Easter: Honest doubt and militant hope

“Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never more than a single grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But […]

Lent: Suspended in midair

“There comes the moment when you must let go and trust that you will be caught.” That was one small part of the description a friend gave of her training for the trapeze. Doing the training fulfilled a bucket list item for her. She is not a circus performer. She’s a nurse. In her talk […]

Lent: Unlearning parenting, Part 2

My role as a parent has changed significantly over the 33 years I have had the job. I am no longer on duty hour by hour. Instead I am more of a relief pitcher, called in when my particular skills or experience are needed. But it seems I am always on the bench, warmed up […]

Lent: Unlearning parenting

The idea of unlearning keeps coming up for me during this season. Unlearning involves so much: letting go of old and comfortable ideas and stepping into something new. That involves relinquishing control. Well, I don’t really relinquish control. I relinquish my illusion of control. Unlearning parenting is one of the hardest for me for two […]

Lent: Remembering our impermanence, Part 2

When I was a psychotherapist, we had staff meeting discussions on several occasions over the years about the relative merits of time-limited therapy and open-ended therapy. This pertains to Lent, but some background is needed. Because the Counseling Center served a population of 40,000 students and the demand for our services was always high, we […]

Lent: Palm Sunday, unlearning greatness

Today is Palm Sunday. Christian churches everywhere will be commemorating the day Jesus and his followers entered Jerusalem in what we have come to call his “triumphal entry.” Children will process down the aisles waving palm branches, the organ will play loudly, and congregants will sing. Despite the legends we have built around this event, […]

Lent: Shedding our skin

Experiencing leg aches as I described a couple of days ago is an apt metaphor for the necessary pain of physical and spiritual growth. The world of entomology provides the most helpful metaphor to me: an insect shedding its skin. Insects do not have internal skeletons. Instead they have an exoskeleton, a hard outer skin […]

Lent: Even Jesus had to unlearn God

A couple of weeks ago, the Lectionary for Protestant churches suggested the New Testament text of Jesus’ temptations. It is a familiar story that took place at the beginning of the ministry of Jesus. The traditional telling is of Jesus, alone in the desert, 40 days in prayer and fasting. Along came Satan who offered […]

Lent: Unlearning God, Part 2

“We can be assured that we are creating God in our own image when it turns out that God hates the same people we do.” Ann Lamott While preparing a sermon a few years ago for my home church in Illinois, I consulted the lectionary for the suggested texts for the day. The lectionary always […]

Lent: Unlearning God

For a person like me who grew up in a religious home, who attended church and read the Bible regularly, whose life was dominated by the admonition to “follow God’s will,” unlearning God is a real challenge. Yes, unlearning God. The lectionary text for this Sunday in many Protestant churches is the verse that reads, […]