Insanity antidote: simplicity

If you're reading these words, you're likely among the top 10% of wealthiest people in the world.  You're probably not spending much time thinking about how you'll get water to drink, or whether you'll have a place of shelter tonight.  Though it may come at steep price (depending on where you live) you have access to health care; and food; and more than one pair of shoes.  We are, in other words, blessed.This kind of wealth creates choices, and the wealthier you are, the more choices you have. … [Read more...]

Thanks Dietrich…words for the ages

Last night I was privileged to participate in a panel discussion about the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer because Taproot Theatre here in Seattle is running a play about his life right now.  Four of us came prepared to share with the audience some of the ways Bonhoeffer has influenced our lives, along with favorite quotes.  This was followed by a Q&A and discussion.  I hope it was a good evening for others.  I know it was rich for me.Bonhoeffer is a mentor of sorts, but unlike flesh and blood … [Read more...]

An example of “coffee with God”

In the church I lead, I've been teaching from II Corinthians 3 and 4 these past weeks, and have been struck once again by the active verbs of 3:16,18 - which are "turn" and "behold."  The promise that our transformation comes from our ongoing growth in intimacy with Christ.  We turn to Christ; He transforms us.  The simplicity and assurance of this path is, for me, perhaps the most encouraging truth in the New Testament because I'm liberated from having to custom-build my own life.  My res … [Read more...]

Crazy Confidence in a Shaky World

It's available for all of us.  It's not contingent (thank God) on circumstances.  It's able to move us, faster than a glacier, but slower than jet, towards a quietness and confidence that enables us to be people of hope. Every.  Single.  Day.I'm talking about the new covenant, which is the topic of our present sermon series at the church where I teach.  Who'd have thought that, in the midst of career crises, housing crises, financial crises, global security crises on three continents, and pers … [Read more...]

How to pray when it’s all “too much”

There are times when the load of life is crushing.  You're failing in a grad program that you love and are terrified at the future void that's hanging over you.  Your husband has left you for another woman, or another man.  You've learned that you have clinical depression and that the road of recovery will be slow and arduous, and you're trying to figure out how you'll cope in the meantime.  There's a certain sin in your life that makes you feel like you're in the movie "Groundhog Day" as the pat … [Read more...]

First Resolution: five options for five minutes of prayer

Life, it seems, is coming at us faster than ever.  Longer hours at work, more stress, commutes, repairs, exercise, relationships, and endless social connections that encourage us to remain linked in, with updated status reports and timeless tweets - add it all up and life can feel like a video game.  It's coming at you and you're reacting.  Reacting, though, is much different than living.  When I'm reacting, I end up preaching because I'm expected to say something, rather than because I've som … [Read more...]

Christmas Vacation: filling hospitality with joy instead of tension

Looking for a better way of being together than "Christmas Vacation"?  read on:"Dwelling" is a great word. It can mean the space in which we occupy our lives: "My dwelling was built in 1928, and leans a little bit downhill" (true statement). Or, it can mean something we do: "we'll all be dwelling together this Christmas, 8 of us, a full house!" (also true).There's also a third way to use the word, and it's tucked away in a prayer of Paul's where he asks that "Christ would dwell in (our) … [Read more...]

…”simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ”

It's just a phrase, tucked away in the depths of II Corinthians, but it's a phrase ripe with meaning.  It's a phrase which, along with a passage from Jeremiah, God has used over and over again to cut through the fog of confusion, duplicity, and frustration, leading me out into the open spaces where it's easier to breathe.Here's what the phrase means to me, and how I'm trying to apply it in my life and calling:1. I'm called to simple devotion, therefore I need to make the habits which nurture … [Read more...]