The value of trials – lessons from just below St. Helen’s summmit

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Stuff happens.  Job loss.  Marriage challenges.  Parenting that wearies you to the bone.  Accidents.  Health.  Money.  Wendell Berry says,"By expenditure of hope, Intelligence and work, You think you have it fixed; It is unfixed by rule"Life happens and it's the unexpected turns that reveal what we're made of.  This is a priceless gift, because if we're teachable, we'll adapt, adjust, and come back stronger.  Here's what I mean:The alarm goes off at 3AM and it doesn't take … [Read more...]

Why Caring for the Earth matters to Christ…and you

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" And yet what is the burden of the Bible if not a sense of the mutuality of influence, rising out of the essential unity among soul and body and community and world?  These are all the works of God and it is therefore the work of virtue to make or restore harmony among them"   Wendell Barry"This is what God planned for the climax of all times: to bring all things together in Christ, the things in heaven along with the things on earth" - Paul the ApostleI'll never forget an experience I h … [Read more...]

What’s the Most Important thing in Life? Ask the Tree

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Something's going on in my backyard which has been immensely helpful in reminding me of what the highest priority should be in both my personal and professional life.  When we moved to Seattle 17+ years ago, we brought a California redwood tree with us that was, at the time, about 7 feet tall.  We planted it, along with several other big evergreen trees, in our backyard because my wife and I don't like yard work.  The best way to avoid such labor in the Pacific Northwest is to make your own fo … [Read more...]

The Hygiene Hypothesis: How fear and anxiety are creating a toxic faith

Every March I'm reminded of the reality that allergies are a big deal in our culture.  This is the season when people are carrying around inhalers, getting shots, taking drugs, and drinking all kinds of juices in order to combat their body's own overreaction to harmless substances.  This time of year it's pollen, but for some it's not just pollen; nuts, animal hair, dust, milk, wheat, year around.  Yuk.This article explains the theory that allergies are on the rise because of our obsession wi … [Read more...]

Redeem Everything: Learning from St. Patrick

As the weekend of green beer and cabbage approaches, it's appropriate to consider the rich heritage most of enjoy without even knowing it, passed down from the Celtic Christian communities of Ireland and Scotland during the dark ages.  You can learn about through a favorite book of mine, "How the Irish Saved Civilization", whose thesis is that when the Roman empire collapsed and the west was plunged into centuries of barbarism and fear, the bastions of sanity were the Celtic monasteries.  This i … [Read more...]

Keeping on…because life is like snow; and rain

it was there, but I haven't seen it since November

You're in a relationship with a particularly annoying family member or coworker.  You're doing your job at work, but nobody seems to appreciate or notice, even when you go the extra mile.  You're trying to feast on Christ (like I speak of here), as you seeking to develop some habits of Bible reading or prayer, but most of these meetings your mind is elsewhere, because the Bible is, let's face it, hard to understand.   You're exercising and eating right, and have been at it now for, let's say, tw … [Read more...]

Powers and World Forces: Sugar, Salt, Fat, Coke, Kellogs, Kraft, Coke.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness...." Ephesians 6:12This story on NPR caught my attention yesterday because it came just as I was doing something I rarely do anymore:  stuffing my face with chicken McNuggets from McDonalds while I was driving home from a study day in the mountains.  It wasn't the best of days.  Forgetting the computer cord meant was I done studying (or at least writing my sermon) earlier than I … [Read more...]

Words for Advent: Suffering and Shalom

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There are moments of perfection in life, moments you wish could be frozen forever.  Such was the hour this past Sunday as I walked with my daughter and her boyfriend on a now familiar path through the countryside on the southern border of Germany.  Everything about the walk was perfect.  It had been snowing all morning, but stopped just prior to our walk leaving the landscape and architecture blanketed in snow white.  The light was sensual, the conversation perfectly appropriate. The land its … [Read more...]


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