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

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… 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,… Read more

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

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… Read more

Holy Week – and the mysterious glory of our guide

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… 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… Read more

Torn and Tattered: mutual brokenness as the basis of friendship

“I needed to be back on track. Pity is the last thing you need. Pity is hopeless. Pity is what someone gives you because he is afraid to take care of you. I didn’t need that”, said Phillipe regarding why, in spite of 90 highly qualified applicants, he hired an ex-con with no experience to be his care giver after his paragliding accident which left him a quadriplegic.  The story of his relationship with his caregiver, Abdel, nicknamed Driss, is… 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… Read more

Keeping on…because life is like snow; and rain

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,… 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… 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 6:12 This 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… Read more




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