Here and Now: Introduction

​Greetings as 2019 gets under way!

Today begins my 2019 theme on Oboedire, “Here and Now.”  New posts will appear each Wednesday.  Here’s the introduction…

Many of you know that I am a Christian, formed substantially within the Wesleyan tradition. [1]  Theologically, John Wesley emphasized ” living faith” and “practical divinity”–both summarized in another of his emphases: “faith working by love.”  Each phrase has meaning only in relation to the present moment.  Simply put, we are created to live here-and-now.

I have chosen “Here and Now” for my 2019 Oboedire theme because we are in great need of living this way today.  We are in the whirlwind of information overload, partisanship, nativism, prejudice, judgmentalism, mean-spiritedness, xenophobia, racism, homophobia, misogyny violence, war, etc. Any one of these things can distract us from living in the present moment.  Taken together, they are formidable foes preventing us from doing so.

The whirlwind is not going to stop.  Therefore, we must deliberately deal with it in ways that enable us to live abundantly in the midst of the turmoil.  Henri Nouwen wrote about the necessity of cultivating the spiritual life in the everyday realities of our lives, “If I cannot find God in the middle of my work–where my concerns and worries, pains and joys are–it does not make much sense to find Him  in the hours set free at the periphery of my life.” [2]. Whatever else it is, spirituality is reality. God offers us grace to live from the center, not on the circumference. I hope this new Oboedire series will help you do this.

The series begins with a look at selected present-moment Scripture passages, moving then to explore a few examples from the tradition, illustrating  how men and women of faith have lived in the present moment.  With this foundation laid, we will then explore some of the means for living in the present moment today, and how we live abundantly when we do.

As always, this series is open to all.  If you know others who would like to walk the “here and now” path this year, invite them to subscribe to the blog by putting their email into the box on the right column on the home page and clicking the “Sign Me Up!” button.  And, if you would like to make your journey part of a small group experience, go to the “Conversations” icon at the top of the Oboedire home page to find a suggested guide for your group meetings.

Here-and-now is the disposition of God toward us, and it can be the disposition of our heart toward God, others, and all God has made.  I invite you to join me on the journey of making the here-and-now life genuine and operative.

[1] “The Wesleyan tradition” is the primary locator for me, but the tradition itself is ecclectic, comprised of elements from Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Classical Protestantism, and Anglicanism.  In this way, the Wesleyan tradition is intentionally ecumenical, a tradition that is both deep and wide.

[2]. Henri Nouwen, ‘Creative Ministry’ (Image Books, 1971), xx-xxi.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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