Wordless Sermon: Lessons learned from climbing with my son

"First of all a good alpinist should be a good man and this is a really difficult goal to achieve, often a whole life is not enough." - H. BarmasseWith ten days left before his wedding, my son and I took two days out of our busy lives and climbed together.  It was supposed to be a whole family affair, but things happen and in the end it was the two of us, tied together on a rope, making our way up a few faces in the Icicle canyon of Leavenworth.Outside is what we do, what we've always … [Read more...]

“The Demise of Guys” – a book review that’s going places”

Philip Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan have written a marvelous little book called "The Demise of Guys".  In reality it's little more than an expanded version of this TED talk, and is far more diagnostic than prescriptive.  Still, the first step in fixing anything is determining the extent to which it's broken, and what some of the causes of that brokenness might be.  If exposing dysfunction and it's underlying causes is important, these two shine bright, relentless sunshine on the state of men, and w … [Read more...]

Embracing Loss – the paradoxical road to joy

In the marvelous little book "I Quit", Geri Scazzero writes, "once you end the pretense of superficiality and 'niceness' that characterizes so much of the Christian culture today, you will experience liberation, freedom, and a genuine body life that is truly a taste of the kingdom of heaven".The single little paragraph explodes with important truths for me and, I hope, for you too:1. Superficiality and Pretense are woven into Christian culture. It's not just Christians, of course, who … [Read more...]

Solitude – Antidote to loneliness

As we enter the Lenten season, I'm happy to offer some practical advice on the various disciplines which will enable us to grow in our intimacy with Jesus, as we follow in his footsteps, learning to subject our will to the will of Another, for our own good and the good of the world.  I'll start with solitude.Years ago I had a conversation with someone about trust.  It was quickly apparent that we'd both fallen off the trust wagon, but in different directions.  She'd felt that God had let her … [Read more...]

Love Ingredients: Truth, Grace, Proportion

"full of grace and truth" John 1:14"Who can pull that off?" is the question I ask with all the urgency I can muster because I'm more convinced than ever that this is perhaps the only possible solid foundation upon which genuine intimacy can be built.  Look at any relationship where love continues to ripen and deepen, year after year, and you'll find that the couple has managed to express both truth and grace.  But there's more.  The couple has also found a way express these elements at the r … [Read more...]

Ready, Set, Lent. Why it matters – more than ever.

"And early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there." Mark 1:35I'm ready for Lent.Because Lent is a time of "retreating into the wilderness with Jesus", I say bring it on.I'm embarrassed by what Christianity is becoming in the west:Individualism is touted, at the expense of deeply committed community, through rap and poetry about love for Jesus, but hatred for religion, failing to mention that … [Read more...]

Simpilicity- a heart’s cry during Advent

My conversations with students this week here in Austria have revealed that one of the great needs of our time is a recovery of simplicity as a central value. Young people, blessed with health, wealth, and education, are sometimes paralyzed by the near infinity of choices available to them.  They stand, not at a crossroad, or even at an intersection, but at the base of an entire mountain range, with the need to choose a next step.  This abundance of choice is a mixed blessing, because there's l … [Read more...]

Chronos Peace University….

By now, many of us have heard of Dave Ramsey, and Financial Peace University.  It's a great program, as I share in this video.  The essence of Ramsey's plan, though, is ridiculously simple: don't spend what you don't have.  It all makes sense, of course, and yet there's something in us that makes us believe, sometimes, that life will better if we buy this or that - and suddenly we find ourselves harried and stressed because we've over-reached.Fine.  Meanwhile, there's another problem many of … [Read more...]