Jesus calls us to love our enemies, but frankly, I don’t want to. My enemy is my enemy for a reason. Either the individual has hurt me in some way, insulted me and put me down, or they represent a course of action to which I am diametrically opposed. I don’t want to love my enemy; I want to put them in their place. I want to ridicule them and reject them. I want them to experience the hurt and discouragement they have brought into my life.
Every week we put out the garbage. We take the orange peels, the plastic wraps, the used yogurt containers, and place them in the bin outside the house. We remove the refuse from our lives. It might not be an enjoyable process to go through it, but it’s necessary. I don’t know about you, but I have yet to bring the garbage from the outside bin back into the house. I have never wanted to be re-surrounded by my old garbage. It just doesn’t happen. Why then do we do this with our spiritual lives?
Henri Nouwen is one of the authors I read a lot from. His words plumb the depths of the spiritual life in profound ways. So, when I started dreaming of my parish's Lenten program for 2022, I knew that I wanted to structure it around the works of Henri Nouwen.
God’s love is not an emotion which colors our life with rainbows and roses. The love of God doesn’t produce the spiritual equivalent of a school-yard crush. God’s love is deeper than that, more expansive, and more transformative.
Praying in love is not about masking feelings or denying discouragement. In Christ, God entered the fullness of humanity. This means that it is the fullness of our humanity that is offered in our prayer.
There is no shame in grace. Claiming God’s grace is not a sign of weakness or lack of faith. It is a bold and radical act of trust. We reach out to the one who sits with us, who incarnates himself in the very depths of our hurts and struggles.
Here is the next recording in my ongoing series of discussions regarding the struggles of the Christian life. In this recording, I chat with author Sarahbeth Caplin about her book "Spinning Crap into Ferlizer: How American Christianity has forgotten the necessity of suffering." Sarabeth has many insightful things to say about the cross, the prosperity … Continue reading In Conversation: Sarahbeth Caplin
The Desert Fathers and Mothers have been a continuous wealth of spiritual knowledge and insight, their teachings passed down in various volumes and compendiums. One lesson has been particularly popularized. As the story goes; a monastic brother went to Abba Moses and asked for a word of advice regarding the cultivation of a robust spiritual … Continue reading Away and Towards: Cultivating Solitude in a time of Isolation
This is my response to The Reverend Michael Coren’s CBC opinion piece regarding Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID), posted on February 4,2020. (You can find his article here). Let me be clear about what this response is and is not. This is not a position paper wherein I pose a counterargument to Coren’s support of … Continue reading The Language is Important: Michael Coren and the Problem of Pastoral Insensitivity
Life can be messy. The path ahead is not always clear. In such moments, we can be left with the daunting task of having to decide what course of action to engage in, which path to follow. Sometimes it’s a decision between A and B. Sometimes it’s a decision to act or not act. Sometimes … Continue reading Spirit-Filled decision-making: the way of discernment for individuals, councils, and communities.