How Lent Can Make a Difference in Your Relationship with God: Introduction to Lent

Even my local gas station is advertising Lent special on its gas pumps. I don't think the "Low Low Prices!" on cigarettes are consistent with Lenten themes, however.

The Christian season of Lent begins next week on Ash Wednesday. For many Christians, this is a special season of the year for growing in one’s relationship with God. Other Christians aren’t so sure about Lent’s meaning or value. I am putting up this post before the start of Lent so that you might have [Read More...]

Background to the Confusing Kingdom: Inspiration from the High Calling

Background to the Confusing Kingdom Psalm 110:1-7 The LORD will extend your powerful kingdom from Jerusalem; you will rule over your enemies. Psalm 110:2 Psalm 110 can help us understand why so many of Jesus’ contemporaries were confused about his message and ministry. It also undergirds one of the deepest mysteries of the Gospel. Psalm [Read More...]

How Ash Wednesday Enriches Our Lives and Our Relationship with God

A few years earlier in my son's life

Part 2 of series: Ash Wednesday: What? How? Why? Today, I want to reflect with you on the meaning of Ash Wednesday and how, I believe, it can enrich our lives and our faith. The denial of death . . . it’s all around us. When people die, they are often alone, sequestered in hospitals [Read More...]

What is Ash Wednesday? How Do We Observe Ash Wednesday? Why Should We?

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Part 1 of series: Ash Wednesday: What? How? Why? In just under two weeks, Christians throughout the world will celebrate Ash Wednesday. It has been my tradition for many years to blog on the meaning of Ash Wednesday, putting up that post on the actual day of Ash Wednesday, which, this year, is February 22. [Read More...]

Creation, Contentment, and Work: Chapter 2

My son, when he was young, doing his "work" in the garden (literally, gleaning beans from a field).

In yesterday’s post, I began thinking about contentment in light of the creation narratives in the Bible. Genesis 1 reveals that human beings were created by God in God’s own image. Thus, we are intrinsically to be involved in the creation, exercising the abilities God has given us in his world. This is made explicit [Read More...]

Creation, Contentment, and Work

michelangelo-creation-of-adam-5

In yesterday’s post, I suggested that, for many of us, the paradigm of contentment would be the archetypal person-sitting-on-a-beach-drink-in-hand, someone with nothing to do but enjoy the pleasures of the moment. No worries. No responsibilities. No deadlines. I’ve sometimes heard a Christian version of this paradigm, one in which we find real contentment in life [Read More...]

Considering Contentment

beach-chair-relax-drink-isp-5

Adam Hamilton has me considering contentment. Last Friday, I wrote about a chapter in his book Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity (Abingdon, 2009/12). In “Cultivating Contentment” (ch. 3), Hamilton calls us to develop a sense of contentment in our lives, being satisfied with what we have rather than always striving for more stuff. [Read More...]

What Might You Do If You Really Believed That God Was Here to Help You? Inspiration from The High Calling

What Might You Do If You Really Believed That God Was Here to Help You? Psalm 108:1-13 With God’s help we will do mighty things, for he will trample down our foes. Psalm 108:13 After I completed my coursework for graduate school, I served on the staff of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. I [Read More...]

Cultivating Contentment: A Response to Enough by Adam Hamilton

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Do you have enough? Are you always striving for more? What might truly satisfy you? Will you ever be content? These questions are addressed in a fine book called Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity (Abingdon, 2009/12). It was written by Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in [Read More...]

Blogs vs. Term Papers: The Case for Term Papers

Recently, I have offering some thoughts on the relative value of blogs vs. term papers in higher education. I was inspired by an article in the New York Times: “Blogs vs. Term Papers.” This article describes the convictions of an English professor at Duke to abolish term papers in favor of blogs. As you might [Read More...]

Blogs vs. Term Papers: What I Think About Educational Blogging

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Yesterday, I blogged on the subject: “Blogs vs. Term Papers: What Do You Think?” I was responding to an article in the New York Times that featured a writing professor at Duke who thinks it’s time to retire term papers and to have students blog instead. Today, I will offer a few of my thoughts [Read More...]

Blogs vs. Term Papers: What Do You Think?

Here's how I used to do it. My first typewriter was a Hermes Rocket, like the one pictured above.

I’ve spent a fair amount of my life writing term papers and blog posts. I was a full-time college and grad student for eight years, and then spent nine years (on and off) writing my dissertation (a whopper of a term paper). I estimate that I’ve spend something like 5,000 hours writing papers and 3,000 [Read More...]

Why Do We Confess? Inspiration from the High Calling

Why Do We Confess? Psalm 106:1-48 Like our ancestors, we have sinned. We have done wrong! We have acted wickedly! Psalm 106:6 For the most part, Psalm 106 in an extended confession of sin. The anonymous writer begins by saying “Like our ancestors, we have sinned. We have done wrong! We have acted wickedly!” (106:6). [Read More...]

Should The Government Regulate High Heels?

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Honestly, I’ve never been much into high heels. Given that I’m a 54-year-old male, that’s probably a good thing. About 50 years ago, I wore some of my mom’s high heeled shoes, but only for a few steps before I fell. I couldn’t imagine how people could actually wear them or why they would want [Read More...]

Kickstart Your Dreams

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While some folks take the the streets to camp out and protest economic unfairness in our society, others are Kickstarting the economy and advancing their own dreams. While some complain that you can’t get ahead unless you are rich, others are finding ample funding for their creative visions through the online phenomenon called Kickstarter. I’ve [Read More...]

What You (Really) Need to Know

Lawrence Summers. From Flickr.com.

What do you need to know? Really? And how might you be able to learn this? Questions like these are addressed in a tantalizing piece that appeared recently in the New York Times. Written by Lawrence Summers, former Secretary of the Treasury and President of Harvard University, “What You (Really) Need to Know” examines our [Read More...]


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