How to Write a Pompous Letter

I get asked to write a lot of recommendation letters. Today I’m writing three of them. Perhaps because I have so many other things to do today, I’m wasting time staring at my computer screen, pondering the particulars of letter writing, with which, up until now, I have not unduly concerned myself. How should I [Read More…]

Harnessing the Darkness

As Easter approaches a lot of people are under the mistaken belief that being a Christian means living in a state of untroubled emotional bliss. They may feel that periods of anxiety and depression make one repellent to God. They may feel that they should not even attempt to scale the Kilimanjaro spiritual heights of [Read More…]

What Gives??

A pastor friend of mine told me the following story recently. About  ten years ago he was serving as a local pastor in Houston and owned a lake house on Lake Livingston in East Texas. The house was located in a wooded area with only two other dwellings nearby. His neighbor to the left was [Read More…]

Getting Our Story Straight

I am teaching a course on preaching and storytelling at Perkins School of Theology this spring. Every Tuesday afternoon from 1:30-4:20, 12 of us gather to hear stories, tell stories. and reflect on why they are such a powerhouse and how they function in our lives. We’re shaping an understanding of Christian preaching as placing [Read More…]

Condiments Don’t Make a Meal!

I heard a comedienne one time talking about the problem with her cooking.  She said she was all condiments and no entrées. Every night, as suppertime approached and she peered into her fridge, she asked herself the same question: “How do make an entrée from a fridge full of condiments?” I haven’t been cooking much [Read More…]

Have a Heart!

It’s Valentine’s Day and so my thoughts turn to hearts, understood as the inner impulses we offer to God and as the beating heart in each of our chests. I was talking with a friend of mine after church last week. Peggy is a vascular cardio sonographer. I always associate sonograms with pregnancy, but come [Read More…]

Appreciating our Gifts: Andrea Bocelli, the Barefoot Contessa and Dirk Nowitski

On a recent flight from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Dallas, I read the lead article in the January 2013 issue of American Way Magazine. It was about the Italian classical music singer Andrea Bocelli. Bocelli has tremendous natural talent, but he also has worked hard to hone and cultivate it. The result is 22 albums [Read More…]

Snacking on a Rosary at Half Time

Two summers ago I led a group of students on a travel seminar to South Africa for 2 weeks. Half the time we spent at a convent/ retreat center near Cape Town. My assigned quarters were in the main building, right across from the business office and gift shop. Before I left I bought a [Read More…]

Call back!

I got a message on my office voice mail yesterday afternoon from a colleague. She had taken over as the chair of a committee I led last year. “I have a question about what went on last fall so we don’t reinvent a wheel that is already rolling. Please call me so you can fill [Read More…]

The Best Advice You Never Took

“What is a proverb you remember from growing up?”I began the morning by asking the thirty people seated around tables with their Bibles and notebooks open. They were from United Methodist, Presbyterian, Church of Christ and Episcopalian backgrounds and had gathered in the fellowship hall at St Paul’s United Methodist Church, Houston for the Perkins [Read More…]