Episode 036 – Don’t Avoid Starting Over I like knowing stuff. I like being seen as a good person. I love being an expert. Weird that I became a pastor, right? But here’s the thing. As much as I like this stuff, I’ve discovered it’s not very good for me. Turns out that being an […]
Do we have the courage to stop racial injustice?
Sitting in my home just outside of Portland, Oregon, I am only nine miles from the small square of blocks outside the Justice Center that has seen 90 nights straight of protesting that began in response to the police killing George Floyd. I’m also about 46 miles and 176 years away from where the Oregon […]
A Prayer & Process for Remaining Grounded in a Chaotic World
Emotions are running high. Uncertainty is growing. The future seems less clear than ever before. With the never-ending stream of news and social media, we are now more aware of the struggles faced by people around the world. It’s all overwheming. We need an anchor.
Building Hope When We Feel Hopeless
Are you feeling the need for hope? I sure am. The pandemic, protests, and generational pain from ignored racial injustice have given rise to anger and uncertainty. The incessant machinery of news & social media amplifies this into outrage and anxiety. After four months of COVID-19 with no end in sight, we’re starting to realize […]
Pentecost, Breathing & George Floyd
Note: This is the text of my Pentecost sermon from 5/31/2020. In this particular moment in American history, it seems essential for white Christians to speak up, if only because our silence has spoken for us for too long. I am not an expert in this topic, but I am listening and learning, and have […]
It’s OK to Miss Your People!
Both my daughter and wife had birthdays this week. In normal years, this week overflows with events and gatherings celebrating these two wondrous humans. This year? Not so much. As I’m writing this, our county and state are no longer in full shelter-in-place mode, but also not fully into the first stage of slowly re-opening. […]
A Psalm for when COVID-19 upends your life.
At the beginning of April, I moved into my new planner for the 2nd quarter of this year. I browsed back through past appointments, projects, to-dos both completed and left undone. I was stunned at how quickly things can change. Four months ago, life looked one way. And now? Completely different. Then I’d never heard […]
When Normal breaks, what do you learn about yourself?
All of a sudden, it becomes clear exactly how fragile “normal” is. The routines, expectations, and plans we all depend on to keep our days moving forward have all been upended by an implacable, invisible enemy. For many of us, this all feels so unexpected. We’re seeing in unarguable ways exactly how little control we […]
An open letter in a time of increasing fear among Christians
My dearest Christian siblings, I’ve been noticing us, seeing our white knuckles and increasingly strident declarations. Some among us are spending a lot of time defining and announcing who the one true Christians are. Some are shouting about liberal slippery slopes. Others are equally angry about conservative gate-keepers. An awfully large contingent is certain that […]
Is Jesus really your way? (A question & A Book Recommendation.)
When congresspeople get to Washington, one of the first tasks in their governing work is receiving their committee assignments. There are more than fifty committees that do the work of investigating, researching, refining, and writing legislation. One of these committees is the Ways and Means Committee, arguably the most important committee in congress. It’s more […]
1 reason that new spiritual program or spiritual practice might not be for you.
It’s not unusual to hear some practice or program billed as the next thing that will supercharge your spiritual life. Use this new small group curriculum. It will take you deep as you “do life together.” Take this insightful new personality inventory. You’ll really understand how God made you so that you can live more […]
Your theology is just a theory.
Your theology is just a theory. No matter how precious. Even when you can back up each clause with scripture, or appeal to your favorite theologian. Are you balking already? Maybe you’re sure your theology the very truth handed down from the apostles. A lot of us think that! Before you assume I’m telling you […]
Don’t bypass the narrow gate to growth.
There is a narrow gate that must be passed through if we will experience growth and spiritual maturity. It’s called narrow, not because it’s hard to find, but because so few people want to go through it. We want what lies on the other side—growth, maturity, a greater sense of peace, and awareness of God’s […]
The wilderness you’re in may be exactly what you need.
God, I hate uncertainty. I don’t like not knowing what’s coming next, not having a plan, not being able to make a well-informed choice about a long-considered path forward. I grew up in a church community that trained us well for certainty. To be sure about what’s right and wrong, clear about what happens when […]
If you’re in the wilderness, you are not alone!
Are you feeling the discomfort of living in between? Something is coming to an end or may already be done. What’s next isn’t clear. Before now the path was apparent, but now? Not so much. Options multiply. It’s hard to know which road is best. In this landscape, goal-making isn’t easy; sometimes, it doesn’t even […]