Your Religious Pursuits: Manic Spirituality or Peaceful Intimacy?

Manic: affected with or marked by frenzyCultural pluralism has intersected with capitalist consumerism, and a byproduct of it is what I'm calling spiritual mania.  It happens because the world in which we live creates tons and tons of wasted.  There's wasted packaging, wasted time spent on trivialities, wasted relationships that have become as commodified and disposable as an consumer product, and wasted environments, poisoned as they are by the entire system that has displaced creativity, m … [Read more...]

TMI – How Bible Reading can be Bad for your Spiritual Health

Reading about mountains is different than climbing them

Some of the most important truths in the Bible are found in obscure passages that never made the highlight reel of miracles, crosses, virgin births, and empty tombs.  Tucked away, for example, between Jesus healing of a sick man by a fountain, and his feeding multiple thousands with a few loaves of bread, I found one the most powerful, and least talked about statements Jesus ever made.  His miracles created quite a stir among people who had a stake in the religious status quo, and as a result, t … [Read more...]

Holy Week – and the mysterious glory of our guide

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It happens every time I'm in mountains with people in better shape than me.  We start skiing or hiking or climbing and once we're in a rhythm on some steep uphill slope, they start asking me questions:  about family, faith, sport, politics.  They want conversation; I want to breathe!  They're faster than me, and I know that my presence is holding them back because when they say things like, "Yeah, when I was on Mt. McKinley for the fourth time last spring..."  I'm trying to ski up 800 vertical fe … [Read more...]

Quitting Religion for Lent?

"I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your assemblies.  Even though you offer me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offering of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them"  Amos the prophetIt happens to all of us at times;  Events and moments which, in better times, would be pregnant with joy and meaning, are reduced to obligations.  "Off to church with you" your mind says, on a Sunday morning, and so there you go.  Singing; che … [Read more...]

It’s my body, and I’ll do what I want to – the myth of private sexual ethics

"We're two consenting adults.  What we do behind a closed door is nobody's business."  There, in those two sentences, you find the prevailing, public, sexual ethic of western civilization.  By "Public Ethic" I mean to say that this is what, collectively, we believe.  There are sexual ethics to the left of this that we reject as a culture (pedophilia, rape, abuse) and to the right ("sexual practice should be confined to expression between a man and woman who are married"), but both sides are out … [Read more...]

Keeping Sexual Issues in Proportion: This isn’t baseball – it’s faith!

Baseball was in the news last week and the lesson it offers us has everything to do with how the church and many within it view sexuality.  We desperately need to learn that being the people of God is a higher calling than being a sportswriter.  Unfortunately, it seems that much of the evangelical world doesn't yet know that, and as a result, there are lots of Christ followers on the bench, or worse, on the streets because they've been judged guilty of high crimes along the lines of John 8, with … [Read more...]

Are we there yet? How to live outside of sexual (or any other) Nirvana

Because I'm going to be preaching and teaching on the subject of sexual ethics and relationships this winter, I'm reading and talking about sex a lot these days.  I've recently read this, received this in the mail from someone, and just finished this on a recent flight.  This last book was terribly powerful; well written, transparent, as he shared his joy in what I call "shalom moments" while swimming in a sea of unfulfilled desires. His struggle is profound and near the surface because Wesley s … [Read more...]

The Piano – and the painful goodness of letting go

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I didn't know on Saturday night that they'd be the last notes I'd play on it.  I sat down a few minutes before a woman came in response to our Craig's list ad and touched the keys with a tune I made up on the fly.  It's what I do best with pianos.  Those pesky notes from Bach or Mozart have always felt too confining for me.  So I simply sit and play, letting the music well up from my soul and pour out over the keys.  I've done that multiple hundreds of times on this piano.  It's been a friend.  L … [Read more...]


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