Which New Year?


We’ve celebrated two new years now…one driven by the calendar, the other driven by the liturgical year.  The liturgical year, which you can think of as the year, structured by the Christian story began at Advent in the beginning of December and takes us imaginatively through the story of Jesus’ life and the lives of [Read More...]

Rent-free in my head


This last semester one of the phrases that lingered from a student’s paper was the phrase, “living rent-free in my head.” It’s a great turn of phrase and underlines the power of unexamined, unchallenged assumptions that can linger, exercising unwelcome control over us….limiting and misshaping our daily existence. What are the ideas that are living [Read More...]

Hitting a religious nerve


In a recent column written for the Washington Post, I commented on religious displays in public spaces.  As is the case with articles of that kind, the Post went for a title that would match other contributions to the symposium that they were featuring.  Their title for the article was “The Scandal of Atheist Campaigns [Read More...]

Something new for Christmas


One of my students recounted a story that, I’m told, is widely known in Roman Catholic circles.  So the story goes: A little girl was sitting with her mother in church and asked, “Mommy, where is Jesus?” Deeply formed by her faith, the little girl’s mother pointed to the Tabernacle where the reserve sacrament is [Read More...]

Gurus and Gods: On Spiritual Direction

Spiritual direction

My students often bring things to my attention that stick.  It’s one of the gifts of reading their papers.   One of the students in our spiritual direction program noted that some clergy are suspicious of spiritual direction.  She quotes one pastor who observes, “I fear that the gift of so-called spiritual director is just another [Read More...]

Why is the Incarnation important?

Why is the Incarnation important? I’ve contributed an abbreviated answer to this question as part of a symposium here at Patheos: http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Why-the-Incarnation-Matters?offset=1&max=1 Check out the responses and chime in.  Here is the rather longer version of the answer I gave: From the beginning Christians have affirmed that Jesus is both fully God and fully human. [Read More...]

Always a pilgrim


I had the privilege of addressing the “Gusto!” group at King of Glory Lutheran Church here in Dallas.  As the description of the group might suggest, the class is largely (though not exclusively) made up of folks who have retired.  And the subject that they wanted to explore dealt with God’s will. One of the [Read More...]

What do you need to hear?


My wife and I recently spent a day at the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth.  In the permanent collection is what may well be Michelangelo’s earliest painting, “The Torment of St. Anthony” — a vivid portrayal of St. Anthony’s struggle with temptation in the desert.  It got me thinking… Our inner lives are too small. [Read More...]

Therapy and spiritual direction compared


In the certification program that we offer at Perkins one of the questions we explore are the differences between therapy and spiritual direction.  The distinctions are important — both as a means of defining the boundaries between the two endeavors and as a means of further defining the nature of direction.  If you are a [Read More...]

Losing ourselves


Losing ourselves can be a good thing or a bad thing spiritually. Losing ourselves… In the expectations of others in order to find love In the supposed glamour of the lives that others live In a desire for the things that other people own In a self-medicated flight from reality In the past In the [Read More...]