Category Archives: Fear

Failure and Success are Both Imposters


I had breakfast yesterday morning with a friend from seminary. She was telling me about a leadership conference that she had recently hosted. Pastors of thriving congregations had come to speak, but for her one stood out. It was a man we both knew and admired. “Gary told us about a failure,” she said. “All…

Frantically Eating Chocolates


“The whole fall, back-to-school just hit me like a truck.” That’s the way a mother described the first days of September as we talked last night. Me too. It all comes on so fast. Summer seems to start gradually, as things wind slowly down. But it always ends with a bang. A gun goes off….

When the Ladder of Success Leans Against the Wrong Wall

ladder pic

“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” The wisdom—and wit—of Thomas Merton. We all climb that ladder. There is probably something wrong with you if you don’t. And there are lots of ladders. Young…

Afraid to Die?


Are you afraid to die? I have sat by the bed of many a dying man and woman. Those who are afraid of dying are—at bottom—afraid that perhaps they have not actually lived. It doesn’t matter if they are great church-goers. It doesn’t matter if, by all appearances, they’ve been a good person. It doesn’t…

Flight Attendants, Prepare for Landing


“Flight attendants, prepare for landing.” The captain’s voice is always calm, a studied calm, a Houston-we-have-a-problem calm. Landing means we must leave this glassy smooth cruising altitude of 30,000 feet and bump our way through the lumpy atmosphere below the clouds. I heard the captain’s words Saturday on final approach to JFK, returning home from…