Tag Archives: Christian

Do You Have Trouble Forgiving?

So do I. Maybe it’s because of the toxic family script I inhaled as a child: “Backmans never forgive.” Or maybe, being hypersensitive in general, I’m hypersensitive to “the heartache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.” In other words, I get hurt and it sticks. I do know that forgiveness is required […]

Posted in Buddha, Forgiveness, Zen | Also tagged , , , , , | 4 Responses

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 […]

Posted in calling, Current Events, Happiness, Vocation | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Day God Became Not Special

Dear Reader: this post is about Christmas, and it may strike a chord with you especially if you struggle with Christmas. Or if you’re struggling in general. It’s dark at first, but if you know dark like I do, that won’t faze you. The second half gets brighter. This past year, I’ve been led repeatedly […]

Posted in Death, Happiness, Prayer | Also tagged , , , | 4 Responses

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 […]

Posted in Current Events, Dialogue and Current Events, Practical Steps Toward Dialogue | Also tagged , , , , , , | 2 Responses

Letting Our Cherished Convictions Go–a la Thomas Merton

I had a great blog post planned for this week—until a quote from a friend got in the way. If you’ve read my book or other things from me, you probably know what I think about our most cherished convictions. We invest a lot of our lives in forming them. They guide us as we […]

Posted in Dialogue and Spirituality, Other people's good ideas | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Responses

Dialogue and a Deeper Listening

Listening reminds me of a pool: just when you think you’ve plumbed its depths, you find more depths to plumb. Two recent encounters with listening brought this home for me. First, some context. Dialogue only happens when we listen. Listening is not the same as hearing: we might hear any sonic input at any time—ignoring […]

Posted in Dialogue and Spirituality | Also tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moses and Where Change Comes From

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” God said, “I will be with you.”                           —Exodus 3:11-12a   Next Sunday, I have the privilege of returning to my old home church to give a sermon and then, over lunch, talk about dialogue. […]

Posted in Dialogue and Spirituality | Also tagged , , , , , | 2 Responses

Certainty from the Left?

When I think of people who are certain of their beliefs—no possibility of compromise—certain strains of conservative come to mind. My conservative friends, however, tell me that progressives can be just as certain. I think I’ve found a case in point: a compelling article by Candace Chellew-Hodge. In “Smashing Our Idols,” Chellew-Hodge—a pastor and editor […]

Posted in Dialogue and Civility, Dialogue and Current Events, Dialogue and LGBTQ Issues, Dialogue and Spirituality | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Responses

Of Dreamers, Realists, and Dialogue

A few years ago, my wife and I had the privilege of visiting a monastery in South Africa. Like many monasteries, Mariya uMama weThemba observed the Great Silence from roughly 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. I relish this extended time of silence and was dismayed, when I awoke early one morning, to hear my wife […]

Posted in Dialogue and Current Events, Dialogue and LGBTQ Issues, Dialogue and Spirituality | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Responses

Dialogue and Christmas—the Holidays—Whatever

We’ve talked a lot about the need for precise language, in dialogue and out. Our dialogues could be so much more productive if we avoided sidetracking them with inflammatory or inaccurate words. Conversely, precise language gives us the best chance of conveying our ideas more clearly to people who might not share or be familiar […]

Posted in Dialogue and Civility, Dialogue and Language, Dialogue and Spirituality | Also tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment