Quitting Religion for Lent?

"I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your assemblies.  Even though you offer me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offering of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them"  Amos the prophetIt happens to all of us at times;  Events and moments which, in better times, would be pregnant with joy and meaning, are reduced to obligations.  "Off to church with you" your mind says, on a Sunday morning, and so there you go.  Singing; che … [Read more...]

If you fail at falling, you’ll fail at everything.

Eric Fromm, in his classic "The Art of Loving", writes that a healthy environment for growing up would include parents who, between them, would receive both an unconditional love and a very conditional and demanding love.  That sounds controversial of course, and probably is.  But I wonder if there isn't some merit in thinking about it a bit before dismissing it outright.  After all, Jesus, we're told, was full of grace and truth.  He told his followers that they needed to be perfect, and the roa … [Read more...]

Turn off the TV, come to my senses

The days recently have been fuller than they ought to be.  Obligations, activities, teachings, preparations, all good things in themselves, have been stacked, like smooth bricks, so tightly that you can't fit a piece of paper between them.  When this happens life becomes reactionary.  When this happens margins disappear and life begins to feel like a video game, where stuff is just coming at me and I'm reacting.The worst part of this is the toll it takes on the end of the day.  When I come ho … [Read more...]

Finding the best mentor in the world

I have a friend in Germany who works at one of the best Bible schools in the world.  I say "best" because of what I believe to be the goal of a Bible School.  The purpose of investing time in Bible School is, primarily and overwhelmingly to grow in one's relationship with Christ.  Arguments about the authorship of Genesis, the nuances of eschatology, and esoteric ethic discussions all have a certain values, but they are always entirely secondary to the dominant goal, which is to develop an re … [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 more and more goals to my life, and the end … [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...]

The Keymaker – and the keys to peace and joy

The Keymaker who drove 50 miles

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 to visit us.50 miles though, is another story.  I ca … [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 near the surface because Wesley s … [Read more...]


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