No Swimming Allowed (Final)

Click here to read part one of this story I'm sharing as a response to the recent Strange Fire conference. Click here for part two. No Swimming Allowed (conclusion) Dave was a left-brained guy, and decided to wait and see what the fruit of his encounter with God was before he talked about it with Christy. She'd always seemed content to stay on the shore and read about swimming, rather than diving in.A litmus test for his new level of engagement with the Lord came when he was driving home … [Read more...]

No Swimming Allowed (Part 2)

Click here to read part one of this story I'm sharing as a response to the recent Strange Fire conference.  No Swimming Allowed (Part 2) Imagine what it would be like to live your life on a flat, waterless prairie and receive your first invitation to visit the ocean. You prepare by packing a huge beach towel, bathing suit, flip flops and sun block. As you arrive at your destination, you can smell the unmistakable scent of the sea, of saltwater and fish and tangible warmth. You … [Read more...]

No Swimming Allowed (Part 1)

John MacArthur's recent Strange Fire conference was a hot topic around the Christian blogosphere last week, and not just because Mark Driscoll mixed it up with a few conference organizers. We spent years worshipping in fundy circles, where John MacArthur functions as a sort of ad hoc pope. Of course, no one in these circles would ever elevate MacArthur with a title like this, but his radio programs, writing and Bible school certainly give him a platform of great quotable authority in his … [Read more...]

Some People Are Meant To Stay Behind The Scenes In Life

It should be obvious to anyone who meets me that I am a graduate of the Wendy Ward Charm School program.Key word: should.Reality: No one will ever mistake me for either Miss Manners or America’s Next Top Model. Wendy Ward fail.Two things from my sojourn in the Wendy Ward program have stuck with me through lo, these many years. The first is the fact that I learned to do a runway-perfect 3/4 pivot turn. Not exactly a skill I rely on in daily life. Or ever. Something tells me if I a … [Read more...]

`Fess Up

"Do you have anything you'd like to confess to me before we begin?" An acquaintance who was hoping to become an Orthodox priest had invited us over for dinner, and was now standing in his living room in full Sunday morning regalia, preparing to lead 6 of us in a worship service.Bill and I have visited churches of all kinds, but this was one of the most unusual. Though we'd known a couple of people over the years who attended ethnic (Greek, Romanian) Orthodox churches, and we've benefitted … [Read more...]

When It’s Time To Dial 911

After my mom died in south Florida 6 years ago, I came home anxious to jump into my regularly-scheduled life. I was no stranger to loss and trauma. I thought I was prepared by those experiences as well as the excellent care I received from the hospice team during the final weeks of my mom's life to walk through the proverbial valley of the shadow as I grieved her passing.I thought wrong.By December, I felt as though I was crawling through a room packed with heavy insulation every single … [Read more...]

Called to be the father?

You know how it is when you hear a sentence that simultaneously upends and undoes your thinking? This week, I revisited a book that had this sort of sentence in its introduction.You wouldn't be terribly surprised to learn that the book's author was Henri Nouwen, would you? He is the kind of writer who can marshall that sort of heaven-invades-earth power in a single turn of phrase. In the introduction to his book The Return Of The Prodigal Son: A Story Of Homecoming (Doubleday, 1994), he … [Read more...]