In our search for spiritual direction we often look for the exceptional and the extraordinary.  That is understandable, particularly in an increasingly materialistic world where what is most real is what we can sense — see, feel, hear, touch, and smell.  It is also understandable, given our tendency to think of that world as a world devoid of God’s presence. Far too often we assume that if God does exist, God likely lurks just beyond the last material reality that… Read more

Poor Mary. It’s not like being the Christ bearer wasn’t hard enough.  She has to tolerate our deeply mixed motives for loving her. For men, among others, it’s the need of a mother.  For women she’s a rallying point for women’s rights and empowerment. There are arguments to be made for both points of view, but she was and is so much more. There’s not a lot to go on in the Gospels and it’s hard to know how much… Read more

My wife is reading a novel — a novel about Scots and the English.  So, the author cares about language and along the way he makes some pretty fine distinctions.  One of them, she tells me, is the difference between venomous and poisonous. They might appear to be the same, but they aren’t.  If something bites you and it makes you sick, it’s venomous.  If you bite into something and it makes you sick, it’s poisonous.  In one fairly humorous… Read more

Sculptor Joe Cajero was raised on the Jemez pueblo in New Mexico and his work is informed by his Pueblo religion.  Here is how he describes his work, which he calls “The Embodiment of Prayer”: My creative energy is often spiritual in nature.  Each of my sculptures invariably represents some aspect of praise and appreciation for life’s beauty, ebb and flow.  “The Embodiment of Prayer” is a created image that specifically captures what is a reflection of my spirituality.  Since… Read more

Last week I learned to fly fish on Hermosa Creek in southwest Colorado and the experience has me thinking about the lessons of fly fishing that also apply to the spiritual life.  Here is some of what I’ve learned.  I’ll let you make your own inferences. Lines get tangled. Patience often provides enough space and focus to untangle them. But sometimes an intervention is needed. The best results are often found in deep water. It’s fun to catch.  It can… Read more

I am blessed with a handful of friends who make me think.  One of them is John Ockels.  John thinks deeply about his faith.  Over lunch the other day, he pointed out that thinking about life as eternal had changed the way he lives. “You know, he observed, if you think that this life is all there is, it doesn’t matter how sweet natured and good you happen to be, the notion that it will all be over in 80… Read more

Writing for Real Clear Religion, author Mark Judge observes: Somebody needs to stage an intervention on Bob Beckel. The man needs to stop taking about being a drunk. Beckel is a Democratic operative who now co-stars on The Five, the popular Fox television show. The Five has five stars — Beckel, Greg Gutfeld, Dana Perino, Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Eric Bolling. The show has received good reviews — even from the New York Times — and it’s not hard to see why. It has… Read more

My brother is a surgeon and he understands the desire for second opinions.  When a procedure is complicated or the implications are far-reaching, it can be important to get another point of view.  If the second opinion confirms the first one you received, it’s also reassuring.  But when patients look for a third, fourth, or fifth opinion, he has also learned that his patients are probably looking for the opinion they want, not the opinion they need — or they… Read more

In a recent article in The Wall Street Journal James Brovard reported: In recent years, numerous experts have declaimed that the gross domestic product is a flawed measure of whether citizens are truly thriving. President Obama’s designee for World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, for example, warned that “the quest for growth in GDP and corporate profits has in fact worsened the lives of millions of women and men.”  In light of this growing concern, the Obama administration is financing… Read more

In 1960 D. W. Winnicott published what appeared to be an inconsequential article describing “the false self.”  Winnicott argued that, in self-defense, we all build versions of ourselves.  Those “false selves” are designed to offer a version of ourselves to the world that keep us from being hurt and promote public civility, ordering our impulses and the ways in which we act on them.  Winnicott argued that in those who are emotionally troubled, the false self looms so large that… Read more




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