02 Mar 2016

The Pervasive Struggle of Loneliness

We live in a world that has been so radically developed by technology that we can interact with those on the other side of the globe in an instant.  Our cultures have become so amalgamated through the globalizing effect of this technology within the realms of pop culture, social media, consumerist marketing, and the like, that we are able to find much common ground with those who are in a totally different cultural and geographical

7
24 Feb 2016

He Gives His Beloved Sleep

“This trouble is from the Lord! Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”1 As 2 Kings 6 wraps up, the despair is evident. Samaria is under a siege that has lasted long enough that some of the inhabitants have resorted to cannibalism. Faced with a situation outside of his control, with no apparent hope of rescue, Jehoram (king of Israel) sends a messenger to kill Elisha. As the messenger relays the kings words,

0
17 Feb 2016

Judge Not: The Balance of Mercy and Intolerance

In recent times the Lord has increasingly brought to my attention my problem with judging others. It is so very easy to look at the faults and struggles of others and see them as infinitely worse than my own shortcomings. In reading the words of the Church Fathers this seems to be the greatest struggle of the Christian life: to increase in mercy to the extent that we cannot hold anything against our neighbor, seeing

0
15 Feb 2016

One Body

Recently I started working as an intern in the tax department at an accounting firm. I am finding a rhythm to the work and my days are beginning to develop a pattern. Certainly, each day brings new work and different challenges, as well as different rewards. As I look ahead to sixty and even seventy hour weeks of preparing business tax returns between now and April 15th, I wonder what it would be like to

3
20 Jan 2016

A Contemplation of Male-To-Male Relationships

This article is an effort to express some thoughts and observations of Christian and non-Christian attitudes towards the way in which men in our culture interact with one another, what is deemed appropriate in these relations, and why some men may struggle with gender or sexual identity within the faith – especially in light of the homosexual agenda in our society and its promotion in some more liberal confessions.  As a male, I will focus

1
01 Jan 2016

God Is with Us

Christmastide is here. Here. Now. This is Christmas. Though the world is weary and rejoicing to have limped through ‘the holidays’, many traditions have just begun celebrating Christmastide after forty days of darkness and fasting. The season of light has dawned, culminating in a day whose very name means manifest or revelation. Light does that very thing, it shows us what we would have walked right past in the darkness; it reveals the shapes we

0
30 Dec 2015

Resolved: Learn More Doctrine

I don’t know exactly why, but the days at the end of December often feel a bit slower than the rest of the year. Perhaps time attempts to atone for rushing us through the rest of the year. In any case, this slow feeling creates space for reflection and planning. Reflection on what filled the prior year, and planning for what will come in the new year. Personally, setting New Year’s resolutions isn’t part of

3
18 Dec 2015

Joy, Joy, Joy

Somehow it is December, week three. Does it ever seem like you are waiting for it to feel like Christmas? Do you feel wrapped up in work or events or gift-buying, rather than reflective stillness? Do you go through the motions, sing the songs, yet feel far away from the Christ-child? Are you expecting your favourite Christmas records, films, or traditions to make things feel normal or happy? Traditions—be they family originals or many-centuries long—sometimes

0
16 Dec 2015

Rejoicing in Divine Emotion

Can God feel? For years, I didn’t think so.  I grew up in a very conservative Christian environment that imparted many benefits to me, but it also scarred me in some deep ways, particularly in leaving me with a flawed perception of God.  To its credit, this movement developed in rejection of the emotionally-charged mainstream churches that prioritize a “feeling” of closeness with God over the relationship itself, which ought to be steeped in the

0
04 Dec 2015

Waiting is Not Wasted

Waiting. We do a lot of waiting at this time of year. We queue up to buy gifts—and to mail them. We wait for Amazon orders to arrive in the post. We wait in airports, traffic, and coffee shops. We wait for Christmas break to wrest us from our studies, our work, our loneliness. Sometimes we wait at a tremendous pace, as if filling our days with work or parties or consumer pursuits will make

