The Face Of The Other

I particularly enjoyed David Benner’s chapter “Otherness” while reading his book, Soulful Spirituality: Becoming Fully Alive and Deeply Human. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

Soulful spirituality invites us to do a better job of recognizing and prizing the otherness of others rather than simply seeing them as extensions of ourselves or using them as containers for our own projections.

This is what Jewish philosopher Martin Buber had in mind when he distinguished between “I-Thou” and “I-it” relationships. We relate to someone as… Read More

What I Saw & How I Saw It (A Reflection On Travels & The Ways We See)

I’ve been on vacation – or “holiday” as they call it where my family and I have been – for the past month. For the last two years, we’ve been dreaming about, saving for, and planning this trip.

We had places we wanted to go and specific sights we wanted to see.

Two years of planning builds a lot of anticipation. We were stinkin’ excited to go on this European adventure!

On a daily basis, our eyes were wide with wonder. A number of times on this trip I whispered “My God” – not in a flippant or take-the-name-of-the-Lord-in-vain kind of way, but in… Read More

Christianity Is Boring

I recently wrote about our addiction to adventure. Here’s a brief excerpt:

Yes, there is something repetitious about the Christian life. Following Jesus isn’t necessarily about going into new territory every day. Often, it’s about doing the same things over and over and over…

Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” —Luke 9.23

Taking up one’s cross daily is – I don’t know any other way to say it – repetitive. Even Jesus (who was perfect) participated in these repetitive things.

*     *     *     *

Richard Beck has written a great post entitled “A Million Boring Little Things” in which he says…

Being more and more like Jesus is a million boring little things.

Here’s his entire post—seriously, read it.

*     *     *     *

I was talking to one of my students recently about the temptations of youthful spirituality, how when you are young you get addicted to the buzz of the worship high and then go searching for a more intense… Read More

The Enriques

If you’ve read Father Greg Boyle’s book Tattoos on the Heart, you know he typically travels with some “homies” (guys who are in the program at Homeboy Industries – leaving the life of gangs, drugs, and violence behind in order to build a new life and career). When Father G came to speak at our annual Together Nights last month, he brought two homies with him: Enrique and Enrique. The Enriques – as I like to call them.

That’s right. Both guys are named Enrique.

This trip to the Northwest was the first time either man had flown in an airplane. It was the first time either Enrique had been out of Los Angeles. Father G took them out for a day of exploring Seattle.

Father G said the Enriques were… Read More

Sunday Shout Outs

Here’s what I really enjoyed reading online this past week…

sarah schwartz post

This post, I Need To Hear From Women, by Sarah Christine Schwartz.

My favorite line(s):

I need to see the daughters of Mary operating in the dignity that was given to them at the tomb as the first people to carry the message of the gospel. 

I have a deep love and high regard for the men who have taught me from the pulpit and the lectern—I’ve needed and need them, too. But I don’t ever think there is going to be a lack of their voices in my life to tell me about Jesus. 

I need a… Read More

Our Addiction to Adventure

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the repetitive nature of the Christian life. Yeah, I know, this isn’t exactly an “amen” worthy point. It is true though.

Eat this bread. Drink this cup. Do it again. And again.

I mean, when will we have read our Bibles enough?

Is it possible to have fulfilled the command to “Love your neighbor as yourself” so we never have to do it again? Can someone say, “Oh, I already did that, so I don’t have to love neighbors anymore.”

And what if the church isn’t teaching us anything NEW? Y’know… stuff we haven’t heard before? Where’s all the next level stuff? Gimme some of that!

What about giving? Can ya hit a certain level and just be done with it already? You know, kind of like that High Striker carnival game with the heavy sledge hammer and the bell thingy?

high striker carnival game

Ding ding ding ding ding! Congratulations. You’ve hit the level. You’ve arrived. You never have to give again!

And what about forgiveness? How many times do we really have to forgive the same… Read More

To Remember That Stooping & Serving Is Beautiful

I remember when I first heard about a pastor who had his own personal chef, chauffeur, and tailor. My mind was blown. Wow! Holy cow! So…. THIS is success. THIS is what arriving looks like. THIS is a thing of beauty and I want to get there some day too.

I thought: I need to build my platform so that I can be somebody important – someone others will serve.

Around that same time, I had read books like “Under Cover” and “God’s Armor Bearer” – books that emphasized how important it is to serve the “man of God” (the pastor or leader or top dog in your organization). The message was clear: we should aspire to carry his briefcase, his Bible, wash his car, mow his lawn, run his errands… you know, really serve the big guy.

There was another message too, and it was a motivating one. It went something like this… Read More

Homeless People Matter?

- - Life With God, Video

I have a confession to make: I don’t know much about homelessness.

The truth is, I can tell you a lot more about suburban, middle-class life – based on my own personal experience… things like where the closest Trader Joe’s is and how annoying Comcast is (did you hear the latest from Apple – how they’re going to offer web TV service this Fall?).

Do you need to know where to find an honest, reasonably-priced mechanic for your car? I can tell you about that.

Do you want an opinion on MOD Pizza? I definitely have one to share with you.

But when it comes to homelessness, I only “know” what I’ve heard… and that’s pretty much all a bunch of second-hand, questionable information. For example, I’ve heard about the guy who walked around the corner from the intersection where he’d been holding up a cardboard sign – and unlocked his Mercedes and drove off. And I’ve heard about how much money panhandlers make – “more than if they held down a real job.”

This second-hand information is sticky and makes an impression, but I wonder if it’s any more reliable than Anthony Crispino’s reporting on Saturday Night Live.

anthony crispino picture for post

Anthony Crispino is… Read More

The Skyway 7-11 & A Samaritan Well (People Matter Period)

 

People matter to God. Period.

That’s exactly what the life and death and resurrection of Jesus shows us.

For God so loved. He gave. Who does He love? The world. Everyone. All people.

When I was in 8th grade, I was going through a rough time. I’d started using drugs. I was struggling at school and at home with my family.

There was a youth leader at my church named Troy Jones. He went out of his way for me. Once a week, he picked me and my friend Pat up from school.
He bought us Big Gulps at the 7-11 in Skyway. Then we went to the… Read More