Archive for the 'relationships' Category

(Posts Archive)

Personal and Family Matters

Students of first century Middle Eastern and Mediterranean culture point out that in the days and lands of the Bible it went without saying that the value of the individual was a family matter. Name, identity, and honor were closely connected to parentage, tribe, and what a father, mother, son or daughter contributed to the […]

Surprised by a Snake

I have friends who like snakes and know a lot about them. They see them as amazing creatures with an important role in the food chain of insect and rodent control. I feel about snakes the way I do about poison ivy. That’s what I  bring to the strange-sounding words of Jesus when he says, […]

Unimaginable— Part 1

Childlikeness renews wonder that childishness reasons away. But if that’s the case, it may not be readily apparent in the the Apostle Paul’s often quoted, “When I was a child, I spoke, thought, and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” What is clear is that, whatever Paul meant […]

Child-Like-Ish

What’s the difference between being childlike and childish? One gets higher marks than the other. We seem to speak warmly of childlike wonder, trust, and innocence while being less approving of those who are childishly impatient, demanding, and self-centered. According to the New Testament, God became a child who, upon becoming a man, overheard the […]

Pr…ying Mantis

Look who showed up in my yard the other day. But is it a preying or praying mantis? Found out that, even though it is a natural predator it is a—praying mantis. Also learned that “mantis” comes from the Greek word for “prophet” or “fortune teller” and that Mantises were considered to have supernatural powers by early […]

Looking for What’s Missing

In the previous post, “What’s Wrong With this Picture?” the close up of the ant sculpture in the Atlanta Airport shows what happens when perspective is missing. My guess (trying to read the lines, and between them) is that when Paul says to the divisive church in Corinth (inconsiderate of one another, and drinking to […]

Looking for a Way Forward

As some of you have noticed, I have not been posting or commenting as often on this blog which is no longer connected to Our Daily Bread Ministries (formerly RBC Ministries). Part of the reason for the change is that, on reaching the age of 65 (three years ago), I decided it was time for […]

Tired in Trying

After a wind storm took down big limbs and snapped trees in our neighborhood last week, my neighbors and I wore ourselves out trying to get down a heavy wild cherry branch that was hanging dangerously just beyond the reach of our ladder and ropes. Yet, as I think back on it now, our physical […]

Forgiving Ourselves

We’ve talked in the past about what it takes to forgive ourselves. When we did, some of us had mixed feelings. On one hand who hasn’t beaten up ourselves for things we’ve done in the past? But then comes the question of whether forgiving ourselves is like playing God? And, with yet another twist, if […]

Has God Said?

The question has a history. Before it was first asked, human experience was limited to a paradise of undisguised trust and innocence (Gen 2:25). Then… from behind the mask of one of God’s own creatures, the hellishly subtle question was asked, “Has God said….?” In the next few words, Genesis gives us a hint of […]

Inside Out and Outside In

Am reading a book by a young author who decided to take her lack of religious faith undercover into the heart of the evangelical world, with the intent of writing about her experience. The woman admits struggling for awhile with the lies she knew she was going to have to tell to pull off her […]

While we Wait

In “He Still Moves Stones”, and as quoted in his “Grace for the Moment” inspirational guide, author Max Lucado suggests that, “Sometimes God is so touched by what he sees that he gives us what we need and not simply that for which we ask. It’s a good thing”, Lucado adds, “For who would have […]

The Gift of a New Testament

In our last conversation, Bill mentioned a book by Gaylord Enns called Love Revolution. I remember reading it some time ago, finding it to be a surprisingly important book, and then forgetting about it. So went to my shelves this past week, found it, and have been mulling over it ever since. In this book […]

When God Withholds

In Haddon Robinson’s booklet on The Lord’s Prayer, he quotes from George MacDonald’s comment on Luke 18:1. The section that Haddon quotes ended with the thought, “God withholds that man will ask.” I thought the quote was so thought provoking that I went back to the original source and am copying what I found here. […]

Hope in Regret

According to his mother, ML was a wonderful son who, at 14, turned to alcohol and drugs. In the years that followed, he made a series of troubled choices. Caught in a downward spiral, he eventually was arrested and convicted of armed robbery. To his parents’ relief, he got a suspended sentence and seemed to […]

The King of Hearts

According to an online news source, a couple of regular customers of a Loveland, Colorado, fast-food restaurant, ages 52 and 85, ended up in court after disagreeing over a parking space. Assault charges were filed after the younger man swung open the door of his vehicle knocking the older to the ground. As in all […]

A Week of Mixed Emotions

This has been a week of loss and sadness—mixed with anticipation— for our Discover the Word radio team. On Friday’s program of last week Haddon Robinson announced that the limitations of his recently diagnosed Parkinson’s Disease are making it necessary for him to step away from 23 years of leading conversations of Bible study with […]

Jacob’s Legacy

In All’s Well That Ends Well, William Shakespeare gives us the thought that “No legacy is so rich as honesty.” Two centuries later, a French author by the name of Victor Hugo showed his readers that a legacy of honesty—without grace—can turn us into devils. In his 19th-century novel Les Misérables (i.e., The Miserable), Hugo […]

In Low Visibility

Was too preoccupied during the week to stay with the conversation as it unfolded. But I’ve had a chance this morning to catch up and appreciate the way you’ve interacted with one another. Am guessing that others who came and checked in without posting found something helpful (as i have) in the thoughtful ways you’ve […]

Jacob’s Sleepless Night

When a loving father lets his little boy tackle him to the ground or match muscles in arm wrestling, we don’t expect to see dad suddenly subject his young son to a painful arm twist or body slam. So why then do so many of us feel roughed up, abandoned, and even left for dead […]

Ligers and TomTatoes

Two recent news articles describe attempts to alter nature.  One tells the story of a 922 pound cat that made it into the 2014 edition of Guinness World Records. Hercules is a Liger, a cross between a lion and a tiger that lives at a Myrtle Beach wildlife preserve. According to the cat’s owner, ligers […]

Politically Correct?

