The Christian faith, if it is true to itself, rejects all false images of the human person, just as we might also reject false images of God. It rejects any instances of able-bodyism, racism, sexism, ageism, etc. because these things infringe on the integrity of the human person, not just conceptually but existentially.
The monastic logic of salvation In the Beatitudes, Jesus delivers a logic that has troubled the church ever since. Those, he says, who have been dispossessed of earthly good and rewards stand to inherit such good sin the age to come. Those who enjoy such goods now will come to be dispossessed of them. The … Continue reading Poverty, chastity, obedience… and anti-racism?
Over the past year, I have had many more conversations about race and white privilege than any other year of my life. These conversations have been insightful and rewarding, but also challenging and difficult at times. There is one thing that I have noticed about the idea of privilege which has prompted a lot of … Continue reading Balancing the ledger: forgiveness, thanksgiving , and the shame of privilege
I remember distinctly the first time I felt the crash of anxiety. I was driving to a day of work as a pastoral care resident at Lehigh Valley Health Network, and I wondered if there was something wrong with my car. This relatively simple thought - "there might be something wrong" - became a constant … Continue reading Beauty and anxiety
I ended a post a few months ago with this old gospel song, sung by Mississippi John Hurt. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62XMNCPyYG8 We have sung this song a few times in my church. I found it an odd song because we usually want to emphasize that we are not alone, that we need to resist atomization and self-dependence … Continue reading No one can walk it for you
Soda or pop? Faith or works? At my conservative Christian college in western Pennsylvania, there were two great debates. The first was whether soft drinks were called 'soda' or 'pop' (the Southern students protested both in favor of 'Coke'). The second was whether one is saved by faith alone, or by faith and works. Unfortunately, … Continue reading Faith and works: the Gospel of paradox
Recently, I started reading The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen. One of the striking things about this book is that Nouwen writes about how the parable and the painting by Rembrandt moved him to a recognition that he had still yet to understand the primary truth of his faith: that he is … Continue reading You gotta walk that lonesome valley
From the few years that I spent in an evangelical church as a teenager, I remember that there was a particular fondness for Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. I … Continue reading Are angels project managers?
What is the relationship between our forgiveness of others' sins against us, and God's forgiveness of our own sins? Scriptural testimony is not entirely clear. Some passages suggest we forgive because we have been forgiven; others that we are forgiven because we forgive. Jesus' teaching in the Gospels seems to emphasize the contingency of being … Continue reading The Kingdom of God is shaped like forgiveness
Note: I am using the term 'mindfulness' fairly broadly, including any practices that aim at a shift from struggling with unpleasant thoughts, feelings, etc. to accepting them. Some of the techniques I reference below are better understood as exercises in' defusion' in that they help to recognize thoughts and feelings AS thoughts and feelings, and … Continue reading Rattlesnakes, propaganda, and monsters on the bus: three metaphors of mindfulness