Blue Christmas: When Your Days Aren’t Merry and Bright

Asher

In my family mourning was not done publicly. Therefore, I, as a child, assumed it was not done at all. Both sets of grandparents died and I recall hidden tears, the quick turn away to look out a window, the closing of a door. This mysterious behavior seemed to commence with the announcement of death and end immediately after the funeral. Of course, if mourning is private, almost secretive as though shameful, there can be no comforting. Now I discover that, if honest emotion is shared, t … [Read more...]

Can You Feel the Wheel of the Year Turning? A Spirituality of Winter

Wheel_of_the_Year

Can you feel the “Wheel of the Year” turning?In this season of each day growing incrementally shorter, can you sense our inexorable movement, here in the Northern Hemisphere, toward Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year? It can be easy to feel caught up in the darkening of our days: disheartened, discarded, even depressed. At various times, I have experienced each of these responses to winter.As a way of navigating seasonal shifts, I have become increasingly interested in and ben … [Read more...]

Water Communion: “A River Runs through It”

220px-A_river_runs_through_it_cover

Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the … [Read more...]

The First Source: Direct Experience

photo-79

In 1962, only a couple of years after I was born, pollsters found that 2% of Americans claimed to have had a “mystical experience” of God. In 1976...that number had risen to 31% of the population.... By 2009, 48% of Americans confessed that they had had a mystical encounter with the divine. ...Not everyone who has experienced [the Sacred] afresh is an evangelical, fundamentalist, or Pentecostal. Indeed, they hail from many sorts of faiths.... What if the 1970s were not simply an evangelical rev … [Read more...]

How To Lead a Congregational Discernment Process

resize

Discernment was a major emphasis of my spiritual direction training at San Francisco Theological Seminary. The following is adapted from my coursework, and is based on a congregational discernment process that I have used in the past and continue to refine.Ground Rules (adapted from Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis, MN)You don’t get to complain about what you’re not willing to help fix. Every vision/passion has to have someone’s name on it. Week OneWhat aspects of this congr … [Read more...]

Highlights from “Children, Youth & a New Kind of Christianity”

CYNKC

This past week I had the privilege of attending a conference focused on the future of children and youth ministry, which was inspired by Brian McLaren's book A New Kind of Christianity. To learn more about the conference or to see supplementary opportunities, visit http://children-youth.com. (The website also features more information about the speakers listed below: http://children-youth.com/speakers). The following are some of the highlights from the conference. Caveat: Because I was l … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X