• “Jesus’ Two Daughters”  You are not an exception to the Love of God.  

    Last night, again, I sat with a Christian friend who is struggling very deeply with his faith.  In fact, what is more clear to me than it probably is to him is that he lives with a kind of anguish, a internal and unspoken resignation to believing he will never fully being a full member of the Body of Christ, but only, at best, as an exception God might endure if he tries hard enough.  While this kind of conversation is particularly heartbreaking to me, it is anything but new.  In fact, I have distinct memories of late night dorm room conversations more than 20 years ago around this very…

  • To the Persecuted Church in America: A Biblical strategy for living in times like these. 

    Every time I have tried to sit down and write a coherent reflection this week I have stalled and stammered.  Not only are the events of the past several days complex and overwhelming, the endless grandstanding, commentary, and politicking is absolutely deafening. It is hard to wrap my brain around everything that is going on.  Meanwhile, A pastor threatens to set himself on fire in the wake of gay marriage while across town several churches are actually burning even while we are still morning the deaths of the nine slain brothers and sisters whose kindness almost turned the heart of their murderer.  It is here in the midst of the elation…

  • A Sermon at Burning Flipside on Pentecost Sunday, 2015, “Why Does God Want a Church at This Time and in This Place?”

    This year, for the first time that I am aware of, we held church at Burning Flipside.   Fr. Eric, an Episcopal priest,  presided and I preached the sermon.  To put it most simply, we had church because that is what we do.  After 11 years of missing church on Memorial Day weekend, it just seemed it was time.  Pyropolis is our home for one weekend a year and we wanted to be our full selves while we are there. I am grateful to everyone who showed up for church at Flipside since noon is still considered an early hour.  I had to wonder who had not been to bed yet,…

  • The End of the World as We Know It and I Feel Fine:  A minority report from one of the last living Christians in Austin…. or something like that. 

    On Friday April 17th the Austin American-Statesman ran a front page article with my mug plastered on it that highlighted how the religious culture of Austin has changed. It is a good article and I felt it deserved as thoughtful of a response as I could produce on a Friday night.   So here it is.   The original article is here.  In graduate school, one of the few books I read that radically changed my life was a little book by an ethicist and a chaplain called “Resident Aliens.”  Its premise was simple, but it pried open a very hopeful window for me and changed the trajectory of my…

  • Being Moved: Why am I a Christian? The Gospel according to Doug.

          I suppose that it behooves a Christian man, from time to time, to give a plain and simple account of his faith.   I can’t tell you that I am feeling particularly inspired to do so in this moment. Frankly, I find myself a little short on inspiration in general this evening and feel there are (what do we call them?), “pressing matters,” to take care of,  but it seems as good a time as any to say a thing or two about why this Good Friday is such a big deal and why I choose to build my life around the drama we see unfolding this…

  • Being Moved: Religious freedom and the quest to be the Servant of All.

    Traditionally, Wednesday of Holy week is a day to think about Judas and his relationship to Jesus. It is often called Spy Wednesday and it commemorates the the night Judas agreed to hand Jesus over to the authorities. This sets in motion the events that result in Jesus’ crucifixion. What remains so striking about the Judas story is how someone who had sacrificed so much of his life and chosen to follow and live closely with Jesus would ultimately betray him in the worst way. What could possibly have been unfolding in Judas’ mind and heart that made him think that turning Jesus over to the authorities was a good…

  • Unfamiliar Flavors: How Coffee and NLP can help you integrate spiritual experiences into your everyday life.

    Have you ever had an “ineffable” experience?… Something that seemed transcendent and important, but left you unable to talk about it or perhaps even see how it connects to the rest of your life? Or would you like to? Enjoy this first podcast.  It is a workshop in which I help people experience how and practice things they can do things to integrate aspects of spiritual or profound experiences into their everyday lives. This workshop was part of the free day of NLP in Austin TX.   It is designed so people of any or no faith can fully participate and learn.  Enjoy the workshop and stay in touch. Contact me…

  • Being Moved: praying our resentment instead of harboring it

    There are very few vices I have encountered as much in my own life – and in the lives of the people I have listened to and prayed with – as much as I have encountered resentment. What other of my own shortcomings have I nurtured and even protected like I do my grudges? Ever hear of anyone harboring gluttony or greed? Resentment seems to hold a very precious place in a lot of our lives and after a few years of trying to deal with it personally I think I have finally begun to understand why: It is delicious.

  • Being Moved: from busy-ness, to awareness, by love. Ash Wednesday

    Have you ever wondered where the ashes form Ash Wednesday come from? In truth, it actually depends on the tradition of your local church (and how organized your priest or pastor is), but traditionally it is prescribed that the ashes used on Ash Wednesday are the burned up palm leaves from Palm Sunday the previous year. Palm Sunday is the most foliaged Sunday in the liturgical year unless you are one of those churches that goes absolutely nutso with the army of Christmas trees and sea of poinsettias. Even so, Palm Sunday remains the Sunday where Christians go waving flora around the sanctuary. The sight always strikes me as comical, the…

  • An Untimely Eulogy for the Outpatient Monk’s Biggest Fan.

    In the back of my mind I have very passively been making two very big assumptions about my world. 1) That’ there will one day be a L’Arche community in Austin Texas for me to one day be a part of and 2) That Dianne would probably be the very first assistant at that community and that, like me, she would finally find her true home at L’Arche as well. Dianne was also, without question, the biggest fan of the Outpatient Monk blog and this will probably be the first post since I started writing that wont be read by her letter for letter. Dianne died tragically yesterday and this…

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