Author Archives: Steve Harper

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.

Heart Sounds: Joy

Episode 12 (8:16) Continuing our look at the Grand Story, we focus in this episode on joy, exploring its inward and outward dimensions in the spiritual life. https://anchor.fm/steve-harper1

Posted in Heart Sounds Podcast | Comments Off on Heart Sounds: Joy

Shepherd’s Care 2.0: Clarification

Every denominational system has a small-to-large ladder, with varying factors that enable every congregation to be placed on it. The intent is to move clergy “upward” as time goes by. The intent to “promote” pastors is a sign of institutional … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care | Comments Off on Shepherd’s Care 2.0: Clarification

Heart Sounds: Desirability

Episode 11 (8:20) Continuing our look at the Grand Story, we explore desirability in this episode, learning that the spiritual life is not imposed upon us. It arises from us. Psalm 42:1 is the focal text for this episode. https://anchor.fm/steve-harper1/episodes/Desirability-e10efbh

Posted in Heart Sounds Podcast | Comments Off on Heart Sounds: Desirability

Heart Sounds: Mystery

Episode 10 (8:51) In this episode we look at a second aspect of the Grand Story: mystery, and how it enriches the spiritual life. https://anchor.fm/steve-harper1/episodes/Mystery-e107uva

Posted in Heart Sounds Podcast | Comments Off on Heart Sounds: Mystery

Shepherd’s Care 2.0: Context

In this season when many clergy are moving, or deciding to stay put, it’s good not only to have confidence that God is at work, it’s also good to remember the context in which God works: here and now. Years … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care | Comments Off on Shepherd’s Care 2.0: Context

Heart Sounds: Singularity

Episode 9, “Singularity” (6:56) “Heart Sounds” Episode 9, “Singularity” We continue looking at the Grand Story. Today, we focus on singularity. Ultimate Reality (God) is one. In this episode we show how singularity enriches our view of God and our … Continue reading

Posted in Heart Sounds Podcast | Comments Off on Heart Sounds: Singularity

Heart Sounds: The Grand Story

Episode 8 (7:36) Our longing to live a spiritual life is older than any of the world’s religions. Before there were stories, there was the Grand Story. We look at it in this episode. https://anchor.fm/steve-harper1/episodes/The-Grand-Story-evos4s

Posted in Heart Sounds Podcast | Comments Off on Heart Sounds: The Grand Story

Shepherd’s Care 2.0: Confidence

Jeannie and I are reading the recently-published biography of Eugene Peterson, ‘A Burning in My Bones.’ [1] We are reading it the way Eugene and Jan read books, out loud to each other. The book is great; the way we’re … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care | Comments Off on Shepherd’s Care 2.0: Confidence

Heart Sounds: Spiritual But Not Religious

Episode 7 (9:31) Today we explore a phrase many are using to describe their hunger for God while being honest about their disillusionment with institutional religion. This episode offers some ways to live when we feel this way–things we can … Continue reading

Posted in Heart Sounds Podcast | Comments Off on Heart Sounds: Spiritual But Not Religious

Heart Sounds: Spiritual Formation

Episode 6 (7:01) Spiritual formation is the way we enrich our spiritual life. In this episode we look at why it is important and how it occurs… https://anchor.fm/steve-harper1/episodes/Spiritual-Formation-ev9kvj

Posted in Heart Sounds Podcast | Comments Off on Heart Sounds: Spiritual Formation

Shepherd’s Care 2.0: Challenge

While in seminary decades ago, I came face-to-face with the great challenge of ministry: careerism. I heard it from a chapel speaker who said simply, “Don’t turn your calling into a career.” [1] Around that same time, a professor told … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care | Comments Off on Shepherd’s Care 2.0: Challenge

Heart Sounds: “Spirituality_

Episode 5 (7:52) When we use the word ‘spirituality’ we mean various things. This episode looks at four of them. Listen here, or on other platforms: Anchor, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Breakers, PocketCasts, or RadioPublic. The “Heart Sounds” facebook page supports … Continue reading

Posted in Heart Sounds Podcast | Comments Off on Heart Sounds: “Spirituality_

Heart Sounds: “Life”

Episode 4 In this episode we look at “life,” the energy of the spiritual life. We explore its two fundamental dimensions and our need to grow in both of them. https://anchor.fm/steve-harper1/episodes/Life-eur8d0

Posted in Heart Sounds Podcast | Comments Off on Heart Sounds: “Life”

Shepherd’s Care 2.0: Calling

I remember the morning it happened. A Sunday morning. Opening the door to my study, I found that an envelope had been slid under it. I opened it to find an unsigned, type-written letter that said essentially, “This church will … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care | Comments Off on Shepherd’s Care 2.0: Calling

Heart Sounds: “Spiritual”

