You know the sayings? “Old gardeners never die; they just recede” or “Old realtors never die; they just become listless.” They’re ways of saying that once something is in you, once it becomes part of your core identity, it’s always there, because to the extent that you’ve affirmed that identity, it’s led to a loving and joyful embrace, which eventuates in the ‘doing of the thing’, whether writing code, or caring for small children, climbing peaks, brewing the perfect cup of
left to right: Martin, Director of Tauernhof, Richard, Charlie, board member of Tauernhof. “Stay a little longer” my friend Martin invited from Austria over FaceTime last August as I was planning my teaching trip for December. “We’re dedicating the new building the weekend after you finish teaching. So you should stay for that.” And so it was this past Sunday, (12.9.18) sitting in a marvelous new building, I was eking out enough understanding of German to not only celebrate
The show has an adopted child in the family – I’m an adopted child in my family. The sister among the siblings struggles with weight – my sister struggled with her weight. The dad in the story dies during the adopted son’s senior year in high school – my dad died my senior year in high school. The death of the dad overwhelms the mom. The death of my dad overwhelmed my mom. It just goes on and on, so that in last night’s episode, when the son who got accepted to an exclusive
a few of the thousands save by courage, hospitality, and generosity. Every time I travel in Europe I try to read some European history, especially as it relates to the intersection of faith and culture. In the past I’ve shared stories of Sophie Scholl (regarding her martyrdom for the distribution of resistance literature against the Nazis in Bavaria), and Dietrich Bonhoeffer (regarding his denouncement of Hitler from the pulpit and his underground seminary). Knowing that I’d
The rest of our lives, it’s a different story, especially if we’ve been taught to love Jesus. We’ve often learned that darkness is unequivocally bad. Every verse mentioning it says so, linking darkness with Satan, and all else worth avoiding in the world. As a result, we’ve managed to find ways of banishing darkness. We’ve caste it out of the natural world by lighting up the night so that we don’t need to deal with it at all until we close our eyes for sleep (though our e
You are God’s uniquely handcrafted beautiful creation. You have gifts to bring to our darkening and weary world, and that means you weren’t just put here to survive, or have a few grand adventures of your own. You were put here to bless; to pour your life out onto the canvass of this world in the colors of hope, in an artistry that’s yours alone. So get on with it. Run to win. Get over the mentalities of scarcity which define survival and a hefty stash of cash as the win be
fear of falling is more dangerous than falling I hope you’ve seen the ascendancy of young lives as they move from infant to toddler? If so then you know they’re bold; unafraid of falling. In fact, they’re confident they will fall. They fall, assess, maybe cry a bit, and then get up again. This confidence continues on, if they’re fortunate, into childhood too. I was recently riding the ski lift when I saw a boy take a mighty fall as he was speeding down. Both his skis fe
“Nebuchadnezzar said to them: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: Is it true that you don’t serve my gods or worship the gold statue I’ve set up? If you are now ready to do so, bow down and worship the gold statue I’ve made when you hear the sound of horn, pipe, zither, lyre, harp, flute, and every kind of instrument. But if you won’t worship it, you will be thrown straight into the furnace of flaming fire. Then what god will rescue you from my power?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Ab
“Speaking of Jesus”, which is one of my favorite books, precisely because the author has a knack for telling people about Jesus as if it’s actually good news, rather than the distorted version of the gospel that implies God’s mad at the whole world. God’s angry at sin and death, friends, and we’re trapped in a matrix of these very elements… but I digress. The guy from Indonesia then says, “Have you read his newest book?” and when I told him I hadn’t he began to tell me about
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me. Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in. Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me. Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness. Give me your hand. from Rainier Rilke’s “Book of Hours” the church I lead will host a “longest night” service. It’s offered because behind all the
“And in His name all oppression shall cease…” These were the lyrics coming from the speakers yesterday afternoon when I discovered there’d been a tragedy in Paris—six actually, or seven—leaving over 100 dead and over 300 injured in a city known for love, civility, fine wine, and late walks along the Seine. If you’ve been there you know the beauty, which only serves to heighten the ugliness, as we’re reminded once again that whatever Jesus meant by “it is finished,” from our c
Is self denial a burden? In the coming days, I offer some thoughts from my devotions in Jeremiah. It’s been too long since I’ve written, as life’s been full of house sales and meetings, travel and teaching. Jeremiah, though, has been a good friend during these days, and I want to write some things I hope will help you navigate both your own personal waters, and the waters of a culture in upheaval as shootings, racism, and political posture seem to continue unchecked. I wri
It turned dark late this past Friday afternoon, and the mixed snow and rain turned to just snow, pure and white, cold in her beauty, relentless in her covering of every fresh blossom of spring. We watched with a bit of anxiety as the fresh blossoms in the hanging baskets were blanketed in signs of winter, and sat by the window with our relatives from California, watching winter fall from the sky on April 24th. Saturday morning when we woke everything was under a white blanke
“Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and seventy of the elders of Israel, and you shall worship at a distance. Moses alone, however, shall come near to the Lord, but they shall not come near, nor shall the people come up with him.” Exodus 24:1,2 The climbers are in the mix with the masses, but not for long. They get their permit from a little office, use the bathroom, maybe grab one last taste of actual food for a few days, and that’s it, they’re gone, head
That’s because I live in a different world. I live in a world where I know more and more people who are coming out of closet; they’re gay, Christian, and wanting to find the grace and acceptance of Christ in their churches. I live in a world where black people love Jesus but also feel on the outside of things, not because of Ferguson, but because 400 years is a long time to be sub-humanized, bought and sold, denied the chance to vote, and o so much more, and they’re a bit t
We’re waiting for the cable car that will haul us up to the Douglass Hut, the base from which we’ll be hiking over a couple of passes to another hut. We’re waiting at the base of the lift, gazing skyward. All we can see are two cables disappearing into the clouds. Eventually one of them begins dancing, then the other, and finally, 150′ above us, we see something mysteriously appearing out of the grey, taking form as the cable car. A horn sounds, and soon the car is “parke
My sunglasses had disappeared the night before, and this, along with some other things, meant that we were nearly the last people to leave the hut, starting our hiking at 7:45. We immediately caught a ridge, already high above treeline, and began making our way south and up. Up. Up! Up!! This kind of travel is taxing in every way, both physically and mentally. As a result, we didn’t make good time at all – the first 5.5 kilometers taking a full 5 hours to complete! That would
It was supposed to be the Cascades… I spoke with a couple last week who lost their child to cancer at the age of six. As we talked of loss, change and challenge, she reminded me that about 85% of the marriages where a child suffers a disability end in divorce. This, I presume, is because of the tremendous gap between how we thought life would unfold, and how it actually unfolds. Where’s your gap? Job change, or joblessness? Health challenges? A relationship evaporating b
My oldest daughter is a Seattle Pacific Alum and writes from Germany this morning as she ponders the tragic shootings here in Seattle and the empty pages in the books that are the lives of her juniors in high school, encouraging each one to fill the pages with hope. Her words about being grounded hope in the midst of bitter realities are appropriate, not just in Germany, but right here, right now, in Seattle. May peace be upon us as we grieve and hope — here are her though
a book about the importance of opening oneself to direct encounter with creation, in preparation for a 40 day hike in the Alps this summer. The author offers some of the best prose I’ve digested in a long time, but more significantly, exposes the frightful momentum in our culture towards a disembodied existence, spending most of our lives shielded by houses and screens from what God teaches us through cold and heat, wet and dry, light and dark, seasons. David Abram recalls