January 21, 2019

I wasn’t old enough to have seen Martin Luther King, Jr. at work while he was alive. However, by virtue of growing up in southern West Virginia I was able to see very clearly why he was at work. Granted, it wasn’t until I had grown up and moved away that I realized the cultural story behind the jokes and the monochrome skin that surrounded me for most of my young life. My hope since then has been to read, to… Read more

January 17, 2019

The word “mantras” might seem out of place in the conversation about spiritual formation. I understand that, especially since the word comes out of an ancient Eastern religious tradition. Some think that borrowing from other faith traditions is dangerous. I would offer this: Any wisdom we find becomes dangerous when it doesn’t match God’s formational reality. The reality I’ve found is that when we set our minds on things that are good, beautiful, and true (see Paul in Philippians 4:8)… Read more

January 15, 2019

Last week, I saw a friend that I hadn’t seen for a long time. They had been through significant change in their life, which is their story to tell and not mine. Suffice it to say that she had walked into a place where not everyone understood what she was doing, or why. She seized the graceful way that comes in times of transformation and trial. You’ve been to that place, yes? When you have to make a choice and… Read more

January 10, 2019

  Recently my wife and I watched a documentary called I Am Not Your Guru. It detailed the work and events of Tony Robbins, renowned motivational teacher and a frankly intense human being. While I won’t vouch for Tony’s language and methodology, what was fascinating is how people responded to his guidance. Even when he was asking them to make significant life decisions right then, they followed his lead. People cried and strangers cried together. They had spent thousands of… Read more

January 8, 2019

I love words. I always have. Words have become part of my identity, my self-awareness. I’ll pick a new one and use it frequently, especially when I think it conveys an old idea in a new way. Recently I began using the word “circumspect” in conversation. I felt like the word had a feel to it, even the way it came out of my mouth. After using it for about two months, I sat down today to write a piece… Read more

January 4, 2019

  It seems presumptuous to post my reading list and believe that someone would be interested. Of course, all writing (blogs included) is a kind of presumption – believing that you have something to say that people will want to hear. That felt a bit like a confession. Nice to get it off my chest. Thank you. This post actually reflects something that I believe is critical to spiritual formation, which is the act of reading. There are all sorts… Read more

January 1, 2019

We’re picking up here the discussion that started in last week’s post. The hope is to give four practical “moves” towards spiritual health  (can we call them resolutions) for the coming year. In the last post, we talked about needing a new picture for 2019 as well as a new way of seeing things. When we cultivate a bigger vision it keeps us moving through challenges, and the “lenses” this vision provides helps us to think differently about everything. Our third step then is… Read more

December 28, 2018

Ah, yes. It’s the week before New Year’s Day and therefore I’m contractually obligated to talk about resolutions, change, etc. etc. Every year, I debate about whether to even mention the fact that “a new year means we think about change” however when I stop to think about it carefully: A new year means we think about change. For whatever reason, the flip to a brand new calendar or the change of a single digit at the end of the… Read more

December 24, 2018

A little known fact is that many churches are planning and meditating on Christmas services in June. Difficult as it may be, leaders in churches like the one I serve are thinking about music and teaching and decor in the midst of seething humidity. At least here in Chicago. So, when those elements “happen” on the days leading up to Christmas, it is a culmination of 6 months planning and preparing. While many of us enjoy the fruits of those… Read more

December 20, 2018

I believe the goal of parenting has to be more than “a good kid.” In December in Illinois, if you find a day that’s above 42 degrees you take every opportunity to be outside. We all know “Winter is coming.” My wife and I took a walk around our neighborhood, checking on the new homes for sale. Some folks have added giant Santa inflatables that rise to the gutters of their homes. Santa at that height seems rather intimidating. We… Read more

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