4 Ways Spiritual Direction Could Change the Church

There are times when, as theological educators, we have the rare privilege of not only contributing to a discipline, but we also get a front row seat to historic change.The practice of spiritual direction has entered one of those history-making chapters.Spiritual direction is a structured effort to listen for the voice of God with the assistance of a one-on-one relationship with a spiritual director or companion who provides space for that effort and asks questions that prompt the … [Read more...]

5 Priorities as We Vote

A number of years ago, I invited a New Testament scholar to speak at the Cathedral in Washington. I picked him up at Reagan – National – Airport - in Washington – by God – DC. We drove up the tidal basin past the Jefferson Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, west of the Lincoln Memorial, the Reflecting Pool, the Washington Monument, and the Capitol, and then traveled up Rock Creek Parkway, past the Kennedy Center.“You, know,” he said, “I began my work as an archaeologist and I’ve often tho … [Read more...]

4 Ways Teaching in a Seminary is Different

 Some weeks ago, I polled my Facebook friends, asking this question “What gifts, skills, values, or knowledge do you value in a priest, pastor, or minister that a seminary can help your clergy acquire?”The survey was hardly scientific in nature, so I can’t claim any statistical validity for the responses. But it was a fairly large, committed, and thoughtful group of laypeople and clergy.The responses were interesting.One cluster of answers revolved around preaching and litur … [Read more...]

4 Ways the Culture Misunderstands Spiritual Formation

For much of the late 20th Century and all of the early 21st Century, an increasing number of people have described themselves as “spiritual, but not religious.”Even if that trend left the church at some disadvantage in speaking to the needs of a growing segment of the population, the development was a welcome one. It was also a wake up call to a church that had allowed an important dimension of its experience to slip to the margins of its life.The church’s failure to do that work, howev … [Read more...]

4 Ways the Church Misunderstands Spiritual Formation

The journey into God that transforms us and leads us into deeper connection with God lies at the heart of spiritual formation. Formation creates a space for that encounter to occur, and it nurtures the practice and virtues that makes that journey possible.But it is also widely misunderstood, even by churches.In looking back over decades of attention to the task of formation, here is a brief outline of four models for spiritual formation that are important elements of the experience, but … [Read more...]

The Last Enemy

At my brother’s funeral just over three years ago, the pastor officiating at the service brought us together in the church’s library and laid down the law. “There isn’t going to be any grieving today. We are going to celebrate Dave’ life.”He meant well.But then -- and even now -- I wanted to grab him by the lapels and say, “That’s easy for you to say.” Candidly, I’m sure the unedited, in-the-moment version was far harsher, but let’s leave it at that. I had things to celebrate, but I had a … [Read more...]

The Making of Donald Trump and the Unmaking of a Nation

As Donald Trump steamrolls through the primary season, the question many are asking is, “How could this possibly happen?”The man’s life is a bundle of contradictions. His speeches, while mercifully brief, are also devoid of content, apart from sweeping promises no one could reasonably believe he will fulfill. He is often crude, insulting, and vulgar. Nonetheless, his campaign thrives without spending significant sums of money to make it happen.Some theorize that Trump’s success has to do … [Read more...]

Cancel that Meeting!

Meetings.  They are the mainstay of the modern workplace, both in and outside of the church.But how much do they accomplish and are they worth the opportunity cost in time and talent?After all, our places of employment pay for us to set aside other tasks in order to attend them and they often generate other kinds of work that take us further off task.After years of convening and attending them, I’ve come to the conclusion that we often meet for all of the wrong reasons. One of the wr … [Read more...]


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