5 Things the Church Should Tell the Candidates for President


Dear Candidates for President of the United States (yes, all of you):On the subject of politics and religion: Please don't mix the two...in the name of personal morality or in the name of social justice.   You cannot and you will not get it right.  And, although a few among us have been telling you that if you want our vote, you should share our faith, really, that's not good for you, for us, or for the country.  Really.  Why?   1. Because Christian notions of private and publ … [Read more...]

The One Thing We Must Do about Paris, Terrorism, and Religion


Did the events in Paris have anything to do with religion?In the surreal world that is modern discourse, some writers and leaders strangely suggest that religion had nothing to do with the attacks in Paris.  Paralyzed by political correctness, they do everything possible to avoid discussing the connection between the attack and Islam, even when the rallying cry that the murderers used was explicitly religious.On the other end of the spectrum, for some of the same reasons, some argue that … [Read more...]

3 Truths to Live by after Paris

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In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris last night, the observations offered by a number of writers followed a predictable script.Some expressed shock and surprise.  Some urged that we avoid seeking vengeance.  Some encouraged their readers to remember that not all Muslims endorse the kind of violence that was planned and executed.  Others urged forgiveness and hinted at the West’s own culpability.I understand the anguish and surprise that people have expressed. It is a testimony to … [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...]

6 Questions We Need to Answer about Clergy Formation


Some weeks ago, a Facebook friend who is also a young pastor posted this message (which I have quoted here with his permission): So, this is a bit of a vent/rant.  I'm frustrated, discouraged, and worried.  Worried about the future, discouraged about where my ministry career has brought me, and frustrated that I feel like I'm in a prison called The Church with no apparent way out. I've been researching a career change to nursing, which seems infinitely more promising for career options and f … [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...]

3 Things Francis Taught Us Today about Politics


The address that Pope Francis gave this morning before Congress was holistic and pro-life.  He spoke to the needs of the poor, the dreams of the common man and woman, the preservation of the creation, the devastating impact of violence, the danger of fundamentalism, the fragile nature of the modern family, the death penalty, and the need to protect the unborn.  He pointed us to the contemplative, Thomas Merton, and the activist, Dorothy Day.  He spoke to the example of Martin Luther King.  In sho … [Read more...]

The One Reason a Global Church Matters


Earlier this week The Guardian declared, “Justin Welby’s plan to split the Anglican Church tells us a lot about religion and politics.”  As English Bishop Nick Baines observed, the headline also told us a lot about the journalistic talent of some of the folks at The Guardian.  Baines tweeted, "Can't they read?" Evidently not. Clearly, the Archbishop of Canterbury is not trying to split the Anglican Communion by calling for a global meeting of the church’s leaders.  What he is trying to do, I s … [Read more...]