Bo Sanders: Public Theology

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Sacred Everyday

Sacred Average Day

How do you experience the divine presence in an average day?

This topic has become one of my favorite things to chat about. I have found two powerful trends that seem to be developing.

First: Depending on your phase of life, there are certain ‘givens‘ that seem to be assumed and everything else becomes a ‘variable‘. In the formula of life, the question seems to hinge on either how to manipulate (change) the variables or how to transform a given into  a variable.

[more about this in the video]

Second: This seems to be one of those categories where “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”. People who can sense the divine presence in one area of life can translate that into finding the sacred in many other areas and moments of life. People who don’t develop that ability in the big stuff, unfortunately, can’t detect the divine in any area of life.

This is why I am so passionate practicing together when we have gathered! If Sunday is done right, it helps me see the sacred in the other six days of the week. If our activity at church is effective, it opens our eyes to see the sacred at work in the rest of the world.

Watch the short video and let me know your thoughts. I love comparing notes on this topic.

A Week Without Email

A week in the woods is good for my soul. I look forward to my annual May camping trip and this year did not disappoint.

This year had an extra interesting wrinkle. The Sunday before I left on the trip, I gave a short homily about email entitled, “too much of a good thing”.  (It was the topic in our book series Sacred Everyday based Liturgy of the Ordinary).

I also did something for the first time ever: I set an automated away-message for email.

It was surprisingly liberating!


So now I am back in the office, catching up on emails, and I am having a blast reading the posts I missed from our writing team.  I wanted to share them with you as an encouragement and a challenge.

Bryan tells us that we don’t need to read every email (his professional opinion)

Katie wants us to practice presence with her favorite saint and mystic—Brother Lawrence

Dori addresses the need for HELP! in midst of chaos and order

Charlie gets deep about finding the divine in the descent into nihilism

Sara meditates on the ‘therefor, go’ – ness of it all  (just read it – trust me)


I hope that they help and inspire you as much as they did me. I love doing church as team!

Power of Practice (sermon notes)

Your body is not just a suitcase that carries your soul around.

Your body is not an automated shell that your brain tells what to do like a computer inside a robot.

Your body informs your experience and shapes your behavior.

 Much of what you think, or even believe, about the world is because of the interactions of your body.

This is why what you do with your body matters. Your behaviors and routines inform and form you. They give shape to your day and thus your week and ultimately your life.

Annie Dillard has said it this way,

“How we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives.”

To the outside world, I appear spontaneous and even impulsive. But that internal permission in rooted in long hours of discipline and practice that frees my up to be spontaneous in the moment. The behind the scenes preparation is rooted in a deep commitment to values and practices. I move the chairs in the sanctuary every week – because I have been thinking for months about what that gathering should look like!

Your daily routine functions in a similar way. Your weekly patters both form and inform you as people of faith.

The life of faith is comprised (made from) your participation in a community of faith.

This is the liturgy of life.

One of my favorite old-words is “phronesis”. I have talked about it before – it means embodied wisdom or enacted knowledge. It is a wisdom that you have down inside of you, embedded in the cells and muscles of your body.

If you do an activity, even if you have not done it in a while – like riding a bike again – there is set of “know-how” that has been formed through practice.

This is the case with playing a musical instrument, or caring for a child, or playing a sport, or doing a hobby.

My favorite example is teaching a teenager how to drive.  Now you, if you have been driving a while, can day dream, change the channel (and all sort of other things) and still end up at your destination … sometimes not even thinking about it on the primary register of your brain. That is phronesis – the way home is embedded in your muscle memory.

Teenagers do not have phronesis. Everything is happening on that primary register at the front of your mind! Hands at 10 & 2, turn on the lights, shoulder check, shift into reverse, etc.

This is the power of practice. You are moving an activity, an expertise, a knowledge down from the front of your mind into your body. Routine and practice go hand in hand.

The liturgies of our lives shape who we are and both form and inform our view of the world.

The book that we are reading “Liturgy of the Ordinary” encourages us to be intentional about our mornings. Instead of slogging through and mindlessly stumbling our way to the kitchen or the shower – to add a moment of intentional pause and prepare for the day.

