Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

Single-Minded

November 18, 2010

November/Learning

For if you are busily occupied with mind and hand in all these things, you will have no leisure for vain, wandering, or wicked thoughts; but, as though ever at a new beginning, you will gather for yourself those fruits which you shall enjoy forever, and you will deserve the name of a single-minded man, a seeker after the one reward, an outstanding merchant of the eternal kingdom.

  - Columbanus, Letter VI to a Monk (Irish, 7th century)

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

  - Philippians 3.13, 14

Sherlock Holmes was famously single-minded. He worked hard to gather into his mind only the facts and data he would need to be able to observe intensely, think clearly, and conclude correctly. Extraneous information he simply ignored, as when, in a conversation with Dr. Watson, the good doctor mentioned the Copernican revolution, and Holmes had to ask him what that was.

The "all these things" Columbanus was writing about were the subjects of Christian learning and the goals of Christian living to which he intended his reader, and all his monks, to devote themselves every day. The leaders in the Celtic Revival understood the power of the mind and the need to focus its power on Kingdom duties, lest the mind lead them into sinful ways. Good study, regular and hard manual labor, rigorous spiritual disciplines, and tender service in love - these were the "all these things" that Celtic Christians sought to fill their minds with, so that they might become single-minded in the things of Christ.

What about us? Would you describe yourself as single-minded in the things of Christ? Or do the world and its frivolous ways control more of your thoughts, plans, and agenda than they should? Christian learning is the way to engage and employ the mind of Christ which is ours by virtue of our redemption (1 Cor. 2.16). But if we will not deliberately and consistently engage the mind of Christ, our minds, active things that they are, will look elsewhere for substance.

Double-minded people are unstable in all their ways, as James reminds us (1.5-8). But attaining to single-mindedness means putting certain things aside and taking up other things faithfully, intensely, reflectively, and with a view to learning Jesus Christ. The world needs more people who are single-minded for Jesus. Today is a good day to resolve that you will be one of those. Let us know if we can help you get started.

Today at The Fellowship of Ailbe

This holiday season sharpen your focus on Jesus by learning to sing from the hymn book He used - the Psalms. The Ailbe Psalter sets all 150 psalms into familiar hymn tunes, so that you can sing the hymns of Jesus in the melodies you've always loved. You can get your copy from our bookstore, and let this holiday season ring with the psalms of David, Asaph, and the sons of Korah in your home.

We have a few spaces available for pastors to take advantage of the mentoring opportunities offered through The Fellowship. Grow your spiritual life, clarify and expand your ministry, sharpen your focus on building the church, and do it all from your own study via online webinars and telephone counseling. Check out the website, or write me for more information.

T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alone with the Lord

November 17, 2010

November/Learning

Alone in my little hut without a human being in my company...Treading the paths of the Gospel, singing psalms every Hour; an end of talking and long stories; constant bending of the knees...

  - Anonymous, The Hermit (Irish, 8th or 9th century)

One thing I have asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.

  - Psalm 27.4

During the Celtic Christian period, it was not uncommon for one who was seeking to serve the Lord to be sent away on his own, to live as a hermit for a period of time before either going on mission (peregrinatio) or starting his own company and community of monks.

There were at least two reasons for this. The first was to teach dependence on the Lord for all one's daily needs. Hermits lived off the land, meaning they would have to know all the edible plants, where to find them, and how best to prepare them, as well as how to steward their use of these resources. These would be valuable lessons.

Second, the hermit needed to learn how to find all his sufficiency in the Lord. Extended times alone, in solitude with the Lord, would help the aspiring missionary to master the Gospels, learn the psalms by heart, and commune with the Lord for comfort and strength. These times of solitude were times to "learn Christ", as Paul might have put it (Eph. 4.17-24). One who could not learn alone, in the presence of the Lord only, would not be able to find Him sufficient for the rigors of ministering to others.

Jesus often withdrew for times of being alone with His Father, thus teaching us by His example the importance of this discipline. We are so busy, our lives are so frenetic and filled with things to do, that we have not given much attention or priority to the practice of solitude. But here, in the presence of the Lord only, there is much to observe, much to learn, and much comfort and strength to gather for serving others.

