I have never felt comfortable praying. I almost feel I should put the word in quotes, as I'm never quite sure that what I do deserves the name.
Life of Faith
Benin. Some rights reserved by Ferdinand Reus.
Here in Tidewater, Virginia, we make our way from city to city via a series of tunnels. As we approach each tunnel a series of signs warn us: “No HAZMATS” and “HAZMATS must exit here.” Trucks carrying hazardous materials of one sort or another provide a danger anywhere, but in tunnels the risk is magnified.
I noticed a disheveled and unshaven man in his early fifties a few barstools down from me. Something about him seemed uninviting. Soon an attractive 40-something woman arrived in a crisp little black dress and perched on the stool next to him. She seemed nervous.
For seven splendid years (1953-1960) I studied at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Someone told me that visitors to the seminary were occasionally brought around to the tutors' office, where I worked as a graduate student, in order to glimpse "the Barthian"—of which species I was apparently the only one in captivity in that place.
The paradox of being a writer is that you are more likely to get outcomes when you let go of getting outcomes: it frees you from the ego's grip. There is a parallel here to the faith journey: seek your life and you will lose it, lose your life and you will find it.
One in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. But as United Methodist pastor Elise Erikson Barrett points out, we don’t much like to talk about miscarriage.
John Calvin grounded our need to know God in our createdness: "What is the chief end of human life?" he asked, and answered, "To know God by whom we were created." This yearning is not the same as our need to "know" other human beings.
Along America's highways, wooden barns used to reign, and blue or white silos stood like sentries. Today those wooden barns and silos are decaying, their wooden ribcages emerging like skeletons after years of neglect, and slowly being replaced by low steel buildings. Under this seemingly innocuous change in architecture lies a great American drama.
Grandma and Bob got along famously. They complemented one another: Grandma was hard of hearing and Bob was almost blind.