Attitudes

Why should a Christian practice “being present”?

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For some Christians, practicing being present sounds too other religion-y, too “out-there”, too vague. To Christians who love the “go” of the gospel, who find purpose in a mission, and joy in activity, being told to “be present” is too inactive, even a trap of the devil to stop the forward motion of the kingdom. Aren’t we supposed to be looking forward to Jesus’ coming and the full expression of his kingdom? Yes, we are. Aren’t we supposed to turn from our old selves? Yes, we are. But these are not the only aspects of following Jesus. We follow him today, too. So, why is […]

Attitudes

On Being Present Today (When You’d Rather Be in Yesterday or Tomorrow)

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I am currently in a temporal vortex of sorts having just returned from a fantastic, fulfilling mission trip that lingers in my happy memories and draws me back from today, yet driven forward by the hope and plans of the future that require a time investment today. So here I sit in the heart of the year, in the heat of today sandwiched between two mountains gazing at their tantalizingly cold and clear summits. In the hazy swirl of the valley lies my today, the heavy traffic of an eight-member household, a job, hobbies, and responsibilities all bustling about me, confusing me with their incessant […]

Attitudes

Courage Amid Worries

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Four a.m. is a sly hour. Sometimes I can slide past it in oblivion, other times it wakes in my sub-conscious as a bright new dawn, a photo-bomber of my picture perfect slumber. Last night, it shed its camouflage, and grinned widely at me, enjoying the time to toy with my mind. This is the hour that is raw; the vulnerable, naked time. It is as if all the swaddling comes off my psyche, and I’m left in the crib flailing and wailing (if awake), or completely at peace (if asleep). Honestly, this hour intimidates me. Last night was one of those unpleasant rousings where […]

Attitudes

Courage Gains Strength in Stillness

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Nascent courage feels much like a sprig of hope, slenderly strong in the cold earth rising to the call of the white light above. Fragile, yet powerful, in its miniscule multiplication, cell upon cell of mitochondrial factories. Scoff not at the small beginning. Trample not the greening of an idea under the solstice of God. He rises, like the sun, for just such a reason. He bends his power, as the sun sends its rays, to this greening earth to call forth these courageous beginnings. Sometimes a seed lies long in the dark earth, then someone “happens” to kick a clod away, just enough to […]

Attitudes

Being Hospitable is Central to Following Jesus

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Being hospitable is all about making space, a push to the jumble of our commitments, a pull of invitation for someone to enter despite the topsy-turvy evidence of messy, beautiful lives. Whether having someone come to my place or meeting someone elsewhere, if you are like me, you have a mental, maybe physical, closet stash of hustled miscellany out of sight. These thoughts tumble into my mental space frequently, like ubiquitous dust bunnies floating about the space. Mental dustpan in hand, I sweep these distractions up again so that I can direct my attention to my friend. This making space – temporal, mental and physical […]

Attitudes

Be Hospitable to Your Own Soul

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This is for the caretakers, the ones who always volunteer, the ones who say, “Someone has to do it, so I guess I will.” This is for the weary leader so busy caring for others that her own needs groan into a stifled discomfort and disillusionment. This is for the one always bending to accommodate another’s dilemmas, demands, or desires. The one who others count on to be hospitable, always. Is there space at your table for you? Do you find it easier to see how Jesus loves the other, but not so easy to see how he cares for you? Does it feel luxurious, […]

Attitudes

Moses: A Lesson in Humility

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When I asked my daughter what “humility” meant to her, she said “It’s when you fart in class!” via GIPHY Like her, I think many people confuse humility with humiliation. But humility is something you practice voluntarily. Humiliation is often something done to you, a deeply embarrassing event, not an attitude. Humility is a result of grace, whereas humiliation is a result of shaming. Take a look at the Old Testament with me. It is peppered with exhortations like these: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear […]

Attitudes

Parenting is a Puzzle

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I love being able to look ahead to a goal and work backward from that to establish the step before me today. It’s somewhat like making a puzzle, where you’ve got the top of the box to go by, and a zillion colorful cardboard bits jumbled before you. First step – flip them all right side up. Second step – find the edge pieces. Third step – study the picture and choose an obvious image to assemble first (don’t start with the sky!). Fourth step – keep doing this section by section, until – ta-da! – you have a completed picture! I apply this in […]

Attitudes

A Child Again

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  I propose that within every adult is a desire to be a child again. What is more, that desire is not something to hide or ignore, rather, it is the very desire that leads us to live fully, that gives us access to Life – our Father. Take a look at what gives you delight (and if you aren’t sure anymore, then dig into this question and find it back!). Is it hanging out with people you care about? Is it being silly and playing games? Or perhaps it is getting wrapped up in a good story, or exploring, or discovering something new. Don’t […]

Attitudes

Fasting for Lent

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Are you starving for love? Maybe you are hoping to get flowers or chocolate or at least a card today, since it is Valentine’s Day. Maybe you are heartbroken, torn by death or distance. Maybe you are just wondering if you’ll ever know what it’s like to be beloved. Most of us are looking for love in some way, shape or fashion. There once was a guy who had found love, and then walked into a desert alone because of it. He went without food and water for forty days. He was not protesting a spurned love, nor was his love tormenting him. Rather, he […]