the lack

Though we search we’re never whole. There is always something missing. And somehow, someway, God is near in this. Christians may call it “the fall,” a product of original sin, some catastrophe unintended but fixable. If it’s this, it’s also much more than this. They say God will make it all okay, now or then,… Read More the lack

indoor/outdoor faith

For the last two years I’ve taken a month-long road trip in the autumn, living out of my truck, sleeping in the bed on a wood platform under a topper, changing in parking lots, setting up and tearing down, cooking outdoors (weather permitting), staying the night in gorgeous isolated forests or in not so beautiful… Read More indoor/outdoor faith

34

The sky is blue on my birthday morning. White still clings to trees and layers the earth. The sun will melt it off. What a beautiful day to be alive. It’s not about my birthday. It’s about being alive today. Recently I heard this phrase and I can’t stop thinking about it. “I don’t want… Read More 34

it is good (2)

It’s both/and, not either/or. Both the spiritual and physical, wrapped into one, as God intended. In the beginning, why did God place us in a garden (whether it’s a literal story or not is irrelevant) instead of a detached “heavenly” or “spiritual” space if the physical is less significant? Apparently, the physical matters to God,… Read More it is good (2)

it is good (1)

Sometimes I find myself feeling a little guilty for enjoying my life and loving my humanity. Do you ever feel this way? I love living in the mountains. This lifestyle isn’t about winning or being better or the best or constantly pushing boundaries. It’s about appreciation and enjoyment, reflection and sustainability, gratitude. And just as… Read More it is good (1)

grace (3)

One evening this winter I sat in the hot tub and watched the darkening evergreens and the winter evening’s cotton candy sky above the dimming landscape. I looked up at the clouds and picked out their morphing shapes. I kept watching that sky of subtle reds and pinks and purples, quiet oranges and yellows, above… Read More grace (3)

grace (2)

Grace was mentioned in my Christian upbringing. Mentioned as just one word among many. “We are saved by grace, through faith…” It was one theological term describing God’s action and attitude towards humankind. “Receiving more than we deserve.” Such an understated, simplistic explanation. Grace was simply a word without much meaning, even with knowledge of… Read More grace (2)

grace (1)

Grace. This word sometimes overused and often misused and cheapened and ill-defined. Not only that, but a word frightening for what it implies, uncomfortable in its extravagance, easier kept at arm’s length since it’s beyond our control. When something undeserved is given freely, unconditionally, without merit, we hesitate. What’s the catch? Nothing in life is… Read More grace (1)

deconstruction

Listen to your brothers and sisters in deconstruction. Some have had a friend or family member struggling with faith tell them, “I don’t know if I can call myself a Christian anymore.” They don’t need us to evangelize, answer, or save them. They need empathy and compassion, not judgment and rebuke. They need ears, not… Read More deconstruction

silence (part 3)

We are not comfortable with silence. It’s the first thing to go when we have a to-do list, the easiest practice to neglect. There is the fear that if we don’t hear anything, it’s because we’re not listening. It’s our fault. How often have we heard it? “God’s always speaking; we’re the ones not listening.”… Read More silence (part 3)

further still

Have you ever entered a cave and gone deep enough to lose all light to pitch black when you turn off the headlamp, where the air is utterly still, sound ceases, the only way forward is on hands and knees, the only guidance is by tentative touch? I have. It’s perhaps the closest one can… Read More further still

in the wild

I sat in my truck watching the furious surf, as if seeking revenge; the gray-white sea bled into the gray-white sky. I thought, “Sometimes you have to walk headlong into the wind and rain. Don’t run from it; run into it.” So I got out of my truck and walked down onto the beach, heading… Read More in the wild

guilt

Ever since childhood, there’s often been a subtly pervasive voice in the background saying, “You’re not good enough, you’re not doing enough, you’re not enough as you are.” Have you heard it? This was not stated by anyone explicitly, but was sometimes implied within spiritual environments I participated in and observed. Guilt. As easy as… Read More guilt

