I set out 2016 with the hope of reading more than I had in previous years. I've always been a reader, but something happens in the middle of early parenthood that slides out leisure/entertainment reading time. Add in the constant draw of Facebook, electronic gadgets, home projects, work projects, and reading gets pushed to the back burner pretty quick. At least that's what it looks like in my house. My hope for 2016 was that I would reignite the reader bug I had caught back in high school. This happened to some degree, but perhaps not as much as I'd initially dreamed.
My initial thought was that I would complete "a book per week". This didn't pan out although I did log quite a number of them including some classics (two by Hemingway in a single year !).
Around the end of fall, I finished Eric Metaxas' ostensibly monumental work on the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I am neither a Bonhoeffer expert nor terribly familiar with the work of Metaxas. Just about all that I knew of the famous German was that despite his commitment to non-violence, he never-the-less attempted to assassinate Adolph Hitler during WWII. All I knew of Metaxas was that he was a historian.
I went into it a rather blank slate.
The following were among my reactions:
1. Surprise. In a very real sense, I felt dwarfed by the scope and life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This was a human being of considerable substance; far more complex, knowledgeable, committed, and remarkable than I appre... Read More
I don't always begin January with a resolution. Last year at this time, I was in the throughs of recovery from bariatric surgery. I had lost about 50% of my excess body weight and the hope was that my surgical intervention would live me a leg up on the next half. The following twelve months were a blur: filled with joy and celebration, disappointment and discouragement, determination and hard work.
Part of me loves the idea of newness, of starting fresh, of commitment to change, of hope in a better life and better pat.... Read More
Over the past couple weeks or so, my Facebook news feed has been buzzing with articles, objections, and reflections on a proposal brought forward by a few denominational leaders in my Adventist tribe. The following are many strands of thought, some of which are no doubt incoherent, on the present situation.
A chop-shop summary of the proposal voted at Annual Council this week is as follows: the general conference of th... Read More
My wife was born three-and-a-half decades ago this week. Over one of those has been lived with me as her husband. Sometimes I quip with friends on their birthdays, "I'm glad you were born." Although it often comes across flippant, it's really a serious statement. And in a sense, it's the essence of what we mean when we utter the more banal, "happy birthday".
My life would be different ( Read More
The following is an adapted manuscript of from my September 3, 2016 sermon at the Walla Walla University Church.
This past summer at the Walla Walla University Church, we have been exploring the book of Leviticus, asking the question, “what might we have to learn about living as a community through this ancient and sometimes seemingly irrelevant bo Read More
This summer, my colleagues and I at the University Church plan to work through a twelve-part series on topics from the book of Leviticus. In a college town like Walla Walla, summers often become moments to step back, take a breath, and recharge for the resumption of the academic year. As a church community on a university campus, our spiritual lives follow this ebb and flow to a degree - but we of course continue to gather together for worship, reflection, teaching, and Read More
The Lilac Bloomsday Run is a tradition for Eastern Washingtonians. The yearly 12k footrace is one of the largest that still offers an individual time for each and every of its 50,000 participants. But Read More
When I was growing up, my mom used to joke with people that I was the first (and best) Mother's Day gift she had ever received. As a typical firstborn, I ate it up. Contributing to her happiness like that made me feel proud and honored. I glowed in the belief that my very presence is a gift to the world; to my mom.... Read More
I can't recall who first recommended Susan Cain's recent book to me, but whoever you are, thank you! Quiet reads like a comprehensive vindication of a sometimes misunderstood style of moving through the world... Read More
Over recent years, I've routinely had conversations with theologically minded friends within which we agreed that my tradition's lack of a *theology of desire* as it were is a huge liability for us simply on the practical level. My impression is that this theological blind spot really flows over into most Protestantism really. Rigorous thought on how followers of Jesus should relate to desire is few and far between. Certainly on the practical, ordinary, Jesus-follower level the simple question * Read More