Babette’s Feast, Unconditional Love & Generosity

I watched the tail end of one of my favorite movies last night: Babette’s Feast. I absolutely love that whole feast sequence. I was powerfully moved by Babette’s selfless generosity to do what she loves doing: being a chef. She generously and sacrificially spent all 10,000 francs of her lottery winnings to give 12 people the feast of their lives.I believe in divine timing. Just that day I was wrestling with being a pastor. Lately, it has been a real struggle serving the church. I went for a … [Read more...]

Kafka’s Ax and Art

Jeanne Murray Walker in her essay, “Breaking the Illusions: What Playwrights Owe to Actors,” in the journal IMAGE (summer, 2005): “Kafka said that art is like an ax that chops through the frozen sea within us” (p.88).This is why I write, play, and listen to music. This is why I paint and look at art. This is why I write and read. This is why I watch movies. This is why I teach and listen to teachers.When we crystallize ourselves into a position, most often it has the effect of freezin … [Read more...]

God is Here Now.

“This is eternal life, that they may know you” (John 17:3). This verse got me thinking the other day about the fullness of life in the here and now. Then I read Chambers sometime this weekend, and he also says that knowing God in Christ is “one amazing, glorious NOW!” This is the fullness of the moment, doxology, benediction, blessing, abundance, right now, this second.I didn’t preach yesterday. My good friend and co-pastor Doug Mawer did. But I lead worship. I am a part of a congrega … [Read more...]

Love and Church Membership

Listen to this passage from N. T. Wright’s, What Saint Paul Really Said:“A brief word about love. Paul does not mean that all Christians should feel warm fuzzy feelings for each other. That romantic and existentialist reading of agape does not begin to capture what is really going on. The critical thing is that the church, those who worship God in Christ Jesus, should function as a family in which every member is accepted as an equal member, no matter what their social, cultural or moral ba … [Read more...]

Suffering and Escape

The August 10th entry in Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost For His Highest is a commentary on 1 Peter 4:19, a difficult verse to read, understand, and live: “Let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good…”Chambers says, “Choosing to suffer means that there must be something wrong with you, but choosing God’s will—even if it means you will suffer—is something very different. No normal, healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he simply chooses Go … [Read more...]

Faith Ain’t Always Sweet

I read Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost For His Highest this morning, as I do most mornings. I love the sheer honesty of his insights. In today’s entry he comments on Revelation 1:17: “And when I saw Him, I fell at his feet as dead.”“It may be that like the apostle John you know Jesus Christ intimately, when suddenly He appears with no familiar characteristic at all, and the only thing you can do is to fall at His feet as dead. There are times when God cannot reveal Himself in any other way … [Read more...]

Leadership and Wealth

In Elie Wiesel’s book, Night, he relates a story of a man called Moishe. They would have theological discussions now and then. Moishe asked Elie who he prayed to and why. Elie asked Moishe the same question in return. Moishe said, “I pray to the God within me for the strength to ask Him the real questions” (p. 5). Yes, the courage to ask the real questions!So, I’m just asking questions… questions that have haunted me for years and years. Here’s something that directly applies to the … [Read more...]

Nouwen, Wounded Prophet, the Church

I’ve been thinking a bit about ministry and what it means to be a pastor. I keep asking myself the question: “Is it possible for all kinds of different people to dwell together in unity?” That is, can a particular local church be made up of a wide variety of people, and yet be united? Can there be true unity in vast diversity? I’m not just talking about diversity in appearance or superficial issues, but diversity in beliefs, theology, and lifestyles. This is the kind of church I envision … [Read more...]


“Innumerable times a whole Christian community has broken down because it has sprung from a wish dream. The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be and try to realize it. But God’s grace speedily shatters such dreams. Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed be a great disillusionment with o … [Read more...]

The Difficulty

"... the cry of the sceptic and the defeated is revealed in Jesus' own agony at Gethsemane and Golgotha. The choice to believe in the sovereignty of divine love, and to consent to the forgiveness of all, is much more hidden in the mystery of divine grace... The failure to recognize the difficulty of faith is, finally, a failure to comprehend the evil in the world with sufficient depth. The evil in the world, revealed on the cross, so hides God that only divine grace can reveal God and enable one … [Read more...]