Let those with eyes

Let them see 

in full bloom

Winter gives way to spring, which bursts forth in vibrant colors all around.  

Life works the same way. It ebbs and flows in seasons. Warm and fun, crisp and muted, cold and unforgiving, then thawed and renewed for warmth and fun.

Wherever you find yourself, keep moving forward. Each season has its wonders and memories. And each season passes. Really, they do.

A popular book insists that winter is coming. True, but so, then, is summer once again.



Engaging the Silence

“Engaging the Silence” by Pete Greig

there is
and where there is prayer
there are
and where there are questions
there may be
but silence may be
more than
may be presence
may not be nothing but
to explore
defy accuse
this is
and where there is prayer
there may yet be

poem found in Pete Greig’s God On Mute, p. 29


A Surprise Announcement

I have a news flash for the world.

It will come as a surprise, a shock. You might want to sit down (if you are not already doing so).

Please make sure you are fully prepared before you continue reading. You have been advised.

It occurs to me that a general announcement needs to be made, because it has become glaringly obvious that there is a significant lack of knowledge about this particular announcement. It seems that in the kerfuffle of our modern digital age, with all of its information gathering tools and devices that help us and instill fear in us, this one morsel has been lost, forgotten, and ignored.

You are going to die.

Yes. You.

No, I don’t have access to your webcam, but I am talking to you. You are going to die. It’s going to happen. I cannot tell you how or when, but I know without a doubt that it is true. It may not be today, this year, or this decade. But it is coming.

And there’s nothing you can do to change it. To illustrate:

  • Steve Jobs died, despite his innovative mind and billions of dollars
  • Mother Teresa died, despite her immense sacrifices and care for others
  • Charles Atlas died, despite his efforts at transforming his body
  • Robert Atkins died, his popular Atkins diet not mitigating the inevitable

You cannot change this truth. There is no amount of grass-fed, Kobe beef; organic vegetables; essential oils; exercise; money; social media postings; acupuncture treatments; Paleo/Vegan/Mediterranean/what have you diet; etc. that will change the truth.

My grandfather smoked from his early teenage years. When he started, smoking was a healthy thing. By the end, now-infamous tobacco companies were changing their names to made up words to disassociate from their past. My grandfather was 72 when he died. Of a heart attack, not lung cancer.

Did smoking shorten his life? Well, possibly. Maybe even probably. I’m not a medical doctor, or God, so I don’t really know. I do know this: smoking gave him pleasure. It made his life something that he enjoyed living a little more.

What are the things that you are doing in your life that make life that much more enjoyable to be living? What are you doing only because someone else has scared you into doing it for their own reasons and motivations, because it makes them enjoy life more?

Life is going to end. Something is going to kill you. It might be cancer. It might be pneumonia. It might be a drunk driver. It might be Yellowstone or an asteroid. Perhaps scientists will create a black hole at random and it will swallow the earth in an instant. Perhaps old age will catch up with you. Whatever it is, something will happen and you will die.

It’s not death that matters. It’s what you do with all of the seconds, minutes, days, months, and years you have before it most assuredly comes.

20 Months

20 months.

That’s how long it has been since I last wrote and published here. It’s been a long time. And it hasn’t been pretty.

We have moved. I’ve started a new career. We have grown to a family of five, though seven if you include the fact that we are living with my parents. My wife nearly died this year. My faith is shattered in shards, and I’m not sure what it will look like should it come back together one day.

I thought 2013 was bad. But it had nothing on 2014.

That said, 2015 is here. I’d rather not dwell on what amounted to a pretty horrid year. (Though we got a really cute baby out of it!)

A lot has gone on with me. I am not the person I was 20 months ago. I have a secular career, and I do not expect to return to a life of ministry. I have struggled off and on (mostly off) with being an active layperson at the church we now attend. That has not gone well, as I reel from the events of the last two years. I am still trying to find if there is a place for me. If so, what is it?

My theme has been Psalm 42. That has long been my favorite psalm. In year past, it was the steely assurance that I would cling to God no matter what. Lately, though, it has been much more of being the outcast, far from the places of worship where I once led and thrived.

I want a new theme.

If there is anything that I have learned, it is that life – and faith – is about choices. What do we choose to do? I was speaking with a friend not that long ago, mentioning how I had lost the “awe” of God. This was particularly frustrating heading into the holiday season (at the time). Further reflection has led me to the conclusion that awe of God is a choice, like choosing to love my spouse. It’s easy to be married for a while and then get a divorce when things get difficult. It’s much harder to stick to the commitment and see the relationship through the hard times on to the other side. To choose love. The same is true with faith, I believe. If I am to believe in God, if I am to be in awe of him again, then i must choose to be.

I do not know what the future holds. Nor can i say with the confidence I once had that I know who holds the future. But I know I want to be out of the fog I have been in since 2013. I want to move forward. I want to make choices that will determine who I will be tomorrow.

2015 is here. 20 months have past. I choose to live again now. No more waiting. This is my life. It’s the only one I get.


For most of my growing up years, I planned on being a meteorologist when I grew up. Living on the Gulf Coast, many of our summer days were spent plotting the courses of whatever storms were out at sea on the free hurricane map that came out every year in the local newspaper. A few came close, and I remember that we “hunkered down” for one that passed nearby. Still, these didn’t scare me away from the study of weather, but stirred my interest in it. Even today, I enjoy keeping tabs on what’s going on in the world and understanding what I can about the science and art of weather planning and forecasting.

Because there is one thing about the weather: it’s always changing. And it rarely changes exactly the way we are told by meteorologists to expect. Now, they’ve gotten pretty good at forecasting sunny or rainy days. And they are really good at knowing pretty much what tomorrow will look like. Some of the major weather events of recent memory have been predicted nearly a week in advance. But just as often as these successes are the things that they get wrong: like the rainy day that was forecasted that turned into a late season snow and sleet storm.

This season of joblessness has been just as unpredictable for me. Now, I’m not longer actually jobless: I’m holding down a part time job that will keep my resume active but won’t pay many bills. What has surprised me has been the changes in my attitude from day to day.

One day, the world is mine to be conquered, full of hope and possibility. It is ready for all of my dreams, which seem tantalizingly attainable. Fatherhood is wonderful. I enjoy the pleasant conversations with my wife. Gardens are planted, with expectations of the bounty they will bring. God is close and working and fully reliable and trustworthy.

Fast forward five minutes, give or take four.

Then, the world is terrible and horrible. There are no rooms for dreams. All seems lost. There are no ways out of our situation. God is distant, too busy with all of my happy friends who are successful in their careers and life goals. Every one I see – 99.9999% of them total strangers – have purpose and plans and intentions that they are accomplishing. Me? Life has no joy. Bitterness, anger, and fear are my constant companions.

Then something happens, and I’m back in the happy-world-is-mine-to-conquer phase. And so the oscillation continues with intensity and speed. And with it goes my faith, and one time fully relying on God, at another knowing at the deepest part of me that it is all up to me.

And so I scream with the helpless father of Mark 9, “I believe, help my unbelief!”

And, you know what? Despite all of my biblical studies training, seminary, worship leading, and preaching? Something I didn’t predict: even in my doubts and lack of faith, God remains faithful. And for that, I am grateful. He continues to guide me, even when I feel that He is absent. He continues to work for my good (Jeremiah 29:11), even when it seems that my life has nothing going for it. And on the darkest, bleakest days, when everything seems lost, you’ll turn a corner. And there God will be, doing something astoundingly amazing.

Go ahead. Try to abandon God. You will find that, unpredictably, God has no interest in abandoning you.