Doug Talks Torah

Reflecting on all the ways Torah builds the world.

“If we are not able to rest one day a week, we are taking ourselves far too seriously.” – Marva Dawn

Discerning Spiritual Experiences

spiritual experiences
“…faith is understood as the encounter of the whole person with God. And it is precisely the whole man that God desires to have before him. He wants for his Word the response of the whole man. God wants man not only with his intellect (which would, in any case, have to be sacrificed to a truth which is not self-evident), but, from the outset, also with his will; he wants man not only with his soul, but also and equally with his body.” (Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Glory of the Lord, Volume 1, p. 213)

Living faith is not simply mental consent to a set of propositions about God and man. Von Balthasar reminds us that we participate in this living faith with our whole and undivided person. Spiritual experience encompasses our whole life and may overwhelm us in ways we had not expected. Continue reading

The Mystique of Spiritual Direction

spiritual direction

I was talking with a friend the other day about spiritual direction, and the conversation continued in my head long after I walked away. In fact, our conversation was an overflow of a conversation she had with another friend the day before. Words, thoughts, questions sometimes linger long after we leave the presence of another. Continue reading

Building Hope Amidst the Ruins

building hope

In the lonely haunts of forsaken places, the people of God are building hope.

What does building hope look like? It looks like a glimpse, a hint, a promise of God’s coming Shalom. The Lord rescues the children of Israel from a world built and sustained by slavery. He leads them on pilgrimage through the stark barrenness of the wilderness. Far away from the Nile and the bounty of Egyptian food, his people face the threat of no water and no food. Stripped of necessary provisions, the people of God learn that we do not live by bread alone but by “every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3). Continue reading

“Christianity does not make a new cosmos but makes the cosmos new.” – Herman Bavinck

Asking Questions in Torah

questions in torah I’ve got a questions about asking questions in Torah, and maybe you can help. I am trying to collect questions in Scripture and think about how they relate to questions in our lives. I am also thinking about how we group questions. A few cursory searches have revealed several interesting approaches to grouping questions from a range of viewpoints including teachers developing questions for tests, philosophical questions, grammatical questions, rhetorical questions and more.

Even as I ask questions about questions in Torah, I want to hear how other people think about questions in their own lives. Continue reading

“Flowers laughing in the sunlight of their sprightly names. Earth will write them up in its book of rising accounts.” John Hollander

Change My Way of Thinking


way of thinking

“Gonna change my way of thinking
Make myself a different set of rules
Gonna change my way of thinking
Make myself a different set of rules
Gonna put my good foot forward
And stop being influenced by fools”

On his Slow Train Coming album, Bob Dylan sang, “Gonna change my way of thinking.” (See He is talking about a change rooted in “a different set of rules” that take shape in him putting his best foot forward. These lines sound like they could be informed by the psalmist who is meditating upon Torah. Continue reading

Richard Hooker on Scripture: Simplicity Not Simplistic

richard hookerRichard Hooker suggests that Scripture presents the Gospel with an Evangelical simplicity, but he cautions against simplistic approaches to Scriptural interpretation. According to Charles Miller in “Richard Hooker and the Vision of God,” Hooker warns against simplistic Scriptural study approaches that fail to grasp the rich history, complexity of content, and hierarchy of laws given in Scripture. Continue reading

“Deep in the Sunday
village, forlorn, the sound of swings
in the empty schoolyard
clinking against
their cold steels standards, like diminished
church bells…” – Sidney Lea

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