Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s advice for Graduates who are Trying to Discern the Will of God

“This must be God’s will” is a phrase often used to cover all manner of sins. Misuse of the will-of-God-card notwithstanding, seeking divine guidance has always been an essential aspect of discipleship. My paradigm for how to discern God’s will isn’t comprised of three easy steps or a scripted process. I have no principles or guidelines to offer in this discussion. What I do have to offer is Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer was 27 years old and a leading youth worker in the German... Read more

Is This What Revolution Looks Like? If So, the Church Is Blowing It.

We may be living through a period in history that is every bit as revolutionary as the revolutions of 1848 that swept through Sicily, France, Germany, Italy, and Austria.  In trying to understand this confusing moment in our history I can’t help wondering if this is what revolution actually looks like? As a pastor, I get to visit with people who are all over the political spectrum. I have found there is one singular issue that everyone can agree on right now: we have... Read more

A Fanatical Devotion to Death

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote about what he termed: a fanatical devotion to death. He wrote, “When death is the end, then earthly life is everything or nothing.” I’ve been pondering those words this morning, and wondering: how many of us live with a fanatical devotion to death? What he means is that when we believe death is the end, then dealing with the reality of death becomes the prime motivator for life. If death is the end, then we can take one of... Read more

10 Stunning Facts About Davinci’s Last Supper for Maundy Thursday

Every year on Maundy Thursday our church does a short visio divina around Leonardo DaVinci’s famous mural, “The Last Supper.” This practice, and this painting, have both come a rich part of our Holy Week tradition. Here are a few fun facts about Davinci’s famous masterpiece: DaVinci didn’t choose the subject matter. The work was commissioned by the Duke of Milan (Lodovico Sforza), and as was often the case in a commissioned work, the subject matter was chosen for DaVinci. The painting... Read more

When ISIS Bombs a Church on Palm Sunday, What’s their Endgame, and How Can We Subvert it?

The ISIS endgame is a hustle: carry out acts of violence so despicable that they create world-wide backlash & war. I am bewildered by the footage of bombs going off inside Christian churches in Egypt while worshippers gather to celebrate on Palm Sunday. Grief. Sadness. Confusion. I will never understand what could possibly consume a person that they would throw away their one and only shot at this life in order murder others in cold blood. Life is too beautiful and... Read more

“I’ve Seen Too Much Hate to Want to Hate … Hate is Too Great a Burden to Bear”

It’s grief that you are feeling; a deep sorrow, a keen mental suffering, a sharp inner affliction. We all feel it. Our world is acutely grief inspiring these days; like two hands around our throats, an inner bruise at the center of the chest. I hate this feeling. But I don’t hate you. Maybe I lived a sheltered life as middle-class white kid from Central Kansas, but I don’t feel like I grew up encountering that much hatred. I simply didn’t see... Read more

6 Surprisingly Sane Habits to Help Your Daily Productivity

I have a complicated relationship with productivity. On one hand, productivity can be about redeeming the time and making the most of my life. Thinking about productivity can push me toward stewardship, maximizing my ability to spend time on things that matter most. On the other hand, productivity can quickly veer off in the direction of neurotic need for achievement resulting in chronic stress; a sign that I am over-identified with my own accomplishments and attaching too much of my self-worth to... Read more

I Am Surrounded by Neighbors, and I Am Grateful

I’m sitting here in my office on a Friday morning, trying to make myself work. It’s 7am and the neighborhood is waking up. My kids are home asleep – no school today for them. But here in the neighborhood kids are already on the move. I’ve seen a couple of young hispanic men from the youth group already, walking to a friend’s house to catch a ride, or crossing the street to watch the neighbor’s kids until it’s time for... Read more

Why Christians Need to Observe Lent

Why do Christians need to fast during Lent? Because most of us have just about everything we could ever need. We are basically want for nothing, and that situation is toxic to the human soul. We have lost track of what it means to be human. Observing Lent can help us get it back. In the 1920s & 1930s the three biggest sports were baseball, horse racing, & boxing. In 1926, a tough nineteen-year-old named Jim Braddock decided to try his... Read more

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Worry, Violence & Loving Our Enemies

Worry: “Do not worry! Earthly goods deceive the human heart into believing that they give it security and freedom from worry. But in truth, they are what cause anxiety. The heart which clings to goods receives with them the choking burden of worry. Worry collects treasures, and treasures produce more worries. We desire to secure our lives with earthly goods; we want our worrying to make us worry-free, but the truth is the opposite. The chains which bind us to... Read more