Episode 3 The soul is like a diamond refracting the basic “colors” of the spiritual life. In this episode we look at the color “spiritual.” https://anchor.fm/steve-harper1/episodes/Spiritual-euitli

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Heart Sounds: “Spiritual”

Heart Sounds: Living from the Heart

Episode 2 https://anchor.fm/steve-harper1

Posted in Heart Sounds Podcast | Comments Off on Heart Sounds: Living from the Heart

Heart Sounds: Intro

I have been in discernment regarding whether or not to follow through on the suggestion of friends the past year or two: to begin a podcast. I have decided to give it a try, and today “Heart Sounds” launches with … Continue reading

Posted in Heart Sounds Podcast | Comments Off on Heart Sounds: Intro

Holy Love: The Eunuch Revelation

In my book ‘Holy Love’ I offer an affirmative theology for LGBTQ+ people, and an advocacy for their full inclusion in the church. [1] In the book, I wrote a bit about eunuchs, but since then I have found the … Continue reading

Posted in Holy Love | Comments Off on Holy Love: The Eunuch Revelation

In-Sight: “Religious Evil”

Evil never advances better than when it “gets religion.” When it claims to “have the blessing of God” upon it, evil can justify whatever it says and does. Evil is never more insidious and dangerous than when it operates through … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight | Comments Off on In-Sight: “Religious Evil”

At the Gate

Question: I am 66 years of age. I need to think more about living as an elder. What does this mean for you? Response: I must begin by saying that I don’t think there is a one-size-fits all pattern for … Continue reading

Posted in At the Gate | Comments Off on At the Gate

In-Sight: January 2021

“A New Normal?” Living in the pandemic for a little over a year, we find ourselves asking, “Will there be a new normal?” As I have read articles in which the question is raised, it is an expression of anxiety, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on In-Sight: January 2021

An Ending

Four years ago, I ended Oboedire. I had the sense that it had run its course. I honored that sense, even though I reactivated it ten months later as we moved into a time of national turmoil, bringing a more … Continue reading

Posted in Site Updates | Comments Off on An Ending

Day One: December 2020

This month’s “Day One” post comes after the “In-Sight” post because I wanted the December “In-Sight” to be about Advent. So, I posted it on November 28th. If you have not seen it, it’s the one immediately before this one … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Day One: December 2020

In-Sight: Don’t Hold Back

I am posting this a week early to connect with the Advent Season… Whatever else Advent is, it is an annual season in the Christian Year that invites us to make a fresh start. All four readings contain the keynote … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on In-Sight: Don’t Hold Back

In-Sight: Expansive Living

I never thought that a song I learned in Vacation Bible School nearly seventy years ago would be one that can take us where we need to go today, but it is. “Deep and Wide” is about as good as … Continue reading

Posted in Deep and Wide, In-Sight | Comments Off on In-Sight: Expansive Living

Day One: November 2020

Welcome to November! Our Golden Rain trees are aglow in our back yard with a deep amber that shouts, “Fall is here!” Photos from other parts of the country tell a similar story. I’m guessing you are on pins and … Continue reading

Posted in Day One | Comments Off on Day One: November 2020

Merton’s Prayers: On the ITMS Group Page

The “Merton’s Prayers” series will now post only on the International Thomas Merton Society Group Page on Facebook. I really want you to find the reflections there, in the midst of a rich feast of other writings with respect to … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Merton’s Prayers: On the ITMS Group Page

Merton’s Prayers: January 16, 1941

More than a year has passed since Merton included a prayer in his journal. But I must emphasize that the intervening months contain ample evidence of his prayerful life, largely shaped by Roman Catholic liturgy and the liturgical calendar. Merton … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Merton’s Prayers: January 16, 1941

Along the Way: Originalism

​Once again the concept of Originalism is being heard in the land. It is essentially a legal hermeneutic which says a contemporary law must express the intent of “the founding fathers” around the year 1789. The late Supreme Court justice … Continue reading

Posted in Along the Way | Comments Off on Along the Way: Originalism

Merton’s Prayers: December 21, 1939

“Blessed Saint Thomas, who are blessed because, seeing the risen Christ and handling His wounds you believed in Him: pray to Him that I, seeing His body and the blood of His wounds each day may also believe Him, and … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Merton’s Prayers: December 21, 1939

Merton’s Prayers: December 19, 1939

“Now we faithful glorify  the Holy Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit  and we give this triune Lord  all the taste of the salt  all the love of the heart  all the fervor of the soul for ever and … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Merton’s Prayers: December 19, 1939

Merton’s Prayers

October 22, 1939 “Pax Tecum Filumena” (“Peace be with you, Philomena) [1] Between his last recorded prayer and this one (two months) Merton accepted a call to the priesthood and consulted with friends about how best to fulfill the call. … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Merton’s Prayers

