A Vulnerable Church: Passing The Dave Test

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Much of the last year was thread through with considerable loss.  My brother, Dave, battled a fatal brain cancer for nearly eight years and he died this last January as the result of a fall that was due in large part to his disease.  He would have been 58 years old this month.In reaction to Dave’s quest to find a durable faith and supportive friends, I wrote a book called The Dave Test, which was just released by Abingdon Press.  The book distills Dave’s quest into ten questions that any of u … [Read more...]

“Teach your children…”

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A midday appointment took me home through the neighborhood in which we live.  Driving along I noticed a lemonade stand operated by four little girls.  I have a weak spot for drink stands operated by children.  My brother and I spent a summer pulling a Radio Flyer through a construction site selling small bottles of Coca Cola, and I delight in supporting their efforts.When I stopped to buy my lemonade, the girls handed me a card, explaining that they were giving their profits to a program ca … [Read more...]

Awareness: A Practice looking for a Purpose

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There are more than enough articles, books, and websites out there offering guidance on the practice of living in the moment, or awareness.  But a good deal of that literature never asks the most important questions: Aware of what, why, and to what end?Some will respond, of course, that to ask that set of questions undermines the practice of awareness from the get-go.  We should be open to whatever may present itself in the moment.  That’s a fair criticism --- to a point.  But it is also the … [Read more...]

Kneel, Sit, Stand: The Embodiment of Spirituality

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We used to joke about the dilemma that visitors to an Episcopal church typically face.  Do you “kneel, sit, or stand?”  I’ve been in a few parishes that have even tried to help with the question.  Unfortunately, far too many of the efforts focus on practice and practicalities.  Not enough of them focus on the inner logic of worship. Spiritual practice is not just about the mind or the soul.  We are not “Tinkerbell” trapped in bodies.We are body, mind, and soul --- an inextricable unit … [Read more...]

Boston Bombing: In Times of Crisis

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Prayers for the people of Boston and for all of us…  Having lived for a time in the Middle East, I have passing familiarity with the impact that this behavior has on a nation and its citizens. The impact is chilling and brutalizing. We will need to look deep within ourselves to listen for the still small voice that is the word of God to us in difficult times. God give us grace, courage, and compassion in a balance that is forever at risk in this environment.Pause.Find moments of si … [Read more...]

Thomas: Muggle or Wizard?

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But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."  A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to … [Read more...]

The Significance of the Liturgy

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We were visiting with friends this weekend and comparing notes about worship.  One of our friends noted that a non-denominational church near them offered an “informal” worship service free of liturgical forms.  “We just can’t compete, given the formality of our approach to worship,” our friend observed.I can’t speak for my Christian sisters and brothers who favor less liturgical approaches to worship.  But those of us who use liturgical forms should never buy into the logic that our approach … [Read more...]

Notes on “The Prodigal”

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There isn’t just one prodigal in the parable of the prodigal son.There are two.One leaves home. The other stays home. The first can’t believe that God can love him. The other believes that God can’t love him --- without making sure that it’s the other son God doesn’t love.Neither of them “gets” God….God’s capacity for forgiveness God’s capacity for loveWe are inhabited by both prodigals...Prodigal daughters --- prodigal sons.One dominates the other from time … [Read more...]


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