Messy and connected

“If I don’t know how to connect in my mess, I miss a lot of loving. “ It is an odd moment to be a favorite.But it’s mine.My favorite liturgical moment of the church year happens today, Ash Wednesday, in the middle of the service. It is the moment when I exchange the peace of Christ with my neighbors in the midst of ashes on my head and theirs.It is an experience somewhat foreign to me: connection in the middle of mess.For most of my life, I lived in the context of a faith traditi … [Read more...]

A Holy Rant

Why is it that most Christians assume that spirituality is a unisex reality?Why have I, in 55 years of church attendance, never heard a sermon on gender differences in spirituality and only one that even acknowledged it as real (thanks Bob C.)?Why is it that in a culture where we talk more and more about gender difference in how we shop and have heart attacks and think, we neglect to talk about how we experience God differently?Why is there not a course in gender different … [Read more...]

Geography and spirituality

"She (Sarah) planted herself not on the edge but in the center of God’s land of promise..."Kathleen Norris opened her book Dakota with this quotation from Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gassett: “Tell me the landscape in which you live, and I will tell you who you are.” Of equal intrigue to me is this quotation that I found a few years ago, carved into a stone in front of Palmer Auditorium here in Austin.  It was penned by a well-known Texas legend, J. Frank Dobie. “Great literature … [Read more...]

Self-compassion and resistance

"We tend to believe that we welcome compassion; that the world could never have enough.  At the same time, we often resist compassion,..."She was my first introduction to these thoughts on our resistance to compassion.  I have to admit that every time I read the words of this early review of my most recent book, My Own Worst Enemy, I still flinch. “Out of everything that I disagreed with the most in this book I can't complete this review without stating that adultery is NEVER okay. Yo … [Read more...]

Greater love and messy hope

"The story of transformation and the story of fixing are two different story lines."- Bob CarltonIt is a simple observation actually, but powerful in its implication: The love of heaven is greater than the love of Eden. Most of us are inclined to want to go back to Eden: innocence, perfection, the cool of the day, rest.But God has lovingly blocked that gate to draw us, okay force us, to seek another way, a greater way.The love of heaven is a proven love, a tested love, a … [Read more...]

Uni-sex spirituality?

“Though the church may have missed noticing gender different spirituality, God had not missed writing it into that ancient sacred book.”Many of us in the Christian world grow up with an assumption of a unisex spirituality. Though we readily admit that men and women are different biologically and psychologically, we often stop there in our thinking.  In 54 years in church, I’ve never heard a sermon on gender different spirituality.If we do think further, sometimes we realize that the forms … [Read more...]