Old Testament God: Angry fundamentalist, or loving friend? And why it matters!

In my Bible reading this morning, I came across the phrase "put away the foreign gods" and realized that it comes up over and over again the Old Testament.  Instead of creating and arrogant and judgmental provincialism, pondering what it means for us today could lead to a whole new way of living:Thoughtful people sometimes have a hard time reading the Old Testament because the Old Testament God as mean, judgmental, violent, utterly other than the God of the New Testament, where Christ is … [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...]

Marathon Bombs and Baseball’s Best – Lessons on life vs. death from April 15th

Yesterday, as often happens, sport became the backdrop for something larger.  It also happened to be something horrific as Boston blew.  But sport and life were celebrated yesterday too, because April 15th is Jackie Robinson day in Major League Baseball every year.  We do well to ponder, celebrate, and learn, especially this year, when fear is crouching at the door, inviting violence. His story can teach us a few things about the only good way forward.  Here's why:April 15th, 1947, in a Jew … [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...]

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...]

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...]

The best question to ask when you are overwhelmed and stressed

Standing at the base of something as big as Mt. Rainier can seem overwhelming and impossible, but lessons learned there can help us navigate the realities of life and leadership because you don't climb a mountain with a leap; you climb it step by step.  Here's what I mean:Taxes.  Job stress.  Family dysfunctions.  Broken appliances.  Big decisions.  Illness.  Car problems.  Commuting stress.  World news.  The sum of all this is stress, and unless it's dealt with the stress itself will become … [Read more...]

If you fail at falling, you’ll fail at everything.

Eric Fromm, in his classic "The Art of Loving", writes that a healthy environment for growing up would include parents who, between them, would receive both an unconditional love and a very conditional and demanding love.  That sounds controversial of course, and probably is.  But I wonder if there isn't some merit in thinking about it a bit before dismissing it outright.  After all, Jesus, we're told, was full of grace and truth.  He told his followers that they needed to be perfect, and the roa … [Read more...]


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