A few weeks before her mother died, my wife Pam discovered that her mother had been married—and divorced—before she met and married Pam’s father. It was a shock to Pam because, as an only child, she wondered how her mother could have withheld the story of her life. And then, of course, in the light […]
Why Am I My Own Worst Judge?
Some years ago, the Dove soap company created a video. At the time, a woman sent me the link because it seemed a profound demonstration of self-judgment. The video shows a forensic sketch artist, asked to draw a series of women based solely on their descriptions. Seated at a drafting table with his back to […]
What Is Sin, Really?
Every year on the first Sunday in Lent we listen to the saga of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. It’s an epic story, and every great drama needs a hero with a backstory. In this case, the hero is still wet from his baptism, a moment of initiation where God’s naming and owning is explicit. […]
There is an old Jewish story that helps prepare us for Ash Wednesday and the coming of Lent. A certain rabbi, seeking to know his place in the world, kept with him two notes. In one pocket he kept a note which said, “For me the world was created.” In the other he tucked a […]
Listen to Your Soul
We live in a world where important people are plugged in, wired, connected. Information blizzards us. Cyber-social networks keep us continuously updated on hundreds or thousands of people in real-time stream of consciousness. The Twitterers tweet. We don’t have to go looking for the “news.” Ping—it comes looking for us, clogging the inbox. We used […]
Blood is Thicker
This morning I was on the phone with a colleague. As we were winding down our conversation I mentioned that I had just returned from my annual family reunion. “Oh,” he said, “you know what my family calls those annual get-togethers? Dysfunction Junction.” We had a laugh. Families and their awkward attempts at reunion are […]
The Disobedient Guide Dog
First you must learn to obey. Good. Then, it is just as important to learn to disobey. We teach children to obey their parents and all the other authority figures in their lives. This is critical, not just for their moral development, but for their basic safety and well being. When I was a young […]
I Am Also a Bird
This morning, sipping my coffee, glancing out the window, I see a simple sparrow on the deck railing. Then in an instant she darts like an instantaneous thought and is gone. It was perhaps the first time I had seen a bird fly! Of course I have seen it thousands, but in that moment I […]