We Live With Yearning

The Psalms never cease to surprise. You think the poem is giving it to you straight, and then it takes a turn, a twist in the road. Don’t go to the Psalms for Hallmark sentiment. We sometimes like to quote bits and pieces of the Psalms to suggest a…


Joy In A Child’s Laughter

I’ve been thinking a lot about joy. It’s kind of hard to find these days. Where does joy come from? What is it? Can we make joy happen, or does it just come to us, like grace. If it’s like grace, can we make ourselves more open to receive it?…


It’s Still About Engaging The Culture

In 1996 I began work as the President of Seattle Pacific University. Like any new leader, I set out to learn more what this unique university was all about. I dug into some of the history, trying to locate its DNA. I talked to hundreds of faculty…


Traveling Blessings

I have been reading a lot of Celtic poetry lately. Most of this poetry is ancient, coming out of the deep medieval centuries when Christianity was weaving itself into local ways of living. The Celtic people were known as travelers, movers, in…


The Beauty Of Summer

  Claude Monet  I love summer. As I’ve been marveling on my little patio the almost-overpowering jasmine, the strikingly bright bougainvillea, the gently fragrant gardenias, the all-of-a-sudden reddening tomatoes—oh how exuberant, how…


Can Our Nation Ever Rejoice Again?

I’ve been wondering lately whether it might ever be possible again for our nation to rejoice. Yes, you heard that right, rejoice. I know some folks will recoil with revulsion. This smacks of a patriotism that denies our enormous faults and…


Just Keep Watching

As we plug into the news every morning, we are often overwhelmed with how much sorrow there is in our world. Sorrow is the word Paul Tillich uses as the opposite of joy. I’ve been thinking a lot about joy, but as we look around, it’s fair to ask…


Speaking With Grace

In my last post I talked about how Michael Gerson characterizes the state of our public discourse today: “nasty, shallow, personal, vile, vindictive, graceless, classless, bullying, ugly, crass and simplistic. . . .” It all spells “the triumph of…


Finding Our Better Selves

I woke up yesterday at 2 AM and found myself churning over the current climate of discourse in our country. I sunk into a place of sadness, sorrow, and shame. It is not just that our leaders are failing us in this regard. No, we are all complicit at…


It’s Time To Talk About Frogs

It’s time to talk about frogs. It’s time to think about, in Christian Wiman’s words, why a “moment of joy,” seeing a bunch of frogs, “can blast you right out of the life to which it makes you all the more lovingly and tenaciously attached. . . .”…


We are Easter people now!

“Where do we go from here,” we ask ourselves on this Monday morning after Easter. It’s as if we took off smudged glasses and wiped them crystal clean, for a moment. “I have seen the Lord,” says Mary Magdalene, before she dashed off to tell the…


A Serious House For A Serious Earth

I’ve been thinking a lot about church. What is church? What is the main purpose of church? Why do we continue to go to church in this age of skepticism and unbelief? And then there is this troubling question: Is the church dying, as statistics seem…


My New Book Is Out!

Hooray, my new book is finally out! My fabulous publisher Wipf & Stock (Cascade Books) sent me the first copies of the book last week. Yes, this project has now come to fruition. I am delighted to let my blog readers know. What I write may be…


Sing With The Shepherds

I woke up on Christmas Eve morning this year with child-like eagerness. After all the waiting through Advent, now it was time to enter, once again, into the mystery of the manger in Bethlehem. There we find the baby cradled in his mother’s arms.…


The Chance To Kneel

I’ve been thinking about that manger Christians revere at Christmas time. It is a remarkable scene, full of tenderness of a newborn baby, full of the harshness of a winter night, the smell of straw, blankets to cover the child and mother, the odd…


What’s Funny?

It’s cool to be funny these days. We love to watch the late-night-comedian commentators shredding their enemies with laughter. Twitter is full of poking fun at people, always, of course, from a safe distance. We love the chuckles we get from…