Always a pilgrim

Wisdom

I had the privilege of addressing the “Gusto!” group at King of Glory Lutheran Church here in Dallas.  As the description of the group might suggest, the class is largely (though not exclusively) made up of folks who have retired.  And the subject that they wanted to explore dealt with God’s will.One of the people who attended admitted that she really wasn’t sure that there was much for someone her age to gain from a conversation of that kind.  But, thankfully, I did a bit of “profiling” and ch … [Read more...]

What do you need to hear?

St.Anthony

My wife and I recently spent a day at the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth.  In the permanent collection is what may well be Michelangelo's earliest painting, "The Torment of St. Anthony" --- a vivid portrayal of St. Anthony's struggle with temptation in the desert.  It got me thinking...Our inner lives are too small.They are cluttered with the kind of distractions that they sell in tourist traps --- pot metal and plastic, cheap construction, loud colors --- here today, gone tomorrow, about to b … [Read more...]

Therapy and spiritual direction compared

Spdirection

In the certification program that we offer at Perkins one of the questions we explore are the differences between therapy and spiritual direction.  The distinctions are important --- both as a means of defining the boundaries between the two endeavors and as a means of further defining the nature of direction.  If you are a spiritual director, or you are a directee, I invite your thoughts about the following comparisons and your own thoughts on the subject:Therapy is specific in its f … [Read more...]

Losing ourselves

LosingOurselves

Losing ourselves can be a good thing or a bad thing spiritually.Losing ourselves…In the expectations of others in order to find love In the supposed glamour of the lives that others live In a desire for the things that other people own In a self-medicated flight from reality In the past In the futureThese are typically bad for us spiritually.Losing ourselves…In the moment In the needs of others In the presence of God In the pursuit of what Jesus described as the pearl of gre … [Read more...]

Grieving with hope

images-1

The deeper healing of our grief is in God’s hands.All cures are temporary.Healing is eternal in character.Cure is particular, focused on a specific issue.Healing is comprehensive.That is why therapeutic approaches to any of our struggles --- grief included --- lack the power to address some of our needs at the deepest level.  Therapy can teach us to “cope” with our losses or “manage” them (and that’s a good thing), but the losses remain --- and they await a resolution that lies entirely … [Read more...]

Getting a grip on grief

Grief2

Generationally, we went from stuffing, denying, medicating, and surrendering to our grief to analyzing it.That wasn’t a bad thing.  It was progress.  And, famously, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross declared grief a process.  That was a helpful, groundbreaking move, even though, as it turns out, she was wrong.The denial, depression, anger, dialogue, acceptance, and return to meaningful life that she described are undoubtedly elements of what we experience.  But we don’t experience them in any predict … [Read more...]

Understanding Grief

Grief

Psalm 319 Be gracious to me, O Lord,for I am in distress;my eye wastes away from grief,my soul and body also.10 For my life is spent with sorrow,and my years with sighing;my strength fails because of my misery,and my bones waste away.11 I am the scorn of all my adversaries,a horror to my neighbours,an object of dread to my acquaintances;those who see me in the street flee from me.12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;I have become like a broken vessel.13 … [Read more...]

When God gets angry

CleansingTemple

From a Christian perspective, one of the more telling pictures of divine anger is the cleansing of the Temple.  John’s version of the story goes like this:After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there for a few days.  The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all o … [Read more...]

Is God angry all the time?

Angry God

Judging from what directees have told me --- and even from a good deal of what is in print --- a lot of people are fairly sure that God is angry.  Angry some of the time, maybe angry all the time.Some fairly reputable scholars have even argued that is why we need to retool the Christian faith.  “Out with the angry old man in the sky --- in with something new.”The problem with this argument is that it relies on caricatures of God that are not a part of the Christian tradition.  Oh, to be sure, … [Read more...]

I’m as mad as hell. Should I feel guilty about it?

anger

Not all anger is the same: Anger can be a vague, generalized feelingIt can be occasioned by a specific set of circumstances It can arise out of the disparity between what we want and what is (And what we want can be a healthy, good thing to want…and it might not be) It can arise out of the disparity between what is and what should be (And we can be wrong or right about what should be)We typically mishandle angerBy acting out of it unreflectively Or by repressing itAnd for that r … [Read more...]


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