On March 27, 2015, I was interviewed on the current events show In the Arena with Monsignor Kieran Harrington. You can watch the full interview here. We talk about Easter Sunday, Resurrection, and Joy in the Lord. It was a wonderful interview and graced with the Lord's presence. Please watch and share this Easter message.
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Heaven Opens: The Trinitarian Mysticism of Adrienne von Speyr, my book is available.
“Sutton’s deep penetration into Adrienne’s mystical gifts offers an excellent introduction to her unique vision and also helps hit the ‘reveal codes’ button for von Balthasar’s theology.” - Rev. Raymond Gawronski, S.J.
I don’t write here to sell books, but do share what I create in my writing and teaching. My newest book captures the foundation of my theological and spiritual work as I develop the profound mysticism of Adrienne von Speyr. You can find out more about it here.
If you’ve read my book, would you please considering sharing it with others by reviewing it in journals or online?
“In this significant monograph, Sutton brings expositional clarity and conceptual rigor to the extensive textual legacy of Adrienne von Speyr. It is a real accomplishment.” Dr. Paul Nimmo
All your help sharing my book gives me support to work on the next book, which will be available soon. I can’t wait to share this new one with you.
“This book has the potential to do for Adrienne von Speyr’s theology what Father Edward Oakes’ Pattern of Redemption did for Hans Urs von Balthasar’s in the mid-1990s, in this case by accessibly introducing Adrienne to a generation of students and scholars.” Dr. Matthew Levering
"The central thesis of the book is that the fulfilled mission of the Son opens heaven “to the Trinity and reveals the original image of the eternal, immanent relations of triune love”. Given that the bulk of von Speyr’s work is untranslated, Sutton’s study of the German and French renders a great service to the church and the academy in English-speaking contexts. ... Von Speyr needs an apologist capable of accounting for her analogical imagination if her trinitarian theology is to be taken more seriously today. ... Sutton may be poised to deliver an account."
Review PDF here. Citation: Cyrus P. Olsen, III (2014). Horizons, 41, pp 401-402 doi:10.1017/hor.2014.66
I had wanted to complete a marathon. I had a setback and could not.
I trained for a long time to run the famous Brooklyn Marathon on November 15. But on September 26 during my long training run, I injured some tiny connective tissue in my right knee. I rested a week and then ran my longest run of the training, 20 miles, my longest run ever since ten years ago when I had completed the Chicago Marathon. Somehow, I was able to complete this 20 mile training run even though my knee was on fire. I depended on my spirit being on fire. You see, I wanted this run so badly to prove to myself that I could run the marathon. If I could endure the pain, I could complete this major goal I felt called to do for our sports4compassion community. After the very long training run, I rested for a little longer than usual and missed some small training runs. No big deal, I thought, since I had done the epic 20 mile run. I then tried to sneak in another two runs even with a still very sharp and constant pain in my right knee. It is hard to know for sure, but after those two runs, I think I completely damaged my knee for the long term. Since October 12, I have not been able to run or even walk for more than a mile without my leg giving out. So my sports for compassion has become a kind of sitting for compassion.
I used to think this pain and setback was just part of the training, just part of taking my body, mind, and spirit beyond what it had done. But now, I honestly feel very disappointed in myself. The setback is all I can see when the surge of pain comes up my knee into the hip and then strikes my heart. When I give this disappointment room in my mind, it takes over and brings me further into a downward spiral of even greater disappointment. Have you been in this downward spiral? I'm there now.
My prayer has been for wisdom and healing. I have prayed that I could somehow run this event for all those cheering for me and supporting our mission.
This year has been a blessing to me and many others because of our new sports4compassion movement. I know our friends at Heart's Home in Brooklyn have received your donations that support them doing their mission to be a presence of God to the forgotten. This year, we have experienced a great generosity of giving that included several half marathons, 5k races, and some epic bike races. For me, the Brooklyn Marathon was going to be my crowning gift and achievement for my year of health for myself and others, especially those most in need.
But this beyond did not go as I wanted.
I have to be honest with you, I am disappointed in myself. I have struggled to except this injury that has prevented me from running for myself and for others. I believed in myself to be running for you. And now I can not run.
But the Lord surprised me as he always does.
In prayer searching for his meaning in this setback, I have came to realize that by his grace, by his abundant grace, my running long races were a grace but also my not being able to run long races were a grace too.
What I have come to learn is that more people relate to my having this major setback than my other accomplishments for this movement. Telling my story of being setback has brought out other people's stories of setbacks. They hear my pain and reveal their pain. We share our sufferings and we search for the meaing within them. We together hear the Lord speaking to us even in this storm because he answers us "in the secret place of thunder" (Psalm 81:7).
Previously I had talked about my call to running a marathon this year as a call to follow Jesus' beyond. And it still is. I did not realize now that this beyond was not going to be 26.2 miles long, but instead the long run of learning even more deeply that it is all about him and always about his compassion for me and you.
