Monday, March 01, 2021

Coffeehouse Contemplative Podcast 3: Everything is Already Different

Listen on or click the player below. Subscribe on iTunes.

It's been about a year since the pandemic lockdowns began. Events have been cancelled or postponed over and over, and life in general has been turned upside down. This entire time--and more frequently now that an end slowly appears on the horizon--many have been talking about going "back to normal." But will everything really be exactly as it was, and will we really want it to be?

Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder

Sunday, February 28, 2021

A Prayer from Behind

based on Mark 8:31-38

Faithful God, I love your call to me, but only the easy parts.

I wish to pursue your vision for racial justice, but want to keep some privilege for myself.

I long to help realize greater equality for all genders, but only in the increments that keep me comfortable.

I want to speak up for the marginalized, but only in spaces that will win me praise.

I am committed to saying hard prophetic things, but only if it won't lose me any friends or followers.

I accept your command to serve those struggling with poverty, addiction, or mental illness, but only if I may vet them beforehand.

I love the cross, but as a fashion accessory and not a symbol of the cost of discipleship.

I believe the words you say, but hesitate to follow where they lead for fear of what they might actually ask of me.

And so I just sit and stare at these two beams, enjoying my own convenience, unaware of how I am both your adversary and my own.

May I receive not only your grace, but also your transforming courage for the work you would have me do.


Thursday, February 25, 2021

No Pill


I turned 42 this week. I was relatively indifferent to it happening, in the sense that it did not stir much within me regarding the passage of time and the aging process. It was a different story when I turned 40, but subsequent milestones have not brought a need for deep existential reflection.

That's not to say that future significant age markers will not bring such things. I suspect that they will, actually. But this week I've been content to be thankful and without age-related dread, focusing on the good of the years behind me rather than agonizing over how many might be left.

After all, there's no pill to ward off a birthday. Many products provide the illusion of such things, but why run from it? What's the use in fighting a battle you won't win?

A few months ago, Gordon Atkinson wrote about the prospect of turning 60:

You will gain perspectives on life as you grow older, perspectives that take work and simply are impossible to understand when you’re younger. You can still be an ignorant ass when you’re old, don’t get me wrong. If you refuse to change and will not look deeply into yourself, you can be old and lack wisdom. I see it all the time. But wisdom of the ages is there for you, if you’ll do some inner work and claim it. 

I'd rather have the wisdom that comes with aging than the illusion of eternal youth. I'm doing my part to look after my physical, mental, and spiritual health; to recognize my limitations while also trying to stay as limber as I can holistically. 

But my age is what it is. Bands I listened to as a teenager are now eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Cecil Fielder's grandson is close to playing in the Major Leagues. There are reminders everywhere that I'm no longer the young one. 

It's fine. I embrace who I am now, and anticipate who I've yet to become. And I hope to do the inner work necessary for my older, future self to be even better.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Coffeehouse Contemplative Podcast 2: The Second Lentiest Lent

Listen on or click the player below. Subscribe on iTunes.

All the COVID-related lockdowns and cancellations began during Lent 2020, leading someone to create a meme that read, "This is the Lentiest Lent I've ever Lented." This year, we are still faced with going without many of the same things, and questions of where hope and new life may be found are still with us. 

With all that we've been through and all that we've learned, how might this Lent be a source of renewal rather than added despair?

Benediction: Blessing the Dust by Jan Richardson

Music: "Reflections" by Wild Wonder