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 1:35 I'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...]

Be Still: Reflect Glory

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It’s been the theme of the summer as I’ve been privileged to travel and teach:  “Turn and Behold”, derived from a favorite passage from II Corinthians 3:16-18, where we’re promised that transformation isn’t our responsibility, but rather a byproduct of our falling in love with Jesus, of learning to continually turn and behold the glory of the Lord.  He’ll be changing us, we’re told, “from glory to glory”.    This realization that God will be changing me simply because … [Read more...]

Be Still: Reflect Glory

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It’s been the theme of the summer as I’ve been privileged to travel and teach:  “Turn and Behold”, derived from a favorite passage from II Corinthians 3:16-18, where we’re promised that transformation isn’t our responsibility, but rather a byproduct of our falling in love with Jesus, of learning to continually turn and behold the glory of the Lord.  He’ll be changing us, we’re told, “from glory to glory”.    This realization that God will be changing me simply because … [Read more...]

Cultivating enjoyment…

As we enter September, and schedules change, I offer a few words about being intentional in our cultivation of that which will nourish.  Enjoy.  It happened between graduating from high school and starting college.  I was working at a camp and the staff went out one night for pizza.  It was one of the those places that hide all the ingredients under the cheese.  When the pizza came, I took a big, unexamined bite. "Wow!  That's tremendous!  What's on this pizza?" "Pepperoni, Sausage, … [Read more...]

Storms, foundations, rebuilding….

The Wise man Built His House upon the Rock...  It’s the end of a bad day and I’m driving to the writing cabin.  Stresses, demands, uncertainties, broken appointments, and hurtful words followed by icy withdrawal – all of these were wrapped up in a single sunny day.  A word that might describe my reaction to these trials:  pathetic.  I withdrew into self-pity, and wallowed in my pain. Ironically, it was the day that I studying about how those who have a strong foundation in Christ … [Read more...]

You are what you eat…so choose wisely

I was reminded last night, at Georges Seafood and BBQ, that I become irrational when I'm too hungry.  I order something that will bring immediate pleasure, and certain delayed pain.  Last night is was the Seafood Threesome: scallops, haddock, and shrimp, all fried, and served up with a tiny green salad, and some beans and rice.  I won't mention that, in need of even more immediate gratification, I'd also ordered a fried calamari appetizer.  It was all good while going down - satisfying, … [Read more...]

Fasting: The foundation of a life of Feasting

"I like food too much to not fast" David Steindl-Rast, in his "A Listening Heart", writes about what he calls sensuous asceticism.  He's trying to find that space between the over-indulgences of our culture, where food, sex, shopping, social networking, music, movies, television, web surfing, clothing, drugs, and alcohol are just some of the many appetites that, at their worst, rise up and become masters in our lives, and the vilifying of appetites that so often occurs among Christans.  The … [Read more...]

What are you looking for?

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"where you treasure is, there your heart will be also..." Matthew 6:19 Our holiday in Austria this past June, courtesy of the marvelous church I pastor, allowed my wife and I several days to hike in the Alps.  And hike we did: up, up, up, until we were high above any trees, leaving us hiking on something that was, at times, akin to the desolation of the moon.  Up there, "trail" means something entirely different than down lower, where a swath is cut through trees, and a clear path beaten down … [Read more...]

Don’t find your passion—find your lover

Graduation is in the air, and David Brooks' excellent article about the wrong-headed speeches he's heard this graduation season is a great jumping-off point for a very important conversation.  Brooks makes the important observation that today's generation is entering a world of unemployment and an unprecedented convergence of challenges on several fronts.  But, as Brooks notes, "College students are raised in an environment that demands one set of navigational skills, and they are then cast … [Read more...]

Don’t find your passion—find your lover

Graduation is in the air, and David Brooks' excellent article about the wrong-headed speeches he's heard this graduation season is a great jumping-off point for a very important conversation.  Brooks makes the important observation that today's generation is entering a world of unemployment and an unprecedented convergence of challenges on several fronts.  But, as Brooks notes, "College students are raised in an environment that demands one set of navigational skills, and they are then cast … [Read more...]