My story is not done. Sports for compassion is not done. I will run this marathon for you. I will comeback.
This setback just prepares my comeback.
And so for you too. Whatever setback you have now is only preparing you for your great comeback in Lord Jesus Christ.
Stay tuned and keep supporting.
My wife and I appeared on In the Arena with Msgr. Harrington talking about living holiness in family life. We're at minute 24:40. We also speak about participating in a wonderful ecclesial movement called Heart's Home.
Oh, and I got the scripture reference wrong. It's 1 Thessalonians 2:8: "So we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well." So good this verse. What is critical in this generation is that as we share the gospel, even more we share our lives. Enjoy.
We previously appeared on In the Arena talking about marriage, family, and love.
A friend recently purchased his first iPhone and he asked me what to do. Here’s what I wrote:
so you bought an iPhone.
I have so much to say right now, but first off, good choice. This computer you have in your hand is three things - an ipod, a phone, and an internet communicator. Here is what I recommend beyond the stock apps that come with your new iPhone:
Dropbox - E S S E N T I A L
1Password - also essential
Divine Office 2 - pray, pray, pray
Accordance - my Bibles with commentaries, concordances, hebrew, greek, and archeology
ReadingPlan - great way to plan and complete your daily Bible reading
Mass Times - when can I receive the Lord next
The Pope App - because …
YNAB - our budgeting software and philosophy
Cash - simplest way to pay and get paid
Ångström - conversion of moneys, units, etc
Nike Running - track my runs and geek out at my efforts to be the better version of me
Tabata - excellent timer for interval training
Withings - yes, I have a weight scale connect to the internet, what have I become … several pounds lighter, but still … come on
Training Peaks - a way for me to see my workout plan for the day/week
Carousel - an easy way to backup all photos to dropbox and then view them in a very nice timeline
Pixelmator - advanced and beautifully designed editor
SKRWT - very good for correcting iphone distortions in photos
VSCO - lots of people like this one too
Google Maps - better
Yelp - it sometimes works
Seamless - “Honey, I’m cooking tonight.” Quickly goes to phone and orders an awesome take out meal. Nice
synchronize - timezone calculator
Google Translate - Learn important words in Spanish - “Cerveza Grande”
utilities for work:
PDF Pen 2 - the best PDF viewer, editor, and creator on your phone - so much more to say here
PDF Pen Scan+ - the best way to take images of papers, books, and text to convert to PDF on your phone. And it does OCR - Honey!
Papers 3 - all my research all the time in PDF and citation forms
Textexpander - type less and better
Fantastical - a better calendar in so many ways
OmniFocus - this is a world - I implement the GTD method and this is my app for getting the better things done
Dark Sky - it’s like sticking your hand out the window
Check the Weather - it’s like Dark Sky but prettier
Byword - a delightful way to write
Day One - a wonderful way to journal
it is also an ipod:
Apple Music is always on and I’m enjoying it, but most importantly, I listen to …
doctorsutton - yes I have my own podcast channel - talks, presentations, much more soon
- Above & Beyond: Group Therapy
- Back to Work
- The Critical Path
- The Flop House
- In Our Time
- The Incomparable
- Jesus Culture Leadership Podcast
- Jesus Culture Sacramento Church Podcast
- Mac Power Users
- Passion City Church Podcast
- Philosophy Bites
- Rodrick on the Line
- Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me
So much more to say here. But, these are some of the apps I’m using now. I know you’ll discover more so please share them. Oh and I also wrote a blog post about how I use my iPad in my teaching. You can find it here.
And, of course, people are more important than tech. Always.
The whole world is a stage. Well, okay, Shakespeare, but I believe that the reverse is also true — the stage is the whole world. At least, this statement is especially true when I am performing on a stage in a play. My whole world changes to the stage. The stage is all I can think about. On stage my awareness must become focused on every second of the performance, to try to make sure the scene as appealing to the audience as possible. But with my thoughts centered on myself, I, like any other actor, begin to question my capability as a performer.
This problem of confidence became more apparent in a recent production of Talley's Folly in which I stared. In this play, there are only two actors throughout the entire show. There are no set changes and no breaks for the actors to go back stage for a breather. We, Vicki and I, were up there on stage for the whole performance that lasts for an hour and a half. I didn't mind all the lines involved, but what really killed me hard was the rehearsal. Vicki and I had to spill out our blood and energy to the director usually for up to four hours, every night, for three months. It felt like … oh … a rhinoceros was pounding his freshly polished horn right into my gut. Of course, he wouldn't take the horn out but he would ever so gently twist the horn to cause as much pain as rhinocerosly possible. Please understand there is no "intentional" connection between the rhinoceros and the director. Let's just say there are scars and leave it at that.
