I am rather afraid that, in actually expressing these thoughts, I am crossing the line. And as you know if you read my blog regularly, my “line” is already pretty close to a rather steep precipice. Yet, I decided from the outset that I would always be honest and transparent on this blog, so here we go:Call me crazy, but I am starting to think that I am spiritually impaired in some significant way. I hate (and I do not… Read more

A prayer of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, written in prison and published in his book Letters and Papers from Prison:Am I then really all that which other men tell of? Or am I only what I myself know of myself, restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage, struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat, yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds, thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness, trembling with anger at… Read more

Psalm 84:2My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD;my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.It happened after a small group session on “pastoral identity”, where five of us participants in the Lewis Fellows gathering on Church Leadership were talking about who we are. I had just mentioned a memory of my first official ministry position, one I had taken, to be honest, because I could not get a job as a pastor (the… Read more

I am one of those people who carries a kind of a restlessness in my spirit, a sense that I don’t really belong where I am, that there’s another place where all the wondering and uncertainty, pain and insecurity of life would be eased completely. I’ve felt differing degrees of this “homesickness” at various points in my life but it seems to be a feeling that is never very far away.The funny thing about it is that I can’t really… Read more

This was the view off my front porch Saturday night at 9:30. Well, this, plus trees frosted with several inches of snow and sidewalks promising a good work-out of shoveling the next morning. When this is what it looks like from the front porch on Saturday night at 9:30 it is pretty safe to say church attendance the next day might possibly be a little sparse.For some pastors, we professionals who spend hours reading books about “how to grow the… Read more

The thing on my mind this morning is the Gospel lesson for this Sunday: Mark 1:40-45.I am painfully and increasingly aware of my own quirks, oddities, peculiarities and, as we call them in churchy language, gifts. One of the (many) gifts I have is that I tend to think rather obsessively about the lectionary scripture passages for the week. My increasing awareness of strange habits like this one is thanks in large part, not only to my ever-growing self awareness… Read more

Less of me, more of God. Less of me, more of God. Repeat after me . . . . This is the mantra of my life. You’d think I would have caught on by now, really adopted, integrated and incorporated the idea. Ha! Still trying.It came up again for me yesterday when I got an email from a friend just finishing divinity school. She wrote to ask me for advice on purchasing a robe (clerical, not bath).We Baptists have a… Read more

Okay, let’s be honest. Upon meeting and getting to know certain members of their church some pastors question the existence of a benevolent God.Not me, of course. I am speaking only of what I’ve heard in professional circles.So, with that fact in mind, I hate to say this because I think there might be some divine tally sheet keeper who might read this, notice I probably have an inordinant number of wonderful church members, and undertake an effort to change… Read more

Chinese New Year is a holiday that is particularly close to my heart. A lot of people know I grew up in Hawaii but they probably don’t know that my grandmother was half Chinese. Her father immigrated to the Hawaiian Islands from Mainland China to work on a pineapple plantation in the mid-1800s. Needless to say, I have a lot of Chinese relatives. And they love to celebrate Chinese New Year. My childhood memories of Chinese New Year involve, first… Read more

I was thinking about falling in love today. Specifically, I was thinking about how we human beings pine for it, idealize it, live for it.And falling in love seems to come along so infrequently. What would you guess—the number of times an average person falls in love over a lifetime, that is—two, three (if you count your high school boyfriend)?It might sound like a strange thing to be thinking about on a Wednesday afternoon, but not really. See, I was… Read more

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