How to Pray When You Don’t Believe in God: Some Perspective from Frederick Buechner

On my sabbatical I’ve been slowly reading back through the trilogy of Frederick Buechner’s memoirs. I’ve read them all more than once, so for variety’s sake I took them in reverse order – Telling Secrets, Now and Then, The Sacred Journey. The middle book contains what has to be one of my favorite bits of writing by Buechner in all his work. He tells the story of going to a seminar on prayer. The presenter was an Episcopalian faith-healer (I… Read more

Reporters Are Actually Forced to Have Integrity – Here’s How It Works

I’m so tired of hearing the fake news meme, especially because true reporters are actually forced to have integrity. Here’s what I mean. The phrase fake news entered the American lexicon during the 2016 presidential campaign. Headlines like “FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide” were completely fabricated. This particular article, written by a man named Jestin Coler, was shared on Facebook over a half-million times. That kind of traffic generates income for fake news writers like… Read more

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.

Corporations have slowly, silently, and effectively seized the mechanisms of government, and corrupted them to serve their own needs over and above the needs of the citizenry. What is a Christian to do? 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

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