I hesitated to comment on the senseless slaughter of innocents in Connecticut, but finally decided I would summarize some ideas here for your consideration. I also prefer not to label these my own beliefs, because I think when one does that, (even though I think one should stand up for what they believe in), it polarizes others into an us vs. them debate, and then nothing happens as neither side is willing to budge. Beliefs rarely change for someone when they view someone else’s situation.

That said, I wonder if several discussions could be started that might lead to more productive and constructive actions. The martyrs and saints of Newtown deserve honest dialogue – about life. Until we recognize that our most precious gift in this world is life, and that once here we are required to support and nurture it, these things will continue.

Others have written of lives lost daily in inner cities that go unnoticed and ignored. It’s a privileged society, and only when the privileged suffer do the alarms ring, and loudly. How could this happen? How could it be stopped? And then the other side shouts “Don’t even think about taking away my guns!” And people many states away and far removed from the tragedy arm themselves and prepare as if this were an epidemic and not an isolated incident.

It is an epidemic. An epidemic of fear. If I use a kitchen knife to chop carrots and I cut my finger, I clean the wound and put a bandage on it. If I use a machete to chop carrots and I cut my finger, I go to the hospital to either have it re-attached, or to fix what’s left of my finger. If the tool is available, you must accept the level of destruction it can accomplish.

I pray for those lost in Newtown, for those who remain, and for all those whose loss goes unnoticed and uncared for. Martyrs and saints are made every day, usually out of our sight, but not God’s.

I Believe – the ebook is available!

Breaking news! My new ebook: I Believe: A Year of Reflecting on One’s Faith, is now available on Amazon and free to Prime members. This book contains all the reflections for the coming year, as well as short essays for each reflection and questions to consider if you are examining your faith. What do you really believe? This book can help you consider the foundations of your faith and help you grow into a deeper understanding and love for God.

I will have it available free for everyone on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

I Believe
Cover for I Believe


Autumn, Fall, Changes

Autumn, the time of year that nature sheds its old skin and prepares to begin anew, going from a celebration of color to stark lines and grays, is upon us. Cool temperatures, for some even colder, remind us of the changing season. Change is afoot here as well. I have reflected on the Sunday readings for over 5 years now, and am preparing for what I expect will be the final year.

As I contemplated this ending, this change and move toward something new, I decided that another year of the same was not in it for me. I had to do something different. I had to put a coda on this endeavor, a crash of cymbals to mark the culmination of all this joyful work. How to do that?

A common question sparked the answer: “So, what have you learned?”

And when I considered and evaluated my faith, my belief in God, I knew what I had to do. I had to talk about how it had changed. How, after sitting silently with scripture, often not understanding, but with an open heart (I hope); after reading other books and discussing with intelligent people; after visiting other congregations and communities and seeing what sparked their curiosity and filled their hearts; how, after all this, I actually believed differently than I had before.

Not in every belief, but in some of the basic, foundational, core ones. Over the next year, beginning with Advent, I will reflect on these beliefs, some now stronger, some new and still tender. If you would like to be challenged, to contemplate what your beliefs really mean to you beyond the “I go to church on Sunday to see my friends and listen to the nice preacher,” then I hope you join me. It’s easy – you can sign up for the mailing list on this site and receive all the reflections for the year. They only get sent once a month, so I won’t flood your inbox.

I hope to offer some of my other work in new formats as well, and also want to put out a revised book, a best of, so to speak, nearer the end of the next year. I hope that these reflections increase your love for God and for all.

Lent – Holy Saturday

Road rage.

He was such a quiet person.

It’s easy to spout peaceful platitudes when everything is going fine and everyone is treating you well. But when someone speeds up from behind and keeps you from merging onto the highway, and then another honks and cuts in front of you because you’re only doing the speed limit, do you feel the anger and resentment rising? Are you tempted to flip the bird? Honk? Memorize a license plate and – do what?

I wonder how his closest friends felt when Jesus was taken down from the cross. When they went home after he was buried, what was their emptiness like? Were they filled with despair? Did they feel their entire lives pressing down on them?

What did they do?

If someone you believed in deeply, patterned your life after, and given up everything for, suddenly moved on, what would you do?

Just like in classic story structure, all seems lost right before the end.

Yet, at the darkest hour, we are given the greatest opportunity. Do we take it? Or do we cower and shy away from it, responding in reactive form?