clothes are not bodies – church is not faith

I was given a fleece layer from "the master" of climbing

The most memorable gift I've ever received is a used fleece jacket previously owned by climbing legend Fred Becky.  Fred is to climbing the Cascade mountains what Babe Ruth is to hitting baseballs,  or LeBron James "is" (hahaha) to basketball - Fred's a legend, one who's mastered his craft utterly.  At ninety years old, he's still seen in the Patagonia store in Seattle, and roaming the Cascade mountains.  When I opened the gift and heard the name of the previous owner, the garment took on … [Read more...]

Wood Cutting, and the Wisdom of Inefficiency

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Before enlightenment...chop wood.  After enlightenment...chop wood.  Zen Proverb I spent my free evening yesterday chopping wood, and it has me thinking a lot about the dangers of elevating efficiency as the highest good.  One neighbor saw me and said "rent a splitter; no sense killing yourself".  Another said "this is why I heat with propane".   Others drove by with the smile of sympathy, as if I'd been sentenced to hard labor.  But then, along comes my neighbor who has a reputation … [Read more...]

Shin Dong-hyuk: Lessons about radical gospel freedom, from Camp 14

  Shin Dong-hyuk is the only person known to have escaped from Camp 14, a horrific concentration camp in North Korea where the prisoners are incarcerated, not as individuals, but as families;  parents, grandparents, siblings, and children, are all arrested in an attempt to wipe out the scourge of rebellion.  They will work long hours on starvation rations and, if they're obedient, generally die by the age of 45.  Children are born inside the camp and live their entire lives … [Read more...]

Hubris and the Importance of “Memorial”

Remembering has never been more important, and yet forgetting has never been easier, especially for those distanced from the violence of war by time or geography.  Here's why remembering matters: In Judges chapter two we read about who came after Joshua and his troops fought:  "...there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.  Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of Lord"  (Judges 2:10,11)  This is why, before … [Read more...]

Your Religious Pursuits: Manic Spirituality or Peaceful Intimacy?

Manic: affected with or marked by frenzy Cultural 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, … [Read more...]

Ordinary Time – the Days that Matter the Most

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People who follow the "Christian Year" know that the Bible readings from December through Pentecost are designed to cover the story of God's restorative plan for the cosmos revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  Today begins the long stretch in that same calendar called "Ordinary Time". Ordinary is a word we don't use much at all, and nearly never in a flattering way.  "It was an ordinary day" means that nothing exciting happened.  "Just another day..." we say, to describe the … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

Letters to the Three Moms in my life: I can’t thank you enough

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In honor of mother's day, I wanted to write some notes to each of the three moms in my life.  Of course, none of them were or are, perfect.  But I'm fortunate, in that each of them are easy to honor.   My mother-in-law is equally wonderful, but this blog's already too long to add a fourth mom, so I'll just say thanks here.   In the comments feel free to share how your mom has been a gift to you. To my mom by adoption:  Happy Mothers day to the one who was, in nearly every sense of … [Read more...]


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