The year is 1996. A sixth-grade boy (Boy-Number-1) was on a school bus, and other students were filing on one-by-one trying to find a seat by a friend or at least in a spot that wouldn’t ruin their day. Another boy (Boy-Number-2), trying to explore what it was like to express an opinion like a man, overconfidently asserted something about women’s proper roles that illuminated much about the general level of sleaze he was being exposed to by the adults in his life.Read More Buses and Curses: Gender in Genesis
I’m a counselor in training, and a five-minute video about what the Dougy Center is all about wiped me out. Not only am I training to become a counselor, I don’t just want to be a listening ear that then responds by teaching people helpful skills or goes through a surface level, manualized, step-by-step response. I fully intend to support people in wrestling with deep issues of meaning and purpose and rewriting the narrative they use to define themselves and their lives.
And death and grieving are going to come up. They just are. What am I going to do if I can’t handle people’s grief?
So then I start questioning myself, and the shame starts to whisper and creep in, and I doubt whether I can be a good therapist. Just imagine it. The first day in a session after I get my degree, someone is going to walk in and need to process losing their child to cancer. And I’m going to freeze. And they’re going to leave worse than they arrived. And I’m going to have to retire on the first day because in good conscience I can’t keep doing that to people.
It’s the same struggle Eve and Adam faced in the Eden narrative. A choice between connection and purpose and joy on the one hand and shame and disconnection and death on the other hand.Read More Naked
So what role did this lying, terrifying, accusing character, the serpent, have to play in a world that is so whole and interconnected and luminous as the creation we’ve seen in the first two chapters? Everything so far has had a divine purpose and cohesive role in the beauty of it all. Why the snake, and why a tree that ruins everything?
To this point, Yahweh designated humans as his representatives, the idol in the temple of creation. Yahweh made it clear he intended togetherness and connection among the humans, between humans and the rest of creation, and the most intimate sharing of life between Yahweh and humans. Yahweh withheld no good thing and gave more responsibility to humans than anything else.Read More The Beginning of Fear
Creation is not just a dogma or an ‘ism.’ It includes but is more than even just the existence of the world around us. Rather, you and I and every other person and plant and animal and mountain and sea and plain and metal and chemical, all of it is the result of creation. Creation is intentionality. Creation is life and growth and care. Creation is personal and inherently inspirational. It makes something where it did not exist before, and it gives it shape and purpose, and it spreads, giving life to others (both biologically and spiritually) to create as well.Read More Formed of the Earth
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
It’s the most simply elegant opening I can think of for what is any but a simple book. Or rather, anthology of written works of a whole spectrum of genres and complexity levels and audiences and languages and cultures and time periods.
This history is about God and creation. About all people and life and presence. About words and light and life from God, about God, being God.
Light and life and presence. Intertwined motifs that cannot be overlooked. They remain throughout the Bible, and sometimes we hear more of one or more of another, but everything is about these things in one way or another.Read More The Story of Life: A Beginning
Death and life, destruction and construction, desolation and consolation. Cycling through these is painful, and existing among them is reality. Enduring them is wearying, and growing from them is necessary for survival.
The last time I was writing consistently was over a year ago, before the stars went dark. It was in the midst of descent into depression. Some say depression and the Dark Night of the Soul are distinct. I’m confident that is true some of the time. I’m confident they overlapped for me.Read More Night and Day
These are not essays on Ruth, nor are they sermons. They are meditations. Orient yourself toward God and rest in the Spirit. Listen to the words as they wash over you, and allow them to reach deep into your being and form you.
Perhaps you may find God, if you listen closely.
Below is the last of four audio recordings, each focused on one of the chapters of the book of Ruth. All you have to do is rest and allow your imagination, the words, and the Spirit to do their work.
Join me for the final of four meditations on the book of Ruth.Read More Valor and Faithfulness: Meditation on Ruth 4