesus, the world, and the Kingdom of God. These powerful stories are loaded with meaning that dangerously engages imagination and, when that happens, watch out. [...]

New Book Announcement


Reading the Gospel of Mark is a fascinating adventure, with the destiny of humanity hanging in the balance. Where’s it all going? In this narrative commentary, I wager that to read and hear this story is to enter a possibleworld; a world of subversive reversals of perspective, intrigue, mystery, and strange riddles, with Jesus as its central protagonist.[...]

Friday Musings - January 12


Theology is socio-culturally dependent, but God cannot be reduced to being solely the product of socio-cultural contexts. The God of promise and action comes to humanity in and through these, but emerges from beyond them.[...]

Living Spiritual Rhythms - January 10


I have quite often reflected on how much elasticity God allows us in our journey of faith. I still don’t have an answer. No doubt there are limits, but in-between these there may be greater flexibility than assumed. As I tend to put it, grace reigns and sin matters. This formulation expresses a living tension, which is to be embraced, and then I go on from there working out the rest.   [...]

Interpreting Early Genesis?


Adam & Eve? Magic trees in a Garden? Talking serpents? If you’re looking for an alternative to YEC or other literal interpretations of Genesis 1-3, which takes the natural world informer seriously, check out our book From Evolution to Eden. Making Sense of Early Genesis. Publisher price drop to only $9.00 pb and $2.99 eb. Reductions on some of my other books too.[...]

Reflection for the Week - January 9


Edging towards the finely grained and exquisite contours of the love of God, while living in the arena of death, is a monumental enterprise. Yet, being loved and loving enables us to move away from the seductive silhouette of fear and anxiety, as illumination seeps into the recesses of existence and frees us to meet again and again at the gates of the garden. [...]

Thursday Thoughts - January 4


A poetics – being, doing, and making true stories plays a significant role in understanding life. Taking disparate and unconnected events and dynamically shaping them into a mysterious whole is tied to a plot that we are already submersed in, yet not enslaved to. Stories break the status quo and help articulate who we are, what we are to do, and why we are here. They embody possible worlds and scenarios that function more as breathing pictures, than mirrors or windows. Swept up into a dialogue with God, Scripture, self, and other ought to lead us in the direction that the stories of creation, grace, justice, hope, and transformation are the centrality of poetics. In this narrative recounting, love surpasses knowledge and living is a work of art that is projected onto the canvas of imagination and painted out into the world.

Living Spiritual Rhythms - January 3


Christians devote a tremendous amount of time and energy attempting to exorcise tension. In my view, this is a utopian misinterpretation of living spirituality and not the direction God has for us. To be in tension is to be in-between. And being in-between corresponds to the theological marker of the already / not yet, to life in the world, and to who we are as human beings. Embrace tension and live it to the fullest.

Living Spiritual Rhythms - December 27


Elasticity is an important feature of our belief in God. Imagine faith as a web of intricately woven strands and connections. Delicate, fragile, yet with a viable strength.

Thursday Thoughts - December 21


Self-reflection is a marvel, but if it is not going to lead to a paralysis of motivation and action, it will need appropriate configurations of trust and suspicion connected to referents beyond oneself.

Living Spiritual Rhythms - December 20


Grace reigns and sin matters capture a flagrant truth of Living spirituality. Because God has put into effect a rescue plan for humanity (and the planet) through fulfilling the covenant promise in Christ and through declaring us righteous, God calls us to live in harmony as family. Battered by sin, yet consoled by grace we have the gift of life to live now. Make the most of it today, while looking ahead to tomorrow with hope.  

Reflection for the Week - December 18


The Prologue (1:1-13) of Mark is a fascinating piece of literary artistry with clout. Take verse 1. “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” This seemingly banal comment is a powerhouse. In what ways? The narrator wants readers (the Prologue contains privileged insights for readers that the characters in the story do not have) to know that something new is now beginning to happen. Neither Matthew, nor Luke is self-referenced as gospel. Consequently, Mark’s narrative is embarking on a new literary adventure that is attempting to capture something of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet, what is new?Note that the “of” in the gospel of Jesus Christ, immediately raises a query. Should readers take this to be suggesting that Jesus is this gospel or the proclaimer of it? This appears to be purposeful ambiguity that encourages readers not to choose between the two. Jesus Christ is both proclaimer and content of the gospel. We shouldn’t always assume that ambiguity in biblical stories is negative, as it may in fact enhance meaning. Planned ambiguity of this sort, when it occurs, will help readers to envision truths as both – and. Jesus Christ is both proclaimer and content of the gospel, and that is something entirely and intriguingly new that gives rise to thought.  [...]

New Book. Living Imagination. Who Am I & What is Real?


I have a chapter on Samuel Taylor Coleridge in my new book:Living Imagination. Who Am I & What is Real?Resembles Life what once was held of Light, Too ample in itself for human sight? An absolute Self--an element ungrounded-- All, that we see, all colours of all shade By encroach of darkness made?-- Is very life by consciousness unbounded? And all the thoughts, pains, joys of mortal breath, A war-embrace of wrestling Life and Death? What is Life? around 1805  “Do you have an imaginative identity? Who are you? Are centaurs and dragons more real than technology and mechanisms? Read this fascinating book to find out!” [...]

