Last weekend, I attended a conference in Rockville, Maryland – where it was sunny and hot, nearly 90 degrees! – hosted by the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. As their website says, “Shalem is grounded in Christian contemplative spirituality yet draws on the wisdom of many religious traditions.” I would guess, simply based on observation, that the vast majority of the 150+ attendees to this conference are Christians, but they practice Christianity in a way that is a bit different than how you and I usually practice it.

I attended this conference in order to fulfill a requirement for my current Doctor of Ministry “independent study” course. I designed this course a few months ago, in consultation with my supervising professor, in order to propel me forward into the Professional Project which will be the culmination, the capstone, of my doctoral work. According to the seminary’s instructions, my independent study was to include an “immersion experience” which would connect to this Professional Project and, at the same time, would stretch me in some meaningful, significant ways. Last weekend’s Shalem conference did exactly that. Continue reading

A Facebook friend of mine shared a video of a “divine healing” this morning. His comment on this video was simply “smh” – internet shorthand for “shaking my head.” The video showed a well-dressed preacher praying for a young boy, who apparently had one hand significantly shorter than the other due to some kind of abnormality. The preacher had the boy put his hands together, palm to palm, and then he adjusted the boy’s hands so that his fingertips were offset by a couple of inches. After calling on the name of Jesus and on the power of the Holy Spirit, and after encouraging the congregation to pray in the same way, the unbelievable happened:

The boy’s fingertips slowly moved closer and closer to each other. Continue reading