A Walk In The Quiet

Photo Credit: Bob Holmes
It’s a total surprise to be awake to God, Every Time.
It’s not a routine, or a practice you can go through and BAM, God shows up. It’s like walking on the road to Emmaus, and all of a sudden you realize, God is beside you.
So, if you’re busy, chatting away the Scriptures, liturgical forms, or prayers, Wake-Up and Listen! Your external and internal chatter has to stop, before you become aware of God.
Truly, I say to you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matt 18:3

Wide Eyes And Open Hearts

More often than not, it’s in those moments, when you set aside your big self, and intentionally become curious, and childlike. It’s like moving along the edge of a discovery, and you don’t know what it is. You can feel it, and the excitement grows.
You hear more, see more. Your heart is alive, pounding, and wide open. Then, you’re caught,  “surprised by joy,” as CS Lewis puts it.

God In The Moment

For me, the moments change and expand, when I’m outside in the woods, walking, working, or sitting and being contemplative. I’m not seeking, so much as resting in exploration, curious as to what’s going on.
It’s more than a mere meditative state, though my brain is usually in Gamma at this point. God does a pattern interrupt, we realize it and then he draws us to transcend it.
But regardless of what we realize, it’s in Jesus, that we find the simplicity of belonging and wholeness.

Cultivating A Garden of God

The danger here, is thinking you’ve got to put in your 10,000 hours, to move into a closer relationship with God. It’s not. But there is the cultivation aspect…
Your life is like a garden, and you either choose to cultivate your life, or not. You and I can choose to cultivate our lives to be a garden of God. And there, in that sacred space, we can grow the fruit of life, the fruit of the Spirit. And the fragrance of life will fill the air.
So take a few moments right now, to cultivate God into your life. Come, Let’s take a walk in the quiet. It’ll do you good.


~ A Hearty Welcome ~

The spiritual life cannot be made suburban. It is always frontier, and we who live in it must accept and even rejoice that it remains untamed. ~Howard Macey
Welcome to Contemplative Monk! You’ve just entered the grace zone. I hope you feel a sense of release. This is the absolute no judgment zone. 
I have no idea how you found us, but I’m so glad you did.
I’m Bob Holmes, your resident contemplative. I’m a Franciscan Postulant withthe Company of Jesus, and I’m a part of Worship on The Water at the Flora Bama Lounge and Package. You might say I belong to a monastery without walls and we go to a church without walls, right on the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Alabama line.  Both are seriously awesome and radical to the bone.

When Everything Changed

I had a dramatic conversion from Buddhism and Native American Shamanism during the Jesus Movement. And because I’ve explored the Blue Ridge Mountains my whole life, I’m one of those guys who goes off into the mountains to seek God. And yes, I’ve had visions in caves, one big one, an open vision of Jesus on the cross.
I kept a lid on it while He seasoned me for over forty years. I’m that much of a mess. He’s just started turning me loose, so I hope you’re up for a transformative journey with God.  Anything less isn’t worth your time.
So what do I bring to the table for you?
I can best express it with a recurring dream I’ve had since I was seven. It’s the reason I started this blog.

My Dream

I’m walking up this babbling stream, deep in a mountain forest, searching for something. I step over the rocks as the early morning sunlight shafts through the misty hemlock trees. I’m excited to breath in the fresh mountain air, to see the beautiful flowering rhododendrons, and to feel the cold waters and sands beneath my feet. Its one of those moments you can feel everything falling into place. I search and search. further up the mountain stream. Then I see it. There buried in mud along the banks, gems of all shapes and sizes. I pick them up out of the mud one by one, holding them up to the light. Then the dream ends.
I discover stuff that’s lost and buried in our traditions. Things that should have not been forgotten. Most of them are in full sight, but we don’t know their value.

