So many of our stories hold onto us longer than we'd want. As we face resurrection day, we must remind ourselves that the loss of the old life and the rising of the new is not license for amnesia. Being made-new in Christ doesn't mean forgetting the past. It means remembering it in light of what we now know to be true. All our stories are vague generalities--most-of-the-times--which we inflict on every new day that rises. Resurrection Day (Easter) is the reminder that there is an "all of the time" story which doesn't erase, but re-interprets the most-of-the-times we are so busy remembering.Read More
My goal in the writing today is to bring fresh view to this famous tale, of course, but also to draw its mythic imagery firmly into the present as a clarion call to the frailty and possibility entrapped in every human heart. Including yours, including your neighbors, including your enemies. The ancient Jews built a worldview (a worldview that became the foundation for Jesus’ life and ministry) where we are undoubtedly all in this together, and if you ever question the extent of this, we have no farther to look than the infamous flood.Read More
Imagine, if you will, a people in exile. Impoverished, straggling across a foreign desert, attuned to little except the hope of a better future and the whisperings of a sometimes inscrutable deity. This wandering people live an existence so far from our own that it’s almost alien. While we clamor for ever expansive rights and privileges, they wrestled for nothing more than the strands of subsistence. Their dream was to stay alive. It began as an escape from slavery and tyranny, a revolution not won on the battlefield, but acquired in the quiet enclave of hiding. Eating fast-made and easy-carry food, waiting for the smell of death to clear the night air. This is Israel at its institutional origin.Read More
By engaging the HEART we engage the only transformation possible of holistic renovation. We can have better habits, manage our emotions, take better care of bodies, read more books, pick meaningful causes, but all of it will be difficult and willful like a man steering an elephant until the HEART itself experiences meaningful growth.Read More
The Self-Help section is one of the largest at Barnes and Noble, and without a doubt high on the profitability scale. The idea of an accessible and simple formula for lifetime success has now even seeped into the biography section. There was a time when one read biographies to view from the long end of history how a life had been formed by experience, choice and belief. Not today. Today, the majority of “biographies” more accurately stand as mid-life memoirs (some earlier than that) and they don’t intent to map out the story of life so far, but instead to manipulate the events of an unfinished life into the few short platitudes which can create tips for a ravenous public.
Our new ways of defining human thriving have so denigrated our ability to stand in our own skin and to relate to each other with love and respect that anyone with an objective view would jettison these views in an instant. But without a meaningful alternative, an attainable counter-narrative to the way to life, the deep and addictive rut of the status-quo will continue to hold us in its sway. Thankfully this counter-narrative is not far off. There are signs for optimism.Read More
Today I sat in my office and grieved with my client who lost his wife two weeks ago. They had been married for over 50 years and had what could only be described as one of the great love stories. He told me how beautiful she was and how grateful he was to know that she was standing tall and moving lithe and bright with Jesus today. He would remember her forever this way. Like so many who complete their suffering with a bought of Alzheimer's or dementia, it was a sudden fall which had precipitated her last days. Alice hadn't spoken in months and then out of nowhere she took a fall and stopped eating and drinking. My client went to her side as quickly as he could and kissed her on the lips. She looked at him as if seeing him for the first time and whispered, "It was beautiful." The first words she'd said in months, and the last she would ever say.
"It was beautiful."Read More
In our MadeNew Bible study on Sunday mornings we've been working our way through the Gospel of Mark. The Jesus of Mark's Gospel is sort of a rage lunatic life wrecker type and I think that's why I keep going back. No one gets what they want from this Jesus, but everyone gets what they need. People love to focus on Jesus' infuriation of the religiously powerful, but this isn't the half of it. It isn't just the Pharisees that are caught in his deer hunter target sights. It's everybody.
Nobody gets away from Jesus and gets to stay the same.Read More
Jesus poses a real problem. Particularly as he is presented in the gospels accounts. We go to the gospel accounts looking for a Jesus who totes moral platitudes diced with quick fixes to heaven. In exchange, we get a wild trickster, a dangerous story-teller and jokesman. Pointing his finger solidly at the powers that be who have founded themselves on the predicate of the way things are, Jesus tells a fine joke. He tells the sad and high joke of God who will not play by human rules, who will not work on fair exchange notions. He tells the comedic punch of powerful men who are like caskets painted by Michealengelo and garden rattler dens. He tells the kinds of jokes that get men killed. They are riddles twinged with tragedy, and puns dipped in the sad truth of the way things are.