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.

New Awakening: Restlessness

Today we begin a round of posts identifying signs that we are in a time of new Awakening. The previous posts, which compared our natural waking up each day to awakening spiritually, were meant to say, “When you are awake, … Continue reading

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New Awakening: A Precious Gift

In the opening round of posts I have compared our daily routine of waking up to a new day to the ways in which we become aware of the new Awakening in which we are living. I want to turn … Continue reading

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New Awakening: A New Combination

When we wake up, we awaken to a new day. Each day is a combination of continuation and creativity. Morning, noon, and night continue as they have for billions of years, but they do so in a creative 24-hour period … Continue reading

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New Awakening: A New Perspective

Waking up gives us a new perspective. I went to bed in the dark, but I awaken in the light. Things look different. The movement from darkness to light is a primary metaphor in describing spiritual awakening. So much so … Continue reading

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New Awakening: A New Resonance

I begin this post confessing that, given the perils we are facing these days, I am tempted to “cut to the chase” and write about the new Awakening in a direct and applied fashion. But I am resisting that temptation … Continue reading

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New Awakening: A New Consciousness

A while back, I realized that in exploring the new Awakening, I had not begun at the obvious place— “waking up.” I do it every morning, and what is so natural is also metaphorical for experiencing the new Awakening today. … Continue reading

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New Awakening: Really?

It is understandable that the announcement of a new Awakening would evoke the question, “Really? You really believe we are in a time of new Awakening?” Before going farther in this series, I want to respond to the question. For … Continue reading

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New Awakening: Introduction

“Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it?” ( Isaiah 43:19, CEB) God spoke these words through the prophet in a time of awakening. God is speaking them again today, as we live in … Continue reading

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Heart Sounds: How? Amplification

Episode 30 (8:23) We live the spiritual life by cultivating the parts of it that have the greatest potential. In this episode we look at some ways to do that.

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Along the Way: The Great Challenge

If you were to ask me, “What is the greatest challenge in your spiritual life these days?” I would have no trouble answering you. It is living within Paul’s exhortation, “Be angry without sinning” (Ephesians 4:26). I am angry with … Continue reading

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Heart Sounds: Alignment

Episode 29 (8:07) The spiritual life is lived best when our inner and outer life match. In this episode, we look at ways to establish and maintain this alignment.

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Heart Sounds: “Abandonment”

Episode 28 (6:25) In the spiritual journey we inevitably come to the place where we have to let go of some things in order to make progress. In this episode we explore the idea of abandonment, and how it opens … Continue reading

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Heart Sounds: Appropriation

Episode 27 (7:54) We appropriate the spiritual life by practicing the words of Jesus: ask, seek, and knock. In this episode we look at how these three things enable us to turn discoveries into experience.

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Heart Sounds: How? Attention

Episode 26 (9:54) We practice the spiritual life by paying attention. In this episode we use the lenses of nature, scripture, and our lives to become attentive, and we do so naturally.

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Along the Way: The Sacred Union of Science and Theology”

“The sciences are helping to restore spirituality to its rightful place, revealing to us a supernatural Reality that is in everyone and everything. [1] Theology, likewise, is restoring this understanding to matters of faith and action. [2] Matter is concentrated … Continue reading

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Along the Way: The Note of Joy

During my time as a seminary administrator, I would often ask, “Are we having fun?” And I would say to staff, “Get as close to a party as you can.” These were lighthearted ways of making an important point: we … Continue reading

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Heart Sounds: How? Awe

Episode 25 (7:49) Awe is our response to awakening. In this episode we look at awe as the bridge into a “wonder-full” life.

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Heart Sounds: How? Awakening

Episode 24 (6;37) The spiritual life begins to be lived in an experience of awakening. In this episode we explore aspects of “waking up” to God and to abundant living. https://anchor.fm/steve-harper1

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Along the Way: The Upward Way

For more than a decade I have been on a journey often referred to as “emergent Christianity.” [1] It has taken me into that part of Christianity called “progressive.”  It has been a life-changing experience in more ways than I … Continue reading

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Heart Sounds: How Do We Live the Spiritual Life?