I want to encourage you try it. To change up the routine this week. Whether that is her suggestion to make the bed and take a moment of silence (prayer) first thing in the morning, or to read something nourishing in the morning before your check your phone or turn on cable news …

Like I said at the beginning: Your body is not just a suitcase that carries your soul around.

Your body is not an automated shell that your brain tells what to do like a computer inside a robot.

Your body informs your experience and shapes your behavior.

 Much of what you think, or even believe, about the world is because of the interactions of your body.

This is why what you do with your body matters. Your behaviors and routines inform and form you. They give shape to your day and thus your week and ultimately your life … especially your life of faith.

Follow the whole series here [Sacred Everyday]

Waking Up To Easter

Easter is a waking up. How do you wake up an Easter people?

When I was a child, my father would sometimes wake us up with an Easter song. It is called ‘Up From The Grave He Arose” and it still brings a smile to my face when I think about it.

This came to my mind as we were picking songs from Easter. We did not choose this song but it is always in the back of my mind.

It became even more relevant when I started reading ‘Liturgy of the Ordinary’ and the opening chapter was about ‘waking up’.  I started working on my sermon for ‘waking up’ before Easter and found it impossible to think about one without thinking about the other.

Easter is a waking up.

It is waking up to new life, hope, second chances, and possibilities.

Every morning is invitation to an Easter people to ‘be a different way in the world’.

Here is a video about being woken up by Easter.  I hope you enjoy a little levity on a Wednesday afternoon.

I also hope that in this series you hear the invitation to wake up to a different way of being in the world as Easter people.

When does your morning begin?

“When does your morning begin?” is our opening question in Sacred Everyday.

Depending on work, kids, and age – that answer probably has an ‘AM’ behind it. For me, 5am seems early but 8am seems a luxury.

What if you were to adopt an ancient Jewish perspective that your day actually begins at sundown the evening before?

This is my challenge this week!


Today is Monday and I asked myself on Sunday (yesterday) “What do I want my Monday to look like?” and then I prepared for it as the sun set last night.

I will do the same tonight. I have a long day Tuesday so instead of ‘vegging out’ and filling up this evening, I am going to get prepared. I will lay out my clothes (not my normal practice), turn off my electronics, watch what I eat and drink, and do something to calm myself (like stretching) so that I have the best chance of sleeping.

I would like to invite you to try this practice with me. Let’s see if it makes a difference in your week.


If you are not ready for that, I also found a cool morning practice.  Keep a bowl of water by your bed, bathroom mirror, or beside your kitchen stove.  (You may to cover it with a cloth or pour a new one each morning).

Then first thing in the morning – before anything else (or while the water is heating for coffee and tea) – place three fingers in the water (to symbolize the trinity) and touch it to your forehead.  Remember your baptism.


It may also help to say part or all of the following confession:

I am born again today

I am born of water and spirit into my new life

Today is a new day

Today is a divine day

I am beloved   (of my Father/Mother)

These two practices are invitations to see your every day as sacred and full of possibility. The goal of today is not to survive. The goal of today is shine with the divine in the midst of the ordinary. You have a light within – nurture it and let it shine.

Follow the whole series here:

After Easter – Sacred Every Day

Where do you find the divine in your everyday?

Is it possible for the ordinary stuff of life to take on sacred meaning?

We are going to find out!!

After Easter, starting April 8th, my church will begin a 3 month journey that I wanted to let you know about!

Please join us for these conversations about significance and meaning in the everyday.

You might be surprised where you find the divine presence in a normal day.  

1 Waking  Up                                        April 8

2 Making the Bed                                April 15

3 Brushing Teeth                                 April 22

4 Losing Keys                                       April 29

5 Eating Leftovers                               May 6

6 Fighting Well                                    May 13

7 Checking Email                                 May 20

8 Sitting in Traffic                                May 27

9 Calling a Friend                                June 3

10 Drinking Tea                                   June 10

11 Sleeping                                           June 17

Practical Divinity                                 June 24


Join us to find meaning every day.

Get the book and follow along – there will be daily reflections posted on the blog
You can order the book here [Link]    It is on Audible and is also on Kindle [ Link]

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