Keri Wyatt Kent-Interview

rest 

Keri, how would you sum up what you write about, mainly; and why it has been important to you?

I write about the connection between faith and real life. I try to give people practical guidance on spiritual growth, on spiritual practices that can help form them into the image of Christ. And I believe the most important step toward growth, for American Christians, anyway, is to slow down and simplify. So many of my books focus on those themes. That’s been important to me because I know how it feels to be going through the motions, wanting more spiritulally. I see how people try to get busy for God, and they don’t realize how counterproductive that is. I want to help those people find a way to grow by simplifying. 

Tell us the books you’ve written.

 
God’s Whisper in a Mother’s Chaos (IVP, 2000) is a book for parents of young children who are wondering where their spiritual life went. I wrote it when my own kids were one and three, so it’s very honest. Readers tell me they love this book because they realize they are not alone in the struggles of parenting.
The Garden of the Soul (IVP, 2002) compares the growth of our souls with the growth in a garden. It introduces spiritual disiciplines in a simple way. 

Breathe (Revell, 2005) is about how the pace of our lives affects us spiritually. It tells stories of real women who are moving toward Sabbath Simplicity, and gives practical help on slowing, simplicity and Sabbath-keeping, which are foundational spiritual practices.
Listen (Jossey-Bass, 2006) is about hearing God, through our circumstances, other people, and in time with God. 

Oxygen (Revell, 2008) is a devotional that has you read one gospel passage each week, and reflect on it using various spiritual practices. 

Rest (Zondervan, 2009) is about how to live in Sabbath Simplicity. it looks at the Sabbath command, and what Jesus said about Sabbath, and offers practical, guilt-free ways to embrace Sabbath-keeping as a lifestyle. Readers love this book because it offers freedom and absolutely refuses to get legalistic.

Simple Compassion (Zondervan 2009) will release this September. It’s a 52-week devotional, with one 3-to 4 page entry per week. It’s about how to make a difference in your neighborhood and the world. it looks at verses that talk about God’s concern for the poor, for his heart for compassion and justice. It’s an ideal resource for small groups.

If there was one sentence, or short message, you could convey to the world that would be remembered always, what would it be?

Slow down, and listen to the voice of love, (God’s voice) which says that grace is sufficient.

Why do you think people don’t associate God and spiritual life with rest or enjoyment?

Our understanding of God is skewed by our upbringing, our culture. We often think God is strict or mean–which is so not true. Or we think we have to earn God’s favor–and earning and resting don’t go together. But I’ve found that only when I stop running do I actually experience the unconditional love of God, and the amazingness of grace.

Do you have any tips or ideas for getting better at seeing God in this way?

Start slowing your life down, create some space for God. One day a week, just stop your striving. Really, this is something you can’t just think about, you have to do it to experience it.

What are a few keys to “doing Sabbath” most beneficially? 

The key is to remember that building a Sabbath practice is a long-term project. It’s a journey, and you do it slowly, over time. My book has a lot of practical help, but the key is to begin where you are. If you are a very hurried person, your first step will be different than someone who is already a little more laid back. And also, listen to God’s leadings. Ask others what they do, but remember that you don’t have to do the exact same thing. A good way to start is to ask, “what do I want to be free of?” And then refrain from doing that thing (maybe it’s laundry, or grocery shopping) on the Sabbath. And then, ask “what brings me joy?” And find a way to engage in that on Sabbath (maybe it’s worship, or gardening, or just hanging out with your kids).

What lesson, or lessons, have you had to learn the hard way?

This column is not long enough for me to answer that question But here’s one of the many: don’t run ahead of God. When I’ve tried to steer my life in the direction I thought it should go, I ended up on a major detour. God knows the way, and I just need to follow. 

What’s on the horizon for you? 

My next gig is at the Karitos Arts Festival in Bolingbrook IL July 16-18)

Thank you, Keri! This book was a wonderful read, and brought home a lot of ideas I was already pursuing. It’s good to comprehend just how much we can enjoy God, and actually, how he made us for just that. It seems we get in our own way!

