Chronic Pain, Shame, & Being Dependent (Not Addicted) to Opioids

The simple fact that I’ve found an effective treatment allowing me to live an active life with significant disability is obscured by the controversy, fear, stigma and caution that surround opioid prescribing. Read more

The Limits of Gratitude

Gratitude is having a moment in our culture. Lifestyle gurus, including Oprah, tout the positive effects of expressing gratitude through letters or journal entries. Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts spent 60 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and spawned journals, notepads, and other tools with which you can literally count your blessings. Studies suggest that gratitude improves mental and physical health, relationships, the quality of your sleep, and more. © 2011 happy_serendipity, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via… Read more

My Christmas Pageant Moment

This post was originally published on the Episcopal Café web site on January 21, 2010, and has been reprinted in my church bulletin for several Christmases. When I wrote it, my kids were much smaller, Christmas Eve more challenging as we aimed to do all the important things—prepare food, pick up those last few groceries—while shepherding three overexcited, wired kids through a pageant and dinner to follow. This year, two of my children are still in the pageant, but no longer as… Read more

Top 10 Posts of 2015: On Empathy, Planned Parenthood, What Would Jesus Do, and More

Yes, I’m jumping the gun by a couple of weeks, by posting my top 10 blog posts of the year on December 18. But honestly, given my list of things that need doing before Christmas and the fact that one of my favorite things about this holiday is the lazy week between Christmas and New Year’s, during which we sleep in, read a lot, and play games in front of the fireplace, I doubt that I’ll post again this year or… Read more

Redefining “Fruitful”: Is Procreation a Divine Mandate?

I have an article in the latest issue of Sojourners magazine, looking at fresh theology questioning the oh-so-American notion that traditional nuclear families consisting of a heterosexual couple and biological or adopted children is God’s ideal. What if, in fact, the New Testament undermines the primacy of biological family, rather than holding it up as ideal? What if procreation isn’t a divine mandate, and while central to many human cultures, isn’t central to the kingdom of God? As I argue in this article,… Read more

Hope is the Hard and Necessary Work of Advent

Practicing Advent hope in the face of hopelessness is the fundamental—sometimes hardest—work God has given us to do. We are tempted to either rush through the disquieting ambivalence of Advent to get to clear-eyed Christmas joy, or dismiss it all as a foolish fairy tale belied by the world’s harsh realities. Read more

Serving God When You’re Not Sure God is There

Following God’s call doesn’t require that we feel a particular way, only that we show up to do the work. Read more

Why I’m Not Capable of an Equitable Distribution of Empathy for Terror Attacks

In the immediate aftermath of the Paris terror attacks, we need to offer one another grace to voice our grief and anger, skewed as they may be by the limitations and affinities that render our responses imperfect, and unmistakably human. Read more

Spotlight: A Film About Devotion to Truth, the Church, and a God Who Shows Up in Unexpected Places

Of the many remarkable things about the new film Spotlight, the most remarkable is that this moving, engrossing, occasionally thrilling movie is mostly about a bunch of people—a team of investigative journalists at the Boston Globe known as “Spotlight”— going to work and doing their jobs. The filmmakers and actors draw us into the quiet drama of the newsroom without a single gimmick—no office romance, no explosive intra-office conflict, no idealistic newbie challenging the complacent or corrupt old guard, no dramatic speechifying… Read more

On Marriage, Church, and Sticking Around When Things Get Hard

In both marriages and churches, sometimes the challenge is to stay in the aftermath of serious hurts and major betrayals. More often, the challenge is to stay when things have become dull and predictable and exhausting. Read more

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