Lent Day 27… When It’s Uncool And Embarrassing

Pictured above: Joyelle, one of our super-cool youth leaders, making an uncool and embarrassing face. On Wednesday during our youth service, she led the prayer time… and shared about her own struggle with depression.

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To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) is a non-profit organization created to give hope to anyone struggling with addiction, depression, self-injury, or thoughts of suicide—and seeks to help connect people to treatment centers, support groups, and other resources. It was founded in 2006 by Jamie Tworkowski.

Recently, Jamie wrote… Read More

Lent Day 26… Dirty Laundry

A young couple moved into a new neighborhood. The next morning while eating breakfast, the wife noticed her neighbor hanging out her laundry. She commented:

Those clothes don’t look very clean; maybe she needs better soap.

Her husband looked, but remained silent. For three weeks, every Monday he would hear some version of these same comments. But the following wash day, his wife was surprised to see a nice white wash on the line next door. She commented: “Look, she finally learned how to wash clothes. I wonder who taught her?”

Her husband responded quietly… Read More

Lent Day 25… The Slow Work Of God

The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art. —Junot Diaz

Pictured above: that’s John, my father-in-law. He’s the best farmer I know (he grew up on a farm in North Dakota and came to Seattle to work at Boeing). He walks slowly—probably because of a bad hip or a bum knee… but there’s something cool about his slow walk. And even though he’s not super-fast, he grows the biggest onions and the best blueberries of anyone I know. It almost seems as if walking slowly is some kind of requirement for being a great farmer.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said… Read More

Lent Day 24… Security Is Knowing You Are Not Alone

Charles M. Shulz, the cartoonist who gave us Charlie Brown and Snoopy, said:

I feel a constant gratefulness to God…

for His patience with me and with all of us.

I cannot fail to be thrilled every time I read the things that Jesus said, and I am more and more convinced of the necessity of following him. What Jesus means to me is this: In him we are able to see God, and to understand his feelings toward us.

Recently I published a little series of… Read More

Lent Day 23… On Care For Our Common Home

This beautiful prayer is Pope Francis’ “Laudato si” (On Care For Our Common Home)…

 

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe

and in the smallest of your creatures.

You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.

Pour out upon us the power of your love,

that we may protect life and beauty.

Fill us with peace, that we may live

as brothers and sisters, harming no one.

O God of the poor,

help us to… Read More

Lent Day 22… If you want to give anything worthwhile of yourself, you have to feel completely exposed

On Wednesday of this week, we had an all-staff meeting at the church. This wasn’t one of those business, strategy, or calendar-planning types of meetings. Instead, it was going over a chapter in a book we have been reading together (Discovering Our Spiritual Identity: Practices for God’s Beloved by Trevor Hudson). As part of the discussion at the end of the chapter, each of us had to answer one of the following questions:

1. What has been one of your most significant spiritual experiences?

2. How have you experienced the presence of God in tough times?

As we went around the table sharing from our lives, there was a tenderness —a sense of reverence, maybe even a holy hush. Most cried as they shared. Others cried as they listened to a co-worker share.

This wasn’t a quick meeting. Opening up takes time. Sharing deeply personal stories cannot be rushed. In fact, there was little time left for anything else in staff meeting.

A few hours after the meeting had finished, I received the following e-mail from one of our pastors… Read More

Lent Day 20… If You See Something Special Or Unique In Someone, You Should Tell Them

When someone sees something in you, and they have the courage to speak it out, it changes everything… that is what my community does. I’ve learned from them that if you see something special or unique in someone, you should tell them. Our words hold a lot of power. —Dana Tanamachi

While in Los Angeles last week with my daughter Ashah, we spent our mornings at Starbucks because… coffee and free wifi. She needed to use my computer to do some homework, and I was writing each morning on the blog for Lent. On one of the days, I gave her the computer after I had finished writing. I must have left my blog open on the web browser, because when I looked over at Ashah a few minutes later, she had tears in her eyes and a solemn look on her face. She turned the laptop towards me and this is what I saw… Read More

Lent Day 19… The Beatitudes Are The Antithesis Of What America Has Come To Adore

It cannot be denied that too often the weight of the Christian movement has been on the side of the strong and the powerful and against the weak and oppressed—this, despite the gospel. —Howard Thurman

Brian Zahnd, in his book Beauty Will Save The World, says:

The Beatitudes are deliberately designed to shock us. If we’re not shocked by the Beatitudes, it’s only because we have tamed them with a patronizing sentimentality—and being sentimental about Jesus is the religious way of ignoring Jesus! Too often the Beatitudes are set aside into the category of “nice things that Jesus said that I don’t really understand.”

Here is Zahnd’s paraphrase of… Read More

Lent Day 18… The Challenge Is To Keep Discovering The Green Growing Edge

The hard thing when you get old is to keep your horizons open. The first part of your life everything is in front of you, all your potential and promise. But over the years, you make decisions; you carve yourself into a given shape. Then the challenge is to keep discovering the green growing edge. —Howard Thurman

Today is my birthday. I’m 45 years old.

Something about that number is appealing to me. It’s not the age of a young ‘un. And it’s not the age of a mummy either.

Even though I haven’t started receiving advertisements in the mail from the AARP (yet), I am old enough to know how easy it is to get stuck, or to just coast through life, or to quit changing, learning, and growing.

Howard Thurman is on to something… the challenge is to keep discovering the green growing edge.

Speaking of God’s people planted in God’s House, Scripture says:

They will be like trees that stay healthy and fruitful, even when they are old. —Psalm 92.14

Like trees that stay healthy and fruitful. Like people who keep discovering the green growing edge. That’s the challenge.

And while there are plenty of bad examples of aging, there are also… Read More