Risk Trust

As I listen to my life and to the Spirit, I almost always hear these invitations: Risk trust. Practice love. Welcome joy. Discover hope. A full, free, and flourishing life hinges, first and finally, on trust. Erik Erikson said that, in the earliest stage of life, our...

Lord, Have Mercy

News of reprehensible things still shocks and unsettles most of us, as it should. I worry, though, that we are careening toward a national normlessness and undergoing a public desensitization which will result in our merely noting, not decrying and crying over, awful...

The Leaders We Need

What follow is the manuscript of a sermon I gave at All Soul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Asheville today.  It was such a gift to be back with my friends in that vibrant faith-community. When I say leader, what images flash across your mind? For me, the word...

Tough Vulnerability

I often talk with my students about the importance of their having grit and a growth mindset, qualities which researchers Angela Duckworth (Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance ) and Carol Dweck (Mindset: The New Psychology of Success) tell us are crucial for...

The Wilderness of Uncertainty

I don’t know . . . These days, that’s how many of my sentences begin. I don’t know how threatened I should feel by the steady resurgence of Multiple Myeloma (“Frank”) in my bone marrow and blood, or when to begin treatment, or how much more my energy will diminish. I...

“Frank ” Shakes off his Slumber

Many readers of my blog know that, in early 2014, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a currently incurable but increasingly treatable cancer of the bone marrow and blood. Early on, to help me communicate with others about this cancer and also to give me a way of...

Learning as a Teacher, Teaching as a Learner

My fourth year at Mars Hill University is underway; and, while my role is “teacher,” I’m often, and gratefully, a learner. My colleagues enrich my life with their diverse interests. It’s such a gift to be in a community where I encounter artists, zoologists,...

What Matters is Who We’re Becoming

“Didn’t you used to be Guy Sayles?” That’s what a fellow asked as I waited behind him in the checkout line at Ingles.  When he realized what he’d said, he flushed red and apologized: “I’m so sorry.  I meant, ‘Aren’t you Guy Sayles and didn’t you used to be pastor at...

This Moment, this Breath, this Wonder

“Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.” That incisive quip come from Peter DeVries’ novel The Tent of Wickedness. I know something about nostalgia. After all, I’ve spent a lot of time in churches, and they’re hothouses of it: rosy nostalgia for the days when the pews...

The Weather of the Heart

I’ve spent the last couple of days in Hot Springs. I doubt that many people imagine that the portal to heaven looks like this tiny town in the mountains of Western North Carolina, but I do.  It’s nestled on the French Broad River which is my personal Jordan. Wading in...