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...]

Summits, Self-Denial, Discipleship – a symboiotic trinity

One climbs, one sees.  One descends, one sees no longer.  But one has seen.  There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up – Rene DumalI’m on the plane, having left a week of wonderful teaching and fellowship in Southern California as I return, refreshed and sun drenched, to the wonderful work I’ve the privilege of doing in Seattle.  The work, as most of you know, is the work of shepherding the flock – and as I finish my sermon on th … [Read more...]

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...]

Light, Shadows, Snow… and faith

When I say that we all need to learn how to read from the book of creation, sometimes people wrinkle their noses and wonder what I'm talking about.  This morning's journal entry might offer a helpful example, written after a morning walk with the neighbors up at the writing cabin.Good morning God...My heart is full this morning, grateful for the walking friends up here and the refreshing conversations when we do our mile together.  This morning though, most of my gratitude stems from t … [Read more...]

T.G.I.F. – the new “F” in town

Yes, it's Good Friday.Yes, I pondered as a child, how going to church on a Friday night, listening to depressing music, and hearing the familiar story of Jesus' death, told with excessive attention to each gory detail was, in any way, "good".Yes, I'm now the guy up front talking on Friday night, as other little kids are forced to go sit with their parents to once again live the ritual of remembering Christ's death.But, No!  I'm not going to be recalling, in gory detail, the bloody … [Read more...]

Grace, generosity, gratitude, God – the real 4G network

There was no way it could happen.  Last Thursday afternoon, I was watching ESPN and happened to see that the "biggest series of the year" was about to happen for the Red Sox, as they met the Yankees at Fenway park in Boston.  Then it dawned on me that, with the red-eye flight out of Seattle Friday night, I'd be IN Boston on Saturday, which meant that, in theory at least, I could go to the Sox/Yankees, in August, with these two teams tied for first, at one of the few remaining ballparks in the c … [Read more...]