• “Never Forget” and “Do this in Remembrance of Me:” Thoughts on how we remember September 11th.

      Today my FaceBook feed is wrought with variations and recollections of the event of September 11th from twelve years ago.   The personal recollections have shrunk from previous years and some simply share a photo or state, “Never forget.”   Seeing that phrase repeated over without more context has begun to trouble me, and not just a little.   What is “never forget” supposed to be shorthand for on this kind of anniversary? On one hand I think it is referring to a kind of remembering that simple tries to honor those who have suffered, especially the handfuls of people who were not merely victims, but heroes who sacrificed…

  • It’s Not About the Chocolate: Grace and self improvement in the season of Lent.

    It is Ash Wednesday and throughout the day and the week my friends and I will be bantering back and forth about what we intend to give up for the season of lent.  The list will inevitably include more and less brave endeavors.  After many years of self-discovery, I now try to keep my personal commitments, ahem, modest. Lately I have begun to think that our lenten choices are beginning to feel more and more like new year’s resolutions than spiritual exercises: quit smoking, exercise, skip dessert, drink less, eat more broccoli…  And if I happen to loose a couple pounds along the way, so be it.    Self control and discipline…

  • Bumper Stickers Don’t Change Hearts, and Other Reasons the Culture Wars are Hurting Everyone.

    What good are bumper stickers?   So far in my life I have never seen anyone pull the car over and say to the passenger, “You know what? You CAN’T hug the world with nuclear arms, can you?” or, “I just visualized world peace and it was awesome.” They are not really arguments, let alone compelling ones.  Bumper stickers don’t really change people’s lives.  Nevertheless it is nearly impossible to go anywhere for a short drive in just about any town and not see the simple black “W,” a Shepherd Fairey, “Hope”  illustration of Obama, a name followed by a “2012,” or a pithy statement about how just such-and-such a…

  • Be the Burn You Want to See in the World: The way the week before Burning Flipside makes me want to change the world.

     (dedicated to my dear friends from RedCamp) This year will be my eighth year at Burning Flipside.   While I certainly have a lot of amazing memories and moments (like, I dunno, burning a two story hula dancer for example?) my favorite time at flipside is always the hours right at  dusk.  Things quiet down just a little as people return to their camps to get a little grub, cover themselves in paint, fetch their poi for fire dancing, grab all the fabulous they can fit in a  fanny pack,  and rinse the cup to carry with them.   It is a moment of both frantic scrambling around and wild…

  • End of the Story: Most of the truths we live by are things we cannot prove. Beauty is just one of them. (Faith for Reasons)

    We live in a moment in history in which truth is only found in this fairly new thing we reinvented called a ‘fact.’    “This is a table,” we say.  It is a fact that the thing I just set my cup on is a “table.”   Ta-da!  End of story…    It is an idea that seems pretty hard to argue with until all of a sudden I take that same table  apart and plan to build a flower bed out of it.   Fairly quickly it becomes lumber.  So it is now not a table after all.   Er… right?  That is the case until I decide without making any changes to the pile,…

  • How my relationship with Jesus is, and is not, personal.

    When I was young I would go to camp or a youth service where I was told that what I needed was a personal relationship with Jesus.  It made a kind of sense as a lot of things do for children because I was still relying on other people to teach me how to make sense of things. So I agreed, with no regrets. However, I happen to be the kind of person, and have been since childhood, to throw myself headlong into the task at hand whatever it may be.   So I was bound and determined to have the most personal relationship with Jesus a person could have. This is…

  • Reasons for my Faith. …from someone who has nothing to prove

      J. Douglas Harrison. The Patient In the next few weeks  I will occasionally be posting some reflections on what it can mean to have faith in a time when the Christian faith may seem, at least to many people, quite unreasonable. I won’t try to provide irrefutable evidence in favor of the Christian faith.  I will not be presenting argumentative ‘facts’ or try to show that Christianity is obviously intellectually superior to everything else as others may  have tried to do.  I have nothing here to prove.   I have nothing here to buy or sell.  Instead, I believe there are different genres by which we come to see what moves people…

  • “Put a Sock-Puppet in It,” Ancient wisdom that it is better to make a sock puppet than to be one.

    This is a guest post of mine on an otherwise lovley and insightful blog, “Knitting Benedict: The Rule…by hand.”  This is one of my favorite blogs to regular.   There is hardly a better way, than I can imgaine, to glean wisdom an ancient book of instruction than by taking small bites of it and chewing slowly while working with your hands on small stuff.  “Work and pray,” says saint Benedict. I am in the middle of forging a batch of sock puppets. As I do I cannot help but see the contrasts between the kinds of toys I am fashioning and a stern bit of advice from Benedict’s rule:…

  • “No Wonder the Door Won’t Open, Silly. I am Already Inside.” -Three things about being a misfit in communities of grace that I keep having to re-learn.

    Clearly I write from a position of someone who sits near the exit.  I love church, but sometimes I find it exhausting. I love my weirdo burner friends, and sometimes they can be a little harsh on my faith.   I long to be in Christian community, yet, depending on the community, I find myself itching to get out. I am finding that there are hidden moments of grace ready for the taking in all kinds of communities. And when I am willing to exercise a little humility and receive it, I find that that grace goes further than the edges of my life, and often finds its way into…

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