Maybe We Need To Recover Our Imagination

*photo above: Scott Erickson painting during his one-man show “We Are Not Troubled Guests” at NWLife’s Together Night

 

Sometimes I wonder, have we lost our imagination?

Stewart Henderson, in his poem I Believe says,

‪Propagandists are

excellent mimics

But don’t expect them to say anything original.

I believe in doubt

I believe doubt is a process of saying

“Excuse me, I have a question.”

Propagandists hate questions

and in so doing

detest art.

I believe in art.

We are so easily tempted to mimic, copy, follow, and accept status quo as reasonable and good enough.

In the church it happens like this: we look to another church in some other part of the state or country that is considered successful because of one or more of the “B’s” – buildings, budgets, and butts-in-seats.

We esteem these other churches as having or being something that we also should have or be. We podcast them. We fly over to them and scribble notes about everything we see and hear. We meet with their leaders to get their secret recipes. And then we bring it home to our state, city, neighborhood.

This whole thing reeks of a lack of imagination to me.

What ever happened to… Read More

The Difference Between Being Motivated By Power And Being Motivated By Love

The church has never done well when it was latched onto power. The church has always done better when it was on the margins. —Dr. Joseph B. Modica

I suppose it would be a colossal understatement to say there is a lot of hierarchy in church.

With all the titles and positions, posturing and power-grabbing, manipulating and controlling, and the ever-present sense that we are not enough—we need to be given advice, we need to fall in line (and if we don’t we can expect some form of dismissal, disapproval, excommunication, shunning, etc.), it’s no wonder people say they don’t… Read More

There Is Joy In This World

You direct me on the path that leads to a beautiful life. As I walk with You… I know true joy and contentment. —Psalm 16.11

Our home is near Lake Wilderness in Maple Valley. Just a block-and-a-half from our neighborhood is the trail that leads to all my favorite places… the lake, the arboretum, the river, the forest, and the field where boxes of bees from Yakima “rent” some space each summer.

Most days, we opt for a walk around the lake. Shari loves birds and birds love Lake Wilderness, so it’s a win.

A handful of times each year, we will see a blue heron or two. Even more rarely—maybe once or twice a year—we might see one of them flying over us. Whenever this happens, I stop and watch with reverence. It always feels like a sacred moment.

In Wendell Berry’s book The Long-Legged House, he describes witnessing the flight of… Read More

The Approach Is Everything

Happy 2018!

Father Lester Bach said,

Without diminishing our beliefs, we approach others with love rather than domination.

We approach others with a desire to share what is important to us rather than make them feel insignificant or stupid.

We approach others with a readiness to understand them rather than presuming… Read More

Not Your Typical Blessing

As we look over the edge into 2018, I offer this blessing… and it’s not your typical blessing.

Written by the Benedictine Sister Ruth Fox of Sacred Heart Monastery for a Dickinson State University graduation in 1985, this blessing is often referred to as the Four-Fold Benedictine Blessing:

May God bless you with DISCONTENT with easy answers, half truths, superficial relationships, so that you will live from deep within your heart.

May God bless you with ANGER at… Read More

Here’s My Favorite Books I Read In 2017

Here’s my favorite books I read in 2017, in no particular order (not all of these books were released in 2017—some are much older… I just read them this year – also, click on the picture of the book to view on Amazon):

Barking to the Choir by Father Greg Boyle

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Glory Happening by Kaitlin Curtice

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Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God by Brian Zahnd

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The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

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Peaches for… Read More

Advent Day 22 (Conclusion): Your Name Is Written On His Heart

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*photo above: Nolan Jones enjoying some time on stage after church one Sunday during Advent

For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. —Titus 2.11

I believe Christ came for all.

Think about those who came to see the newborn child. Shepherds: these guys were the night-shift, minimum wage earners… they smelled like sheep, they hadn’t bathed in a while.

Then later you have the Magi. I mean… these guys are different. Certainly outsiders. Mystics. Star-gazers. Not exactly your typical church-goers.

Throughout the ministry of Jesus, you see this same attraction… the outsiders were drawn to him. The misfits and weirdos. The outcasts. The sinners.

Yes, Jesus came for us all. I believe Christ went to the cross and took on himself the sins of the world.

And this is the Good News: we have been included.

And the angel said to them: Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. —Luke 2.10-11

Good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

For unto you is born… a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

We dream of a world where there is something for everyone.

A job. Healthcare. Food. Love. Family. Peace everywhere.

It seems like an impossible dream. Like, not in this world… but maybe in some other place, in a galaxy far, far away.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have healthcare for all. Wouldn’t it be nice to have housing for all. Wouldn’t it be nice to have peace for all. Wouldn’t it be nice to have food for all. Wouldn’t it be nice to have family for all.

Wouldn’t it.

But we easily dismiss these concepts as unrealistic. Beyond our reach. Fantasy. Something our world will never provide.

So when we start talking about God’s love for all, God’s gift of salvation for all, Christ’s arrival for all, and a table that welcomes all…

Well, it’s easy to once again dismiss the notion as… Read More

Advent Day 20: She Makes Oranges

The Christian religion asks us to put our trust not in ideas, and certainly not in ideologies, but in a God Who was vulnerable enough to become human and die, and Who desires to be present to us in our ordinary circumstances. —Kathleen Norris

In Phil Needham’s book When God Becomes Small, he shares the following…

I love the story Kathleen Norris tells about her three-year old niece. The girl’s father would drive her to day care in the morning on the way to work, and her mother would pick her up on the way home.

Often the mother would peel an orange and bring it to her daughter when she picked her up.

One day Norris came across her niece playing “Mommy’s office” on the front porch of their home. She asked her niece what her mommy (a stockbroker and financial planner) did at work.

“Without hesitation, and with a conviction I relish to this day,” says Norris, “she looked up at me and said, ‘She… Read More