Thinning & Pruning

The Christian season of Lent began last week. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with the celebration of Easter. Lent is my favorite season of the Christian liturgical year. It is traditionally thought of as a season of preparation for the glory of Easter, marked by sacrifice and austerity to make the Easter celebration all the more joyous. If you grew up in the church, you might remember giving something up during this season. At the Lutheran school I attended, most of us 5th graders sacrificially gave up chocolate with little understanding of why we were doing it. As an adult, I have come to a deep appreciation for this practice. Last spring, our family planted our first real vegetabl

Going Back

Last weekend I went back to visit the place I used to live in New Mexico and was ambushed by some of my thoughts and feelings. The New Mexico period was a chapter in my life full of bright hope and deep disappointment, when I was both nourished and starved, a place of vision and of dark depression, of lasting friendships and surprising deceptions. What was I looking for on my return trip, and why did I find myself weeping so often? What did I gain by going back? Why do any of us look back? One thing abundantly clear as I walked the old paths again was that the magic that drew me to those mountains in the first place was located in the land itself, not the town or the people who lived the

Me Too? Me Too!

I have watched the “Me too” movement rise and expand like many of you have also witnessed. It is quite a movement in more ways than I can express here. In fact, my addressing this issue will surely fall short in comparison to the importance that these women are bringing to our attention. I watch the stories unfold, and I have enough self-awareness to feel saddened, ashamed, and convicted. I feel convicted as in the Spirit’s voice speaking inside of me. I am aware of such painful dehumanizing experiences of all kinds within the pages of my own story. I am a privileged white male living in the United States during the second half of the twentieth and the first half of the twenty first centurie

Birdsongs

We were outside. The late afternoon sun glittered off the melting snow. I shoveled snow and listened to my daughter’s giggles and requests to “do it again.” She and my husband were finally getting to use the new sled we purchased weeks ago. And then I heard the birds. I looked up to my neighbor’s tree and noticed three of them perched near the top. It was discordant…birds in January? “Isn’t that strange,” I asked my husband, “hearing those birds singing?” “It’s uncommon,” he replied. Certainly, our unseasonably warm weather has confused those dear birds and the lack of moisture is wreaking havoc all over the place. Climate change aside, it got me thinking. This kind of incongruity happens in

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