Reading a List of the Names of People Who Lived a Long, Long Time Ago and Being Inspired By It

Today I read 1 Chronicles 2, which is nothing more than a list of names and names and names: fathers and wives and concubines and sons and daughters, one Egyptian slave, clans and kin and houses. Some might choose to roll over dead before reading such a thing; others might get to sleep long before reading the names of the sons born to Caleb and his wife Azubah. For whatever weird reason, I rather enjoy the biblical genealogies.All these individuals, each named, each having full experiences … [Read More...]

Hangs My Helpless Soul on Thee

It is a mystery, unsolved and unsolvable, why some people believe and others do not, why some hear an odd echo of a forgotten voice within and some do not, why some see Jesus and others do not. “Why do you reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” asked one of his disciples. Yes, indeed, why?Jesus rarely answers questions with “Because ….” In fact, does he ever give a because? Does he ever make clear such mysteries? “Why was this man born blind?” “Should we pay taxes?” “Why did the tower o … [Read More...]

Sweeter Far Thy Face to See: An Easter Reflection, John 20.1-18

The Risen Christ Appearing to Mary Magdalene, RembrandtOh Jesus! To collapse in grief, in the sense of utter hopelessness that the death of any beloved—but oh, your death, you who have given us the light of a new life, the hope of the unquenchable love of God, the vision of something beyond the h … [Read More...]

Nearing the End of Lent

 Perhaps it is too soon to let go of Lenten longings, but it is never too soon to remember that they "accomplish" nothing. We make the great and terrible efforts, but they are just efforts, and they have no real merit. "There is no calamity but Sin alone," Thomas Traherne writes. To embrace … [Read More...]

Why Do You Reveal Yourself to Us and Not to the World?

 We all recognize that our social media feeds these days are a frenzy of outrage, disgust, frustration, and vitriol. Christians actually seem the most frenzied. It is inconceivable, we think, that certain people resist what are obviously decent and moral policies, practices, or p … [Read More...]

Alternative Lenten Disciplines (Not for Everyone)

We need to get creative about our Lenten disciplines. The annual giving-up-chocolate-for-Lent is a fairly hackneyed practice, and it’s hard to know just what it is meant to accomplish. I’ve given up Lenten practices that really don’t change the way I think or pray or see the world.I just came fro … [Read More...]

Prayers: Thomas Aquinas

 "Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you. Amen."   Photo by liljc716, Flickr C.C. … [Read More...]

Prayers: Sadhu Sundar Singh

 "O Lord God, who are all in all to me, Life of my life and Spirit of my spirit, have mercy on me and so fill me with your Holy Spirit and with love that there may be no room for anything else in my heart. I ask not for any blessing, but for just yourself, you who are the giver of all … [Read More...]

A Descent Into Darkness, but Never Alone

When I read the stories in Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade, I’m reminded of our own family’s journey of loss—the whispered conversations, the hurried runs over to Grandma’s house, the phone calls with out-of-state family, the boxing up of a house of memories, and the quiet goodbyes. Grandma left … [Read More...]

Life in the Spirit: The Guiding God, Part 2

  “The mind and soul of a mature man of prayer have simplified their gaze, and deepened and broadened their correspondences with Reality… Such a soul knows existence, is aware of the mysterious movements and pressure of the Spirit, in a way others do not.” ~ Evelyn Underhill Last week I wrote … [Read More...]

Life in the Spirit: God Guiding, or, Spirit as Sherpa

 I began this series with a comment about the ways I have often imagined the Spirit as an ayah—a constant companion, teacher, friend, and surrogate mother. While I’ve come to understand and experience the Spirit as much more than that, the ayah image has not faded, but rather intensified. So … [Read More...]

Life in the Spirit: God Tending

Now that Lent is over, it’s back to life as usual. No more arduous efforts, no more talk of self-deprivation, no more trial and drama and spiritual angstiness. Yay for Fifty Days of Easter! Bring on the chocolate!But let’s not waste our Lent. Recalling our spiritual history might help a bit. We u … [Read More...]

Would You Rather Find Jesus Alive or Dead?

In the upcoming movie Risen, billed as a story about "the manhunt that changed the course of human history," Roman soldier Clavius (played by Joseph Fiennes) is commissioned with the task of finding the body of Jesus. First he crucifies him, then he loses him. With all the brutal focus of a … [Read More...]

Where Does (Your) Faith Come From?

 Working as I do in the wood between the worlds of religion, I am daily immersed in the conversations within various believing and non-believing traditions. Broadly speaking, and with notable exceptions, there are three kinds of essays.Some are conversations within the tradition, either … [Read More...]