Visitors, your comments are welcome, and Keri, chime right in, too!

Have you authored a book, or enjoyed a book with themes similar to that featured here at Life as Prayer? If so, let me know.

Let them eat cake

Well, all that dialogue in the last post has made me quite hungry. Everyone who knows me will tell you I have more than one sweet tooth. Bill has really inspired me to rethink me habits, and consider name-calling as an evangelistic “technique”. As a dry run, I’ll probably just start with snarky sarcasm, as it has served me quite well in the past, if only to avoid growing hopeless. No, I’m joking. I won’t really go down that road too far.

I’d like to thank all the people who posted, and others who may join in later, and of course all who visited just to read, chuckle, or wipe the tears away as they realized the state of Christianity, or remembered being treated badly by Christians. 

So, after all this you might be wondering, as I have been, what on earth, or what in hell, do children of the devil eat? I mean primarily (besides sulfur, of course). It’s really the burning question, isn’t it? Well, the answer has been right in front of most of us all along. Cake. Devil’s food cake. 

I found this recipe in Bill’s underwear drawer, but trust me, he’ll deny the whole thing to his grave.

I’ll rename the recipe here as-

Bill’s Children of the Devil’s Food Cake

This recipe is down right sinful. Holy Rollers, God-fearers, and agnostics alike will agree, if you like chocolate, and fudge, this will be your guilty pleasure.

devilcake

The following is a recipe for devil’s food cake with cocoa and fudge frosting, not the picture shown which came from here.

I’ll just finish off with one more thing. Let’s enjoy each other, enjoy this beautiful world, and enjoy God. Let’s act and be beautiful to each other. Life is too short to waste on things that take away from God’s gifts.

I welcome dissenting viewpoints and comments from any visitor. Keep the posts coming. (And please read the guidelines on “The Skinny” page) The page called The loop is the contact page. Blessings all.

-Lisa


Time for CAKE!

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, scalded
  • 2 cups cake flour, sifted or stirred before measuring
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preparation:

Grease two 9-inch layer cake pans and line bottoms with wax paper. Grease wax paper. Sift the cocoa with 1/3 cup sugar; pour into the milk gradually; stir until well blended. Set aside to cool. Sift together flour, remaining 1 cup sugar, soda, and salt. Add shortening and half of the cooled cocoa and milk mixture. Beat at medium speed of an electric hand-held mixer. Add eggs, vanilla, and remaining cocoa and milk mixture. continue beating for about 2 minutes, scraping bowl with a spatula occasionally. Pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes; turn out on racks and peel off paper. Cool and frost devil’s food cake as desired.

Fudge Frosting:

Chocolate fudge frosting recipe is cooked to a fudge consistency.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 squares (3 ounces) unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation:

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, corn syrup, milk, and chocolate; stir to blend well. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture forms a very soft ball when a small amount is dropped into cold water, or about 232° on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat; add butter without stirring. Set aside and let cool until bottom of pan is lukewarm, about 1 hour. Add vanilla and beat until frosting is creamy and just begins to hold its shape. Spread quickly on cake before frosting hardens. Makes about 2 cups.

 

 

 

(link to this and other recipes)

Lost or Missing? (An Open Letter to Christians)

 

To you, is he missing or lost?
To you, is he missing or lost?

Dear Christians,

 

When was the last time you made a stupid mistake, or took a wrong turn?

Did anyone ask if you were lost?

If someone asks, “Are you lost?” It can feel like a pointed remark. It emphasizes what is wrong, not what could be right. Most don’t enjoy feeling lost, being called lost, or being accused of being disoriented, and confused. Do you?

It’s often best to take the references to “being lost” in Biblical stories in their typical context of searching and finding something dear and misplaced. (Think: 1 lost sheep of the 100, the lost and valuable coin, etc.) What is lost is not something denigrated, but something worthy/lovable and missing from home. It is not speaking of a foreign thing, or scrappy thing.