In reading over the conversation about the last post, I’ll admit that I too have been bothered by what Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes. Am thinking there are some of us who would rather that our daughters or wives not hear Solomon saying,  “This is my conclusion,” says the Teacher. “I discovered this after looking at […]

A Personal Word

When I began the last post saying, “Some of us have been around long enough to see that the Bible we treasure has been used to multiply the pain of racial minorities, women, the poor, the mentally ill, the divorced, abused, addicted, unemployed, and prisoners” I was writing from my heart, and from personal experience. I […]

Notes on a Diplomat

Last night I had a chance to hear a lecture hosted by our regional World Affairs Council. The speaker was an articulate member of the international diplomatic core who walked us through the complex issues of: Rhetoric and reality—the difference between what is said and done. Interests vs values—the tendency to act in the interpretation […]

Samson and Jesus

Samson is one of the most interesting people of the Bible. Like the Philistine Goliath, he’s remembered for his legendary physical strength. After killing a lion with his bare hands, he took on a whole army with the jawbone of a donkey and, in his last act, pushed down the pillars of a huge temple […]

Norway’s Trial of the Century

In July of 2011, a 33-year-old Norwegian bombed an Oslo government building and then gunned down scores of guests at a Labor Party youth camp. Seventy-seven people died, and many more were injured. Prior to the attacks, the young gunman wrote a lengthy manifesto titled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence. In chilling detail, he […]

Yom Kippur 2012

Today is Yom Kippur. An article in the Washing Post describes what it means this year as a nation recognizes its sins, in the presence of its enemies. Also known as The Day of Atonement, this is a day of national repentance with a view toward national forgiveness and deliverance. I’ve often been moved by […]

Abandonment

In a biography of Apple founder Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson explores the question of whether the corporate genius ever got over the fact that he was given up at birth by his biological parents. Isaacson quotes co-workers and friends who believe Steve Jobs struggled with a lifelong fear of abandonment. They recall not only his […]

Gold for Claressa and Flint

Never thought I’d find myself choking back cheers of joy watching a 17 year old girl box her way to Olympic Gold. But that’s what happened last night as I watched Claressa Shields beat an opponent almost twice her age. Wasn’t raised to anticipate celebrating a woman boxer even though I was raised to read […]

Giving Facts a Chance

In the early 1950s, a small Chicago-based religious sect predicted that the world was going to end on December 21, 1954. Their leader claimed to have received this information from an alien reincarnation of Jesus who went by the name of Sananda. Their prophecy caught the attention of researchers from Stanford University, who decided to […]

A Family’s Honor and Issues

We’ve often heard that the Old Testament primarily uses the Father-child relationship to picture God’s relationship with a nation (Hos 11:1). It is  a collective, chosen family that is given the hope of a mysterious King/Son who then in turn is referred to as “Everlasting Father” (Psa 110:1) ( Isa 9:6). But it is primarily […]

The Ostrich and the Cross

Your responses to the previous question have been so good! Let me see if I can pull our thoughts together and move us a bit further. Together, we have found a man named Job at the end of his moral and mental sanity. His stature as the wealthiest, most influential, and most blessed man in […]

Our Fathers

On StoryCorps, a project of National Public Radio, I heard 73-year-old Walter Dean Myers tell a story that he says has forever changed the way he remembers his father. Myers, an author with almost 100 books to his name, recalls that at 14 he already had a love for writing. Since his parents didn’t have […]

What is a Personal Relationship With God?

While taking note of the trial of Anders Breivik, one of the issues that has come up is the fact that many people in Europe and America  identify themselves as Christians in a cultural sense, without meaning that they are claiming a personal relationship with God. As a friend of the blog clarified, many believe […]

The Roar of Deception

In October 2011, 56 wild animals terrorized the town of Zanesville, Ohio. The owner of an exotic animal park, troubled by legal challenges and neighbor complaints, had lashed out against the community by deliberately opening his cages just before dark. Local authorities responded by warning neighbors, barricading roads, and closing schools. After a couple of […]

What’s Not to Like Here?

Have you ever noticed that some of us seem to have a  low and suspicious view of human nature, while others find something to like and love in everyone? Jesus seemed to do both. Sometimes he’d call those who came to hear him evil people who knew how to do good things  (Matt 7:11).  Or […]

Hating Religion and Family

One more look at the hate religion but love Jesus comparison. What if we hated religion the way Jesus asked us to hate the members of our own family? May sound like a stretch. But Jesus seems to consider hatred of close relatives a condition of his kingdom. While fulfilling the law that requires us […]

What About this Rumor?

Imagine hearing that the leaders of a major church denomination have decided to ask all of its members to stop using the word “holy”. With a little research we confirm that the report is true, that the denomination’s elders are discouraging the use of the word and are even recommending a rewording of the Apostle […]

Fair Calls and Due Process

I remember hearing my dad describe how surprised he often was to hear the second side of a conflict. He said that when a co-worker came to him with a complaint about another, his first impression was to think the person really had a case. But if he took the time to hear the other […]

Famous Pairs

Famous pairs usually have something in common. They are the right combination of two people who help one another do together what they could not have done on their own. A short list might include: Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Abbott and Costello Car Talk’s Tom and Ray Sherlock Holmes […]

So What’s New?

The marketers of Nikon technology have done what clever advertisers often do. Whether intentionally or not, they have found a way of using words to tap into a  spirituality that is much greater than the product being sold. I found this example of “I AM changing everything” on a Singapore billboard. Readers of the Bible […]

Hearing the Roar

By now many of us have heard the tragic outcome of the 56 wild animals let loose from an exotic animal park by a Zanesville, Ohio man– before killing himself. According to news reports, 49 of the animals, including a wolf, two grizzly bears, nine male lions, and 18 Bengal tigers, have died. One grizzly […]

Reference Points

Traveling in Asia with co-workers, have been reminded again of the value of persons, relationships, trust, and honesty. Have also seen how important it is to be able to honor together the values of truth and love without seeing ourselves as the measure of either. Even more impressed with the deepening impression of what, in […]

What Is Biblical?

What makes something biblical? The easiest answer may be that, “If something is found in the Bible, it’s biblical.” But that means polygamy, slavery, and genocide all qualify. Another approach is to say that an idea or practice is biblical if it is consistent with the values and nature of the Bible. That’s probably a […]

More than Ten Suggestions

Down through the years some of us  have pointed out that God didn’t give Moses The Ten Suggestions. With similar conviction we rightly recognize the importance of being obedient to God. Many have also observed that the only real solution for the world will come in a day when God’s Messiah rules the world with […]

The Name that Matters

Am in the recording studio this week recording conversations with Alice Mathews and Haddon Robinson for our Discover the Word Radio series. We are currently working through the Sermon on the Mount and have gotten into “The Lord’s Prayer” (Matt 6:9-13). In the process, we have spent quite a bit of time thinking about the […]

Debt and the Story of Human History

A column in the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy responded to the S & P’s downgrading of US Credit rating with an article called “How Debt Has Defined Human History”. Author, David Graeber, describes how ancient civilizations developed elaborate systems to manage credit and debt. He maintains that such systems depended on the insistence that there […]

Being a Man

Some of King David’s last words were a challenge to his son. To Solomon, who would inherit the throne, he said, “Take courage and be a man” (1 Kings 2:2 nlt). What was this father saying? What did his son hear? Just as importantly, what do we hear in those words? Thousands of years later, […]

What Makes Jesus Good for Us?

