Rich Villodas is the lead pastor of New Life Fellowship, a multiracial church in Elmhurst, Queens. His first book titled “The Deeply Formed Life” was released in September 2020. Villodas is a key speaker for Emotionally Healthy Discipleship. He is seen as an expert in contemplative spirituality, justice-related issues and the art of preaching. Villodas graduated with a B.A. in pastoral ministry and theology from Nyack College, and earned his M.Div. from Alliance Theological Seminary.
Christians often find a need for a deeper well in our complex lives. To have our minds renewed and to experience a depth of life that can’t come with the hustle and bustle of our world, we must spend time in relationship with the Lord. In a society that operates at a frenetic pace, how do we slow our souls down to connect with God?
In Today’s Conversation, Rich Villodas, lead pastor of New Life Fellowship and author of “The Deeply Formed Life: Five Transformative Values to Root Us in the Way of Jesus,” talks with Walter Kim, NAE president, and challenges the notion that deep spiritual formation and prayer is out of reach or impractical.
- Recommended rhythms to live a contemplative life;
- Questions that orient our hearts toward God;
- Techniques for prayer; and
- Encouragement for a Christ-centered life among the daily busyness.
Read a Portion of the Transcript
Walter: This slowing down makes me think of a quote from your book that’s so striking. You write, “The speed we live at does violence against our souls.” What do you mean by that, and how does this idea work in an urban context — in a city known for fast living and a city that never sleeps?
Rich: The reason speed does violence against our souls is because our souls were meant to be tended to. There’s a preciousness, a tenderness to our souls that require a slow observation. And so when we’re living at this chaotic pace, we don’t give our souls the opportunity to rest, to breathe, to receive the nutrients from God that we desperately need. When I think about that in my city here in New York City, in many ways while I do think that New York is particularly prone to this kind of pace I think New Yorkers have exported this pace to the rest of the world.
I was recently in Indiana, and even in Indiana there is a pace of life with some pastors I was with that just seems frenetic. So yes, we might have more car honking and more cars on Queens Boulevard around here, but I do think the human condition is often marked by — especially in this age — efficiency, marked by speed, getting things done. So whether in New York or Indiana or Florida or wherever we might be, I think the challenge before us in this age is ubiquitous. That being said, the contemplative life in New York becomes in some ways a prophetic, countercultural act of discipleship where I refuse to be dominated by the speed, by the pace, by the values of this society. The contemplative life gives kind of an open door to that kind of resistance.
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- Read “The Deeply Formed Life: Five Transformative Values to Root Us in the Way of Jesus” by Rich Villodas
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Today’s Conversation is brought to you by Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.