Connection in Conflict

As much as my natural instinct is to avoid conflict at all costs, there are times when I’m grateful for it. Maybe more accurate would be that I am grateful for the relationships that make conflict necessary.

Yep. Conflict is necessary, though not all conflict fits that description. When conflict happens as a result of attempting to use force to determine who wins and who loses, that’s completely unnecessary—and counterproductive—conflict. That’s true in marriages, workplaces, churches, countries.

Conflict that erupts because we are different and we care enough to be invested in each other’s lives? That’s the sticky, clumsy, messy nature of genuine connection. And it’s scary as hell. And it’s heart-wrenching when it breaches containment and spreads beyond what we know how to heal.

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Love Your Enemies

Below is an audio recording of a time of prayer and meditation on Jesus’ teaching on loving one’s enemies and praying for those who persecute. It was presented as the morning devotional for a church retreat, and I decided to share it with whoever else decides they might benefit from allowing the Spirit to work in them with it.

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In Control in Your Heart

I am with you. Regardless of your opinions, positions, convictions, now is a time with the potential to stretch you to your limit and beyond.

If you’re feeling worn down, I am with you. If you feel judged unfairly or rejected out of hand by friends or family because you see things differently than they do, I am with you.

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A Voice with Many Faces

The following is an allegorical telling of my life’s developing relationship with Scripture. Enjoy. When I was a boy, my friends were more a matter of proximity than affinity. When you’re just starting to grow, other kids are more decoration than companion, but they can be comforting. One day I accompanied my mom to a […]

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Christmas Prayer: A Song of Celebration

Merry Christmas!

Now that Advent has concluded and we have moved officially to celebrating the arrival of Jesus, the beginnings of good news and joy for those looking for God’s reign to take root, it is time to reflect and pray to celebrate the good things God has done.

Throughout Advent, I reflected on the book Song of Songs and paired it with the traditional theme of each week: hope, peace, joy, and love. In that ancient poem about the intimate dance and love affair with Holy Wisdom, all four of those virtues and divine gifts can be found.

In Jesus, all four find their true home.

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Advent Prayer #4: A Song of Love

This fourth week of Advent, the procession of longing reaches a crescendo in love. The whole season of Advent is characterized by hope, by waiting, by longing. We remember Israel’s longing for the LORD’s anointed who was to be many things to many people. We remember Mary’s long wait as a vulnerable baby slowly grew in the safety of her womb. We remember the history of saints through millennia of hoping for the long awaited appearance of Jesus to put the world to rights, and we continue to form that history as we hope.

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Advent Prayer #3: A Song of Joy

This third week of Advent, we rise above the surface and inhale the sweetness of joy. As we near the winter solstice and the nights grow longer and the days grow colder, joy can be hard to see. This year, as in all years, the fear for our futures, the ever-present suffering of the people of the world, and sadness for what could have been and what ought to be threaten to obscure the gifts God gives even in the midst of life.

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