Often Christians talk of “The Lost” (the sinner) though not in the context of finding them, but of fixing them. It doesn’t only strike me as rather rude, but it strikes most people this way. Since it’s typical “church speak,” most Christians are totally immune to its unloving sound.

The fact is we all feel a bit lost sometimes. We all feel lonely or afraid at points. It is when we can awaken to the Reality of God’s consistent love and power, and especially when we experience it from others, that we may see huge transformations for the better. Even then, we will still have our ups and downs, but the chance to have joy (sturdy happiness) and then, when a fuller, more abundant life is accessible. This is truly a gift of grace, (not merit).

As children of God, God’s love can show through us, like the father in the story of the Prodigal son, who exclaimed when his son came home, “He was lost, but is now found!” Did he want to fix him? Did he want to teach him a lesson? Hit him? Did he want to get him tested for HIV, ground him, give him a tongue lashing, or tell him what was right and wrong? Um. nope. The son knew already. Most missing people know right and wrong all too well, also. Many think they won’t be welcomed “home,” or think of the community of Christians as “home.” So, they can think, why should they bother trying? Ironical, isn’t it? Hospitality and hospital come from the same root word, and this manner of comfort just must be there to truly show God’s love.

What is a “missing one”? This one is not a person who is less than. It it not one to whom another human should “straighten out,” and save to the narrow path. People aren’t that powerful, and shouldn’t think they are. It’s just tacky. Most of it involves, standing true, and getting out of the way so grace can work its amazing-ness. God doesn’t need us to hold his hand. He asks us for our loyalty, but not just in our love to him-it is in our love to others from the perspective in which he sees them also.

How do you see it?

photo credit Creative Commons Andy Piper

Upcoming featured author- Keri Wyatt Kent

Keri

I’ve really enjoyed Keri’s books, most recently, her book called “Rest.”

I’m working on a feature post highlighting her main messages, including an exclusive interview. The issues close to Keri’s heart dovetail nicely with the theme of this site, and I enjoy connecting us to each other.

I gladly take suggestions for authors to highlight here. If you enjoy an author, drop me a line on the contact page, or in the comments below. If you have written a book that pairs well with ideas related here, let me know. This site isn’t all about me, it’s about sharing the journey, learning, growing, and enjoying this world anew.

Thanks for stopping by.

God with a Spatula

spankingWhen I was in under my parent’s care, I was hit with a spatula among other things, in what my parents called discipline with “the rod”. This was picked over “time outs,” or being grounded, and my back side broke many a spanking implement–wooden rulers and cooking spoons, frosting spatulas, pancake spatulas, and probably other stuff I’ve blocked out psychologically. (I won’t even go into the things that didn’t or couldn’t brake on my backside!)

I guess you could say it sort of got pounded into my mind that God must operate the same way. To me, it seemed he would get peeved, and then, lower the boom. So, when bad things would happen, it was probably because of some kind of Divine spatula. I thought God was like a human, and most likely like a human parent who spanks.

Well, nope. God is “Other.” How we’ve interpreted Scripture has often reflected how we’ve been parented. In other words, we figure that God gets ticked off, and gets out the belt, and begins whipping his kids, until they “get it,” or have been punished sufficiently. Actually he usually lets them get away with murder, if you want to know the truth. But I won’t digress on that right here, and now.

Some years ago I heard a visiting pastor in my church say, “God will sometimes need to give you a whipping. You probably need it, and deserve it.” I maced him. Okay, I didn’t, but I thought if I hadn’t already known God through the character of the Incarnation (Jesus), and fully accepted the fleshly God/man, as the same God, I would have decided then and there to become Buddhist, or something other than whatever this guy was. What a crappy religion if this is the God he describes! This way, God sounds like a craptastic, unloving parent who needs medication. I thought this preacher guy was probably trying to manipulate the audience, and I wasn’t going to fall for his weirdness. I had already encountered God deeply, and I wasn’t going to throw it all away because this preacher pictured God as punitive, and wielding a spatula, or perhaps a thick belt, as I bent over to get my beating. God doesn’t have a spatula. He’s gracious.