(re)movement

As I have pulled back on my participation in familiar spiritual environments, as I have ceased the once familiar spirituality of my history and context, I find that I still encounter God in the midst of (re)movement. I do not speak, but stay silent; I do not move, but am still; I do not ask,… Read More (re)movement

movement

I sometimes feel a sense of guilt at re/moving myself from familiar spirituality, from my roots, from certain religious practices, from pieces of my history and context, from unquestioning Christianity. I “should” on myself—I should be involved, I should serve, I should attend, I should do this and that spiritual discipline whether I feel like… Read More movement

when it’s over

It’s easy to experience God in the beautiful. I went truck camping this past weekend and found a peaceful, quiet spot by running water. I’d been waiting for a night or two to drive new dirt roads. To find something new, somewhere quiet. I drove miles into the wild, kicking up clouds of dust, thick… Read More when it’s over

it matters

It’s okay to say, “It hurts.” Don’t belittle your pain; don’t compare or relativize it. Own it. Hold it. Say out loud, “It hurts and it matters.” Someone else always has it worse off. But no one else suffers quite like you—whether it was today, yesterday, or 10 or 50 years ago. It matters. Don’t… Read More it matters

nomadism

Nothing is concrete. I’m not one to build a home on a fundamentalist, literalist, or “rock solid” foundation; I am nomadic in what and where I plant myself. Not the “sinking sand” the Bible speaks of, just finding a place in the dirt to set up a tent, then moving on to the next location… Read More nomadism

possibilities

I followed the snaking Gallatin River on 191, driving beside the water, on either side of me tree covered mountains and cliff faces, the sporadic homes and all the vehicles going somewhere. I played a song and prayed. It was a real prayer. Honest. Broken. Those kinds of prayers are rare, hard to come by… Read More possibilities

the blue chair

The last glow of the day above the pine trees across the quiet residential street. I sit on the driveway on this northerly side of the house facing the setting sun in my cheap blue camping chair lined with bright green. I’m catching the remaining light. If I lift my head I feel the last… Read More the blue chair

choices

A year ago I made the difficult decision to change jobs. I had worked for my church for a year and a half as a next generation pastor—mostly with youth and young adults, among other things. I felt almost guilty for leaving. I had an enviable ministry job in a beautiful ski town. I left… Read More choices

belonging

“…The event contained in the affirmation of God is more important than the belief in God…Belonging first, followed by behavior, followed last and least, by belief.” – Peter Rollins We belong before we believe. The experience of belonging leads to behavior and belief if we’ve experienced the real thing. We may arrive at the right… Read More belonging

room (2)

This is what we have with God—room and space rarely (if ever) experienced before. I understand how valuable this is, and how needed. Some of us were not given room to question or doubt or form our own opinions and beliefs and there was little or no place to disagree so we never knew how,… Read More room (2)

room

You invite me to your table but “I’m not hungry I’m not thirsty” I tell you. I have had everything here before. I am no longer hungry or thirsty for what I have long had my fill of. “But there is still room for you” I hear and I know it is true. But is… Read More room

context

The indecision of childhood remembered. Do I create myself or am I created? Am I made in the image of what I desire or am I formed from the pieces of past and context and circumstance, family history religion. Environment. Culture. The myth of the self made wo/man for no one makes themselves only we… Read More context

gods

gods— Flittering through memories, seen but unseen. Saving us. Or betraying us. Do they save us from or betray us to suffering? We are all damaged. All of us. Even by those closest to perfection, or at least goodness. Our worlds built by those who could not fail but did. And do. And always will. … Read More gods

image

Trying to find pieces of what I am in the dark, lonely, quiet, snowy nights of a silent season. Learning to be alone and to love it. Reaching for words in the disquiet of quiet. In search of myself while lost in myself. Like standing as the single being on a world my own. None… Read More image

Week 51: waiting

I’m familiar with waiting. I remember spending a 12 hour “layover” at a city train station in Mandalay, Myanmar many years ago, having already taken a 12 hour train ride on an “ordinary class” train, with a 14 hour train ride ahead of me to go further north. (“Ordinary class” trains had hard, uncomfortable, nearly… Read More Week 51: waiting