With Days Getting Shorter Here Are Seven Ways To De-Funk

The sun sets today at 6:09 pm. In two months it will set at 4:39 pm. With the spookiest weekend of the year in a couple of days, the biggest ghost haunting me right now is the actual darkness.  For many of my friends and neighbors, with November and December in the Northern Hemisphere comeContinue reading “With Days Getting Shorter Here Are Seven Ways To De-Funk”

Conversations with Lamentations

Biblical lament is hard to handle. Lament is hard to handle.  When we decided to practice lament as a way to hope for Advent, the idea resonated with me but I don’t know if I knew how hard the practicing would be. I’m finding all kinds of reason to avoid the difficulty. They come inContinue reading “Conversations with Lamentations”

Some Doubts Ought to Be Trusted

Doubt can be bad but it doesn’t have to be In the glut of internet facts we swim in like a trash compactor on the Death Star, doubt is not hard to come by. Slogging through the truthiness spectrum of political speech might make you sick. Yes, you could be sick with doubt. In itsContinue reading “Some Doubts Ought to Be Trusted”

The Mental Health Benefits of Circle of Hope

It seems to me that it is common to separate the mental health benefits of participation in our church from the other things we do to gain and maintain our mental health. We go to therapy, we practice mindfulness, we exercise, we do yoga, we journal… oh! and I guess there’s church, too. I don’tContinue reading “The Mental Health Benefits of Circle of Hope”

Yo, Mountains Are Big, Even Bigger Than Me

We need to get smaller. It’s dangerous to be too big. It’s dangerous to live in a human scale mental landscape. The pilgrimage to the big places in my world is made for right sizing, which is to say diminishing me. The physical space of the impossible scale robs me of my illusion of control in a happy way.

Bieber and Sheeran Channel Our Loneliness to Number One

Our ears long for something that resonates like a body with a vitamin deficiency. Something in our animal brain knows what we might not be able to say and we are drawn to Ed Sheeran and Justin Beiber (again) saying what we don’t know we want to hear. We are alone and we don’t want to care. But we do. Jesus helps us care more.

The Dangers of Teeth-Brushing Christianity

Among many other odd and troubling things about the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings last week was a comparison between church attendance and brushing your teeth. On one hand, I admire the regularity of his devotion, but on the other hand the comparison is dangerously close to just going through the motions. I don’tContinue reading “The Dangers of Teeth-Brushing Christianity”

Passion might be overrated

Siri tells me that passion means “strong and barely controllable emotion” and I’m like, “Isn’t that a bit extreme?” And she just keeps repeating herself. (Try it, you’ll see) People often describe me as passionate, enthusiastic and the like, and I have often said that my job as a pastor is to stir up the passionContinue reading “Passion might be overrated”

Three Ways to Find Refuge and Safety

My new cell is meditating on a “lil nug” of scripture every week. This week it was Psalm 91:2 “He alone is my refuge, my place of safety.” After a week of terrible news in our personal lives and around the world, some of us were tempted to say “That’s cute.” We can read theContinue reading “Three Ways to Find Refuge and Safety”

I think I might be putting God to the test

Remember when Jesus was out in the desert chilling with Satan? There’s this epic showdown in Matthew 4 when Jesus get’s tempted by Satan to do these three things that would betray his relationship with God and Jesus stands firm. In his second temptation Satan tells Jesus to throw himself off the top of a high buildingContinue reading “I think I might be putting God to the test”

Don’t Let Your Eyes Adjust to the Dark: How to keep caring when bad stuff keeps happening

The attack that killed 14 people, injured 17 and resulted in the death of 2 suspects, began yesterday morning, at an office holiday party in the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. The center is called “Inland Regional” because it is located in the “Inland Empire” of Southern California where I was born and spentContinue reading “Don’t Let Your Eyes Adjust to the Dark: How to keep caring when bad stuff keeps happening”

Your spiritual nerve endings may be shot

At a couple different stages in childhood, our brain pruned neurons that were underused.  It was creating clearer pathways, concentrating energy, codifying regular patterns.  It’s called synaptic pruning (How crazy wonderful is the human brain?!  I’m imagining a lumpy gardener with tiny shears.) What’s done is done.  We can’t grow those neurons back.  New pathwaysContinue reading “Your spiritual nerve endings may be shot”