February 2, 2023

Is it possible that our belief in God can help us in a time of crisis? When we call for God through petition or prayer, is it possible that God responds—leading us to the best possible outcome, for ourselves, our families, and possibly those around us? It may depend on our faith. Either you have or you don’t. The late author David Foster Wallace once gave a fabled commencement speech, This is Water, in which he told an illuminating story about faith. It... Read more

January 26, 2023

In the latest edition of The Saturday Evening Post, there’s a story titled “Sleepless in America” by Todd Pitock. It’s about the deeply conflicted way Americans feel about sleep. He asks the question, “Why do so many consider sleep a waste of time?” As Pitock points out, “sleep has become a minefield of moral judgement…with many people shamed for sleeping too long or taking naps.” It seems baked into our Western culture. We don’t believe people should sleep too long—the... Read more

January 18, 2023

I read a lot of religious books and it’s rare to come across one that changes the way you view Christianity. I now have two such books on my bookshelf: The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr and Finding God Beyond Religion from Tom Stella. By chance, both authors emerged from the world of Roman Catholicism. Rohr is a Franciscan friar, while Stella is a former Catholic priest. “Having grown up a Catholic, I put Jesus on a pedestal.” The quote above is from... Read more

January 11, 2023

Are you in a winter funk? I know I am. Once the Christmas decorations have been packed up, and the initial cheer of the New Year has dissipated, I’m ready for spring. And why not? Right now, where I live, it’s uncomfortably cold with “feels like” temperatures in the 20s. The trees are bare having dropped the last of their leaves. The skies are gray, with overcast days far outnumbering the sunny ones. And the winter blues are settling in.... Read more

January 4, 2023

In Almost Everything, Notes on Hope, Anne Lamott offers a funny take on a range of issues related to hope and the place it has in our lives. But hidden just beneath the humor can be found something else—pearls of wisdom. That’s why I’m adding Anne to my semi-regular series of writers who have, sometimes unknowingly, provided us with rules to live by. I think of LaMott as a blue-collar philosopher, earthy and salty, but whose advice and wise counsel... Read more

December 28, 2022

In Jesus, What He Really Said and Did, the author Stephen Mitchell tries to clear up a few misconceptions about Jesus, including a very big one—why did Jesus have to die? And what he has to say may surprise you, as he pokes holes in notions that many Christians take as fact. Mitchell is an expert in his field, having translated some of the world’s great religious texts. His version of the classic Chinese book the Tao Te Ching has sold... Read more

December 22, 2022

It’s the holiday season. Time for the lights and warm glow of Christmas, the joy of family gatherings, the celebration marking the end of one year and the beginning of a new one. Plus, to bring the mood down a small notch, it’s also a time for New Year’s resolutions. In years’ past, each member of my family has made a list of three New Year’s resolutions on January 1. There have been resolutions that have been easy to pull... Read more

December 20, 2022

It’s the Christmas season, the time of the year when we engage in cherished family traditions. Baking holiday cookies. Hanging stockings by the fireplace. Unwinding with a glass of spiced eggnog. Well, in the Rapsas family, we have another unique tradition that started many years ago. Lighting up the plastic baby Jesus. I am a runner and four or five days a week, in the dim early hours of morning, I jog around town. My path seldom varies. I stay... Read more

December 15, 2022

How would you view the world if you knew that everything was a manifestation of God? If you could see God in all people and all things this holiday season, might it change the way you viewed those you encountered, and the experiences you had? My first exposure to religion was through the Catholic church. I attended weekly catechism classes through the 7th grade and Sunday services until I was about 17. My perception of God was much like that... Read more

December 7, 2022

Are you becoming more and more aware of your advancing age? Ever wonder if you’re making the most of your life? Or do you fear that something integral may be missing? If you can relate to these questions, then Thomas Moore’s book Ageless Soul is required reading. As you may know, Moore has written for decades on various facets of the soul and in this book turned his attention to how aging impacts this deepest part of our selves. He reminds us that... Read more

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