When is it ever enough?

When will we ever know if our prayer life cuts the muster; is good enough, long enough, or deeply intimate enough?  I don’t think we were ever meant to, not this side of heaven. But until then this is what I know.  He wants us to enjoy Him, in the unique way He’s created us…

This Favored Wound

I was weeding with a double-edged machete, and hadn’t noticed I disturbed a hornet’s nest. Forgetting I gripped a weapon, I swatted at my stung hand, and sliced open my forearm, a gaping wound. It has taken a long time to heal. I like to think of wounds as a mark of God’s ownership. Spiritual…

Dry Swallow Christians

“As the deer pants for the water brooks… ”Psalm 42, Son’s of Korah Panting. The dry swallow of an animal in search of water, tongue lolling in the mouth, perhaps running as it catches a scent of moisture, bounding through thicket, urged on by a desperate longing. An untamed instinct, pushing itself to find what…

Walter,’Never at the Altar’

My partner for the ‘afternoon of outreach’ was Daniel, a high school student from Brooklyn. It was a first for him, this ‘going out and talking to perfect strangers.’ He was nervous, visibly. Later, he confided that for the past couple of years atheists, who challenged his every belief, had bullied him. The weekend retreat…

Raymond’s Race

I first met him in a crowded high school hallway. He was down on hands and knees trying to pick up his books, while a group of students were kicking them down the hall poking fun at him. Sadly, he was laughing right along with them. When he got back up, I noticed his right…

PaPa Had the Best Laugh!

PaPa had the best laugh. Strong. Chesty. A roar of joy, which widened eyes, and turned heads. Filled a room. As family lore goes, PaPa had suffered a terrible loss, but never talked about it. He was fond of saying, however,  ‘one laughs well, who has wept long.’ This is a story of laughter. PaPa’s farm…

Forty Days, Eighty prayers, One God, At a burning Bush

Discipline in the Christian life is tricky, because the fuel for it can fall on the side of either legalism, or infatuation. Legalism doesn’t end well, because the gas for the journey is our own determination. Infatuation is short lived, too, because it depends on bursts of inspiration, which hardly ever come long enough, or…

Those Hands…

By any standard, my father has large hands. Growing up, I watched him use those hands in construction. Whenever I shook them, which was rare, my own would be engulfed entirely by callous and scar. His mason hands never saw the inside of a glove. They are a memory to me, those large hands, because…

Dear ‘Jeremiah,’

It didn’t surprise me that you asked my advice during our final meeting. You’re teachable, which I pray you never lose. While I mulled your question, I looked into your eyes. Some call them windows, and if so then God has used a squeegee on yours. I saw nothing but clarity, nothing but expectation and…

Cold Blooded Courage

Cold-blooded courage is in short supply. When we see it in others it moves us off our smug pedestal, and brings us face to face with God. Recently, I met a man whose 17 year-old fought a gallant battle with a rare cancer. In a video of her testimony, she makes light of her wig…

Backwater Steeples

Backwater steeples in a broken town; Cities on a hill falling down; What used to be… Glistening paint, the dazzle of brilliance… …a peace upon the cobbled stones, resting under boots of war. The smell of bakeries, wisps of divine presence in holy places, how it greeted and escorted faithful up the stair case to…

Backwash of Grace

It all played out while I was in the womb. My parents were living in a trailer in Chester New Jersey, on Van Allen’s farm. But the town didn’t like it, because it was violating a zoning ordinance. My father, a very soft spoken, humble and pliable man had to go down to the town…