Archives for February 2012

Cultivation – Freeing ourselves from “the latest and greatest”

I normally teach in Germany at the end of November, when the harvest has just come in and the farmers are taking a break.  This year, though, I'm privileged to be in this agrarian region of southern Germany (wine, apples, honey, plus much more) at the end of winter and the farms are anything but sleepy.  The vines are being trimmed.  The soil is being tilled, as I encounter numerous tractors on my morning run.  Folks are in their yard gardens, prepping, planting, trimming, cleaning, turning the s … [Read more...]

Solitude – Antidote to loneliness

As we enter the Lenten season, I'm happy to offer some practical advice on the various disciplines which will enable us to grow in our intimacy with Jesus, as we follow in his footsteps, learning to subject our will to the will of Another, for our own good and the good of the world.  I'll start with solitude.Years ago I had a conversation with someone about trust.  It was quickly apparent that we'd both fallen off the trust wagon, but in different directions.  She'd felt that God had let her … [Read more...]

Branding & PR vs. The Way of Jesus

As I prepare for Lent, I'm struck this morning by Jesus' admonition in Luke 8:56.  Having entered a house of mourners, and raised a little girl from the dead, he orders everyone not to tell anyone what happened.  This is one of those little bits of the Bible that is either overlooked or explained away.  When I read it though, I wonder if Jesus is trying to warn me, and others who do things in his name, of the dangers inherent when good things start happening in ministry.  Rather than blow our hor … [Read more...]

Love Ingredients: Truth, Grace, Proportion

"full of grace and truth" John 1:14"Who can pull that off?" is the question I ask with all the urgency I can muster because I'm more convinced than ever that this is perhaps the only possible solid foundation upon which genuine intimacy can be built.  Look at any relationship where love continues to ripen and deepen, year after year, and you'll find that the couple has managed to express both truth and grace.  But there's more.  The couple has also found a way express these elements at the r … [Read more...]

Ready, Set, Lent. Why it matters – more than ever.

"And early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there." Mark 1:35I'm ready for Lent.Because Lent is a time of "retreating into the wilderness with Jesus", I say bring it on.I'm embarrassed by what Christianity is becoming in the west:Individualism is touted, at the expense of deeply committed community, through rap and poetry about love for Jesus, but hatred for religion, failing to mention that … [Read more...]

All Poverty is Relational: What does that mean?

I'm riding my bike to work on a frosty morning this winter when I encounter a couple, dressed in poverty, arguing intensely on a street corner.  Their words do violence to each other until he finally storms away, hurt and raging, while she's left crying, waiting for the light to the change.  Both of them are dressed poorly; tattered sweatshirts (hood up on this cold morning), inadequate shoes, denim.  They have bags, small backpacks.As we go our different ways, I ponder the reality that my ch … [Read more...]