The Wind and the Spirit

What would you do differently if you could start over? What would you change if you could be born again? If I could edit my life, I would skip junior high football, wrecking my father’s car, and the last five minutes of my first date. I would stop my mother throwing away my baseball cards.

Crossroads: The Armor of God

Have you ever seen some of the equipment that comes with playing sports? Football players put on helmets, chin guards, mouth guards, cleats, and shoulder pads in order to protect themselves when they play.

Crossroads: The Presence of the Holy Spirit

Several years ago on a weekend retreat, I gathered with a group of teenagers in a dimly lit room to share an Agape Love Feast. Earlier, we had set up the room with candles, a plate of bread, and a large cup of grape juice. Before we entered the room, all of us took off our shoes and made a commitment to be silent as we entered.

Formations 06.04.2017: Come, Holy Spirit

One of the oldest songs of Pentecost is Veni Creator Spiritus, attributed to the ninth-century monk and theologian Rabanus Maurus. This hymn to the Holy Spirit is traditionally sung on Pentecost and other occasions (ordinations, church dedications, etc.) to invoke God’s transforming power.

A Spirit Prayer

O God, Thank you for your Spirit that is with us, within us, and among us.
Thank you for the spirit that we are.
Thank you for the spirit of your creation.

Formations 01.22.2017: Asking Paul’s Questions

In John Steinbeck’s novel, The Grapes of Wrath, the first person Tom Joad meets after leaving prison and hitching a ride with a truck driver is Jim Casy. Joad finds him lying against a willow tree, whistling, and recognizes him as the preacher.

Faith Postures: Noticing When We Obstruct Christ

I did something one weekend of which I am ashamed. I did something I can never take back and something for which I can never be sure of the ramifications.

Crossroads: Waiting

Have you ever had to wait for something that you were sure was going to happen? You wait with nervous anticipation, excited and scared at the same time. I went to Paris when I was 16.

Of Spirit and Mind: A Pentecostal’s Battle Against Depression

She stopped eating and looked at me. “Are you serious?” She was more commenting than questioning. “Why would you go see a counselor? They don’t have any wisdom. They can’t help you. Are you depressed?”

In Pursuit of the Spirit: God in the Midst

We hear about or meet people who meditate for forty-five minutes each morning in total silence, people who spend half an hour in prayer every day, or read their Bible regularly, and those of us with busy lives, and busy minds, think wouldn’t that be nice?

Formations 10.11.2015: Finding Joy

Where do you find joy in life? It’s easy to find joy while watching a sunrise or baking cookies or watching a favorite movie, but how about at work? Where can we find joy in the midst of our humdrum daily existence?

Uniform 09.06.2015: Praying for One Another

In a song of my generation, the singer pleads, “Tell me what you want and I’ll give you what you need.” I’ve learned over the years that my prayers often go like that—I ask God for what I want and God gives me what I need.

Uniform 05.17.2015: The Spirit Creates One Body

J. R. Ewing was shot in his office at Ewing Oil on March 21, 1980 by an unseen and thus unknown assailant. Millions of Americans would spend the next eight months pondering and debating the question “Who shot J. R.?”

Formations 05.10.2015: Standing on the Threshold

A few weeks ago, I received yet another grim reminder that I am getting old. (For some reason, my wife is doing just fine while I lose ground by the minute!) I attended an orientation for rising ninth-graders at my daughter’s school.

In Pursuit of the Spirit: Practicing Lent

I’m in the process of (slowly) reading The Art of Family and Everyday Spirituality by Gina Bria. I’m not very far along, but the way in which Bria speaks about the role of family has captured my imagination.

Uniform 03.08.2015: Being an Advocate

We talk about people being advocates for healthcare reform, advocates for diversity, advocates for the rights of immigrants, advocates for equal pay, and the list goes on.

Uniform 03.03.2015: Baptized by the Spirit

Do you have a baptism story? I do. I was ten, and I remember facing my baptism with a mixture of excitement and dread.

In Pursuit of the Spirit: A New Year’s Practice

I don’t like New Year’s resolutions. Nope, never mind, that’s a lie. I love New Year’s resolutions. I relish the opportunity to dream about beginning new habits that will eventually shape me into a new, improved version of myself.

In Pursuit of the Spirit: Picking Our Way Through Advent

Our son, Caleb, will turn three a few days after Christmas this year. For the first two years of his life, we didn’t worry too much about holiday traditions, recognizing that he was too little to understand or remember much.

In Pursuit of the Spirit: Remembering the Saints

October has never been my favorite month. It always opens with such promise and warmth, and then ends with a blustery quickness that is downright abrasive.

Formations 10.26.2014: Serving Together

We will never understand spiritual gifts if we don’t see how they relate to the church. Paul is adamant that the purpose of the gifts is “the common good” (1 Cor 12:7).

In Pursuit of the Spirit: Spiritual Formation with Toddlers (Or Lectio in Nature)

After a freezing first winter in Chicago (frequently described as Chiberia), and bipolar summer (hot and humid one day, cold and rainy the next), I am feeling particularly grateful for the beautiful fall we’ve been having recently.

Formations 10.12.2014: Teamwork

A team of students from Cincinnati’s Mason neighborhood has distinguished itself in creativity and problem-solving. The Global Finals of Destination Imagination, or DI for short, was held last May in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Spiritual Growth: Polishing the Cup or Growing in Love?

People enter into the process of spiritual direction for many reasons, and sometimes it takes time and deep listening for me to discern the motivation. “Remember,” a mentor once cautioned, “the real director is the Holy Spirit. Our job is to discern the direction the Holy Spirit is wanting to guide the directee and cooperate with that.”

Formations 10.05.2014: Who Benefits from Gifted Education?

Who benefits most from elementary-school gifted programs? According to a study from two economics professors, it isn’t the students with the highest IQs but those with more average IQs but high standardized test scores.

In Pursuit of the Spirit: The Search for Sabbath in a Busy Life

I recently started working at a local church as their Church School Coordinator, and while the job will soon be just ten hours a week, for the past three weeks it has been closer to forty hours a week.

In Pursuit of the Spirit: Spirituality and Politics

Our church community has been struggling with questions of spirituality and politics over the past few months. At our most recent General Assembly, the Presbyterian Church (USA) made some controversial decisions.

In Pursuit of the Spirit

For a period of time, I owned the domain www.holygoosepoop.com. Although I never did anything with it, and I eventually let it lapse, I thought it would make a good site for a spirituality blog.