Who can measure the importance of the statement: “The Word became flesh, and lived among us full of grace and truth” (John 1:14)? Think about the implications of a statement that does not simply say that “The Word was full of truth”, or that “The Word was full of grace.” Imagine what Jesus might have […]

Unexpected Answers

The Bible answers the most important questions we can ask: Where did we come from? What matters? Who can we trust? Who is God? Is he good? Who is Jesus? Why did he die? Did his life end in failure? How can we be counted among his followers? How should we treat our enemy? Where […]

Discovering Something About Dad

I recently heard a 2 and ½ minute conversation on NPR’s StoryCorps between Walter, a  73 year old father and his 36 year old son, Christopher. Walter, an author with almost 100 books to his name, grew up in Harlem, the son of a janitor.  He recalls how at 14 he had already developed a […]

God on Trial

After surviving the horrors of Nazi concentration camps, Elie Wiesel wrote a novel titled The Trial of God. Reflecting Wiesel’s own crisis of faith, he created a character who accuses God of “hostility, cruelty, and indifference” for silently turning His back on His people in their time of need. In this plot, the only one […]

Where’s this Emotion Coming From?

Do we ever find ourselves becoming angry, sarcastic, or hostile when someone disagrees with our understanding of morality, the Bible, or the afterlife? If so, how do we explain our rush of emotion? Do we intuitively sense that anger will enable us to make a better case for our beliefs? Has our experience taught us […]

Does Paul Move 2nd to 1st?

Jesus said that love for God is the first and greatest commandment, and that the second most important is to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). Moses anticipates such faithfulness to God when he says, as a matter of first importance, that Israel was to have no other god but the One who rescued […]

Give the Facts a Fighting Chance

On the way home from work last night, I saw this billboard on one of our busiest streets.  The prediction  has been showing up around the country. According to the sponsoring group,  judgment day, and the end of the world as we know it, comes on May 21, 2011. Look close. The sign promises “The […]

Does Jesus Walk What Paul Writes?

Claiming to be a follower of Christ, the Apostle Paul  wrote that without love, our words are like meaningless noise (1Cor 13:1-3). He followed up saying that “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it […]

Beating Ourselves Up

Why do we punish ourselves for old regrets long after we believe God has forgiven us? The question stuck in my mind after a conversation with someone I’ll call TC. TC described himself as being in recovery for multiple addictions. A couple of times he said, “My problem was forgiving myself. I found it a […]

Slippery Slopes

Many of us know what it’s like to find ourselves on a steep roof or on some other slick incline of mud, ice, or loose gravel. So when someone uses the argument of “the slippery slope” to caution against taking even a small misstep in a dangerous direction, we do more than understand the warning. […]

The Power of “Group Think”

Yesterday, I read an article in USA Today about a Christian leader who removed his name from a group that supports the rights of Muslims to build mosques in their communities. The article went on to explain that the person was responding to those who felt that the Interfaith Coalition on Mosques crossed the line […]

What is Masculinity?

One of the books we’ve talked about in the last couple of posts, Why Men Hate Going to Church, is hard to do justice to by quoting a few of the author’s emphases. Murrow’s chapters are full of irony that, as I read, kept me off balance from beginning to end. He had me arguing […]

Gender and Spirituality

One of the reasons I have been so intrigued with Murrow’s book, “Why Men Hate Going to Church” is that his work explores the interrelationship between spiritual character and the real and perceived nature of masculinity and femininity. In the middle of such a discussion I find myself in wonder of both the self-evident nature […]

Men’s Aversion to Church

“Why Men Hate Going to Church” by author David Murrow stayed on my desk, unread for a long time, because it looked like an overstatement. But then I started reading and was intrigued by his suggestion that, of the world’s major religions, only Christianity seems to have a problem getting men. His assessment is that […]

The Masculine and Feminine Spirit

Spent time over the weekend with two books that looked at the spirit of masculinity and femininity in the church from two different perspectives. One of these books, written by Denise George, is titled What Women Wish Pastors knew and is subtitled “Understanding the Hopes, Hurts, Needs, and Dreams of Women in the Church. The […]

Waiting or Not Waiting

I’ve been sitting here for the last hour or so, sipping on a strong cup of coffee,  reading… and thinking about the thoughts and stories posted here over the last couple of days–by friends. Most of us have never met each other face to face. Yet here, in thoughts typed thousands of miles apart, we […]

The Wisdom of the Dog Whisperer

Millions of television viewers around the world have watched a dog trainer by the name of Cesar Millan. Also known as the “dog whisperer,” Millan has the ability not only to rehabilitate troubled dogs, but to do so with a calmness that often amazes the animal’s owner. Whether a dog is overly aggressive, excitable, or […]

The Games We Play

What do sports tell us about ourselves? Would we be as interested if the games we play ended without a winner, or without records of comparative accomplishment? There must be something about everything from board and card games to individual and team sports that awakens something in us that was created by God. But what […]

Can We Abuse What We Never Had?

In my last post I asked whether it is possible to abuse power, strength, and freedom—but not authority. The question sounds ridiculous to those who know the misuse of power and authority when they see it. Yet, as our discussion showed, many of us know people who think they have the right to push others […]

Can Authority be Abused?

Can the authority God gives be misused? The question may seem, at best, like a no-brainer. How else can we explain corruption of power or the evil things people do in the name of God? But I’m increasingly convinced that it’s important to carefully weigh the difference between God-given authority, strength, power, and freedom. Here […]

ArtPrize 2010

While working through the jetlag of our return from an Israel production trip, I’ve had a chance to visit some of the 1700 artist exhibits that are being shown at over 190 different sites in the second annual Grand Rapids, ArtPrize event. It’s turning out be a gathering place for our community and a way […]

Simchat Torah and Clarification

Yesterday was a day of Jewish celebration called Simchat Torah. During the day in the Jewish Quarter, and then after sundown at the Western Wall, we saw groups of Orthodox men enthusiastically dancing and singing around elaborate encased Torah scrolls. They were celebrating the end of their annual Torah readings and the beginning of a […]

Quoting God

In some circles, those who believe they have heard God speak to them are thought to be unstable. Other groups honor members who routinely quote what God has said to their hearts. Since so many of us think the practice has implications for either our sanity or spirituality, it might be worth thinking together about […]

What Are We Celebrating?