The hermit continued his poem, "My Creator to visit me, my Lord, my King, my spirit to seek Him in the eternal kingdom where he is." Ah, what pleasures and joys are to be discovered there. Solitude can be a place of spiritual enrichment - if only we can find the time for it.

Today at The Fellowship of Ailbe

Today's ReVision considers the evidence of systemic sin - earmarks. But are we about to witness, at the very least, a kind of hiatus from this sort of legislative corruption? Also, we consider the Chalcedon Definition as one of the founding documents of the Kingdom of God. John Nunnikhoven's "Voices Together" column, my "In the Gates", and various Member blogs also await your perusal.

And here's an excellent suggestion for around your Thanksgiving table: Get a copy of The Ailbe Psalter from our bookstore, and sing the great songs of David, Asaph, and the sons of Korah to the familiar hymn tunes you've always loved. You will grow to love the psalms more if you will.

Also, we are announcing a few mentoring opportunities available for pastors to enrich and expand your spiritual life and ministry. Check out the website.

T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Legislative Corruption

November 16, 2010

The Republicans are making a big show of putting a stop to earmarks. We'll see.

What to Learn

November 16, 2010

November/Learning

What should a man learn? Not hard to answer: steadfastness in holiness, shortness of words, gentle brotherliness, smoothness in giving, fulfilling the rule without urging, rising early before dawn, walking in obedience to God...

  - Colman mac Beognai, Aipgitir Chrabaid (Irish, 7th century)

But that is not the way you learned Christ! - assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him as the truth is in Jesus...

  - Ephesians 4.20, 21

We have been emphasizing the Celtic Christian commitment to a learned leadership. The monks and missionaries who, following on Patrick, Finnian, Brendan, Columba, and Columbanus, were devoted to study, copying ancient manuscripts, and reflecting on the life of faith from the perspective of a distinctively Celtic spirituality.

That spirituality was rooted in the practice of spiritual disciplines according to a "rule" of life. A rule was a kind of covenant with God and like-minded brethren to seek the Lord and serve Him according to an agreed-upon regimen of life and ministry. Within the framework of that rule, Celtic Christians sought to put on Jesus - to learn Christ in all their thinking, living, and serving.

Colman's "Broom of Devotion" is a manual of spiritual reflections that sought to capture the temper of the Celtic Christian way of life. His words give us glimpses into the lifestyle of devoted Christians during that period of time. Learning was important, but only the kind of learning that results in "walking in obedience to God."

What are you learning these days? Is it helping you to put on Jesus, to walk in obedience to God in reaching out to love and serve the people around you? Or is it just a kind of head knowledge that doesn't do anybody any good? We are called to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, and to be transformed into His image (2 Pet. 3.18; 2 Cor. 3.12-18). This is what God promises, and this is what we can attain.

So let us take up devotion to learning, but let us seek learning in order to know Jesus, to be clothed on with Him, and to make Him known to everyone in our lives.

Today's ReVision offers "A Modest Proposal" for how the Church in America might begin to assert more spiritual and moral influence. This week's Kingdom Civics column explains The Chalcedon Definition and its place in helping to define the doctrine of God. And here's an excellent suggestion for around your Thanksgiving table: Get a copy of The Ailbe Psalter from our bookstore, and sing the great songs of David, Asaph, and the sons of Korah to the familiar hymn tunes you've always loved. You will grow to love the psalms more if you will.

Write me with your questions about Celtic Christianity, the Kingdom of God, or the Christian worldview. We'll be selecting from them and creating videos on the website after the first of the year.

T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pastors and church leaders, The Fellowship of Ailbe is pleased to announce availabilities in the area of personal mentoring.

We presently have openings for a few men to enroll in "The Road to Spiritual Maturity: Practicing the Kingship of Jesus," our fundamental course in spiritual life and ministry.