Now Available. Living Mark's Story

2017-12-13T12:45:28.776+01:00 Reading the Gospel of Mark is a fascinating adventure, with the destiny of humanity hanging in the balance. Where’s it all going? In this narrative commentary, Gregory J. Laughery wagers that to read and hear this story is to enter a possible world; a world of subversive reversals of perspective, intrigue, mystery, and strange riddles, with Jesus as its central protagonist. Far from a simple tale, filled with easy answers or a basic list of rules to follow, Mark’s story is explosive; combining exquisite literary creativity and formidable theological force. Readers are challenged to participate in the recounting and to lose their lives so that they, in turn, may find them. Thus, this compelling story is a drama to be performed―lived—acted out. Since the world of self-serving power, fame, and control is decaying, only the embrace of a possible world and all it offers, according to Mark, will lead to life after death. [...]

Reflection for the Week - December 11


Drawing conclusions about the world from solely one perspective is reductionistic. By contrast, Christians want to recognize that reality has to be viewed from a multiplicity of intricate angles and variable vistas. Whether climbing a high Alpine peak or walking through a city, much of what we perceive deserves skillful attention to detail that may first escape us. Looking again, perhaps, should be a key feature of the Christian worldview, founded as it is on the exceedingly complex character of nature and the God who loves and cares for the whole of what is.    [...]

Friday Musings - December 8


Interiors & Exteriors – Speaking for myself, I spend more than half the time in my imagination, while somehow managing in the other less than half to find my way around within the empirical world. And, of course, I’m often doing both at the same time. I can easily pass an hour internally, without any deliberate focus on the external, though I don’t usually fall off my bike when riding up the road, or I strenuously focus externally on a narrowly dangerous mountain path that leaves little room for internal processing, yet it is still in play. Remarkable. There is indeed a mysterious and dynamic relation and distinction here between self and self, self and other, self and world, and self and God. On this register, being a human being can be a pretty wild adventure. [...]

New Book. Living Imagination. Who Am I & What is Real?


I have a chapter on William Wordsworth in my new book: Living Imagination. Who Am I & What is Real?Imagination! lifting up itselfBefore the eye and progress of my SongLike an unfather’d vapour; here that Power, In all the might of its endowments, cameAthwart me; I was lost in a cloud,Halted, without a struggle to break through.And now recovering, to my Soul I sayI recognize thy glory; in such strengthOf usurpation, in such visitingsOf awful promise, when the light of senseGoes out in flashes that have shewn to usThe invisible world, doth Greatness make abode,There harbours whether we be young or old. The Prelude, 1805, Book VI (525-537)[...]

Living Spiritual Rhythms - December 6


A soft glow drifts over the open sky and points to the horizons of far off worlds. In these distant and mysterious lands, light is tethered to the gentle breeze that flows through the deep. This appears to be like a tender whisper from beyond the savage pulse of the long night of conflict and rage. There are no perfect pictures of illumination, or anything else for that matter. Given pictures are partially opaque, yet relevantly clear, as the sufficiency of this world morphs into possible worlds that present new ways of being, seeing, and living. 

Reflection for the Week - December 4


Here are a few reflections on the biblical text and its prohibition (Ex. 20; Dt. 4 and the like) of making images. First, I think this ban is in the text because God already has an image: humanity. We are the corporeal images of the incorporeal God. All humans image God. Second, there is a risk that we will defy both God and humanity in the worship of made images. Yet it seems to me that the problem is not with image making per se. Why? Creativity and imagination are part of being human and therefore making images may enhance life, rather than detract from it. As I see it, this thorny issue concerns the who, the what, and the why of image making. That is, making an image can be fitting and appropriate if it’s not out to place a who above God, to install a what in exchange for God, or to set up a why that rejects God. Building off this, I’d wager the making of images can be understood as a fascinating augmentation of reality, and thus as long as they are not misplaced in value or virtue, there should be, potentially at least, a perceptive openness to their validity.    

New Book. Living Mark's Story. A narrative commentary


New Book Coming Soon!

Friday Musings - December 1


Legitimate cynicism needs no antidote.[...]

Thursday Thoughts - November 30


Attempts to do theology without science are like trying to fly a kite without wind. As crucial as it is to read the early Genesis stories through ancient eyes, it is all the more essential to consider current scientific informers when it comes to drawing theological conclusions today. If you’re interested in these issues check out our book From Evolution to Eden.[...]

Living Spiritual Rhythms - November 29


Our destiny is moving towards a ‘transformed’ future, not a recovery of an illusory paradisiacal past.    This means we are continuously finding our way along in the magnificent adventure of exploring and embracing the symbols, metaphors, and narratives about God and life in the cosmos. [...]

Reflection for the Week - November 27


A recent read went something like this: Theologians must be cautious and humble – they are not the masters of theology – then, in the next line – who God is and what God has done stands independent of us.

The last part of this appears to undermine the first. That is, it sounds like taking back something that is supposed to be given away – mastery. I’d wager a better direction beckons. Instead of this categorical statement about the independence of the being and doing of God, it seems likely that there’s a mystery here that escapes dogmatic affirmations, since God ‘is and isn’t’ independent still has to be worked out in the arduous complexity of life and death.

Living Spiritual Rhythms - November 22


Encountering the infinite mystery of another human being is a sacramental invitation and a sacred adventure towards convergence. This coming alongside or together phenomenon will take place at different levels of familiarity; it is never nothing or everything. That is, to be unaffected by or irredeemably lost in another is an expression of inappropriate selfhood. Unadulterated oneness is not desirable. We are always to be intensely touched by our engagements with the other, while remaining ourselves. [...]