Today is the last day of the Jewish cycle of Fall Holidays (Holy Days). Tonight ends the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) in which Jewish people erect small shelters to remember how they lived off of the provisions of God during their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. Yesterday, in a modern expression of this […]

Waiting for Gilad

After spending two and ½ sweltering days doing video production in the Galilee, we returned this afternoon to Jerusalem for the duration of our visit to Israel. Yesterday the humidity was so high that the fog rolled in during the night and stayed all day creating a feeling of mystery on waters without a horizon. […]

What if We’re Wrong?

In many ways, followers of Christ emphasize the importance of being right—even to a fault. But there is at least one area in which this pattern doesn’t seem to hold. Although there are more options, let’s consider three approaches to the way we view the prophetic teaching of Scripture: The first group is inclined to […]

Praying in the Name of Jesus

Just hours before Jesus’ death, He promised His disciples, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:14 NKJV). Two thousand years later, those words continue to echo around the world. Millions of us will end our prayers today “in Jesus’ name.” But what about the promise? If we consider ourselves […]

Trouble in 2s Maybe 3

For all of the harm they do, maybe we should post their likeness, aliases, descriptions, and modes of operation on public bulletin boards. The 3rd usually goes by the name of “jealousy”. It’s been described as a possessive fear of losing something that we think belongs to us. God can handle the emotion in a […]

The Value of a Person

What did Jesus mean when he said that “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27)? Could people be more important than the laws of God? The question is similar to the business-related question we’ve been discussing the last couple of days: Are people and relationships more important than […]

A Reason for Celebration

Am in the studio again this week with Haddon, Alice, and Brian recording Discover the Word conversations. Slowly making our way through the Sermon on the Mount, we spent some time yesterday talking about what Jesus meant when he said, “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes […]

Soul Light

To some degree, what we have at the center of our attention has us. Those words cannot be found in the Bible. But the idea behind them shows up from Genesis to Revelation. Seems to me that one example surfaces in the words of Jesus when he said, “The lamp of the body is the […]

Recovering or Revising the Bible?

We’ve talked here in the past about the fact that, in our day, one of the most debated issues of the Bible is whether God has given men authority over women in the home and church. We’ve sensed that, even though we have been able to discuss many difficult subjects with candor and grace, this […]

Sovereignty and Free Will

Would God hold us accountable for something He had not given us the ability to do? The people of Israel might have wondered as much when they heard Moses say, in his farewell address, “The Lord has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear” (Deuteronomy 29:4 NKJV). […]

People in Perspective

I’m guessing it’s one of the most helpful perspectives of the Bible. Admittedly, because all of the words of the Scriptures are God-breathed, it’s important not to emphasize one text at the expense of others. But it looks to me as though there is one statement that might help us take a second look at […]

The Family Business

“What does your Father do?” I don’t know whether little children are asked that question as much as in the past. What I remember, though, is that when it was asked of me or my young classmates, the childish response or awkward silence that followed could be either a proud moment or a painful one. […]

Mediation

Earlier in the week, BP announced that it “would appoint an independent mediator to review and assist in the claims-payment process for damages caused by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.” Regarding that plan to settle out of court claims, Business Week online, reported that lawyers for some of the fishermen said, “Telling the fishermen […]

A Time to Remember

On this Memorial Day weekend, have been reminded again of how many of our brothers and sisters in uniform return from active duty to say, “It’s not about the politics of the war.” It’s about protecting the back of the soldiers fighting beside you. Ironic isn’t it. Even in the hellish insanity of war, what’s […]

On Returning Home

Over the last couple of weeks, work assignments have taken me to Singapore, Taipei, Taiwan, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Along the way I’ve had a chance to spend time with co-workers, meet friends of RBC, and see some of the ways that East and West are closer than they are far apart. In Taipei I […]

Whats and Whys

Imagine a different scenario for our first parents: What if Adam and Eve had come away from the temptation angry with God for withholding the knowledge of good and evil from them, but with none of the forbidden fruit’s after taste in their mouth? Imagine instead that, after talking to the Devil, they even agreed […]

Is God All We Need?

Whether God is all we need surfaced in our discussion of “Christian ideas that can drive you crazy.” Seems to me that this question shows again how, by a simple shift of perspective, or motive, a statement can change meaning. All of us would probably readily affirm that, when God is all we have, we […]

A Lost Commandment?

The other day someone gave me a book that has gotten my attention. It’s called, Love Revolution: Rediscovering the Lost Command of Jesus by Gaylord Enns. I was skeptical at first. Expected a predictable rehash of a subject we’ve all heard a lot about. But the author told his own story of brokenness in a […]

Responding to Insult

In our day we have seen a national leader insulted by an Iraqi journalist who used a press conference to throw his shoes at the head of an American President. Something similar happened to David of Israel. If you have just a minute, have been thinking about the way King David responded to an enemy […]

Back With Memories

Am sitting in a coffee shop after our return from Jerusalem… looking through the early morning darkness at an American flag hanging at half mast. Wondering whether the lowered colors are for losses of our own soldiers or for the suffering people of Haiti… My thoughts go to faces of those I had a chance […]

Jerusalem Journal

On arriving in the Middle East my cab driver said that he used to be on “the left.” But said he had come to the conclusion that Arab and Jewish people would never be able to live together. Later an Israeli friend said, regarding peace, “The United States has been the savior of the world.” […]

So Be it… Un…resolved

On New Years Eve I watched a few hundred local runners brave frigid temperatures to take on a 4 mile course around our local Reeds Lake. They called it their Resolution Run. As we watched them warming up I wondered what “Resolution Run” meant for them. I say “them” because Di and I watched it […]

The Influence of Intercession

Every once in a while I find myself with thoughts that cause me to wonder if someone has been praying for me. Sometimes it’s waking up with a song that seems to have come out of nowhere. On other occasions, I find myself with an awareness of God’s goodness or presence that seems to have […]

Taking Inventory and Steps

Over the months I’ve talked every once in a while about how 12 Step thinking and process echoes basics of true spirituality. Even after the specific language of the Bible has been removed to make the Steps “accessible” to those who come with an aversion to the “religion” of their past, real wisdom remains. Step […]

What Trust Looks Like

What does trust look like when we can’t explain our trouble, or see beyond it? Listening to others as they try to show faith in crisis can be confusing. Some say they are “believing God” for a job, restored health, a reconciled marriage, or the return of a prodigal. Others say reliance on Him means […]

To Forgive or Not to Forgive

If the Bible is full of “studies in contrast” and “truth in tension” rather than “self-contradictions and discrepancies,” another example is what the Scriptures variously say about forgiveness. Some passages indicate that one mark of a follower of Christ is to forgive those who harm us (Matt 6:14-15; Col 3:13). Other texts make it clear […]

What Unites and Divides Us?

