Thomas Merton on Suffering

No Man is An Island is slowly becoming my favorite among the many writings of Thomas Merton. This book is a deep well. Today I was reading from Chapter 5, “The Word of the Cross,” in which Merton explores the role pain and suffering plays in human life. This is a quick summary of what Merton is teaching me [Read More…]

Prayers Going Out to Jimmie Carter Today

I love the fact that after being president of the United States, starting Habitat for Humanity, a life of active international diplomacy, and a battle with cancer earlier this year, Jimmie Carter still teaches Sunday School and takes it seriously. I was sad to hear today that his grandson went down for a nap and [Read More…]

10 Ways to Make Your Life Better

I ran across this question recently and it immediately got my imagination going: What are 10 (or fewer) good habits for a person that can make life better? The habit thing seemed constrictive, but the more general question of 10 ways to make your life better kept piquing my imagination, so I decided to try and give it [Read More…]

A Priest Walks Into a Bar: Why the Pope’s Visit was Good for Congress & Your Friday Funny All Wrapped Up in One

Why are there so many jokes about a priest walking into a bar? Why was it so powerful when Pope Francis addressed a joint session of Congress? Same reason. The premise of the priest-in-a-bar joke is that someone holy has walked into an unholy place. Bars–or so the jokes suppose–are places where people say and do questionable things they [Read More…]

Why the Church Is In Decline…

I love the church. I believe in the church. I believe in the church maybe more than I believe in any other thing in this world. The church is the surest sign I know of that God loves everything he’s created; that God is not done with the world. The church is the singular reality [Read More…]

Scot McKnight on Shrink: Great Is The Enemy Of…

Scot McKnight and I noticed a point of resonance in our two most recent books, and thought it would be fun to interact with the other’s work. Specifically, we are attempting to find points of reverberation around the topics of faithfulness, and the church. The following post is Scot’s engagement with my latest book, Shrink. [Read More…]

Scot McKnight’s A Fellowship of Differents Can Change Your View of the Church

Scot McKnight and I noticed a point of resonance in our two most recent books, and thought it would be fun to interact with the other’s work. Specifically, we are attempting to find points of reverberation around the topics of faithfulness, and the church. This is my engagement with his latest book. For the other side [Read More…]

Resident Aliens 25 Years Later: Stanley Hauerwas & William Willimon at Duke’s 2014 Convocation

I spent the past couple of days at Duke University listening in on conversations between Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon. The event was part of Duke’s annual Convocation and Pastor’s School. Twenty-five years ago Hauerwas and Willimon teamed up to write the book Resident Aliens. To date the book has sold over 160,000 copies, a [Read More…]

A Pastor’s Response to the Washington Navy Yard Shooting

I’ve been struggling to know what to say, if anything, about the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. I could go on a rant about guns – can we all just agree that an AR-15 shouldn’t be in the hands of the general public? I could go on a rant about mental illness – we [Read More…]

Why Suicide Has Become an Epidemic and What We Can Do to Stop It

“Self-harm now takes more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. Why are we killing ourselves, and how can we stop it?” That’s the tag line to a haunting article on the subject of suicide by Tony Dokoupil at The Daily Beast. It’s a stunning look at why suicide rates have reached unprecedented levels worldwide. The [Read More…]


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