spiritual practices

Holy Week-Lite

Like many things in our modern culture, Holy Week has become a muddled grey paste of a religious experience.  Lent, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter all get jumbled up together in an atheological hodge-podge that leaves the veteran confused and the novitiate clueless.  I have already sung, […]

Prayer Worriers

I haven’t been able to blog for a couple of weeks due to an unusually heavy work/travel load, and an unusually large response to a recent post.  Every once in a while I will write something that I believe is a “no-brainer” — it’s not overly profound or insightful, but […]

Be A Tree

There is this great old Peanuts cartoon.  Lucy is explaining to little brother Linus how the world works.  She takes him to a tree in the yard and shows him the falling leaves.  She explains that this is a normal occurence, one of those wondrous cycles of nature.  She says […]

Who Needs a Sermon?

It never fails that when I am looking for something in particular, I manage to find something else I was looking for months ago.  Such is the case with interview notes I took in Colorado, Iowa, and Connecticut with 20-60 year old spiritual seekers.  These notes have been the missing […]

Paradoxology

Is our faith a blessing or a burden?  Are the practices of prayer, worship, fasting, giving, serving and studying gifts or obligations?  The way a person answers these questions is very telling as to the role and value of faith in her or his life.  It is continuously fascinating to […]

Why People Think We’re Crazy

There are times when Christians drive me absolutely nuts.  One way this happens is when I hear well-meaning and sincere Christians confuse faith and superstition, relying on prayer as a magical talisman or incantation.  I listened to a United Methodist colleague share recently that he no longer prays because it […]

When Teaching Became Task

I attended a session a few year’s ago at a Christian Educator’s Fellowship meeting where the leader talked about the importance of “good content, good topics, and good technique.”  She delivered a very compelling vision of the task of teaching — organized, exacting, and precise.  I went to another workshop […]

Prayer Stupid

Growing up in the Midwest in the 1960s, we had a term for people too stupid to live — prayer stupid.  The not-all-too-sensitive meaning was that prayer was all that was left for these folks — they had no other options.  Their guardian angels were beaten, tattered, and torn — […]

Irresponsibly Unresponsive

What responsibility does the individual have for her or his own spiritual growth and development?  At least 70% of people leaving The United Methodist Church give “spiritual needs not met” as one of the reasons for their departure.  (Based on 429 “exit” interviews, 2002-2003)  But what do they mean when […]

A More Prayermissive Society

Various recent studies and articles note an upswing in the practice of prayer in American culture.  Must be a good thing, right?  More prayer, more devotion to God?  More prayer, more kindness and compassion in the world?  More prayer, more attention to God’s will?  Not so much.  The increase in prayer […]