Selected posts from around our network of affiliated bloggers
This Sunday we get . . . John the Baptist. Again? Really? Isn't it time for an angel to make an appearance? I'm tired of having John the Baptist call me a viper.
40,000 human skulls. They haunt me. Several weeks ago, I was in Europe, celebrating 25 years of marriage and visiting the towns along the Danube River. It was a wonderful trip—yet what I can’t get out of my mind is the sight of 40,000 neatly stacked human skulls, in the Sedlac Ossuary in Kutna Hora, a small town in the Czech Republic.
I think I'm getting a tiny taste of what it must feel like to be a typical Muslim at a typical mosque when people twist Islam to justify their hate or violence. It happens when I hear someone like Jerry Falwell Jr. encouraging Liberty University students to get concealed-carry permits so they would be able to "end those Muslims before they walked in."
A few weeks ago I was invited to breakfast with a few other pastors from my community. It was an ecumenical group, although no one said the word ecumenical. I was invited by one of the parents at my congregation's pre-school, a Catholic who loves our school and thinks it is awesome. He has been the instigator of a community "Faith Fest" for the last few years.
Every time there is a mass shooting, I imagine myself as a victim. Perhaps you've done the same. What would it feel like to be in the classroom ... the clinic ... at the Christmas party ... going about your daily life, only to see someone suddenly coming toward you with weapons? What would you do—what would you say—if the weapon were pointed at you? What does it feel like to have a bullet enter your body, to watch your blood pour out? To think, to know you will die? Is it macabre that I imagine this?
I caught myself getting overwhelmed one night. I’d been distracting myself from my stress all day long—running from meeting to meeting, answering emails, sending e-mails, moving from one uncompleted task on my desk to the next. When I finally got home and needed to focus on my children, though, I no longer had the energy to distract myself. So the stress I had successfully avoided all day slowly began to unravel itself and take over. The power of emotion is extraordinary.
Every year at least one breakable item in my kitchen meets its end. The cause of death is usually a fall to the kitchen floor, and I am usually the perpetrator. One morning recently, before leaving the house to teach a yoga class, my elbow grazed the handle of a glass mug. So began its descent to a crash.
I’ve been thinking about doubt. It started when I read a recent piece over at Pete Enns’ blog about a pastor who confessed his doubts about the existence of God in front of his congregation. It continued when a friend pointed me in the direction of The Liturgists podcast, and particularly the episodes where the host (Michael Gungor) and co-host (Mike McHargue, or “Science Mike”) discussed their de-conversion and re-conversion narratives. Especially interesting was the shape of the faith that was eventually returned to.