Come To The Table (Part 2)

kitchen table

Yesterday, I shared the first half of this fictional story about a once-powerful head pastor who lost his job in an ugly game of church politics. (Click here to read it.) While this story is based in the stories I've heard from those who've been beat up in ministry, it also contains the reason I have hope for those who've built a church or organizational culture around their big personalities and ambitions. When all of the artifice is stripped away - and stripping away is indeed the only way … [Read more...]

Wish That I Knew What I Know Now…

high school

When I tell people I've just met I've written a book about regret, many of them have an account of something from their past haunting them to share with me. New acquaintances aren't prone to share their deepest, personal painful stories of regret unless they are sorely lacking any sort of social filter. I've been surprised by how many people have stories ready to share about one particular era of their lives. They're stories about their high school years."I wish I wasn't so boy-crazy," one … [Read more...]

The Graveyard’s Sermon

Silent sentries.

Our townhome community is situated next to a set of railroad tracks and a graveyard, which sounds worse than it is. I rarely notice the low rumble of freight rolling past us anymore. And our neighbors at Evergreen Cemetery, have become some of my favorite people in town to visit.Their stories are captured in a few chiseled letters on silent gray stone: a name, dates, perhaps a Bible verse or a few words. Long lives. Brief ones. Each one preaches to me, reminding me I am dust, and to dust I … [Read more...]

“The Church is the New Israel”: Ideas Have Consequences

olive tree

Professor Diane Leclerc of Northwest Nazarene University has a piece up on the Christianity Today website called "The Good News About Bad Churches". In it, she asks, "How, then, do we explain the seeming contradiction between what we believe about the church and what we experience in the church? Is it wishful thinking to proclaim the church holy? Are pain and heartache just inevitable?"She goes on to express the tension that exists between that grateful, forgiven kingdom behavior that should … [Read more...]

Review: Found

found

One of my first experiences with a dark night of the soul period happened shortly after my second child was born. I didn't have post-partum depression. In many ways, I was energized by having two little ones under two. But I felt my spiritual life withering in the never-ending cycle of diapering, meal prep, and wrestling a baby and a toddler into burrito-like outfits all winter long just to go to the store to buy a gallon of milk. I'd been born again in an era of spiritual … [Read more...]

The Festival of Faith and Writing 2014

Program cover

"If you find the right word, it paints a thousand pictures." - Richard Foster, from his session entitled "The Humiliation of the Word in our Day" at Calvin College's Festival of Faith and Writing.I heard dozens of "right words" during the last few days. Some of them came from speakers like Anne Lamott, Richard Foster, Luci Shaw, Bret Lott, Neil Plantinga, Edward Gilbreath, Marlena Graves, Al Hsu and Helen Lee. Even that one session - and there's always one that hits an off-note at an event … [Read more...]

Aged Out Of Church

As anyone who's hit midlife and they'll tell you: this stage is no joke for us.The emotional, spiritual, physical, and relational shifts that occur at midlife can lead to disconnection from old social networks and a profound sense of loneliness, which brings with it serious health risks. At this point, many also feel drained by the increasingly common occurrence of death, disease, divorce, and the changes that redefine old friendships.And yet, rather than engage these important but unc … [Read more...]


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