Guns, God, and Advent

My son had two days off from work, so we headed to the Texas Hill Country. En route, we stopped at a shooting range. Yes, you heard me right.We’d only visited a shooting range once—in Seattle, with our friend from church. Bob brought his own pistols and rifles, and we spent some time learning to shoot.On Friday, we entered a different culture altogether: a shooting range in Texas. Yes, you heard me right again. We visited a shooting range in Texas.We walked in, waited a bit in line, l … [Read more...]

Does It Matter If You’re Right?

Does it matter who’s right?I’m not so sure anymore.Right or wrong: we all seem to lose something in this equation.I’ve come to this temporary conclusion because I’ve reflected on Paul’s letters to the Corinthians recently. At the heart of his first letter, Paul answers a question about whether believers should eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols. He begins the section in this way: “Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that ‘all of us possess knowledge.’ Knowledge pu … [Read more...]

The Holy Spirit: so much left to learn!

40 scripture texts.40 thoughtful meditations.40 spaces to write your own reflections.40 original prayers to the Holy Spirit.That's my newest book, Forty Days with the Holy Spirit, hot off the press. So hot, in fact, it's just out at Amazon, or you can get your copy on sale straight from Paraclete Press. It's the perfect book to deepen your discipleship and refresh your faith during Lent, which begins in a couple of weeks.I'll post the first day's meditation and prayer later on … [Read more...]

The Curious Case of the “Kick Ass” Messiah

Don't be surprised if, during Advent, you hear a sermon that goes something like this: The Jews wanted a political messiah, but Jesus brought a peaceable kingdom.The Jews wanted someone to destroy Rome, but Jesus came to make peace.The Jews wanted a military ruler, but Jesus inaugurated a spiritual reign. I’ve heard this formula so many times that I’ve developed a gag reflex to it. Yet it keeps coming up. I was reading Christian Piatt’s Postchristian, for example, and came across this s … [Read more...]

Jottings from Assisi on Jon Sweeney’s When Saint Francis Saved the Church

I read this book about St. Francis of Assisi all wrong.I should have read chapter five, Through Personal Poverty, in the Piazza del Vescovado, where St. Francis stripped himself naked and defiantly returned the clothes he had taken (read: stolen) from his father’s shop to distribute them to the poor. Instead, I read chapter five--on poverty--in the basilica of St. Francis, whose grandeur might have embarrassed him, according to Sweeney.I should have read chapter six, By Developing a New S … [Read more...]

A Wee Little Man and a Big Insight

Last weekend Priscilla and I flew to Dallas to teach in an organization called United Methodist Women. We’d written the 2014 spiritual growth study, How Is It with Your Soul?, so they asked us to teach. We had a wonderful time with a remarkable group of people who share an equal amount of hunger for scripture and for justice.I arrived late. Priscilla and I were scheduled to leave at 6:45 AM on Thursday, but it was not to be. Jeremy graduated on Father’s Day, and our whole family, one by one, … [Read more...]


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