Now back to this problem, I consider myself a rather confident person; I mean, I have been performing plays all through high school. I sing at concerts, I emcee at talent shows, and I sometimes cartwheel at circuses. I perform for people and I love it and need it. Being up there on a stage is very thrilling and even essential. However, with this play, Talley's Folly, I could not be the same high school actor I used to be. I had to change into this serious college actor. This was not my chance to be Tin Man again. As rehearsals progressed, I started saying, "Whoa! Shouldn't there be some more graduale transition before I dip my green-horned feet into the college acting pool.” Although I had great preparation in high school with an amazing director, this part of playing Matt Friedman, of course the part shares my name, was extremely more involved than any other part I had ever done. Let me be honest, this part and play was probably one of the toughest things I have ever done.
I began to feel very unqualified for the position. Don't get me wrong I was giving it the most I had, but it hurt tremendously. One does not take on rhinos when you an eighteen-lanky-year-old. The few friends I had around campus encouraged me. Some would say, "You'll get it." But, this provided false comfort. Sure, I'll get it, but when and how well will I get it? At that time the pressure this part brought to me was extinguishing my life. I couldn't wait till the whole play would be over, then I'd have my life back. I kept on wishing that the future would be now. My whole world became engrossed in the play and even more so my complete inadequacy at completing this part with the hopes of getting a throw-a-way "good job" from the director. The play was no longer play, but work, hard work. Mind you, it wasn't hell, but the director did breathe fire through those rhinocerous nostrils.
After a tiring rehearsal one night, I was lying on my bed trying to relax when the phone rang. I collected what energy I had and answered. The voice sounded vaguely familiar, but I couldn't tell.
"Hi Matt! How is everything? This is your uncle Larry." LARRY!
First I should explain. It’s not common for Larry to call me, its long-distance from New York City and, second, he is a busy, successful actor-musician-director on Broadway.
"Wow! Larry, why did you call?"
He said he had heard about this grand production of a play I'm in and wanted to wish me to break a leg (we were opening in two nights). I told him I needed as much leg-breaking as he could muster for me because I was having a difficult time with this part. For once, I believed my stress was understood. Of course, he never said, "Well, this is what you should do." He just told me about how he was doing and where he was going with his life. Larry has had a great amount of success with his move to New York City. He worked in the great Broadway productions of Cats, Les Miserables, and others. But now he found himself at a time to reevaluate what he wanted out of life. Unfortunately, he was facing a problem; he was getting caught in a downward spiral. He kept thinking that here he was a kid from a small town in Kansas trying to make it in New York City. What chance did he even have at becoming successful? But these he also started asking the other question, what chance would he have if he kept thinking he didn't have a chance. He said he was trying his best to avoid that self-doubting downward spiral that starts out innocent enough but soon enough becomes a real whirlpool of despair. He said he ought to be going, but one more time he wished me to break a leg.
When the shock of him calling started to fad away, I began to realize what he had said. Oh my! I had started down this spiral of despair and I had never realized that I wasn’t giving myself the chance to shine. My problem wasn't me so much as it was my constant self-doubting evaluation of myself. Why did I need to do this? I love acting. I enjoy the thrill of the stage and the challenge of creating a character that will make the audience fall in love. Looking at myself was the thing that was tearing me apart. Looking to what good I could do will build me up.
I went to practice the next day with this new found courage and finally felt like I was playing with the whole world in the play. I enjoyed every minute of the performances, not as Matt Sutton the actor, but as Matt Friedman, the lovelable romantic hoping for a kiss from Sally Talley. In my absence of courage I found despair; in the presence of courage I found joy. Thanks Larry.
written for English 111-14 on Oct. 24, 1995 with only slight revision
For more about Larry, see him on Broadway.
On April 12, 2015, I will be running the Queens Half Marathon — not for myself, but for compassion. I’m running to raise donations for the mission of Heart’s Home USA, Brooklyn. They serve the poorest of the poor in my city, New York City.
These people are saints. If Mother Teresa chose New York City, it would look like this. And that is why we should support them in whatever way we can.
“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 21:1).
If you would like to contribute, here’s how:
Your professor (that’s me) has assigned you several required books because he thinks they will guide you to your goal to be a young intellectual and wisdom professional.
Some speak about this current age as the Information Age because so much information is accessible to so many people. Something new has happened in the history of humanity. Time was, one would need to undergo heroic tasks to acquire the information that is now so readily available to you on your phone, wrist, or glasses. There is something great here for the future of humanity, but most use this Information Age to access stupid information. You know what I’m talking about. Now you know, but did you really need to know?
Your educational path with me means that I hope to train you in becoming a wisdom professional — accessing the galactic nebulae of information, guiding them into sun-forming knowledge (something that you know and that’s not just accessible to you) and then transforming it a proper solar system of wisdom (knowledge that now guides you toward being a better you and guides our culture to being a better culture).
That’s me — forming your mind into a solar system — and that’s why we are reading this.