Fundamental to my work in this podcast is that lasting change comes through the spirit of God. God has asked us to follow His example. Jesus declared again and again that we need to come to Him. I believe that he has given us the power and ability to do that. The way this helps us is because it gives us hope to trust for a better future. This podcast is designed to help you to develop a better relationships with God through direct contact and focus on His word. We incorporate meaningful prayer to seek God's direction and wisdom. Central to our ability to follow is that God has given us the ability to choose. Regardless of the fact that he knows the future he allows us the ability to make choices with real meaning and consequence. This is what he means when he beckons to us to follow the straight and narrow path.
As scripture teaches, God loved the world so much that he gave his only begotten Son to save us. As a result, you and I can improve each day as we meaningfully connect with God. The closer we get to God the better our lives (both now and for eternity) become. In this sense, the goal of this podcast is far beyond relaxation. It is a total transformation by receiving God continually through intentional focus. This is all reliant on God's mercy and grace. God can replace our stony hearts with hearts of flesh and teach us how to love and live and He wants and he trusts us enough to give us the ability to chose and love Him. He knows we need help to do this. It is my most sincere prayer that this podcast can contribute to that in some small way.
What is the type(s) of meditation I do on the podcast:
The Christian tradition has a long and meaningful history of Christian Meditation. Christian monks have used something called Lectio Divina (Holy Reading) to focus on the scriptures, pray on them, meditate on them, and try and internalize them. What we do is an adaptation of this. Contemporary writers such as Tim Grey have written about this history in his book Praying Scripture for Change. His book is a summary of hundreds of years of Christian tradition that we can harness in our lives. In this sense, Christian meditation is not new age. We do not need to accept all doctrines as equal to benefit from these practices.
For a long time, I only did these Lectio Divina podcasts. Eventually I realized that some people who had been listening for a while were more skilled and would prefer to spend time with God without as much guidance from the guided meditation. I started the free form episodes to meet those people's needs while still keeping with the themes of bible centered, God focused meditation.
Is Christian Meditation Dangerous?
One thing I am very conscious of is that there is both light and darkness in this universe. Just as God's love calls us to improve, the darkness of Satan tries to draw us away into hatred and sadness. As you listen to the podcast you will notice that the goal is not to open ourselves up to the universe or accept everything that wants to enter us. We seek God's love and protection as we attempt to defuse the stresses of our lives and find a moment of peace where the distractions of the world yield to the peace of God. For this reason, Christian meditation is a force to draw us nearer the light and should not be used to dilute the truths of God.
Why I use multiple Bible translations:
I use a variety of high quality translations. This range includes everything from the Scholarly NRSV, the evangelical ESV, the general NIV, the Catholic NABRE, and the traditional KJV. I grew up on the KJV so it will always hold a place in my heart. I think we can learn from each other as we hold our human understanding as less important than the word of God. As the Spirit works in us we can gain new insights into these words in scripture. Many times we may have missed important messages that God has tried to teach us. Can scripture have more than one meaning? Absolutely yes. Matthew does this constantly with his reference to Isaiah 7 and Hosea 11. These scriptures had concrete meaning to the people at the time they were said and they also prophesied of the coming of Jesus, the son of God. The important thing is that we submit our will and understanding to God. We are not the ones that get to decide what God means, he is. Because all this, I try to stay humble on what God really means in the scriptures.
My Ministry Background:
This podcast is produced by me, Chaplain Jared. At this point I do everything with the exception of selecting some of the scriptures that are chosen by listeners sometimes. I have worked as an ICU Chaplain and also as a Hospice Chaplain. I am submitting paperwork to graduate with my second masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. Through my experiences I have discovered what unrest there is in people's hearts, including Christians. When I worked in the hospital I would often lead people through relaxation activities and I did not find a resources I could consistently refer people to after they left the hospital. As I worked with such traumatic experiences, I found meditation to help but I felt uncomfortable at times. I wanted to find something that I could recommend to patients in the hospital and feel more consistent with my own faith. This is how I came to learn about the history of Christian meditation. As a result I started the podcast in June of 2017.
How can you help?
I do the podcast as a ministry. When I started it, I had no expectation that I would generate any money. At that point I was somewhat naive to the costs I would experience also. I had nearly $1,000 in audio gear that I had purchased, and I thought I was done. Since then I have started ramping up the quality and reach of the podcast.
Here are some examples of the costs of the podcast:
There is web hosting, website domains, advertisements for the podcast, business cards to spread to patients I meet in person, physical mailboxes, licensing of sounds such as waves, and stream sounds, additional gear such as mic upgrades and travel setups, video equipment, lighting, and email services. That is not to mention the hours of time that I have put in to produce the podcast and communicate about the podcast, which would have been tens of thousands of dollars in time.
I have become so grateful for a loyal group of people who have contributed via Patreon. Patreon is a reputable way for people who want to support me to give some dollars or euros to help me spread this message as far and wide as I can. I am so grateful for the contribution that these donations have made in spreading the load of this podcast. I feel yolked with you as we work in God's vinyard.
If you have benefited from the podcast you can help support it by clicking on the link and donating a dollar on my Support this podcast on Patreon Page.