Episode 23 (9:04) In this episode we begin looking at the sixth and final foundational question of the spiritual life, the “how” question. It’s the application question, the one that moves theory into practice–the inevitable question that expresses our hunger … Continue reading

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Along the Way: It’s Temple Time

America is a house divided. Not as it was during the time of the Union and the Confederacy, but in observable ways, very recently demonstrated by those I read on social media who lambasted the inclusion of “Let Every Voice … Continue reading

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Heart Sounds: Conversations #2

Episode 22 (8:05) In this episode I offer the paradigm, the “big picture” that I am using to move the series along…and…I connect the series to the larger Oboedire ministry of spiritual formation that I launched in 2010 https://anchor.fm/steve-harper1/episodes/Conversations-2-e13r0r7

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Along the Way: The Faith We Need

We live by faith. So says the Bible in several places. But what kind of faith? I nominate the faith of St. Thomas, what Brian McLaren calls “faith after doubt” in his book by the same title. [1] Our stereotype … Continue reading

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Heart Sounds: When Do We Live the Spiritual Life?

Episode 21 (8:16) The present moment is the only real time we have. Spirituality is reality, and now is the time to cultivate our faith, fullness, and formation. https://anchor.fm/steve-harper1/episodes/When–Living-the-Spiritual-Life-in-the-Now-e13l2bh

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Hesrt Sounds: “Where Do We Live the Spiritual Life?”

Episode 20 (10:37) In this episode we explore the connection between spirituality and location, focusing on six places that foster growth in the spiritual life…. https://anchor.fm/steve-harper1/episodes/Where-Do-We-Live-the-Spiritual-Life-e1385s5

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Along the Way: A Good Trembling

I posted this earlier today on my Facebook page. I am reposting it here to better archive it, and to share it with those of you who are not Facebook friends…. “A Good Trembling” I had no plans to write … Continue reading

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Heart Sounds: Who is the Spiritual Life for?

Episode 19 (9:07) Turning to the “who” question, we find that the spiritual life is for everyone and everything. In this episode we look at both of those dimensions, with the aim of showing the attractiveness and attainability of the … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care 2.0: Creativity

I believe the future of the Church turns on how creative we are willing to be. The pandemic has suspended “business as usual” for institutional Christianity. If we return to it as things open up, we will have failed to … Continue reading

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Heart Sounds: Virtue

Episode 18 (9:18) The spiritual life is important because it cultivates virtue: inward character, outward conduct, and healthy community. We thrive when these three qualities define and direct our lives. https://anchor.fm/steve-harper1/episodes/Vision-e12025m

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Shepherd’s Care 2.0: Contemplatives

The idea of contemplation can be explored in depth. [1] Today I want to look at it in a more short-and-simple way. I am writing about it because I believe the way forward for the Church is for it to … Continue reading

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Heart Sounds: Vision

Episode 17 (6:35) The spiritual life is important because it gives us vision–the vision that we are God’s beloved children, and that we have a place in God’s plan. We look at these two things in this episode https://anchor.fm/steve-harper1/episodes/Vision-e12025m

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Heart Sounds: Vitality

Episode 16 “Vitality” (7:27) The spiritual life is important because it increases our sense of “aliveness.” In this episode we look at vitality from the vantage points of expansion, wholeness, and hope. https://anchor.fm/steve-harper1/episodes/Vitality-e11oqu6

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Heart Sounds: Why Is The Spiritual Life Important?

Episode 15 (7:14) This episode begins a new round of visits in which we will explore the significance of the spiritual life–looking at its importance in relation to intentionality and growth. https://anchor.fm/steve-harper1/episodes/Why-Is-The-Spiritual-Life-Important-e11bcho

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Heart Sounds: Conversations #1

Episode 14 (8:48) Periodically, I will step out of the thematic flow of the podcast and interact with you about things I am hearing from you. Today, I respond to inquiries about the vision which gives rise to “Heart Sounds,” … Continue reading

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Heart Sounds: Community

Episode 13 (9:07) In this episode we look at one final aspect of the Grand Story: cosmic community, manifested in our interbeing, individuation, intercommunion, and interdependence. We have lost this aspect of the Grand Story, and in doing so we … Continue reading

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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