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.

Honest Hallelujahs

I was too young. Youth and vitamins fortified my body; a promising future fortified my mind. But something else threatened all that, something that made me hold my breath for several months. On the day of my final checkup, after the surgery that removed what wasn’t supposed to be there, the office receptionist was infuriatingly chipper.

Learning from Others’ Lenses

My seventh grade Sunday school class was studying King David using student workbooks and homework assignments. During the week that we studied today’s passage, our leader explained that these verses were proof that David cared for Bathsheba more than he cared for his other wives.

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.

Bells: A Meditation for Teachers

Telephone bells, doorbells, school bells, and fire alarms all alert us and prepare us to go into action. Our modern use of bells is totally different than one hundred years ago. Church bells rang the hour of the day and told of a death.

Hardwired to Sin

As future adoptive parents, my wife and I just completed a two-day course about the ways that neurochemistry determines the behaviors of children and parents. We learned that neuropathways form in an infant’s brain on the basis of a caregiver’s abuse or neglect.

“I Will, with God’s Help”

When Lauren Winner, now a professor at Duke Divinity School, converted to Christianity from Orthodox Judaism, she argued with the promises she had to make in the Anglican liturgy.

Knowing the End of the Story

The last week of Jesus’ earthly life begins with eager expectation and joyful celebration. Enthusiastic, palm-waving, hosannas-singing crowds welcome Jesus to Jerusalem. The news of his raising Lazarus from death precede his arrival and his fame has grown.

When People are like Duct Tape

Duct tape is amazing. You can do so many things with it. Make a dress, reattach a car bumper, do some duct work. Duct tape is decorative and functional, durable yet flexible. It can fix just about anything. Its only problem is that duct tape isn’t a permanent solution.

Playlists for July 14-20 Reflections

As the writer of the July 14-20 devotions in the Reflections Devotional Guide, I invite you to the banks of the Ocmulgee River in Macon, GA. These waters baptized the music of Little Richard, Otis Redding, and the Allman Brothers.

The Need to Be Grateful

Did you know that our brains have a negativity bias? According to recent neuroscience research, the human brain gathers strength around fearful, negative, or problematic situations. This tendency means that we must intentionally savor any loving, positive, or unproblematic event for at least 15 seconds to offset the negative.

Shaking Free from Indifference

Indifference is a tricky feeling. Sure, one can be indifferent about milk chocolate vs. dark chocolate (though clearly, dark chocolate is better). We can even be indifferent about slightly more important things like who to pick in a Yankees vs. Red Sox matchup (though clearly, the Yankees are preferable).

The Miracle of Creating

Though eager to put her vision into words, she found doubt and anxiety hovering over her. Soon she heard the cursor say, “Stop. This is too messy. Let someone more qualified, more talented, more educated do what you could never possibly do.”

Quiet Miracles

You haven’t truly seen the night sky until you see it from the middle of Peru’s remote jungles, hundreds of miles away from any electricity and several days’ drive from the nearest city. Imagine a sky of black felt, covered in the glitter blown from a child’s hands.

God Deems Them Righteous

“God does not hear the prayers of Jews,” a prominent pastor proclaimed in 1980. His words created division among Christians and Jews alike. Who had the audacity to determine whom God hears? Psalm 34 tells us exactly whom God hears…

Celebrating the Found

Pacifier, binky, baby-plug. Whatever name you choose, there is no more desperate scene than a mother searching for this source of soothing as naptime approaches. A frazzled mom will turn the house upside down, frantically looking for this small, magical plug to stifle the shrill screams of her overly tired one-year-old.

Making Room

There was no room for Jesus in crowded Bethlehem, but that did not stop him, and it did not stop God. God became flesh, regardless of the space limitations. Christmas this year comes at a time when millions of people have no room, no home, no space to live in safety, without fear.

On Election Day

We read the end of Jonah’s story on Election Day for the United States. In less than twenty-four hours our fears will be relieved or realized.

More Beautiful for the Brokenness

Art and repair merged in 15th-century Japan when a shogun sent a prized tea bowl to be repaired. When it came back mended with ugly metal staples, the shogun was so displeased that craftspeople jumped at the chance to find a better way to repair it and other broken ceramics.

Keep in Touch

Though our primary means of communicating is in our hands, we don’t have time to talk right now. Sending a text message is complicated because it opens us up to a potentially ongoing conversation.