difficult beginnings and drying tears

Kathy Harrison, in her honest and moving book, Another Place at the Table: "It comes as no surprise that finding families willing to open their doors to the rigors of foster parenting is so hard. Fostering means knowing about things most of us would prefer to forget. It means recognizing that our best is often... Continue Reading →

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the simple grace of loving

Poet Christian Wiman: "There are other moments, too, which are simply moments of life. Simply! I think of the poet Paul Eluard: "There is another world, but it is in this one." I have 3-year-old twin daughters. It would be disingenuous in the extreme for me to pretend that they don't at times drive all thought of God... Continue Reading →

the air into which we are born

Eugene Peterson, quoted by Carolyn Custis James: "Giving...is the air into which we were born. It is the action that was designed into us before our birth. Giving is the way the world is. God gives himself. He also gives away everything that is. He makes no exceptions for any of us. We are given... Continue Reading →

The spiritual origin of worldly action

Rodney Stark, in his book Cities of God: the Christianization of the [Roman] empire was not the result of 'reactions to public calamity,' but to religious influences per se. That is, religion did not merely offer psychological antidotes for the misery of life; it actually made life less miserable! ...The truly revolutionary aspect of Christianity... Continue Reading →

Do not forget the greater service

Preparing to preach on some of the listening texts in proverbs (there are many). In doing so, I've returned to Bonhoeffer's Life Together. In his chapter entitled "Ministry", he has a section on the ministry of listening. He writes: Christians, especially ministers, so often think they must always contribute something when they are in the... Continue Reading →

Encountering others as questions

From Marilynne Robinson's novel, Gilead: This is an important thing, which I have told many people, and which my father told me, and which his father told him. When you encounter another person, when you have dealings with anyone at all, it is as if a question is being put to you. So you must... Continue Reading →

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