Don’t tell the unemployed, “It doesn’t make sense.”

"It doesn't make sense."That’s the common refrain from across the table --- the one thing the handful of people who will talk to you will say over and over again when you are unemployed: “It doesn’t make sense.”There are many reasons for that refrain.Some are simply trying to understand.The work that you did, the contribution that you made, the stack of commendations that you received, the article that featured your work, the claims that the company relied on your efforts, the to … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

Seven ways to avoid getting stuck

Over the years, I’ve seen people get stuck – personally and vocationally.There’s no formal definition for that place in life.  But minimally, I suppose, we are “stuck” when we are profoundly uneasy with our circumstances, at dis-ease with the direction in which our lives are moving, and apparently unable to do anything to change the situation.Some people get stuck in the past, trapped by regret, guilt, or unaddressed injustice.  Some get stuck in the present with patterns of behavior that … [Read more...]


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