Public Vice and Private Virtue

I was privileged to attend the Annual Seattle Pacific Business Breakfast yesterday and listen to David Brooks, a favorite columnist of mine from the NY Times talk about the shift in ethos that's been occurring in our culture over the last fifty years.  In the midst of all that he said so well, one thing stood out to me.  In an after session Q&A, David noted that, when he's on Meet the Press, he'll chat with the appointed spokespeople from both the political left and right chosen to represent … [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...]

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...]

Gratitude: The ‘on ramp’ to a better story & better world

God knows there are plenty of problems and challenges, both around us in our own homes.  It's easy focus there, fighting our battles, or looking on in despair, anger, or cynicism as others, who are supposed to be fighting battles for us, don't.  The super committee isn't so super after all.  A nuclear Iran and a sluggish economy threaten;  An Arab spring appears to be settling in for a long Arab winter of discontent; A Euro whose future is uncertain creates anxiety.  And all the while, back in ou … [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...]

Fall line – why the hard path is actually life-giving

Enter through the narrow gate...for the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.  - Matthew 7:13-14"The steep way down is easier - but only if you're committed."  - Ski advice given by someone better than me.One of the mysteries in Jesus' teaching is the seeming contradiction between his command that we need to seek the narrow road, which is hard and requires discipline, and His other teaching that His "yoke is easy" and his "burden is light."  On … [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...]

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...]