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Three Essentials of Marriage: # 1–Praying Out Loud

We are down to three wedding dishes: one salad plate and two (chipped) cereal bowls. If I’m remembering correctly, that’s reduced from 40 original pieces, 8 each of the aforementioned dishes plus 8 dinner plates (all gone) and eight goblet drinking glasses (alas, all long gone). I vaguely remember when the first dish broke, probably sometime […]

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A Short Guide to Listening Prayer

Central to the practice of being a Christian is the discipline of listening to God in prayer. Jesus often withdrew to listen to the Father, and his followers are to do the same. What follows is a simple (and not at all complete) guide to this practice. 1. Set a Time to Listen. Listening to […]

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Prayer: A Slow Conversation

Of all the beings in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the Ents are my favorite. They’re trees–trees that move, and who have lived for thousands of years, trees that shepherd and protect other trees. They’re trees, trees that talk–v e r r y   s l o w l y. Entish, the language of Ents, […]

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God Emptied? Why the Manger Matters

I think it’s perhaps the cuteness of Jesus that people walk away from. This is understandable, particularly at Christmas. The baby Jesus in the manger with all the animals–it’s all so adorable, and gets lumped in with the rest of the cuteness of the season. What, though, is the substance of the birth of Jesus? […]

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Christmas by the Graves

Strangely, one of my favorite moments of the Christmas season occurs in a cemetery. My wife’s name is Heather, and her family gathers every year to cover two graves with blankets of pine boughs adorned with Christmas decorations. Prior to going to the graveside, there is a decorating party where the blankets are prepared. The role […]

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Christmas in One Word: Behold

One of the greatest stage performances ever is, of course, Linus’ reading of Luke 2.8-14 in the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. Linus seems to have not just memorized the words but internalized them; his tone matches the wonder and majesty of Luke’s prose, and his delivery somehow exults the text while simultaneously positing that his own existence, […]

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Three #thoughtsandprayers Needed for San Bernardino

The Twitter rage against “thoughts and prayers” offered by politicians following yesterday’s shooting in San Bernardino, originating with @igorvolsky (and fueled by the New York Daily New’s Headline, “God Isn’t Fixing This”) and his shaming of politicians who tweeted out “thoughts and prayers” and yet have received contributions from the NRA is, admittedly, mostly about apparent […]

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Christmas with Bonhoeffer

Christmas some years seems precarious. Not retail Christmas, of course–that’s certain and fixed, in that same hallowed category as death and taxes. The Christmas behind that one, though, the Christ-mass, the coming of God into the world, God’s inhabiting of disordered reality, the babe in the manger–that one can appear a bit thin. Its warmth and joy […]

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Places, People!

I guess it’s not surprising that I should love a place like Pagosa Springs, CO, where I am this week. I married into this place, for my wife always vacationed here when she was little, and our family now does the same, staying with my parents-in-law who now live here. So of course my soul […]

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Paris: A Theological Response

I’ve mostly been responding to Paris as a human. Within my spirit, that is, there has been a mixture of outrage, sadness, eye-rolling resignation, and (frankly) a half-willed ignoring–getting on with my life with a Friday dinner party and a weekend flag football tournament with my nine year old. But I am a follower of […]