Along the Way: The Root Problem

​I agree with those who point out that social media can be a place where rage overtakes reason, where emotions overrule education. And I confess my own failures along this line in some of the things I have posted. It … Continue reading

Posted in Along the Way | Comments Off on Along the Way: The Root Problem

Along the Way: Fluid Formation

​Years ago, Richard Foster and I were visiting over a meal. It happened to be at a time when my daily devotions were tepid. I asked him about this, hoping he could share something that would “jump start” my prayer … Continue reading

Posted in Along the Way | Comments Off on Along the Way: Fluid Formation

Merton’s Prayers: August 24, 1939 #2

August 24, 1939 “Christ, have mercy on us. God save you, Mary, full of grace.” [1] Merton entered a second prayer into his journal the same day that he included the first one. It was a response he had to … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Merton’s Prayers: August 24, 1939 #2

Merton’s Prayers: August 24, 1939

​“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Merton’s Prayers: August 24, 1939

Merton’s Prayers: Introduction

​In my classes on Spiritual Formation, I had the opportunity to refer to a host of saints, canonized and otherwise. I made it a point to say that when studying persons, the best way to get to know them is … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Merton’s Prayers: Introduction

In-Sight: Living on the Edge of the Inside

Some of you will immediately recognize the title of this post as one of Richard Rohr’s phrases to describe where he believes God calls us to live.[1]  I have intentionally used his words, because I agree with him, and because … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on In-Sight: Living on the Edge of the Inside

Day One: October 2020

Thanks to those of you who have recently subscribed to Oboedire so you can automatically receive what I write. And thanks to those of you who have encouraged me to continue writing. I hope a new pace will provide me … Continue reading

Posted in Day One | Comments Off on Day One: October 2020

Along the Way: Dethroning Evil #3

​This is the final post in this mini-series. I have made use of Ephesians 6:10-20 to commend Christian resistance to evil. In the first post, we looked at the motive for resistance. In the second one, we explored the mindset … Continue reading

Posted in Along the Way | Comments Off on Along the Way: Dethroning Evil #3

Along the Way: Dethroning Evil #2

​In the first post  on this subject a few days ago, I voiced  my conviction that the November election is ultimately about dethroning evil.[1] It is not about Donald Trump losing and Joe Biden winning (though that is a necessary … Continue reading

Posted in Along the Way | Comments Off on Along the Way: Dethroning Evil #2

Along the Way: Dangerous Education

A lot of politics in general and some of the president’s words and deeds in particular are beyond my expertise, even though sometimes I can’t keep myself from commenting about them. But when Donald Trump wanders into certain territory, he … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Along the Way: Dangerous Education

Along The Way: Dethroning Evil #1

It’s time for me (you decide if it’s time for you) to push through the “fluff and stuff” and cut to the chase: the election on November 3rd is no longer about candidates or parties. It is about the dethronement … Continue reading

Posted in Along the Way | Comments Off on Along The Way: Dethroning Evil #1

Along the Way: The Formative Flow

I am grateful to Richard Foster for his development of a spiritual formation paradigm: vision, intention, means ]1] I use it often, and remind you about it occasionally. Today, I had another opportunity to think about it as I read … Continue reading

Posted in Along the Way | Comments Off on Along the Way: The Formative Flow

Shepherd’s Care: Ordination

Yesterday, Deacons and Elders were ordained by Bishop Ken Carter in the Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. [1] This annual service is a highlight and a reminder that God calls every Christian to a discipleship ministry, and … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Shepherd’s Care: Ordination

In-Sight: Mystic-Prophets

Last month I said we are living in a Micah moment, and using Micah 6:8, I explored the kind of life that God calls for in such a time.  But embedded in all this is the question,“What kind of person … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight | Comments Off on In-Sight: Mystic-Prophets

Day One: September 2020

​Beginning today, the differentiation between my Facebook page and Oboedire site is in effect. I am grateful to those of you who have subscribed to Oboedire, and I want to create this “Day One” (first day of the month) communication … Continue reading

Posted in Day One | Comments Off on Day One: September 2020

In-Sight: Living in a Micah Moment

The Book of Micah has become one of my go-to resources for getting perspective about the time in which we are living. Micah looked at Israel and Judah and said in effect, “We are in deep trouble.” It is easy … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight | Comments Off on In-Sight: Living in a Micah Moment

In-Sight: Spiritual Life in a Pandemic

Honestly, this is a post I hoped I would not have to write. But we remain in the grip of a growing pandemic, one that now weaves together the threads of virus and violence—medicine and morality, disease and dis-ease. This … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight | Comments Off on In-Sight: Spiritual Life in a Pandemic

The “New” Oboedire

I want to thank those of you who took the time to offer suggestions about what Oboedire might become.  Whatever that means, I want it to be something you look forward to reading when a new installment hits your inbox. … Continue reading

Posted in Site Updates | Comments Off on The “New” Oboedire