Sometimes I wonder what people who don’t believe in Christ must think when they see how many different denominations show up on the church page of the newspaper. Best case might be, “Wow, looks like a fight, maybe I ought to see what their issues are.” Worst case might be that they stay away thinking, […]

From Jeter to Jesus

Although I’m interested in baseball only enough to have watched a couple innings of World Series Game One, I read an article yesterday in the New York Times about Yankee short stop, Derek Jeter, that caught my attention. Sports writer, Jack Curry, described some of the mental characteristics that have made Jeter (team captain since […]

The Pain of Being Misunderstood

Communication has to be one of the most wonderfully difficult challenges in life. Whether among friends, family, or co-workers, conversation can be hard work with unpredictable and problematic outcomes. Even here in cyberspace with all of its self-protective anonymity, who will deny that, depending on how much we’ve been willing to say, we can– from […]

Care and Convictions

Our “Good Conversation” has surfaced a couple of points that I think are very important. None of us want our moral advocacy, political involvement, or lack of political involvement to indicate a lack of concern for others. In fact, we probably would all like to believe that we support political action or inaction based on […]

Marital Submission and Sacrifice

Lately, I’ve asked a few husbands I know whether they make a practice of telling their wives what to do. The question usually gets a smile that acknowledges something I suspect. Most of us know that the apostle Paul calls a husband the head of his wife and urges wives to submit to their husbands. […]

How Not to be Holy

Seems to me that one of the most self-defeating ways to try and be “holy” is to make it our purpose to be right about everything and wrong about (and in) nothing. I say that after reviewing some seemingly obscure details, and a foundational concept of the whole Bible, from the record of Leviticus— the […]

Getting Buddy’s Trust

My experience with my son’s American bulldog has been an on-again, off-again kind of relationship. Although I’ve occasionally helped to take care of Buddy while my son and his wife were out of town, and even though I’ve never raised my hand or voice at the big boy, every once in a while he acts […]

Hope for A Dying Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is dying. Water levels of what the Bible also calls The Salt Sea, already rest at the lowest on earth (1378 feet below sea level), and are dropping at a rate of three feet a year. The problem has developed not only from natural weather cycles, but also from the amount of […]

The Wisdom of the Second Opinion

While thinking lately not only about some bloody 15th and 16th century periods of church history, but also about the way church people continue to bitterly divide over theological and political differences, I’m reminded how important it is to try to attach authority to no more and no less than what the Bible says. In […]

Symphony

Over time, we all come across ideas that change the way we think about ourselves. For me, one of those thoughts is that a well-lived life is more like a symphony than a solo. The point takes nothing away from a solo. I love hearing Willie Nelson sing “September Song,” or LeAnn Rimes do her […]

The Meaning of a Head and Body

Some of the most gruesome events of the Iraq war involved the beheading of enemies by terrorist cells. Yet long ago, David did it to the Philistine giant, Goliath (1Samuel 17). The Philistines later beheaded King Saul and hung his headless body on the city wall of Beth Shan (1Sam 31:9). John the Baptist suffered […]

Better than Gold

Do we associate wisdom with  Confucius or Buddha rather than with Jesus and Paul? If so, we might miss the significance of what Solomon recommends when he writes, “Happy is the person who finds wisdom and gains understanding. For the profit of wisdom is better than silver, and her wages are better than gold. Wisdom […]

The Money Drug

A recent online NPR article summarizes some provocative research on the emotional and physical impact of money. According to a report by David Kestenbaum titled Study: Your Brain Thinks Money is a Drug, researchers report their surprise in discovering that, “Counting money — just handling the bills — can make things less painful.” The article […]

Feeling Down

What can we do when we’re out of sorts, not ourselves, and lost in emotions of inexpressible heaviness? What if, on top of it all, we’re feeling guilty for not being able to think or pray ourselves out of whatever is consuming our focus and energy? Spiritual talk that is supposed to help leaves us cold. Imagine meeting […]

Beer Summits and the Bible

As I’ve read the news reports on the President’s meeting with police Sergeant James Crowley and Harvard Scholar Henry Louis Gates, I’ve been interested in the different responses. The highly charged racial implications around the event that prompted the arrest of Professor Gates, together with  the public debate that followed, showed how quickly each of […]

What Can We Learn From our Dog?

Surveys show that 43 million households own a dog.  Some of those pets are service dogs. Others are used for security or hunting.  More than a few have been inherited by parents of college age children who left them behind. But most are kept for companionship. Because of the love many of us have for […]

Turning Good News into Bad News

The Gospel of the Kingdom begins with the good news: blessed are the poor in spirit (Matt 5:2). In other words, We are to be envied and congratulated if we see our spiritual need of the King who teaches us how to: Admit our spiritual bankruptcy Mourn our wrongs rather than defending ourselves. Inherit the […]

Coneys

In times of financial, social, or medical uncertainty, the coney might seem like an unlikely example of wisdom. But this little rodentlike critter, so common in certain regions of Africa and the Middle East, is worth getting to know.  The coney is interesting for a number of reasons. Based on DNA similarities, some biologists have […]

A Forgotten Means of Grace

Sports teams watch game films to go to school on what went right and wrong in their last outing. Got me wondering what we might see if we did a video evaluation of our last family, church, or work conflict… Am guessing one thing that would be missing would be visible evidence of a too […]

Jesus and Tolerance

Someone has said, “Wise are those who look at others with the same generosity they offer themselves, and at themselves with the same critical eye they have for others.” Such advice is difficult to disagree with because it amounts to treating others the way we’d want to be treated. The “golden rule” is hard to […]

And on Earth Peace, Goodwill…

Over the years, the ethnic relatives of Jesus have not been the only ones to ask, “If Yeshua was the Messiah, where is the peace he was supposed to bring? The prophet Isaiah clearly predicted that in the days of the promised King, ‘They will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning […]

Neighborhoods Consider Printing Local Money

Saw an interesting news report this morning that talked about neighborhoods that are considering printing their own money. Erika Slife of the Chicago Tribune.com writes, “Residents from the Milwaukee neighborhoods of Riverwest and East Side are scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss printing their own money. The idea is that the local cash could be […]

Women in High Places

As President-elect Obama formally announces his national-security team later today, news reports predict that he will appoint several women to top posts. Former rival, Senator Hillary Clinton, will replace outgoing Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State; former Security Council Member and Assistant Secretary of State, Susan Rice, will be his choice for US Ambassador to […]

Jesus but not Paul?