Our Time and Season

We live in a time and a season of recovery in the midst of all the chaos. It’s why I’m a friar and why I go to church in a bar.
I’m not here to give you a well rounded vision. I’m here to help you to zero in on the contemplative, the mystical, and the dynamic that changes our lives eternally. Now, more than ever, this is what we need, right here and right now. It’s been lost with the academics, and the gate keepers, but now it’s time to let it loose.
When we’re ‘born again,’ we’ve just walked through the door. And we do need the dunamis of God, but we need more than wild fire. We need the integration of this power into our lives and that’s restoration.

Our Ever New Life

As our new life in Christ is first and foremost spiritual. And as all true change and transformation begins in our spirit, I want you to get it. I want you to taste it. I want it to become your native land, because it is.
You are a spiritual being who inhabits a body and has a soul.
I want you to get that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. I want you to get that your heart and mind can be renewed constantly. And yes, we’re a mess but God is greater than our mess. We can’t fix ourselves up. We can barely begin to get a glimpse of what the perfection of God is.
But You are a child of God. Let that sink in. You can go and get to know your Father God intimately.  But as God is spirit, you enter in through your spirit, not through your soul. It’s a balanced approach. One of grace and mercy and rest. We enter God’s presence through Jesus and not through ourselves.

Here’s what most of us trip over

Here’s the catch. Because we are created in God’s image, we have access to the eternal through our spirit, but we only have access to our Father through Jesus. One enlightens, while the other transforms. We are hardwired for eternity and we are transformed bit by bit by the Holy Spirit. It’s a win/win combo.
So before you get sidetracked, go ahead and bookmark this page. Better yet, sign up Here.  You don’t want to miss out.

Enjoy, Savor and Grow

So come along  relax, shift, and take a slow, deep Breath.
Grab a cup of  coffee or tea.  Savor the moment, and let’s dive in.

OK, Here’s The Disclaimer:

I’m not going to cover the basics of the faith over and over again. I’m not out to convert the converted. I’m not preaching to the choir. And I’m not teaching to the test.
  1. I hope you know Jesus Christ as your Lord, not just a church formula.
  2. I hope you’re already a disciple of Jesus, not just a cultural believer.
  3. I hope you have the Holy Spirit activated in your life, not just living under your own will power.
  4. And I hope you have a working knowledge of Scripture, not just your own spiritual experience.
These help, but they aren’t necessary. We’re all a mess being fashioned by our creator.
Contemplation is about transformation through revelation.
It’s simple, the way it’s meant to be.
~ Enjoy, Savor and Grow ~

Journey Into Deep Time

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As we grow spiritually, our past and our future, begin to converge into our present, and the veil becomes very thin… 

quiet time is deep time
slowing down linear time
settling into present time
awake and aware
as deep calls to deep
at the sound of your waterfalls
into the eternal timeless
of being present
of being still
still and knowing, 
trusting, tasting, seeing
as to touching and being touched
knowing God
we expand
in the eternal
our home calling us
to grow
into our true selves
through Christ alone…

Reflections: On Foot

Photo Credit: UKGardenPhotos
Bless to me, O Lord
The earth beneath my feet;
Bless to me, O Lord,
The path this day I greet:
my walk this day with the Father
my walk this day with Christ
my walk this day with the Spirit
filled with grace and light.
Blessing from: Celtic Daily Prayer

An Evening Prayer Reflection

Photo Credit: Pensacola Life

As a Biblical day begins with sunset and with rest, let us pause and offer our thanks to God.

Evening Prayer

Light and peace be to you, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Jesus says, “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a bucket, but on a lamp stand where it gives light for everyone in the house. And you, like the lamp, must shine your light on those among you, so that they may see the good you do, and give glory to your Father in heaven.”


O gracious light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of Life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.
O Lord, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in your mercy, grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Prayers are from The Common Book of Prayer

God Is Love

8133663828_75c79bcec9_cPhoto Credit: Stuck In Customs

God is love.

