Lent: Moving beyond dualism

While working on my dissertation, oh that was a long time ago, I did some reading of “Conceptual Systems Theory.” This was a useful theory for understanding and explaining my research at the time. To my surprise it has also been helpful since then. My overly simplistic description: the theory describes of how our thoughts, […]

Lent: the ritual is the container, not the experience

My Lenten discipline of writing something every morning has sort of crapped out. This is my first entry in two weeks. I have several good reasons, but at the bottom of my excuses lays the word “discipline.” Changes in my life, my schedule, and my attention prompted me to get away from the things I […]

Lent: Looking beyond demographics

One of the primary ways I settle for enhancing my container rather than exploring its contents is by clinging to demographics. Here’s what I mean. Demographics are the labels I use to identify myself and others. “I’m male, middle-aged, white, Christian, American, parent, spouse, psychologist, left-handed,” you get the idea. It’s mental shorthand. I don’t […]

Lent: Butting up against the rules

“You only internalize values by butting up against external values for a while.”  –Richard Rohr, Falling Upward. The external values, the ones we absorb, adopt, and accept often without question during childhood, are the essential components that make up our container. They are the rules, traditions, group norms and symbols, loyalties, and memberships that help […]

Lent: Making sure we don’t get stuck

So we spend the first part of our lives constructing our container of all the stuff of childhood and adolescence. We spend the next major part of our lives enhancing and promoting our container. This is our ego, our outward identity, the public self we want others to see and appreciate. It’s the material about […]

Promoting our container

A bit more about the container of our lives. We spend the first part of our life building the container. Remember, the container consists of all the teachings, observations, lessons, and rules we internal to define ourselves and make sense of our world. Richard Rohr, one of my current favorite writers about the inner life, […]

Building our container

We spend the first part of our lives building our container. By container, I mean the structure that holds our early lives in place, the mental structure that allows us to make sense of ourselves, others, and the world around us. The moral structure that allows us to make decisions and interact with others. This […]

Lent: an empty container

“Born again” has become a generic term often describing a particular demographic, usually socially conservative evangelical Christians. But is the term really so generic and simple? This Sunday’s lectionary suggests the story in John 3 in which Jesus introduced the phrase “You must be born again.” Interestingly, Jesus used this phrase on only this one […]

Lent: Opening your container

“This is my container.” These were the opening words for an activity each year in the class I taught at the university. The class was a training experience for undergraduates. Twenty students were selected each year to participate in a three-semester sequence of courses that took them from learning basic helping skills to providing valuable […]

Lent: At home in the wilderness

No matter how comfortable, gentrified, and predictable we try to make our physical lives, in our spiritual lives thrive in the wilderness. Here’s what I mean. For me at least, I want to avoid as much life drama as possible. During parts of my life, particularly when I had young children and teenagers, and during […]