Words for Advent: Life

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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 offering final words before they sail from the shelter of these mo … [Read more...]

Words for Advent: Suffering and Shalom

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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. The land its … [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 how some elements of our political system are so entrenched in their id … [Read more...]

10 things for which I’m praying during Advent…

10 things I’m praying for this Advent… Posted on November 10, 2010Advent 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 our Lord this Christmas season – guide us – … [Read more...]

On Bringing Children into the World: Two Views

Is this a good time for children to be born?

“I would not want to bring a child into this world” she said gently, yet emphatically enough to leave no uncertainty about her conviction.  She was a student, travelling from her hometown of Ulm to Ravensberg, where she is studying to be an elementary school teacher.  Her eagerness to practice English, coupled with our mutual curiosity of each other’s cultures created the recipe for a good long conversation.  The train wound it’s way through southern Germany, from east to west, as we spoke of edu … [Read more...]

Following the Light

conversations about the future, as the shelter becomes clear

The latitude here in southern Germany is nearly identical to Seattle, which means that the number of daylight hours this time of year is very short.  Add a layer of fog to the shortness, and the daylight becomes so muted as to barely qualify as light.  The fog hides the sun, mutes the shadows, and makes forward progress challenging because one isn't looking at vistas - one is simply looking for next steps.This was the situation when I, along with my daughters and some friends, set out on a h … [Read more...]

Advent – It’s about the Gap, and paying attention

For we who follow Christ, the season of Advent is about looking squarely into the thick of our lives and our world, paying attention, and seeing what's really there.  Like good artists, we need to pay attention to the details, because its in the details that we see the distance between what's actually there, and what we know, deep in our hearts, could be there if all was well. In our image saturated world, we don't pay enough attention.  Our eye catches an image of this or that, but because it f … [Read more...]


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