I had a discussion with a friend over lunch the other day that got pretty intense. We’ve had these kinds of conversations before and have always ended up parting with a smile and looking forward to the next time. This day was no different, except that, looking back, we came closer to being farther away […]

A Conversation About Faith and Economic Uncertainty continued…

I’ve been deeply moved, as have many others, by reading your personal responses to the post on “Personal Economics and Uncertainties,” Here’s one I thought I’d bring forward, as a post. innkeeper says: With the colorful foliage falling down in rural Maine, the deepset poverty and desperation is visible just driving down most roads. Mile […]

Personal Economics and Uncertainties

Although I want to keep our conversation going about “emerging churches” and “emerging problems,” have a question this morning about how the present economic downturn is affecting us as individuals and as a group? Wondering if as many of us as possible would give a quick comment about any of the material, emotional, or spiritual […]

An Emerging Church

Over the past decade there has been growing controversy about “a new way of doing church.” The debate has been generational in nature. Many of our sons and daughters are forming or joining congregations that don’t look or sound like our kind of church.  Yet, they are likely to tell us that they are just […]

Where are we Going and Who Can we Trust?

It’s Saturday and a cool rain is falling in West Michigan. Not supposed to get over 50 degrees F. Leaves are turning and dropping. Sort of happy they are too wet and heavy to rake today. Big 10 football game this afternoon. This year’s underdog University of Michigan plays rival Michigan State. But for the […]

The Story and Struggle of Marriage

In first-century Greek, Roman, and Jewish society, a man was the master of his house. Wives lived under the rule of their husbands and were expected to submit to them. So when the apostle Paul, in his New Testament letters, encouraged wives to submit to their husbands, those words would not have been unusual. Today […]

To Forgive or Not

Yesterday, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered recognized the 45th anniversary of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. It was on Sunday morning, September 15, 1963 that Christopher McNair and his wife Maxine lost their 11 year old daughter, Denise, in the blast that also took the lives of three […]

Envy and the Jealousy of God

Envy is not always bad. But it can be evil. In the best sense it’s a desire for  the good qualities we see in others. In the worst sense it’s a desire to see others deprived of their joy. Reference.com says, “Aristotle in Rhetoric defined envy “as the pain caused by the good fortune of […]

Jesus and Tolerance

Someone has said, “Wise are those who look at others with the same generosity they offer themselves, and, at themselves, with the same critical eye they have for others.” Such advice is difficult to disagree with because it amounts to treating others the way we’d want to be treated. But just because the “golden rule” […]

A Prayer for a New Day

We recently talked about the fact that there is a logic to faith even as there is also a mystery. According to the disciple who not only walked on water for a few seconds, but later denied that he ever even knew Jesus, faith expresses itself first in a desire and choice for virtue…rather than […]

Conversations in an Empty Warehouse

Yesterday I mentioned that we are working on some video and web-based programs that tell the stories of some courageous men who have been willing to talk about their escape from pornography. The men told their stories in an empty warehouse that provides a visual backdrop for the lonely, secret obsession that had been consuming […]

What Michael Phelps Needed

Now we know. Michael Phelps has made believers out of us. His hope of breaking Mark Spitz’s 1972 Olympic record of seven gold medals was not just hype. But as impressed as I am by his dominance of Olympic waters, and his endurance of swimming 17 races in 9 days, what Michael repeatedly acknowledged in […]

Government and Kingdom Ministries

In many regions of the world “ministers” are public servants. Their civil “ministry” is to act in behalf of a government department that operates from a building that in turn is referred to as “the Ministry”. Kurdistan has a Ministry of Justice. India has a Ministry of Environment and Forests. Thailand has a Ministry of […]

Judging the Truth, Ourselves and Others

Someone has said, “Wise are those who look at others with the same generosity they offer themselves, and who look at themselves with the same critical eye they have for others.” Yet as balanced and insightful as that quote is, it is not the whole story. Questions remain, especially for those of us who want […]

Black, White, and Grayscale

Some of us tend to think in terms of black-and-white, clear-cut categories. To us, a statement or a conclusion is either true or false. Others are more likely to see how the same statement might be either true or false depending on the circumstances. Some of us work from a truth model which might say, […]

Olympics, National Elections, and Heaven

In this Olympic and election year, I’ve been thinking again about the way competition surfaces in every area of our lives. It shows up not only in sports, but in education, business, and science. Media networks compete for ratings, religious groups for our minds and hearts, politicians for our votes, and companies for our money. […]

Listening

“Houston, we’ve had a problem.” Two days into the Apollo 13 moon landing mission, and almost 200,000 miles from earth, a spacecraft oxygen tank exploded. Cabin air, water, and power supply were suddenly in danger. Mission Control had to overcome enormous challenges to get the crew home. Since that crisis in space, the expression “Houston, […]

Laughing til it Hurts

On a wall in our kitchen and dining room area hangs a painted board that says, “Live Simply, Laugh Often, Love Deeply.” Unfortunately, a sign on the wall doesn’t assure that those who live under it will follow it’s counsel. But this week, at least some of these words to live by seem especially appropriate […]

Leaving Singapore

Packing up to leave Singapore. Headed for Malaysia. Have been thinking about what we’ve seen here the past several days. Was looking over some pics I took and I think I found two that tell a story. What the people of Singapore have done with God-given ingenuity– On one hand, Singapore’s cutting edge technologies, land […]

Singapore Update

Here’s a picture, looking from the ground up, at the condominium complex where I’m staying for the week. A couple of retired business people, who have been volunteering their counsel for our international efforts, have graciously opened up their home to me. The striking architecture of the building reflects the progressive style of this whole […]

Woke Up in Singapore

After a flight of almost 12 hours from Chicago to Tokyo, and then another 6 and a half from Tokyo to a highly developed tiny, island city nation off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula– and 85 north of the equator–woke up this morning in Singapore. Am here to meet with international co-workers who […]

Soft Answers, Volume, and Motive

Am guessing that a lot of us admire the person who can use humor, thoughtfulness, or a self-deprecating comment to defuse the tension of an angry moment. Maybe that’s why I’ve become so intrigued with the proverb that says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1). I’m […]

Where Do We Find Ourselves?

