Travel Theme: Heat


What does heat conjure up for you? If you fancy exploring the unfamiliar, exotic and unknown for this week’s travel theme (everyone’s welcome!) here’s what to do:

Create your own post and title it Travel Theme: Heat
Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
Watch out for the next travel theme which will come out next weekend
Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS.
❤ Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack?


Travel Theme: Abroad


Fine Arts Museum, Taipei


Buddhist Temple, Taipei


Sydney, Victoria Building

What does abroad conjure up for you? If you fancy exploring the unfamiliar, exotic and unknown for this week’s travel theme (everyone’s welcome!) here’s what to do:

Create your own post and title it Travel Theme: Abroad
Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
Watch out for the next travel theme which will come out next weekend
Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS.
❤ Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack?


Melbourne. Australia


Petitions at a temple in Taipai, Taiwan

On Forgiveness

Below is a fascinating podcast on forgiveness. It’s part of the Feminist Catholic Podcast series and features Rosario Rodriguez, who experienced two assaults and had to learn what forgiveness really is.


Not sure why the player won’t show up though it does show up in the Visual mode. If you click the HTML above, you can listen.

Sorry that WordPress won’t make it look nicer. They could if they wanted to.

A Christmas Story

My friend Kimberley shared this with me.

The school was putting on a Christmas play, and after they told the Bible story of Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem … they picked a little boy to play a  small part and all he had to say to Joseph and Mary when they  came to his door looking for a place to stay for the night was “We have no room here.”

On opening night of the play Mary and Joseph came to his door asking for a place and the little boy  just looked at them and said nothing. The prompter kept giving him the line..”No Room Here”…but the boy kept silent. All of a sudden they noticed a tear rolling down his cheek and again they prompted him “No room here” and suddenly he said “You can sleep in my bed.”

The true meaning of Christmas.

The War Room


I knew that The War Room was number 1 at the box office when it opened in the summer. I also knew that it was made by a group of Evangelical Christians known for their low budget films. So I feared this film might be low quality and rather preachy. Yet a couple friends had seen the film and recommended it.

When I flew back to the US from China, The War Room was offered on my flight. It seemed like a low risk chance to watch it.

While there are no big name stars and the story is overtly Christian, The War Room held my interest and was worth my time. It’s the story of an affluent couple who’re drifting apart, bickering and arguing a lot, becoming more materialistic and losing respect for each other — two pitfalls that are all too common.

The wife is a real estate agent, who meets a wise widow who regrets letting her own marriage slide. The widow is deeply spiritual and challenges the heroine to pray for her husband in a “War Room.” She insists that it’s not the wife’s job to fix her husband, but to love him and pray for him.

As you’d expect the praying works. What I liked about the film was that although it wasn’t subtle or polished, it touched on an aspect of life that so many people struggle with. It came across as real. All the actors were believable and the story satisfied. I wouldn’t say it was my favourite film of all time, but I am glad I saw it.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity

Temple complex, Phnom Penh

Temple complex, Phnom Penh

Botanic Garden, Chicago

Botanic Garden, Chicago

Old St. Pat's Church, Chicago

Old St. Pat’s Church, Chicago

Chion Temple, Japan

Chion Temple, Japan

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog <strong>(a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced. 2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag. 3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Other great photos:

Bughouse Square Debates

Don Washington, Mayoral Tutorial

Shakespeare Project – Julius Caesar

Saturday was the annual Bughouse Square Debates, a celebration of free speech held every July in Chicago’s Washington Park. It’s free and great fun. The even opened with an actor from the Shakespeare Project reading from Julius Caesar followed by an introduction by The Chicago Tribune’s Rick Kogan. Kogan welcomed the crowd, explained the event’s history and shared Illinois governor John Altgeld‘s releasing the remaining Haymaker Square  protesters.

Then two Chicago Reader columnists received the 2014 Altgeld Free Speech award.Next Don Washington, the main speaker, took the stage. Washington gave an interactive “Mayoral Tutorial” which clued the audience in to how the current mayor is simply repackaging and using new terms to continue former Mayor Daly’s failed privatization schemes. For example, the “Concept Schools” are under investigation by the FBI because they allegedly use funds inappropriately to get visas for teachers from Turkey and Central Asia. Quite an unexpected way to keep teachers’ wages low. Another form of privatization Rahm’s Red Light ticketing scam, which anyone who watches local news knows are erratic and have been giving drivers who’ve done nothing wrong $100 tickets and the driver’s obligated to prove they’re innocent.

Washington was a powerful speaker and added playful interaction in his talk. He got the crowd to reach out to each other with a bingo game, which made me nervous as the man behind us was clearly a loud drunk. Luckily by the time I’d chatted with the people in front of us, someone had won. The reason for the interaction was that Washington thinks that people don’t know their neighbors and therefore can’t advocate for change since they’re isolated.

