Pursuing God In the Dark Places of the Heart

I was raised in an evangelical context that spoke of "pursuing God." It was an elusive concept, one without clear definition. Pursuing God, they said, required us to follow God wherever he might go. Here's what the good folks never told me, though: sometimes pursuing God requires that we follow him into the dark places of your own heart.

Today I'm sharing about this very pursuit at the High Calling. I write:

In his famous Psalm of repentance, Psalm 51, David recognizes this failure of inner pursuit, and he cries out for the mercy of God. He writes, “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart” (ESV). These words serve as a reminder: failure to follow God inwardly, failure to sit with him in the pain and darkness of the “secret heart,” can be the very thing that leads us to miss God altogether.

Would you join me at The High Calling to discuss pursuing God in the dark places of the Heart? I'd love to hear your thoughts there.

*Photo by Jayel Aheram, Creative Commons via Flickr.

 

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OCTOBER'S TINY LETTER IS HERE!

Sign up for the Seth Haines' Tiny Letter: A Compendium of Projects, People, Places, and Things. The Tiny Letter is a personal newsletter sent to subscribers once (sometimes twice) a month, and it highlights my personal projects, a few good folks, the places I go, and the things I like. In October's Edition, I'm musing on the tiny acts of neighborliness, a new project, and a tiny prayer. In addition, the good people at Givington's are generously offering a COUPON CODE for a discount on Nish Weiseth's new book, Speak. Don't miss it! (As a bonus, sign up and I'll send you the inaugural edition in which I share some BIG NEWS!)

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Best Books for Business: Wendell Berry’s Collected Poems

The following is an excerpt from my most recent piece of The High Calling:

In the real world, the market functions to maximize profit, and sometimes operational principles affect real people. In the real world, dollars and cents are often the measure of greatness, not the integrity of the process. In the real world, all of those business books offering the keys to success fall just a little short in one regard—they tend to focus on monetary success without regard to neighbors, nature, and quality of life.

It’s true: each of those books prepared me a little more for my life as an American businessman—they taught me to consider costs, to identify bottlenecks, and to effectively communicate organizational goals. For that I’m grateful. But where these books fell short, I found a supplement: Wendell Berry’s Collected Poems: 1957-1982.

You can read the piece in its entirety by following the link. Won't you join me?

 

Featured image by Adam Wilson. Used with Permission. Source via Flickr.

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If you haven't heard the BIG NEWS yet, sign up for the Seth Haines' Tiny Letter: A Compendium of Projects, People, Places, and Things. The Tiny Letter is a personal newsletter sent to subscribers once (sometimes twice) a month, and it highlights my personal projects, a few good folks, the places I go, and the things I like. The inaugural edition--the newsletter containing the BIG NEWS--has already been sent, but if you sign up for the newsletter, I'll forward you a copy!

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On Water Carton Wilson and The Work of Play

Meet my friend, Water Carton Wilson. He's a hip kid. I wrote about him this week for The High Calling.

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I ask the barista for bottled water, and she cocks an eyebrow, smirks, and says in that ascending tone endemic to the millennial, “we don’t serve bottled water, but I can bring you boxed water; it’s much more environmentally friendly.”
I agree, slide my debit card across the counter, and she pulls out an oversized carton reminiscent of the elementary school cafeteria. Its marketing department is rather pleased with the renewability of the container as is evidenced by the prominent declarations on three of its four sides. The third side, though, has only the word “happy,” scrawled in a whimsical cursive font on an otherwise blank canvas. I look at the one-worded side—it’s begging to be markered, I think.
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The Geography of Memory (A Review)

I've been more intentional with my reading this year (speaking of which, have you sent me your book recommendations yet?), and this month, I've devoured two books. The first of those books was Jeanne Murray Walker's offering, The Geography of Memory: A Pilgrimage through Alzheimer’s.  The book chronicles Walker's struggle in caring for her mother, who suffered in her last years from Alzheimer's. The book was honest and engaging. It led to me to consider my grandfather, who waged his own battle with dementia in his last days.

I penned these thoughts for The High Calling this week. I hope you enjoy them.

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My grandfather was a tall-tale of a man, one whose great appetites were matched only by his passion and wit. He was a successful businessman, a gentleman to all the ladies, a conservationist of conservationists, and a man of faith who rooted his family into a pragmatic Episcopalian practice. He was an accomplished man, a man whom success, it seemed, had deemed fit to call “friend.”

He was larger than life, my grandfather. I remember still the magnitude of his personality, the thundering voice that matched it. As a boy, I’d make the six hour trip to Monroe, Louisiana, and he’d greet me in the front drive, would thunder his standard salutation—“Hey goat head!” Even in my twenties, I remember how the greeting seemed to rattle my bones. Once, I swore I saw the Cyprus knees on the banks of Bayou Desiard rattle, too.

Continue reading at The High Calling.

Get Your Head Out of Your Rear, Girl!

This is not a piece about Miley Cyrus. Really. Aren't you glad? Are you a soccer mom, a basketball dad, or a baseball uncle? Do you know that parent who wanders the sideline, who screams direction (or worse) at their child after every mistake? This week, I penned a review of Bruce Feiler's The Secrets of Happy Families for The High Calling, which deals with the topic and addresses that parent (and then I said a quick prayer that I'd never fall into the category of over-bearing karate dad).

Enjoy the excerpt, then jump over to The High Calling for the rest of the article.

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Vann’s daughter was long and lean, and had the skill of a bona fide college prospect. In only the ninth grade, she ran with the grace of a Serengeti gazelle while simultaneously stalking the low post like a savage lioness. The mastery of her position was a curious thing, however. In the opening quarter of the game, she was a force, a sight to behold. But if she made a mistake, Vann would stand and pace the sidelines. A second mistake, and he pointed and yelled at the referees. After her third mistake, Vann turned on his daughter, sighting her in with both barrels.

“Get your head out of your rear, girl!”

“You’ve got to help defend the backside! Are you blind?”

“Don’t be such a sissy on the low block! Box someone out for the love of Mary!”

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Continue reading at The High Calling.