Plenty of people, especially near the end of life, claim they have no regrets. We ought to feel sorry for them. To regret something we’ve done is to acknowledge a higher principle than we were able to live up to. Regret can strengthen our moral character: Never again will I do something like that. If […]
What If I’ve Lost My Way?
Speaking of her early stage of faith, writer and retreat leader Paula D’Arcy shared a dream in which the kitchen table of her childhood disappeared. That table symbolized the beautiful security of her early years. It was the heart of her childhood home, where she learned her Baltimore Catechism, mastered every question, and came to […]
Are You Spiritually Bypassing?
Every once in a while, you hear a term that perfectly describes something you’ve experienced but didn’t have a name for. That’s how I felt when someone used the phrase “spiritual bypass,” coined by psychologist John Welwood in the 80s. He defined it as a “tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or […]
What is Jesus’ ‘Theory of Change’?
Jesus did not try to change one person. He certainly didn’t set out to change the world. We hear a lot these days about “theory of change.” It’s a term in non-profit, philanthropy and development that describes the organization’s goal of social change and the step-by-step process for achieving it. I’m sure it does all […]
Are You The Person You Say You Are?
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 Is Prayer Such A Struggle?
How I pray is breathe.” -Thomas Merton I grew up with the slogan, “Prayer changes things,” which I believed. I was just wrong about what got changed. I thought it could change my lot, save my soul, rescue people I cared about. I hoped I could change God’s mind. Not surprisingly, that kind of prayer […]
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 Are You Running Away From?
On July 13, 1798, William Wordsworth returned to a specific place along the banks of the Wye River that flows through England and Wales. He sits above the murmuring waters, leaning against a dark sycamore tree. Years have passed and now he sees again the orchard trees, the steep and lofty cliffs, the wreaths of […]