Let there Be Light: Thoughts on the Life-Giving, Death-Dealing Power of the Tongue

I'd just been paired with a stranger for one of those awful icebreakers at a conference in a Denver hotel. We stood among the other pairs, politely smiling, straining to hear each other in the din of the introductions going on all around us. He was a tall man, late sixties maybe, with thinning hair … Continue reading Let there Be Light: Thoughts on the Life-Giving, Death-Dealing Power of the Tongue

Satan’s Sifter: Why Judging Others Is Always Wrong

"Simon, Simon, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat." I find those words some of the most troubling in all scripture. I know what happened next. The night of Christ's execution was the night of Peter's sifting. The overconfident man whose passion for Christ was so strong he proclaimed that … Continue reading Satan’s Sifter: Why Judging Others Is Always Wrong

Conversion of a Candle in the Wind: The Woman at the Well and Me

On the surface my life seems more stable than hers. One husband, not five.  But I understand the Woman at the Well.  My heart is insatiable and wanders in all directions. I fall in love all the time, becoming passionately absorbed with pretty much anything or anyone. A new friend, a big idea, a chance for … Continue reading Conversion of a Candle in the Wind: The Woman at the Well and Me

Conversion as Shrinking: Mrs. Zebedee, the Sons of Thunder and a Little Child

When James and John, the "Sons of Thunder," left their nets to follow Christ, their dad stood in the boat and watched them walk away. I've often wondered whether old Zebedee thundered or stood thunderstruck as James and John left the family business, choosing an uncertain future with the Fisher of Men over the inheritance … Continue reading Conversion as Shrinking: Mrs. Zebedee, the Sons of Thunder and a Little Child

Neither Share a Reckless Rant nor Post a Mocking Meme: Give Me a Clean Heart

Woke up this morning The whole world was yelling I wish I was dreaming Of all that we've been through. These are the opening lines of "Clean Heart," the first song on the album I can't stop listening to:  Matt Maher's new release, Echoes. If there's anything good coming out of our current climate of division … Continue reading Neither Share a Reckless Rant nor Post a Mocking Meme: Give Me a Clean Heart

What Do You Want Your Pain to Become? How Forgiveness Releases Prisoners

I had rarely heard the word incarcerated before becoming a counselor, but years of work with at-risk children accustomed me to its cadence. It first surfaced on the lips of a dark-haired high school junior who'd come to my office to change her class schedule. Describing her family, she chatted nonchalantly about her grandmother and … Continue reading What Do You Want Your Pain to Become? How Forgiveness Releases Prisoners

How to Speak of Easter Hope without Harming the Humble Christ

Swiss painter Eugène Burnand renders the confusion and hope of Peter and John's first Easter morning with such poignancy. They'd learned of the resurrection from some women friends who'd been told by an angel, and particularly from Mary Magdalene, told by the risen Christ himself, to tell them.  And then they ran to see that … Continue reading How to Speak of Easter Hope without Harming the Humble Christ

Holy Saturday: Harrowing the Hell in Our Hearts

It was on a Holy Saturday about ten years back that I first saw an image of the "Harrowing of Hell," a depiction of Christ entering the realm of the dead and releasing the souls imprisoned there (1 Peter 3:19). We proclaim it in the Apostle's Creed:  Jesus Christ "suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, … Continue reading Holy Saturday: Harrowing the Hell in Our Hearts

Do Everything without Complaining or Arguing

When I was newly married and helping put my husband through his final year of college, I worked at a drug store behind the camera counter which doubled as the return desk.  It was a deep immersion into the world of complaints. One of the most memorable was a post-Christmas encounter with a man dissatisfied … Continue reading Do Everything without Complaining or Arguing

Christian vs. Christian: Stop Tearing Each Other Apart

Even worse than humanity's general tendency to use our tongues as swords is the fact that so many Christians do it to each other. It has always been so, because we are being perfected but few if any among us are perfected yet. But we must not accept this state of affairs.  St. Paul, writing … Continue reading Christian vs. Christian: Stop Tearing Each Other Apart