A man flying in a hot air balloon realizes he is lost. He reduces his altitude and spots a man in a field down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts, “Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?” The man below says, “Yes, you’re in a hot air balloon, about 30 feet […]

The Value of a Person

Until I saw it, I didn’t realize that much of Israel’s Mount of Olives is a cemetery. Here, those who remember the dead place a stone of remembrance on top of their loved one’s grave. Today, in America, we use this Memorial Day to honor those who have lost their lives fighting for our country. […]

The "H" Factor

Like pride, the closets of humility are filled with different hats and clothes for different occasions. Popular opinion regards it as a doormat personality, and maybe even pride in disguise. Yet our books of common language describe it as the kind of realistic view of ourselves that is necessary to share the pain or joys […]

The Great Imposter

It can swagger with self-importance one minute before writhing in self-contempt the next. Its closets are stuffed with masks of deception. We think we know what it is. Our books of common language describe it as an exaggerated sense of self importance. We’ve watched it pile pain upon pain. But the more I think about […]

The Story and Struggle of Marriage

In first century Greek, Roman, and Jewish society, a man was the master of his house. Wives lived under the rule of their husbands and were expected to submit to them. So when the Apostle Paul, in his New Testament letters, encouraged wives to submit to their husbands, those words would not have been unusual. […]

Polygamous, Monogamous, Global Envy

I started thinking about envy the other day when one of the wives of a polygamous community was asked whether she ever envies her husband’s other wives. Her response seemed honest. She admitted that it happens but is sure that those who don’t practice polygamy aren’t above such problems. She’s right isn’t she. None of […]

12 Steps and the Church

After reading the responses to my last post, it’s clear that a lot of us agree about the need to be realistic about the predictable downsides and disappointments of church life. But at the same time we don’t think that lowering our expectations of one another is the way to go. We share a vision […]

Why I Don't Go To Church

What happens if we lower our expectations for the church? A few weeks ago I expressed a hunch that disillusionment is a problem for many of us who have been around the church for awhile. Since then a number of friends have taken the occasion to tell their own story. Some have struggled with disappointment […]

The Wisdom of Motives

Is it right to consider not only whether a law was broken, but why? I’ve been wondering about this after reading how a German court handled the ticketing of a motorist caught speeding by a traffic control camera. When the court learned why the driver had broken the speed limit, charges were waived. Instead, officials […]

Authenticity and Mr. Rogers

A friend challenged me today to do some thinking about why authenticity keeps showing up as a value of young people. Looking for a place to start, I checked out some dictionary definitions for authentic. What I found wasn’t surprising: Definition: Not false or copied; genuine; real But then I bumped into something I want […]

Marital Abuse & the Bible

I’m on edge today. Here’s what’s happening. I’ve agreed to make a presentation to a group of church leaders on the subject of marital abuse. The invitation came as a result of materials and programs we have done on the subject. As I prepare for the presentation, I find myself with mixed feelings. I’m not […]

Forgive and Forget?

When God forgives our sins, does he really forget what we have done? Or, as some translations indicate, is it probably more accurate to say that, when he forgives us, he does not remember those sins against us (Psalm 79:8)? I’m raising the question because I ended an earlier post saying that forgiveness, as described […]

Forgiving Ourselves (1)

Why do so many of us beat ourselves up for old regrets long after we believe God has forgiven us? How could it be possible for us to find it easier to believe that God has forgiven us than to quit punishing ourselves for what we’ve done? We’ve spent some time thinking about forgiving others. […]

A Time to Forgive

Solomon is remembered for saying that there is a time to be born and a time to die… a time to kill and a time to heal… a time to mourn and a time to dance (Ecc. 3:1-8). But could he also have said there is a time to forgive, and a time to refrain […]

Forgiveness Alternatives

Forgiving those who harm us is only one way to soften our bitterness and anger. Sometimes there are better ways. My reason for emphasizing this is that sometimes it is important to lovingly withhold forgiveness from those who have not yet recognized their wrong. But before going into that in more detail, let me give […]

Unconditional Forgiveness

Is unconditional forgiveness toward those who have harmed us the best way to get the anger out of our stomach? Does forgiving those who have not had a change of heart reflect well on Christ, show his love, and enable us to forgive others as God has forgiven us? These are some of the questions […]

The Forgiveness Question

Something has gone wrong with forgiveness. As wrong and as self-destructive as a bitter, vengeful spirit is, isn’t there something missing when we say, I need to forgive to get the anger out of my own stomach? Is it really Christ-like to say that we need to unconditionally forgive others so that we can get […]

The Trust Card

“I can’t forget what happened. I don’t trust you anymore, and I don’t think I could ever trust you again.” Those words are like a trump card. Whoever uses them wins the hand (assuring mutual defeat) by acknowledging a loss of hope. It doesn’t matter what cards the other player is holding. Mutual trust is […]

Wise Counsel

Long ago, Solomon wrote, “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). Could this ancient proverb offer insight not only for hurting people but also for the family members and pastors who are called upon to help them? Overwhelming problems So many of us […]

The Submission Riddle

When does the absence of submission double its meaning? I learned something this week that has carried with me into the weekend. Let me see if I can put in words a thought that I find compelling. In the ongoing debate about the role of husbands and wives, we’ve probably all heard both sides of […]

Father Issues (3rd of 3)

In my last post I ended saying, “From all that Jesus says about His Father, it’s clear that He wants us to love and trust His Father as He does.” A Father of Biblical Proportions Many of us, however, have not found the help we are looking for in an invisible Father. We are troubled […]

Father Issues (2nd of 3)

In my last post, I ended saying, “In a day when so many of us long for a return to family values, it is disappointing to discover that a good dad is hard to find in the Bible.” But maybe this is a disappointment that can work in our favor. A Different Kind of Father […]

Father Issues (1st of 3)

Let’s see if we can help one another through an issue that seems to be pretty common. Feel free to disagree with me. We’ll learn more if we talk to one another. Here’s a start on what I’ve been thinking about a problem that has some serious implications on our ability to pray and trust […]

Father Issues

Some of us have a hard time relating to God the Father. We sing to the Son, pray to the Son, and ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” But when Jesus talks about His Father, He touches issues that may be affecting us more than we realize. Maybe our problem is that His Father doesn’t […]

Marital Abuse

Do we have a high enough view of marriage to respond adequately to marital abuse? Before answering, let’s consider one woman who represents many. To personalize her, let’s imagine her as our daughter or friend. She doesn’t know where to turn and blames herself for ending up in a bad marriage. We know she isn’t […]

