Tag Archives: repentance

When the Bough Breaks: A fallen limb in a friendship is not a dead tree.

Its is the second worst storm I endured since I moved to Texas, making it the second worst storm of my life.  I had been praying, trying to center, and needing to be present.  The storm hit my house exactly within the first five minutes of sitting down with someone for spiritual direction.  The wind was rattling the windows and tossing bits of the back yard around.  The whole house chilled.    I considered ending our time together because I was able to give the moment only 99% of my attention.  I was being tugged away by one haunting thought.  Will the tree hold? Continue reading

Five Un-truths of Easter


There are somethings we can mistakenly embrace about Easter that distract us from the real hope that can help shape our lives.  These things are worth evaluating, not to deflate us, but to focus us on where the real hope lies. Continue reading

The Impossible Will Take A Little While.

It is harder than it looks to know how to take Easter. On the one hand it feels like an easy home run, a touchdown, a triumphal entry.   But those were the kinds of thing we were celebrating last week. How then is this week different?   For one thing it amazes how few people  to whom Jesus appeared after the resurrection.

The first to arrive.

One would think he would be taking out billboards all over town that said, “I told you so!”  but he doesn’t.    The first to see Jesus would be the last we would expect.   It was not the disciples, not even his family, but one of the worst outcasts of all of his company: Mary Magdalene.

Continue reading

Face-Palm Sunday: How sincerity can keep Christians from being Christian.

Nearly every Palm Sunday sermon I heard growing up emphasized the inevitable hypocrisy of those  who would be shouting Jesus’ praise on one day and crying “crucify him!” just days later.  During these sermons I always pictured the crowds as wicked bearded villains (perhaps with pirate hats?).

I most certainly never pictured them being anything like me.   That is why it was so confusing when, without any sense of irony,  we all picked up Palm leaves and cried, “Hosannah!” just like those bearded hypocrite-pirates that we knew turned on Jesus later.  I knew that there were sides but I lost track of whose side to be on. Sunday? Friday? Continue reading

Five Things I Will Never Give Up for Lent.

Lent is pulling into the station and Holy week is just about to begin. I think there are lessons and moments of clarity I have discovered this year just by slowing some things down and cutting some things out. Part of what I have learned about the careful dance between God’s grace and our participation is the difference between trying to make things happen and making room for God and others to do things in us. I offer these in hope you can learn from my mistakes.  These are some of my lenten attempts that, surprisingly, have proven to be enemies of grace. Continue reading

Help Me Get This Sadness Out My House. A Story About Rubber Gloves and Grace.

Years ago I got caught in a pretty debilitating depression.  I let things snowball to a point I felt I had little or no refuge left. Every part of life looked bleak including my own bedroom.     On weekends I would lie in bed all day and look at piles of laundry, fast food wrappers, stacks of unopened bills and just junk.   Blech.  It literally made it hard to get out of bed in the morning (or sometimes in the afternoon). One could sprain an ankle on the way to the bathroom.  At one point it became difficult for me to imagine that the room would ever be clean. I would lie in bed and pray, “please, someone come and get this sadness out my house.”  To my great surprise, one time, someone did. Continue reading

Ashes, Ashes. We all Fall Down.

For some time it has been rumored that the children’s rhyme, “Ring around the Rosie,” was a creepy rhyme born during the era of the Black Plague.   That may be more the stuff of legend than of history, but it also makes a little sense.   For when faced when imminent and pervasive death, humans, and children in particular, have interesting ways of coping.    These little mechanisms also shine  a little light on why it is such good news to have an Ash Wednesday to take pervasive death and darkness and turn it on its head. Continue reading