Category Archives: Current Events

When Your Church (or Hobby, or Club, or Country) Leaves You

This is a lament. Four years ago, Evangelicals for Social Action (ESA) ran a story of mine called “When Your Church Leaves You.” The story reflected on situations—like the one in my own church at the time—when staying put in the midst of conflict might be the best choice. I should have known better. All […]

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If You Ever Wished You Could Quit the Human Race…

…join the crowd. I’d be happy to take a long hiatus from the current version of homo sapiens, because we’re a hot mess. The rage and hatred in the public square are becoming unbearable. As if that weren’t bad enough, I see this same spirit infecting other parts of our life together. Even in my […]

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Can Love Cast Out Fear?

Last week in this space, I suggested that most of us Americans—conservative and liberal, coastal and middle America, urban and rural—share a weird type of common ground: fear. We fear the white-hot public square, in which anything we do or say might incur wrath. We fear our leaders, our institutions, and our systems, often with […]

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The Weirdest Common Ground Ever

Many people are bemoaning America’s vicious public square. Few are discussing the weird common ground that most of us share—and what might be the best way to address it. Two recent conversations brought this into focus for me. The first—with a conservative Christian friend who reluctantly supported Donald Trump—fulfilled a longing I’ve had since the […]

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The Other Reason “Spotlight” Is Still Relevant Today

Every year my wife goes off on vacation, and I use the time to catch up on Oscar-winning movies from years past. This summer I saw maybe a half dozen, all of which were superbly made, one of which stood out: Spotlight. In case you haven’t seen it, Spotlight chronicles The Boston Globe’s investigation of […]

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What’s the State of YOUR Nation?

How are you feeling about the country you live in? Last week, in North America, we had two celebrations of nationhood in four days: Canada Day on July 1 and the U.S. Independence Day on July 4. That got me thinking about a custom followed by all U.S. presidents in one form or another: an […]

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Downsides of the News Blackout

Two months ago I wrote about my latest idea for a news blackout. (It’s more of a dark-brownout, really.) So how’s it going? Well, my blood pressure’s probably down. My anxiety level certainly is. I’m more focused on what I’ve been called to do: prayer, writing, spiritual direction, the occasional money-making project. There’s also an […]

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Dialing Down the News Intake to Sane Levels

I didn’t make New Year’s resolutions. That’s because, well, they sort of made me, bubbling to the surface early in the morning of January 1. And they quickly coalesced into a catchy slogan: More zazen. Less input. Zazen is a form of Zen meditation in which you sit and focus on the breath. We can […]

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Can the Truth Set Us Free in the Trump Era?

This is the story of a weird Bible interpretation and the unexpected wisdom it holds for us today. Recently I came across the gospel account of Jesus and a Jewish sect called the Sadducees. As the story goes, some of these Sadducees came to Jesus with a theological question: if a woman is married seven […]

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Change Making for Introverts, or, Is There Only One Way to Address Injustice?

I have this friend who’s, well, colorful. He’s a simple fellow, tells you exactly what he thinks, makes me laugh like hell, cusses like an unrepentant sailor, and is as openhearted and generous to his friends as anyone I know. He’s also a racist. His attitudes toward people of color have always felt like a […]

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