Don Washington

Don Washington

When Washington finished, the debates expanded as speakers took to the four soap box areas. I heard speakers on religion, Syria, healthcare and labor. This year wasn’t as good as in the past when speakers were paired with someone who disagreed with them. This year people just gave speeches. Only the Evangelical preacher was dynamic and got and handled hecklers with aplomb. The other speakers needed to practice more. Only the speaker on Syria and religion offered facts I hadn’t heard.

I was surprised that so much of the audience was over 60 — at least 50%. Aren’t the young interested in free speech? There were food trucks with empanadas, organic sausages and gelato.

I brought a former Chinese student with me and I tried to summarize and answer her questions. I do wonder what she thought of the event, which takes on tough issues with intelligence and frivolity.

“Living with the Lord always before them”

“Living with the Lord always before them”: considerations of spiritual guidance offered by Ignatius of Loyola and Dallas Willard

A Facebook posting lead me on a search of essays about how the Jesuits saw Desolation and Consolation. Now I’m reading the


Nestled in Chapter Six of his inspiring book, Renovation of the Heart, Dallas Willard emphasizes the importance of identifying and emulating the wisdom of true spiritual practitioners (e.g., Billy Graham, Teresa of Calcutta, William Law, Martin Luther, Ignatius of Loyola, as he names a few) who have “walked the walk” of following Christ as Willard asks the provocative question: “How did they come to be able to live with ‘the Lord always before them?'” (1) Willard goes on to assert in his response: “We learn from them how to do that by making them our close companions on the way.” (2) Inspired by Willard’s inclusion of Ignatius of Loyola, in particular, in his list of spiritual practitioners, the work of this essay seeks to explore the spiritual guidance offered by Dallas Willard in the company of Ignatius of Loyola with the assertion they both can serve as viable and relevant companions for contemporary spiritual seekers who desire to engage in the process of spiritual formation and transformation into Christ-likeness. (3)

As guides who are skilled in the art of spiritual formation, both Ignatius of Loyola and Dallas Willard, although centuries apart, can invite us to ponder how God offers grace in abundance, not only as God did for each of them, but as God desires to do for each one of us. Furthermore, since Ignatius of Loyola and Dallas Willard can effectively model for us a significant depth of personal authenticity, we can relate to them as real persons–especially since their writings give evidence that they have pondered life’s challenges in light of their evolving relationship with Christ. For “at the heart of Christianity, the Christian believer confidently expects to find religious experience: an existential encounter in faith with his [or her] God … Moreover, religious experience is not an esoteric event but a dimension of his [or her] ordinary living.” (4)

Since the writers in the Christian tradition generally offer their spiritual guidance primarily through the legacy of their classic spiritual texts, the work of this essay revolves around the textual settings offered by The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola and Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard as a way for us to tap into the rich legacies of both of these spiritual guides. The motivating questions of interest in working with excerpts from their selected texts in the context of spiritual formation can be formulated as follows: First, what is their main message regarding the essence of spiritual formation in each of their texts? Second, how might they offer guidance to contemporary spiritual seekers who desire spiritual formation in Christ? Third, what might be the experience of contemporary spiritual seekers who may look to Ignatius of Loyola and Dallas Willard as spiritual guides through accessing their spiritual texts, The Spiritual Exercises and Renovation of the Heart, respectively? Each of their texts reveals a working document, not simply a text to be read and put aside, particularly since The Spiritual Exercises and Renovation of the Heart are both written in such a way as to invite the reader into a clear response filled with discernment flowing from a desire to embody the teachings of Christ. In particular, their texts have the potential for offering a significant blueprint for guiding spiritual seekers toward fuller and more explicit expression of their spiritual longings. Thus, it may be accurately asserted that Ignatius of Loyola and Dallas Willard have the capacity to be relevant, applicable, inspirational, and devotional as they function as spiritual guides via their classic texts that are intended to be, as Willard effectively asserts, “intensely practical.” (5)


For more click here. More


On, I found an exclusive British series called  Rev. Starring Tom Hollander as a vicar newly transferred from the countryside to a struggling parish in East London, The Rev’s got a lot going for it. It’s smart and charming with a cast of beautiful losers like the stick in the mud associate, Nigel, the smart, loyal wife, Alex, the prim headmistress and the quirky down and out Collin. The Rev offers a humorous, real depiction of faith and hits the nail on the head with it’s jibes at the young, cool Christians who sip smoothies in church as their pastor extolls God’s awesomeness or the annoyance of a know-it-all, critical archdeacon.

While I don’t laugh out loud, the way I do when watching Outnumbered, I do like these characters and this church with its broken window, faded paint and small, odd-ball congregation. The cast reminds me a bit of The Bob Newhart Show.

I’m impressed that the writers consult real vicars and get so much of the theology and issues right.


God so loved us that for our sakes He, through whom time was made, was made in time; and He, older by eternity than the world itself, was younger in age than many of His servants in the world; He, who made man, was made man; He was given existence by a mother whom He brought into existence; He was carried in hands which He formed; He nursed at breasts which He filled; He cried like a babe in the manger in speechless infancy—this Word without which human eloquence is speechless. – Augustine


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