Pain Can Give Birth to New Life

The day my first grandchild, Liam, was born, Linda and I arrived at the hospital and went to my daughter Elizabeth’s room to spend time with her and her husband, Josh. Every two or three minutes, Elizabeth would have a contraction, a passing moment of tension and discomfort.

Examining the Wreckage

A poem from On Paying Attention.

I am drawn to plane crashes….

Helping Each Other Grieve

As well as being a joyous time, Christmas can be difficult for people touched by tragedy or loss in the past year. Grief is isolating. While the rest of the world seems to be celebrating, tragedies years and decades old resurface.

Trying to Make the Unhappy Happy

Trying to make the unhappy happy. There probably isn’t much future in this, God. We like to be liked, and we love to be loved. At least some of us. Well intentioned psychology has partly vilified some among us as people pleasers. Take away any personal tendencies, and we are left with more practical concerns.

A Quiet Life: Living at Peace with One’s Self

One great embarrassment of Christians is that we talk so much and so loudly. Interviews and conversations of all kinds often remind us of a pride of lions feeding, snapping and snarling, each lunging in for a moment and then getting shoved aside by others.

Life on the Ark

We can only imagine how messy and confusing the ark must have been. There were people there—Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives. There were animals there—two of every kind. And there was food there—every kind of food eaten in that day.

Death and Life

We lose so many good people. When Jesus finally arrives at his friends’ home, Lazarus has been dead for four days.

The Sound of Silence

Silence. We experience it so infrequently, most of us wouldn’t even recognize it. We wake to loud alarms, the drip of brewing coffee, running water as we prepare for our day.

Our Stories Will Probably Be Small, But They Will Matter

Sometimes I get discouraged because I feel like my story is very small. I live in a small city. I go to a small church in a land where churches can be quite enormous.

The Rhythm of a Faith-Filled Life

The faith-filled life has a rhythm to it. We ask, seek, proclaim what we learn, and then learn to ask anew. When I worked at an agency for youth in the state foster care system, this rhythm became our familiar soundtrack.

Life Is My Church

I saw a picture recently on social media–a beautiful fall scene, with the sun rising beautifully over a vista of trees and water and clouds, the sort of view that speaks peace into your very soul.