1
02 Dec 2015

Contemplating The Family Story

If you were a betting man (or woman), you’d probably agree that family stories are fairly memorable. So would I. Well, at least up until a couple weeks ago. It all started innocently enough. One of my sisters was taking a storytelling class. A recent assignment (beginning, you guessed it, a couple weeks ago) involved sharing one of those stories that must come up for a family gathering to actually be a family gathering. It

2
23 Nov 2015

Dark Nights End in Dawn

Serpentine sorrows weave their way through my thoughts tonight. It has been one of those days where things go well, but one person after another lets a little bit of ache show through. I see the hurt-yet-trying-to-be-vulnerable so the heart won’t harden. I see broken bodies and broken hearts. Sick bodies and sick souls. I see carnage and horror in the streets of Paris and Beirut. The pain piles high; the daily struggles of how

0
13 Nov 2015

The Tyranny of The Should

For a long time, I was stalked by a pitiless enemy, an enemy I thought was my friend. This “friend” promised to give me much yet took much from me, always insatiably demanding more. No, it wasn’t a person. It was a dark entity, a ruthless specter. Appearing as an angel, this demon feasts on the souls of those unwitting victims taken in by its deception. For a long time, I was stalked by The

1
13 Nov 2015

Gaps in the Story

I like stories. I especially like long stories, the kind where you can get caught up in the characters’ lives and where you watch as they face thousands of new and different challenges, both large and small. After one’s been through enough with them, the characters from those long, impactful stories often feel like friends. My favorite stories of all, like King Arthur, Star Trek, the Avengers, and the land of Oz, are tales that

0
06 Nov 2015

Knowing What I Looked Like

Imagine you’re dead. You’re floating up through the clouds, heading for the pearly gates, and you turn for one last look at this green-and-blue planet and whatever you did with your time here. What’s going to be on your mind? If you’re reading this, you can’t give me a factual answer to that question. So guess. People will be on your mind, right? You might feel love, or grief. Or surprise [“Wait, I’m dead? Like, dead dead?”].

1
04 Nov 2015

The Danger of Light and Joy

When reading of Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings, there is one section that catches me almost every time: Gimli’s thoughts on leaving Lothlorian. Tell me, Legolas, why did I come on this Quest? Little did I know where the chief peril lay! Truly Elrond spoke, saying that we could not foresee what we might meet upon our road. Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me

1
21 Oct 2015

James: Walking, Talking, and Facebook Activism

What follows is an attempt at lay theology. As you read, I ask for two things. First, have patience with my stumblings. Second, correct error as you see it. For the most part, I don’t believe that anything here is particularly novel or out of step with Christian belief and practice.1 At the same time, I am no more than a man, which means it is possible I have misread or misunderstood the Scripture. Where

4
14 Oct 2015

Flash Flood Fiasco and the Virtue of Detachment

The cover photo of this article depicts a highway, near my house, running through a farm that is now an eight-foot lake.  In my region of South Carolina last week we received around 16 inches of rain in two days, 24 inches in the course of a week.  Across the state there have been at least a dozen deaths, 19 dam breaches, hundreds of swift water rescues, and over 1000 people are now in shelters.

0
09 Oct 2015

Refusing to be ‘Singled’ Out

How Should the Church Treat Singles? “Another one bites the dust” is the relationship theme song I resonate with lately. I can barely go a month without one of my friends telling me they are dating or engaged. I have been in—or behind the scenes of—quite a few weddings in the last year or two. This is not the first round of this life-season for me. It happened a couple of years after high school,

9
11 Sep 2015

Wanderlust

All those golden autumn days the sky was full of wings. . . The wings and the golden weather and the tang of frost in the mornings made Laura want to go somewhere. She did not know where. She wanted only to go. “Let’s go West,” she said one night after supper. “Pa, can’t we go West when Uncle Henry does?” . . . “I know, little Half-pint,” said Pa, and his voice was very

6