Are you doing the hidden inner work?

5 miles of narrow, winding, uphill road remained between us and our destination, the Oregon Caves. Sometimes steep, the road wound its way upwards with tight switchbacks. About halfway up I realized something. Despite the incline and the many tight corners, the drive was perfectly smooth and comfortable. Tight turns on a narrow road usually […]

Stop Stress by Thinking About Stressors

I was in a Facebook conversation with a friend about the stress she was under.  Her husband had helpfully suggested that perhaps she should “just not feel it.”  Sensing that this was probably not the best advice he’d given her in their marriage, she was crowd sourcing ideas about how to deal with the emotional […]

Myth #5: Ignore Your Emotions and They Will Just Go Away

And now onto the last myth in this series:  Myth #5.  Ignore your emotions and they will just go away. This is the myth that does the most damage.  The body count is enormous—marriages ended, relationships broken, churches split and destroyed—all because people with influence were unwilling to stop and look at the uncomfortable emotions […]

Myth #4: Emotional Christians are Shallow.

Here’s Part 4. Try something for me.  Wherever you are right now—at your computer, or iPad or iPhone—look away from the screen.  If there’s a mirror there, all the better.  Take stock of how you feel, and then when you’re ready say this sentence: “You seem really reasonable today.” Now, take stock of how you […]

Myth #3: Emotions Aren’t Spiritual

Now, onto Myth #3:  Emotions Aren’t Spiritual. There is one particular story in the life of Jesus that was really uncomfortable for the little church I grew up in. It’s found in every one of the Gospels, so it wasn’t possible to ignore. Something about the story was powerful and important, but something else was a […]

If you feel like God, You will do justice.

I attended The Justice Conference in Portland in 2012.  This is part 2 of my reflections.  You can catch up on part 1 (Love, Justice & the Problem of Indifferent Christians) here. Part 2: If You Feel Like God, You Will Do Justice. As I sat through speaker after speaker at the conference, one question kept surfacing for […]

Love, Justice & the Problem of Indifferent Christians.

Part 1:   Digesting the Justice Conference In 2012 I attended the Justice Conference, here in Portland.  It was amazing.  Like conferences often are, it was a fire hose of information.  When I left the conference late Saturday night, I was over-full.  I wanted to reflect, to not open my mouth for weeks.  The friend I […]

Myth #2: Emotions Will Lead You Astray.

Here’s Part 2: “Whatever you do, don’t make an emotional decision!”  How many times have you heard that advice?  It sounds wise.  After all, how many stories do we know of people who followed their emotions right off a cliff?  We know of people who lost everything following anger or lust or greed.  In a […]

Myth #1: God’s Not Emotional.

I remember seeing a Jesus movie as a kid, sometime in the middle seventies. The Jesus in that film was haunting.  His long, blond hair hung limp down the sides of his gaunt face, framing piercing blue eyes that could see, I imagined, right into your heart.  He spoke quietly.  His words were delivered in […]

5 Things You Learned About Emotion in Church That Aren’t True.

Have you ever experienced a paradigm shift?  This isn’t just learning new information.  This is when you discover something that changes the way you see everything.  It’s the difference between thinking that the earth might revolve around the sun, instead of the other way around.  I’m in the middle of a paradigm shift right now. […]

No Emotional Growth? No Spiritual Growth.

There is no spiritual growth without emotional growth.   Does that seem like an overstatement?  Perhaps it’s taking things too far, but the more I think about this, the more it seems accurate. I have known people that on the outside seemed to have been pursuing spiritual growth for years, decades even.  Yet they aren’t […]

Emotions Always Tell The Truth.

You’ve heard it somewhere.  A decision has to be made.  It’s complicated and there are different opinions and disagreement.  At one point someone speaks up, “We just need to make a rational decision.  We can’t let emotions cloud our judgement.”   Our parents, our churches, our culture have all trained us deeply with the idea […]