Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Life Changes, Daily Prayer, and Inner Spiritual Renewal

As you've noticed, it has been awhile since I've posted here.  Lots of things have been going on in life - the primary one being my recent vocational changes.  After 20 years of practicing law full-time, I've reduced my practice to part-time.  I'm still the 1/2 time pastor of St. Luke Lutheran in Sioux City, Iowa (where I have been since 2012), and in addition that role, I am now the part-time Priest-In-Charge of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Sioux City, which is located in a beautiful building built in the 1800s, just north of downtown.

For those of you not familiar with ELCA Lutheran church polity, about 15 years ago, a full communion agreement was approved by the ELCA and Episcopal Churches to allow for this sort of thing.  So, at 8:30 a.m. on Sundays, I'm Father Jay, leading services according to the Book of Common Prayer, and at 10:00 a.m., I'm back to being Pastor Jay at St. Luke.  An article in our local paper used my story as an example of how churches are dealing with reduced clergy numbers:

In the meanwhile, I'm still trying to follow the Benedictine path of daily prayer.  Admittedly, with my vocations and family, it is still a struggle.  But, it is a worthwhile struggle, and a journey I am committed to continuing.  Why?  Well, I suspect the Holy Spirit has something to do with that, but if you're looking for a rationale, here is a great article I just saw about why daily prayer is so important.  It is written from a Catholic perspective, but the reasoning is essentially applicable to anyone who feels led by the Spirit to a deeper prayer life:

Finally, I'm nearing the end of my two year course in spiritual direction offered by the Benedictine sisters in Yankton, South Dakota.  Last year in the course, we read "The Cloud of Unknowing", which is an anonymous medieval text on the renewal of the interior spiritual life through contemplative prayer.  This Lent, I've been re-reading the book, along with a contemporary devotional book based on The Cloud, "The Loving Search for God" by William Meninger, a Trappist monk.  Today, I came across a passage written by Meninger which says a lot in just a few sentences about our daily walk with God:

"A real Christian, as opposed to a cultural Christian, is not one who never sins.  He or she is one who, having sinned, is willing to reach out and find his or her sufficiency in Christ and start over again - today!" (p. 31).


  1. Thanks for your work Fr./Pr., I'm sure my Anglican family can use a good servant! I'm so glad we have such arrangements! Our family has been settling into ELCA an parish as of late, we love it! True unity! Your extended ausburg-anglican family.

    1. Thank you! I am blessed by both churches.