Forgiving – the challenge and the power

Yesterday's theme at my church was forgiveness, in particular the challenge that each of us face in forgive those who've hurt us deeply.  We looked at an extended clip from As We Forgive, and then invited people to write down names of those they needed to forgive, bring them forward to the altar, pray, and release their anger. There was an avalanche of forgiving that ensued...all day, at every service.  You can hear the sermon here, but be advised that the film clip was in Rwandan, with s … [Read more...]

extreme sports, shamanism, and the danger of boredom

I'm rereading a favorite old book of mine called, "Bone Games" right now, about extreme sports and shamanism.  The author had one of those supernatural experiences that climbers sometimes get when their life is hanging by a thread.  He was able, after a fall, to down climb a stretch of ice covered rock flakes in Colorado, something most expert climbers wouldn't be able to do in a state of even perfect health.  As he writes regarding his perfect presence during the ordeal, "I was the very best ve … [Read more...]

Of Goalies and Sermons: the mystery and challenge of presence…

This weekend was filled with events that have left me pondering that "being fully present" is actually a lot harder than it appears. I've heard it said that "showing up" is 80% of the battle with any endeavor, but soccer, hockey, and preaching, have all shown me that showing up requires more than just showing up.Our local Sounders played soccer on Saturday, but "played" would be too polite of a term.  They were physically present, but their performance was stunk the stadium up so bad that the … [Read more...]

Of Goalies and Sermons: the mystery and challenge of presence…

This weekend was filled with events that have left me pondering that "being fully present" is actually a lot harder than it appears. I've heard it said that "showing up" is 80% of the battle with any endeavor, but soccer, hockey, and preaching, have all shown me that showing up requires more than just showing up.Our local Sounders played soccer on Saturday, but "played" would be too polite of a term.  They were physically present, but their performance was stunk the stadium up so bad that the … [Read more...]

Being a church in a consumer culture…

I'm reading "The Divine Commodity" right now, a book about how our consumer culture in the western world has affected church life.  It's an important topic for me right now because we're in the midst of assessing the health of the church I lead as we digest the results of an internal survey we recently completed.I'll begin by suggesting that consumerism is a two-edged sword, rather than wholly evil, and spend the rest of this post looking at both edges of the sword.  The most obvious edge is th … [Read more...]

The Shalom of Creation

Yesterday my wife and I drove up the Mt. Baker highway to its very end.  She wearing snow shoes, and I backcountry skis, we made our way higher and higher in the silence of a spring snowfall blanketing the upper reaches of the Cascades.  Light and shadow, wind and stillness, moments of clear visibility suddenly shrouded in cloud, silence:  this is the sensual feast of the mountains in springtime.  These elements do something to me that can only be described as "shalom", a deep sense that this mom … [Read more...]

Water Wednesdays: Justice and the Water Cycle

Psalm 104 is one of my favorite parts of the Bible because it poetically articulates what we enjoy hear in the Pacific Northwest with such clarity:  the water cycle.  The sun heats the ocean and water evaporates, condensing as it cools on the rise, to become clouds.  Prevailing winds push the clouds inland, where the clouds empty as rain or, in the cold places, snow.  This water becomes life - for plants, animals, humans, and bloggers like me.  All of us...ALL OF US, need water to live.That's w … [Read more...]

Finding Meaning in Work…

Having spent last week in at a conference in San Diego, I was struck by how cool it was to come to my room each afternoon and find that someone had made my bed.  This someone (I met her) was hard working, knew more languages than me, and was terribly polite - possibly even more polite than some of the conference speakers and attendees.  I appreciated her acts of service, and wondered if she could live on what she was getting paid.This morning I woke up and remembered that I'd need to make my o … [Read more...]


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