The Wilderness of In-Between

Like many others, I’m living in-between. For four and a half years, I’ve held what Susan Sontag called “dual citizenship” in the kingdoms of the sick and of the well. I shuttle between the limits of illness and the opportunities of ongoing life. I anxiously hold my...

Be Here, Now

An elderly woman recently spent a long night in the Emergency Department. Lack of oxygen, related to congestive heart failure and COPD, made her disoriented and unsettled. Because her medical caregivers needed to know the extent of her confusion, they repeatedly asked...

Using the Bible to Contradict Jesus

No, Attorney General Sessions, you may not use Paul’s words in Romans 13:1 to justify the heinous separation of children from their parents. That text was abused by church officials who ordered the brutal Crusades against Muslims, by southern preachers who sought to...

Continuity and Discontinuity

In Peripheral Visions, cultural anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson said that, when we take-stock of our lives, we can focus either on continuity or discontinuity: “’Everything I have ever done has been heading me for where I am today’ is one version of the truth,...

Life from the Center

Recently, I confessed—again—that there are times when I’m more intimidated by the world’s problems, the church’s challenges, and my own “stuff,” than I’m confident in the presence and power of God. When the heat is on and the pressure is high, hope evaporates and joy...

Missing and Finding Joy, Part 2

Yesterday’s post had telltale signs of haste and hurry which are, themselves, threats to joy. How ironic that, in the rush to write about joy, I ran right past it! At any rate, here’s where we left-off yesterday: A sure sign that we’re in the wearying grip of...

Missing and Finding Joy, Part 1

The first of two reflections on this theme. I’ll post the second one tomorrow. In my experience, pervading the atmosphere of too many churchy groups are unspoken expectations which leave me with the impression that I should look and feel as inspired and triumphant as...

Wobbly without Training Wheels

I’ll soon finish my third year of fulltime teaching at Mars Hill University.  I’m still surprised and grateful that, after nearly four decades in congregational ministry, I have the opportunity to do this work. For the next couple of weeks, I’ll be giving and grading...

On Limits

I get confused about limits.  I place them where they’re not necessary and ignore them where they matter. On the one hand, I needlessly limit the range of my imagination, the breadth of my curiosity, the reach of my compassion, and the scale of my hope.  On the other,...