Starting Assumptions for Sexual Ethics

This winter I’ll be teaching about sexual ethics and intimacy in the church I lead in Seattle.  The sermons and study questions will be available the church website here.  It’s an important series for our time and place because cultural factors, both in and outside the church, have conspired to create a sense of what might best be described as sexual and relational anarchy. Churches that offer a clear ethic for sexuality are often more gnostic than Christian, with the… Read more

Instead of new goals for a new year…try this

I like goals that are measurable and have lots of them:  Ski 100k vertical feet in January (now objectively measurable courtesy of a nifty phone app), trim 15 seconds off jogging “per mile” time by the end of February, eat 5 servings of veggies per day (by far the hardest), be consistent in my reading, praying, journaling, blog at least once a week, finish book proposal. I’m close to throwing all these in the trash though, because I keep adding… Read more

Words for Advent: Light – a timely word for dark days

It’s cold; and darkness has swallowed the last light of the day.  I’m walking up a remote snow covered road in the Austrian Alps with my daughter and lots of friends.  A snowmobile rushes past carrying children headed to the same destination as us.  As the sound and light of it disappears, we are enveloped once again by winter’s dark night, and the sporadic silence that comes when people are hiking uphill.  We can look back, or down into the… Read more

Words for Advent: Life

I come down off the slopes, having spent a day skiing in Austria with some friends after a very full week of teaching students, meeting staff here, and doing church work at home.  The day couldn’t have been better, and the upcoming night was perhaps, for me, the highest privilege of all.  I was the speaker for graduation this evening.  I love young adults, and at the end of spending a week with them, to be granted the privilege of… Read more

Words for Advent: Anticipation

It’s Wednesday night.  I’ll be teaching this evening, and then again tomorrow for several sessions.  Then there’s graduation on Friday night, where I’ll be privileged to share for a few minutes before the students celebrate the completion of their time here at Tauernhoff. It’s always around this point in my “two weeks and change” trip to Europe that I begin to long for home.  This trip will be extended for a few wonderful days of fun with my daughter who… Read more

Words for Advent: Suffering and Shalom

There are moments of perfection in life, moments you wish could be frozen forever.  Such was the hour this past Sunday as I walked with my daughter and her boyfriend on a now familiar path through the countryside on the southern border of Germany.  Everything about the walk was perfect.  It had been snowing all morning, but stopped just prior to our walk leaving the landscape and architecture blanketed in snow white.  The light was sensual, the conversation perfectly appropriate…. Read more

A Word for Advent: “Do not be afraid”

You can’t go anywhere in the world these days without a reason to be afraid staring you in the face.   Here in Germany, people are worried about all the money they’re giving to other parts of Europe as an attempt to hold the economic EU together.  This is taking it’s toll here in a similar way that the fears of the fiscal cliff are taking their toll in America, especially as the clock ticks and we hear nothing other than… Read more

10 things for which I’m praying during Advent…

10 things I’m praying for this Advent… Posted on November 10, 2010 Advent season is here, and I offer this re-print from an earlier year.  I’ll share later this week, from Germany where I’m teaching this week. A favorite listen for this season comes from Sara Grove’s Live Prison tour music, –  I listen to Sara sing, “Star of Wonder, star of light, star of royal beauty bright…guide us…o guide us…o guide us.” With Sara, I call out in prayer to… Read more

The Keymaker – and the keys to peace and joy

I needed a locksmith, and couldn’t find one in the closest town who’d be willing to drive up to our place in the mountains.  We rent the place to guests, believing and hoping that time spent out of the city and away from television will provide an environment where people can encounter God, perhaps hear God’s voice with greater clarity.  A key had gone missing, and we needed to change some locks, but nobody was willing to drive 20 miles… 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… Read more