What’s in Your Hands today? The Joy of Letting Go

I'm always intrigued by the stories of mountains in the Bible because so much that's transformative happens among them, or at their summits.  Encounters with God in the mountains are nearly always time of transition:  From this....to that.  We're between two mountains when Moses says that each one represents a choice that is yet ahead: life or death.  Then he shouts "choose life" to the whole nation before dying.  We're on a mountain, with Jesus, when we see him transformed into the essence of gl … [Read more...]

The Empire Has No Clothes – raw truth precedes real hope – Part One

The losses and damages characteristic of our present economy cannot be stopped, let alone restored, by “liberal” or “conservative” tweakings of corporate industrialism, against which the ancient imperatives of good care, homemaking, and frugality can have no standing. - Wendell BerryNow that Mitt Romney has effectively vanquished all other contenders, the real election posturing can begin, and we all know it won't be pretty.  More importantly though, we also know it won't be true, or at th … [Read more...]

Cultivation – Freeing ourselves from “the latest and greatest”

I normally teach in Germany at the end of November, when the harvest has just come in and the farmers are taking a break.  This year, though, I'm privileged to be in this agrarian region of southern Germany (wine, apples, honey, plus much more) at the end of winter and the farms are anything but sleepy.  The vines are being trimmed.  The soil is being tilled, as I encounter numerous tractors on my morning run.  Folks are in their yard gardens, prepping, planting, trimming, cleaning, turning the s … [Read more...]

Branding & PR vs. The Way of Jesus

As I prepare for Lent, I'm struck this morning by Jesus' admonition in Luke 8:56.  Having entered a house of mourners, and raised a little girl from the dead, he orders everyone not to tell anyone what happened.  This is one of those little bits of the Bible that is either overlooked or explained away.  When I read it though, I wonder if Jesus is trying to warn me, and others who do things in his name, of the dangers inherent when good things start happening in ministry.  Rather than blow our hor … [Read more...]

All Poverty is Relational: What does that mean?

I'm riding my bike to work on a frosty morning this winter when I encounter a couple, dressed in poverty, arguing intensely on a street corner.  Their words do violence to each other until he finally storms away, hurt and raging, while she's left crying, waiting for the light to the change.  Both of them are dressed poorly; tattered sweatshirts (hood up on this cold morning), inadequate shoes, denim.  They have bags, small backpacks.As we go our different ways, I ponder the reality that my ch … [Read more...]

The Challenges of Wealth and the Call of Christ

David Brooks recent NY Times article entitled "The Great Divorce" speaks of what is becoming on of the largest issues of our day, not just because it's an election year, but because it's a real issue.  Brooks reveals the dramatic shifts in American culture between 1963 and the present, noting that, while there's always been a gap between wealth and poverty, in previous eras that gap wasn't accompanied by a behavior gap.  Brooks writes, "income gaps did not lead to big behavior gaps. Roughly 98 p … [Read more...]

While you were protesting…

Luke 19:10 offers an interesting perspective on the word "occupy" because this is where Jesus tells the parable of the talents.  A master hands over some money to various servants and tells them to "occupy" (King James) until he returns.  Then, of course, some do that well, and bring the master a return on his investment, and others, not so much."Occupy": to fill or take up space.  The word can mean many things I suppose, and there's a sense to which the occupy movement is giving us a li … [Read more...]

Forgive us our debts…and teach us to stop creating them.

If it weren't so tragic it would be funny.  The news has been filled lately, whether on Fox, or CNN, or in the New York Times, with average Americans enraged at the inability of our elected officials to manage our collective money.  Enraged!   Hahahahaha!The average American has three credit cards and is carrying, on average, $15,799 in credit card debt. We spend too much in our personal lives and reflect that problem when we vote for officials, some of whom promise cradle to grave security wh … [Read more...]