Archives for December 2011

Getting stuff done… 3 tools for a more productive/creative 2012

"Most of us have two lives.  The life we live, and the unlived life within us." Steven PressfieldThe words of Jesus percolate down into the soil of my heart:  "to whom much is given, much is required".  I take stock of my health, education, access to clean water, abundance of shelter, opportunities for travel and global worldview, healthy marriage, great children, and material wealth.  "Yes" I say to myself, "that's me".  I'm part of the group of which much will be required because I've been … [Read more...]

Life Orienteering: Adjusting yourself as the New Year Begins

When you're climbing a mountain, it's vital that you stop along with way and compare your location with the map.  You do this by using your map, compass, altimeter, and line of sight.  Occasionally you'll find that you're off course and when that happens its vital that you make your adjustments lest you find yourself precisely where you don't want to be, which is in the land of the lost and clueless.The same thing is true in life, and I find that there's no better time to take stock of where … [Read more...]

When life takes a turn: There’s something about Mary

Cancer.  Unemployment.  Relationship implosion.  Addictions.  Family tension.  Uncertainty over the future, and all the anxiety that attends that.  Financial crises.  These are the kinds of things that fill a sheet of paper every Monday morning for our pastoral staff as we gather to pray over requests offered by our congregation here in Seattle.  We pray over them and then destroy the page to assure confidentiality, but what remains, is the sense in our collective hearts as pastors, that we who g … [Read more...]

On Bringing Children into the World: Two Views

“I would not want to bring a child into this world” she said gently, yet emphatically enough to leave no uncertainty about her conviction.  She was a student, travelling from her hometown of Ulm to Ravensberg, where she is studying to be an elementary school teacher.  Her eagerness to practice English, coupled with our mutual curiosity of each other’s cultures created the recipe for a good long conversation.  The train wound it’s way through southern Germany, from east to west, as we spoke of edu … [Read more...]

Following the Light

The latitude here in southern Germany is nearly identical to Seattle, which means that the number of daylight hours this time of year is very short.  Add a layer of fog to the shortness, and the daylight becomes so muted as to barely qualify as light.  The fog hides the sun, mutes the shadows, and makes forward progress challenging because one isn't looking at vistas - one is simply looking for next steps.This was the situation when I, along with my daughters and some friends, set out on a h … [Read more...]

Simpilicity- a heart’s cry during Advent

My conversations with students this week here in Austria have revealed that one of the great needs of our time is a recovery of simplicity as a central value. Young people, blessed with health, wealth, and education, are sometimes paralyzed by the near infinity of choices available to them.  They stand, not at a crossroad, or even at an intersection, but at the base of an entire mountain range, with the need to choose a next step.  This abundance of choice is a mixed blessing, because there's l … [Read more...]

Spiritual Fashionistas: It’s not about the clothes – it’s about the body in the clothes

I just returned from a worship service here in Austria on this 2nd Sunday in Advent.  Though I understood only a few dozen words, I wanted to be there both to worship, and because of my friendship with the pastor (we had a discussion about Austrian church history, and you can view it here).  It was beautiful and by beautiful I mean many things, not the least of which is that it was utterly appropriate for the Austrian culture.  The church choir sang two numbers, and Austrian singing is di … [Read more...]