This three-month course features one-on-one webinars, together with personal assessment and planning tools to provide sharper focus and resources for spiritual growth and ministry. You will be paired with a Member of The Fellowship who will meet with you by phone and work with you through this challenging mentoring course.

Upon completion, all the resources of the course - assessment and planning tools, PowerPoint presentations, Leader's Guide - will be yours to use in your own ministry.

Enroll today and begin to learn what it means to live under the Kingship of Jesus Christ.

Opening are limited so don't delay. Let us hear from you right away.

T. M. Moore, Principal This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

To Know and to Search

November 15, 2010

November/Learning

The books of Solomon, he followed them. Seasons and calculations he set in motion. He separated the elements according to figures among the books of the Law. He read mysteries and distributed the Scriptures among the schools, and he put together the harmony concerning the course of the moon, the course which it ran with the rayed sun, and the course of the sea. He could number the stars of heaven, the one who could tell all the rest which we have heard from Colum Cille.

  - Dallan Forgaill, Amra Cholumb Chille (Irish, 6th century)

I turned my heart to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the scheme of things...

  - Ecclesiastes 7.25

It was true of many of the leaders of the Celtic Christian movement that they tried to understand the "scheme of things" from the perspective of the divine economy. They took the Scriptures seriously when it came to how believers should live in this world. They built their communities on the foundation of God's Law, pursued their mission with a Gospel fervor unmatched in any generation of believers, before or since, and sought to understand the world around them with the mind of Christ and for the glory of God.

They created culture and communities to reflect their Biblical and Christian worldview, and they worked hard to inculcate their sense of the scheme of things in the generations that would succeed them. Columba - or, Colum Cille - was one of the first great Irish missionary/scholars. He founded the community on Iona, which remains a spiritual enclave to this day.

Columba (fl. late 6th century) loved books. In fact, it was his love of books that found him exiled to Iona. As a student he had surreptitiously copied a gospel book, in order to have his own copy. This was contrary to the rule of his monastic community, and when he was forced to hand over his copy, he left the monastery and raised an army to punish the king who had ruled against him. Shamed by the violence he had caused, he submitted to the discipline of his order and was exiled to find another place of service for the Lord.

Iona was the result, a community where saints and scholars united in seeking the Lord and His Kingdom. Iona became a launching pad for Celtic missions to Scotland, the Low Countries, and beyond. Columba's legacy of striving to know and to search out the divine scheme of things lasted for many generations beyond him and helped to sustain a revival that continued for centuries.

Where are the pastors with this kind of hunger for understanding the divine economy? The followers of Christ will live more expansive and transformative lives in the Kingdom when those who lead them pursue the kind of learning and vision Columba did. Pray for your pastor, that he may become a true seeker of the Kingdom of God.

Today's ReVision offers "A Modest Proposal" for how the Church in America might begin to assert more spiritual and moral influence. This week's Kingdom Civics column explains The Chalcedon Definition and its place in helping to define the doctrine of God. And here's an excellent suggestion for around your Thanksgiving table: Get a copy of The Ailbe Psalter from our bookstore, and sing the great songs of David, Asaph, and the sons of Korah to the familiar hymn tunes you've always loved. You will grow to love the psalms more if you will.

Write me with your questions about Celtic Christianity, the Kingdom of God, or the Christian worldview. We'll be selecting from them and creating videos on the website after the first of the year.

T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A Modest Proposal

November 14, 2010

How can the churches in America once again become a formative spiritual, moral, and cultural force?

He's the One

November 14, 2010

The fruit of repentance is entrance into the Kingdom and wisdom of God.

The Chalcedon Definition

November 13, 2010
These founding documents of the Kingdom of God teach us how we ought to carry out our calling to seek first the Kingdom of God...

Stewards of Creation

November 21, 2010

Stewards of Creation--Not even extreme situations sanction the wanton destruction of creation.

Conservation

November 20, 2010

Conservation--Even the creation deserves a healthy measure of respect and honor from the people of God.

Honor Debtors

November 19, 2010

Honor Debtors--Even those who are in our debt are to be respected and honored appropriately.

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