Taking Light Seriously… Living Light Loudly

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We took an evening church history tour in Edinburgh Scotland this week.  It reminded me of the deplorable reputation the church has earned by its wars, lust for power, territorialism, and torture.  You don’t need to know all the details of the history to understand why one friend said, “All the ‘isms’ of our world have, on the whole, done more harm than good - and that’s why I’m not interested in Christianity”  Indeed, one can see a proportional relationship between the rise of Christianity's pow … [Read more...]

Holy Week – and the mysterious glory of our guide

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It happens every time I'm in mountains with people in better shape than me.  We start skiing or hiking or climbing and once we're in a rhythm on some steep uphill slope, they start asking me questions:  about family, faith, sport, politics.  They want conversation; I want to breathe!  They're faster than me, and I know that my presence is holding them back because when they say things like, "Yeah, when I was on Mt. McKinley for the fourth time last spring..."  I'm trying to ski up 800 vertical fe … [Read more...]

The Hygiene Hypothesis: How fear and anxiety are creating a toxic faith

Every March I'm reminded of the reality that allergies are a big deal in our culture.  This is the season when people are carrying around inhalers, getting shots, taking drugs, and drinking all kinds of juices in order to combat their body's own overreaction to harmless substances.  This time of year it's pollen, but for some it's not just pollen; nuts, animal hair, dust, milk, wheat, year around.  Yuk.This article explains the theory that allergies are on the rise because of our obsession wi … [Read more...]

Torn and Tattered: mutual brokenness as the basis of friendship

"I needed to be back on track. Pity is the last thing you need. Pity is hopeless. Pity is what someone gives you because he is afraid to take care of you. I didn’t need that", said Phillipe regarding why, in spite of 90 highly qualified applicants, he hired an ex-con with no experience to be his care giver after his paragliding accident which left him a quadriplegic.  The story of his relationship with his caregiver, Abdel, nicknamed Driss, is explored in the marvelous movie "Intouchables", pr … [Read more...]

Redeem Everything: Learning from St. Patrick

As the weekend of green beer and cabbage approaches, it's appropriate to consider the rich heritage most of enjoy without even knowing it, passed down from the Celtic Christian communities of Ireland and Scotland during the dark ages.  You can learn about through a favorite book of mine, "How the Irish Saved Civilization", whose thesis is that when the Roman empire collapsed and the west was plunged into centuries of barbarism and fear, the bastions of sanity were the Celtic monasteries.  This i … [Read more...]

Keeping on…because life is like snow; and rain

it was there, but I haven't seen it since November

You're in a relationship with a particularly annoying family member or coworker.  You're doing your job at work, but nobody seems to appreciate or notice, even when you go the extra mile.  You're trying to feast on Christ (like I speak of here), as you seeking to develop some habits of Bible reading or prayer, but most of these meetings your mind is elsewhere, because the Bible is, let's face it, hard to understand.   You're exercising and eating right, and have been at it now for, let's say, tw … [Read more...]

Words for Advent: Anticipation

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It's Wednesday night.  I'll be teaching this evening, and then again tomorrow for several sessions.  Then there's graduation on Friday night, where I'll be privileged to share for a few minutes before the students celebrate the completion of their time here at Tauernhoff.It's always around this point in my "two weeks and change" trip to Europe that I begin to long for home.  This trip will be extended for a few wonderful days of fun with my daughter who teaches in Germany, as she visits me he … [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...]


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