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...]

7 Ways to Prepare Spiritually to Vote

The election of a new President comes into sharper focus next week with the primaries.We’ve been polled, encouraged, recruited, and berated.   We have been told that we are better than we are and we’ve been told that we worse than we are.Now it’s time to begin weighing the real-world consequences of our vote.It is also time to consider our spiritual obligations.So, how do we make a decision about voting marked by thoughtful, deliberative, and spiritual preparation?Here are som … [Read more...]

5 Keys to Surviving Spiritually as a Leader in the Church

Over the last three years, my dear friend and colleague, Dr. Mark Fowler has invited me to speak to his leadership class about the spiritual challenges that a leader in the church faces.It is generous of him.  A deeply thoughtful scholar and practitioner, he hardly needs me to remind his class of the spiritual challenges that attend the task of providing leadership for the church.  But I’ve appreciated the invitation and the event has become something of a spiritual exercise for me. … [Read more...]

5 Ways to Age without Getting Old

Sometime ago, a friend who had just celebrated his 84th birthday observed, “You know, when I was young, I thought I knew what being in my eighties would be all about.  But now that I am well into the experience, I realize that I don’t know at all.  Oh, sure, I have aches and pains that I didn’t experience in the past and I move more slowly.  But inside, life feels much as it did in my thirties and forties.”Thanks to his observation, I found myself musing about the experience of aging.  Here a … [Read more...]

Dealing with Job’s Facebook Friends: 5 Thoughts on Suffering & Social Media

A dear friend who has navigated cancer of his own is now facing that journey with his wife.  Her cancer, sadly, is far more virulent and, tied as it is, to a genetic marker, the little monster is not going away.Like many of my friends, he has shared the progress of his wife’s treatment with his Facebook community, and the result has been just what one might hope for: words of encouragement and sympathy, promises of prayer, and offers from those who live close-by to help in one way or an … [Read more...]

Christmas Autopsy: 5 Thoughts about the Death of Christmas

The war on Christmas has become an annual topic of conversation.This year The Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henninger even declared that Christmas is dead.Is it time for an autopsy?Scanning the store windows up and down New York’s Fifth Avenue, Henninger chronicled the ways in which major commercial outlets had erased even the most sentimental traces of Christmas from their windows, replacing Santa Claus and his elves with palm readers; the Roman god, Neptune; and the inebriated and se … [Read more...]