Lent Reflection – Is my mind set on human things?

(This series is an edited and updated version of reflections I wrote during Lent of 2021. Because I’m in graduate school I don’t have time to write brand new material for 40 days straight, but I am using these for my own Lent devotion, updating them as seems right for my journey currently and the […]

Quote – The way of Jesus.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more concise, yet complete, definition of a Christian as this one from Eugene Peterson: “To follow Jesus implies that we enter into a way of life that is given character and shape and direction by the one who calls us.” Here’s the full context: “To follow Jesus implies that […]

Why this pastor talks about emotions so dang much.

I’ve worn glasses for a long time. Since 4th grade, I think. Without my glasses, the world beyond ten feet or so blurs into an indistinct mosaic of colored blobs. Not very safe for me to be out and about! Each morning there is a moment of transformation when I put on my glasses for […]

When Jesus Changed Religion Forever (TAW003)

Episode 003 – When Jesus Changed Religion Forever Across the history of human religion we see the same structure over and over. In order to access God, or become enlightened, or get a blessing you have to go to that certain special spiritual place at the certain special time and there the special spiritual people […]

Is it time to practice the spiritual discipline of minding your own business?

So, I’ve got a book out in the world. (Yes… I’m mentioning the book, but this post is about character growth. Hang with me.) You may not know this, but Amazon gives authors a dashboard showing your book’s progress. At one point on launch day, my book was 32 in the top 100 for its […]

Weekend Wisdom / Bad Things Are Going to Happen. Be At Peace.

The world is feeling dark these days. Polarized, increasingly hostile attitudes prevail. Really scary things are happening. ISIS. Gun violence. Political discord. In times of anxiety and fear, our faith can get murky. In John’s gospel, Jesus makes an unexpected promise. He says, “In this world you will have trouble.” But then, he turns this […]

Weekend Wisdom / How to Read the Bible with Jesus as Your Lens, Part 1

If the Bible isn’t a flat text, where every verse has the same weight and authority, then how do we know which verses to give priority to? If the best way (maybe the only way) to read the Bible is to read it selectively, then what determines how we select? Are we only left with […]

Believe again and again.

I’m studying through the Gospel of John. I’m taking special care to go slowly. These are stories I know well. In my familiarity, I’m liable to rush past the text to the interpretation I already know. So, as I read I was working slowly through the text, considering each verse carefully. Early in Chapter 2, […]

Jesus Invitation? Not so hard as you thought.

Recently my 7-year old son took a “mental health day.” OK, maybe that’s not what it was. I don’t know. He woke up tired and snotty. He didn’t seem sick enough to deserve to skip school. (I come from a long line of parents who believed that only severed limbs and near-comatose illness got you […]

Weekend Wisdom / Tell Your Jesus Story

Evangelism. Some Christians love it. Some hate it. The problem isn’t with Jesus. It’s with the expectations and methods that we’ve been taught. In Jesus’ interaction with the woman at the well, we learn from the first recorded evangelist. What we see is rather different than what we’ve often been taught. If you’d prefer to […]

Throwing out the vendors in your heart.

I was sitting in my office next to a man who was weeping. Terrible and selfish choices made years before had caught up with him. He lost his career, his livelihood, his family, and his dignity. He was absolutely certain that God was punishing him. He begged me to help him find some penance. He […]

The promise religion can’t keep, that Christmas does.

This week around tables and living rooms across the world, families gather. Christmas eve. Christmas morning. Christmas dinner. The long, lazy days after Christmas. Sitting together sharing stories, gifts, and great food. At least this is what we want, right? Some families have this experience. Some don’t. Some of us wish we had people to […]

Where do you look when your foundation is shaken?

I was on a ladder, standing about six feet in the air when the whole thing just folded up underneath of me. It’s one of those ladders made of four segments which you can fold in different ways. I had it configured as a 12’ straight ladder, leaning against my house. Apparently, I had not […]