Believing the best about God

Burying the talent

Our assumptions about God affect our experience of him. My mind returned to this thought several times while recently reflecting on the parable of the talents.The story, which Jesus tells in Matthew 25, is familiar to most of us. Before a man of means departs on a lengthy journey, he deposits some of his wealth into the hands of his three servants: five talents to the first, two to the second, and one to the third.As soon as he's gone, the men get busy.Different servants, different … [Read more...]

What a garden can teach us: A lenten reflection

The spiritual side of gardening

I spent some time this weekend gardening. Megan and I recently purchased a new house -- actually, a very old one -- and it was evident that the yard work had slipped. So after mustering up the resolve, we sallied forth with clippers and rakes in hand.And what did we have to show for our efforts besides seven bags of leaves and clippings and one rather large pile of branches and scrub?As I trimmed and pruned and cut and dug, I reflected on how gardening helps us better understand certain … [Read more...]

It doesn’t work and might drive you crazy: More on DIY spirituality

mikecogh, Flickr

Anyone who acts as their own lawyer has a fool for a client, as the old saying goes. We all know this, but somehow someone who serves as their own priest, spiritual father, confessor, or guru is wise?If you want to get fit and in shape, you see a physical trainer, maybe a dietician. If you want to get your accounts in order and plan for the future, you see a financial advisor. If you want to get the most out of your sporting endeavors, you see a coach. If you want to get past psychological … [Read more...]

The danger of do-it-yourself spirituality

diy spirituality

I was reading Tom Wolfe's 1976 New York magazine article, "The 'Me' Decade and the Third Great Awakening," and I was struck by the similarities with today.A significant change occurred in the culture after World War II, one that really manifested in the middle 1960s. Widespread economic growth allowed people previously unknown levels of self-indulgence. The focus on the self from all angles -- economic, spiritual, psychological, etc. -- began to intensify through the 1950s and '60s.The … [Read more...]

Don’t be afraid to ignore yourself

Feel free to ignore yourself

According to the Life of the Elder Moses of Optina, a troubled monk visited the elder, seeking his counsel."Batiushka," he said, "there is a thought that is bothering me a lot.""And what does your thought say to you, brother?" asked the elder."Well, Batiushka, my thought says to me that you're not doing this right, and you're not doing that right. . . ."The elder sat quietly and listened while the monk went on at some length about the remembrance of his failures and the … [Read more...]

It’s the little sins that kill you

Little Fox

Judas Iscariot didn't begin with betrayal in mind, and David didn't intend adultery and murder. But then one day they sat alone, their minds consumed with guilt and recrimination, the deeds done.How? Judas was one of the twelve. David was a man after God's own heart. What went wrong? The question is important if we want to avoid our own personal and spiritual disasters.One thing I know: It's not the exotic sins that get us. We're mastered by the moral failures we've already made mundane … [Read more...]

Let the Bible elevate your mind

Holy Bible

There's a conversation running right now on the relative value of certain Bible translations.Depending on who's talking and for what purpose, it might strike some as tedious. I happen to enjoy the discussion, and I think there's one strain that's worthy of consideration for those interested in how language might affect their spirituality.In discussing the recent republication of the Knox Bible, a mid-twentieth century translation, Michael Brendan Dougherty mentions one "fatal" flaw, the … [Read more...]


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