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...]

The Wrong Side of History


From my list of errant (but oft-cited) truisms: "The wrong side of history"... History is mute and dumb.   The product of human choices, moral and immoral.   Capable of advance.Capable of gross and brutal retreat.  Capable of virtue in some places.  Capable of cruelty in others. Sometimes, many others.   The course of history is dependent upon the good, which is God.   It is also a servant to evil, which is the absence of God, one choice at a time.   "The right side of histor … [Read more...]

Body Image and 5 Paths to Freedom


My wife and I love to cook.  We were watching Food Network’s show, "Chopped," and waiting for the Cubs game.The guest chefs are former or current models: 2 men, 2 women.What is distressing, but not surprising, is that the women have obviously struggled with the projection that up-ended and savaged their lives. Both have obviously spent decades of their lives, struggling with what other people and the modeling industry expected of them.The net result was a loss of self-acceptance, fr … [Read more...]

The Making of Zombie Theologians: Catechesis, Spiritual Direction, and the Future of the Church


Over the years catechesis acquired a bad reputation. There were a number of reasons for this state of affairs.One was the traditional format that was used to teach the Christian faith. Catechesis became inextricably attached to an aging format that consisted of leading questions and brief answers that were committed to memory. As such, teaching the Christian faith was associated with pat answers, simplistic truths, and a dictatorial approach to transmitting the Christian faith.In an age … [Read more...]

From Beneficiary to Benefactor: Turning the Corner in the Third Generation

Last week’s blog was devoted to a question for leaders: “Are you a founder, an inheritor, or a beneficiary?”Based on some reading that I did some years ago in The Harvard Business Review, I suggested many enterprises (religious enterprises included) fail in the third generation, because their leaders treat the institutions and organizations that have been entrusted to their care as an entitlement. What are the characteristics of a third generation leader who avoids that temptation and becom … [Read more...]

Seven Things the Holy Spirit Might Be Trying to Tell You


For many of us it can be hard to believe that the Holy Spirit speaks in a way that is real or helpful.That struggle can be traced to a number of factors: We live in a culture that doesn’t expect God to “show up.”  When we do talk about the work of the Holy Spirit, we use rarified, impenetrable, stained-glass language.  And most of what we expect to hear in listening to the Spirit is couched in such pious jargon that we find it hard to believe that any of it applies directly to us.I’ve com … [Read more...]

What do you do with doubt?


What do you do with doubt?The answers to that question are as varied as the history of doubt itself.Some people celebrate the contribution that doubt makes and consider it the hallmark of intellectual maturity.  Halfway through a hefty volume on the history of doubt, Jennifer Hecht cites an old Zen maxim: "Great Doubt: great awakening. Little Doubt: little awakening. No Doubt: no awakening."  On that reading of things, doubt is the engine of enlightenment and insight.At the other end … [Read more...]

PB & J

We’ll be getting the names of the people nominated for Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church in a few hours and people have already named the demands of the task.But I have a sinking feeling that – just as with the election of other national leaders – some of us will fall into the trap of thinking that this election will change everything. There will be conversations about the particular camps into which the candidates fall; their capacity for leadership; and the likely shape of their time … [Read more...]