Love, the most powerful feeling, concept, and force of all time. Love is deeper than our comprehension, higher than our understanding and wider than our experience. Love is stronger than death. And it originates in God. God is love.
Jesus came and fulfilled the whole law, all 613 commandments. And He said, “It is finished.“..righteousness completed, our debt paid. Jesus is our way out, or better yet, into living eternal life.
And Jesus gives us one new commandment. It supersedes the Law and the Prophets.
So He fulfills the whole law, and then Jesus ups the ante.  He gives us, his disciples, only one commandment, “I’m giving you a new commandment: to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are to love each other.
“…just as I have loved you, you’re to love each other.”
This is powerful.
*Loving one another is proof that God dwells in us.
*This love is above and beyond what any law could ever do for us.
*This is where the truth of God and the grace of God kiss and meet in our lives.
*This is where the tension between faith and works is resolved, in the love of God.
*This is where the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man, dissolve and become one, in the love of God.
*This is where all our divisions unite and fall away, before the love of God.
These are the character traits of God. The Holy Spirit will cause us to bear God’s character, as we abide in Jesus. This is the outworking of what God has worked within us. And our champion is God’s love to draw it out of us.

Love never fails.

This love of God, what we have in Jesus Christ, is the center and the heart of the gospel we proclaim.
And this is how we disciple the nations…by our love.
Love breaks the walls…from the inside out.

The Art of Reading

Dead Sea Scroll -- the World's Oldest Secrets
Photo Credit: Ken and Nyetta

How To Read

If you’re reading for information, scan.
But if something’s worth reading, read ‘the words beneath the words.’  That is, get into the author’s head. Don’t just try to understand what they’re saying.

Read With Discernment.

Why is this person writing this?  What are they trying to convince me of?  What’s their goal?
So, what spirit is this guy writing in?  And closely tied to it is, What’s the intent of their heart?
It’s all there in ‘the words beneath the words.’  Their world view. Their presuppositions.  Their theology. Their relationship with God, or lack of one.

How To Read And More

It’s good to read Scripture this way. No holes barred. Don’t hold back.

You don’t have to be afraid of uncovering anything.

Prove Scripture for yourself. Tear it apart. You won’t be disappointed.
Be a stickler for Primary Sources. Everything else is just Spin, and you know how that goes. 
After my third year of Greek, my professor looked me dead in the eye, and said, “Bob, You’re the most dangerous thing to the Body of Christ.”  I asked him, “Why?”  to which he replied, “It takes at least thirteen years of consistent study to properly translate New Testament Greek.” And you know what, He’s right.

Your Secret Weapon

So barring setting aside the next fifteen plus years to study primary languages, you’ve got a secret weapon.  Plug in to your intuitive heart, and listen.  “Be still, and know that I Am God.”  There, in the stillness, God will touch your heart. There, He will give you what you need.
This is the place of your greatest strength. Your greatest insight, Your greatest discernment …Being Present, in The Presence of God.
I love the way the Westminster Shorter Catechism sums it up,  “Our primary purpose is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.”
So get to it. Glorify and Enjoy…

So, What Is Your Faith Journey?

Now, in my faith journey, as you might know, I came out of a Buddhist/Native world view.
Growing up, seeing Churchanity, I was convinced God wasn’t in it.
So, I started reading Confucius, and every other so called ‘holy book’  I could get my hands on, searching for the truth.
I read the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao te Ching, Confucius, The Upanishads, Gilgamesh, the works of Plato, The Koran, Koans, The Didiche’, The Way of the Pilgrim, and the list goes on and on.
I tore through them. I devoured them.
They all held bits, and shadows. I wanted more.
The Bible and Jesus were at the bottom of my list.  So, when I started stripping away, everything off of  Scripture, the Bible, I was startled.
There behind every Scripture, ‘the words underneath the words’, I see God. It dumbfounds me.
When Jesus says, “the words that I speak to you are Spirit, and they are Life.” I break. Time breaks, and I’m a mess.
If I could jump through these words, I would grab your shoulders,  look into your eyes, and tell you, that “You are loved.”

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