The Big Fish Story of Yom Kippur

On Yom Kippur, the most solemn day of the Jewish calendar, a big fish story is read in synagogues. As worshipers fast, confess their sins, and reflect on the words of Moses and Isaiah, they listen once again to the account of a catch and release that is so amazing no one would believe it […]

The Love of God

I looked in the mirror and wondered if I was staring at one of heaven’s spoiled brats. After consuming more than my share of mercies, I could see in my eyes a sadness that reflected not what God had given, but what He had withheld. Questions formed emotional distance between me and the Father I […]

Wounded Soldiers

A veteran of the Iraq war recalls patrolling a street in Mosul on an ordinary Saturday morning when a grenade, tossed from a rooftop, exploded under his Humvee. He says he remembers lying on his stomach in the street unable to move his arms or legs. Blinded by the smoke, his ears were ringing as […]

Wounded Soldiers

A veteran of the Iraq war recalls patrolling a street in Mosul on an ordinary Saturday morning when a grenade, tossed from a rooftop, exploded under his Humvee. He says he remembers lying on his stomach in the street unable to move his arms or legs. Blinded by the smoke, his ears were ringing as […]

Higher Ground

Do any of us think we are on the wrong side of a disagreement? Isn’t it ironic that, in times of conflict, we all think we have right on our side? It doesn’t matter if the disagreement is marital, political, or international. Together with our allies, we all are convinced that our side holds the […]

Mental Health

Soon after our marriage, my wife and I were faced with the needs of a family member whose inner world was deeply troubled. Sometimes this loved one heard voices no one else could hear. Sometimes there were fears that the government was spying on her through her television set. Sometimes she accused us of trying […]

Remembering Henry

“The devil always overplays his hand.” I can still hear Henry Bosch, founder of Our Daily Bread, say those words. His eyes would brighten and a smile would come to his face as he talked about the upside of a difficult day. What Did Henry Mean? Even though Henry wasn’t a card player, I know […]

People-Watching

A people watcher defines his sport like this: “The art of people-watching involves studying the subjects, guessing who they are, where they are coming from, and where they are going. Sometimes it even includes trying to imagine what they are thinking.” What rings true about this description is that it describes people-watching as a series […]

Rescue

In the summer of 2002, a coal mining accident left nine Pennsylvania men trapped 240 feet underground. For three days the men huddled in the darkness of a cramped space that had filled almost to the top with 55 degree water. On the surface, a nation watched as rescue efforts dragged on longer than expected. […]

Esther: The Story Behind Purim

She was an orphan who hid a family secret until becoming a national heroine. Today her life is honored in synagogues around the world and celebrated in the streets of Israel during the Jewish holiday of Purim. With noise-makers, costumes, and practical jokes, her national family still remembers one of the great stories of history. […]

Symphony

OVER TIME, WE ALL COME ACROSS IDEAS that change the way we think about ourselves. For me, one of those thoughts is that a well-lived life is more like a symphony than a solo. The point takes nothing away from a solo. I love hearing Willie Nelson sing “September Song,” or LeAnn Rimes do her […]

Diminished Capacity

In an age of equal rights, it is sometimes difficult to see the Bible as a friend of women. Although some texts treat husbands and wives as equals (1 Corinthians 7:4), other passages view women as the “weaker vessel” (1 Peter 3:7) and place them in a supporting role rather than a leading role (Ephesians […]

Our Identity in Christ

Identity theft is a problem most of us didn’t think about 5 years ago. Today it is common to hear the stories of victims who are trying to salvage their name and credit rating after learning that someone has stolen and misused a password, social security number, or charge card. Knowing the danger of identity […]

The Attitudes of Christ

What is the goal of spiritual maturity? Jewish rabbis had their opinion. They did more than impart knowledge of the Torah and the Talmud. Their goal was to leave something of themselves in their students. Ben Sirach, writing about 180 years before Christ, expresses the Jewish point of view when he says of a mature […]

What Works

Trend watchers tell us that a growing number of Americans are more likely to ask “Does religion work?” than “Is it true?” In the past, spiritual seekers asked, “Is there a God and, if so, how can I know Him?” Today, many are more apt to ask, “How can I use spirituality to overcome my […]

What God Said To Me

What if I told you that God has been speaking to me about an issue that I haven’t been able to put out of my mind? Because you know me, you don’t think I’m claiming to have heard God speak in an audible voice. You assume that I have had an idea that I believe […]

Forgiving Ourselves

Why do we punish ourselves for old regrets long after we believe God has forgiven us? The question stuck in my mind after a conversation with someone I’ll call TC. TC described himself as being in recovery for multiple addictions. A couple of times he said, “My problem was forgiving myself. I found it a […]

The Invisible Woman

I recently saw a greeting card that shows a woman sitting in a business meeting with five men. The man at the head of the table says, “That’s an excellent suggestion, Miss Triggs. Perhaps one of the men here would like to make it.” Men smile because the card catches them with their guard down. […]

Ten Things I Learned From My Dad

In the memories that come with a parent’s passing, I’ve been reminded of what my dad taught those of us who lived and worked with him. In many ways, Dad didn’t have an easy life. Long before his problems with a detached retina, heart surgery, and Parkinson’s disease, he lived in the shadow of his […]

A Friend’s Struggle With Assurance

A friend recently described to me how his understanding of spirituality has changed over time. I was interested because I knew something of the influence he’d had in his community while still in his teen years. He was known in the small town where he grew up for breaking the county high school pole-vault record. […]

Should We Forgive Terrorists?

The front page of our local newspaper carried the story of peace activists protesting the use of bombs to fight international terrorism. The article included a photo of a child carrying a sign asking, “What Would Jesus Do?”  ¶  The question on the sign is important. Jesus said that if we don’t forgive others, the […]

The Path to Peace

The “screensaver” on my computer is a daily reminder of one of the most important thoughts I’ve ever had. When my laptop has been inactive for a few minutes, the screen goes black. Then large red words begin scrolling across the display saying,  “The only way to peace of mind is to see each day […]

Should We Go Kosher?

Do followers of Christ have a moral obligation to keep the Ten Commandments? Even though this seems like an easy question, I’ve struggled with the answer. Why Is This A Hard Question? The question of our relationship to the law of Moses is thorny for a number of reasons. People who believe in the Bible […]

An Argument

Diane and I have been married for 31 years. For more than three decades it seems as if we’ve been talking, laughing, and disagreeing about almost everything. My reason for mentioning the disagreements is that I’ve been thinking again about one issue we’ve found especially difficult. Time after time we’ve argued about the way women […]

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