From the Director’s Chair: Good Guilt

guilt

We are wired to maximize good feelings and minimize the bad ones.  Guilt is a case in point.  But guilt can be a good thing --- if what it does is draw us into deeper communion with God.  Psalm 32 provides an excellent sketch of the experience:1 Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,whose sin is covered.2 Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity,and in whose spirit there is no deceit.3 While I kept silence, my body wasted awaythrough my groaning all day long.4 … [Read more...]

Although is not because

Because

In the July-August edition of the Harvard Business Review the editors featured an article by HBS Professor Clay Christensen.  Entitled “How will you measure your life?” the article was something of a phenomenon.  Hundreds of thousands went on line to read the article and journalists around the world picked up on themes from it, including David Brooks, who writes for the New York Times. The editorial staff of HBR was so taken with the response that they chose to leave the article on their websi … [Read more...]

Family Values? Not so much.

Motherhood

The September issue of the Harvard Business Review offers statistical confirmation of something that mothers have known for a long time.  Having children does them no good in the work world.According to Amanda K. Baumle at the University of Houston, who analyzed the 2000 Census “Having children tends to result in higher wages for men, whether they’re straight or gay, married or partnered…Most mothers make less than childless women.” And “Only lesbians get a salary bump from having kids.”  What … [Read more...]

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should

Movies

Over the years relatives have shared church bulletins with us, thinking that we might find what the churches are doing of interest.  That’s understandable, considerate, and sometimes we do find them interesting.  There are other times when they are just crazy-making.For example, my wife’s parents sent us a bulletin from their church in Exeter, New Hampshire announcing a new fall film festival.  The subject matter?“Fresh”….according to the bulletin “Fresh” celebrates the farmers, thinkers and … [Read more...]

From the Director’s Chair: On Feelings

Feelings

We tend to think globally or categorically about emotions, lumping all of them under one heading.  But, in fact, each of our emotions vary enormously in character and origin.For example, not all anger is the same in origin:It can arise out of the disparity between what we want and what is.  And what we want can be a healthy and good thing to want — and it might not be.Our anger can arise out of the disparity between what is and what should be.  And we can be wrong or right about what shou … [Read more...]

Here is the church, here is the steeple, open the doors and here is

handchurch2

Not so many people.  Why?  In part, apparently, because we are doing an increasingly poor job of explaining to the people who come through the doors what it is that we believe, why it makes a difference, and how it differs from what others believe. A recent Pew Research Center report concluded: Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions … [Read more...]

Loving one another

diversity

Years ago I had a life-changing experience in a nursing home.  I was visiting an aging parishioner and, as is so often the case, she was sharing her room with another resident.  Both ladies were out having tests run, so I was left on my own to wait.While I did, I noticed that my parishioner’s roommate had a photo on the dresser.  Given the vintage of the picture, it was clearly a picture of my friend’s roommate, but  what was captivating was the subject matter.  Taken when she was a young woman … [Read more...]

Healing church, hurtful church

imgres

We had dinner with friends last night and we began talking about the emerging church phenomenon — the latest effort to re-boot the church by breaking ties with the long-established denominational structures that have dominated recent Christian history. In passing, one of our friends observed, “Well, I haven’t been hurt by the church, so I find it much harder to turn my back on the day to day reality that we identify as church.” I was really jarred by the observation (though I didn’t say so) … [Read more...]

Did you find what you were looking for

imgres

Last night after a long evening of work I stopped by the grocery for something prepared to eat for dinner.  Regularly the clerks ask, “Did you find what you were looking for?”  It sounds like a casual question, but it isn’t, of course.  If the associates have been properly trained it is a spot inspection, a window into customer satisfaction, and a mission-oriented enquiry. Are we meeting your needs? Getting the job done? Accomplishing our goal? Selling you product? Likely to see you return? It oc … [Read more...]

What do I really believe happens when we die

WDIRB_hp

I was invited to contribute to a feature at Patheos.com called  “What do I really believe…”  The subject in this first feature is the question, “What do I really believe happens when we die?” It isn’t a trivial question, nor is it purely academic.  The way any story ends decisively shapes what we make of everything that led up to the end; and the same is true of life.  And, while we don’t know in one sense what will happen, nor does anyone know in detail (how could you?), like any other set of ch … [Read more...]


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