Ego Strength and Conditional Love

Richard Rohr talks a lot about needing Ego Strength in the first of half of life so that we can survive and cope. It helps us develop identity, our gifts and talents, and help us to get on with life. This ego strength is sometimes not received when we were growing up. It would require…

Thomas Merton on Apostolic Work and Results

For some of us, we use our work to prove that we are alive and valuable. We live out of a fear that we’re not good enough so we work hard to prove that we are. This causes great anxiety. Some of us also take on mythical causes–knights in shining armor–thinking that we can rescue…

The Church and Healthy Leadership

source: In doing research for a paper on the mission of God and the marketplace, I came across Patrick Lencioni’s works on organizational health and management. He’s been consulting with companies for years and recently, he’s been working with parishes (he’s deeply committed Catholic Christian). In this short interview, he explains how church staff and…

Parenting Ourselves, Faith, and Kids

I love using the end of the year (typically starting late November through the first weeks of January) to assess the previous year and what my hopes and longings are for the following year. Notice I didn’t say GOALS or RESOLUTIONS. My motivation is a lot more focused if I think about my hopes and…

The Gospel is a Public Truth

The dualism of private/public, personal/professional is being unraveled in me and around me. The fragmentation and disembodied faith that is birthed under this dualism is the cause for much of the broken policy and polity we are seeing. The Gospel healed me (and continues to) but it also CHALLENGES me to think of my life…

God Speaks Peace over Political Storms

1.22.2021 – Homily Mark 4:35-41 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great gale arose, and the waves beat into…

A Cold December

December 2020 has been cold. We have great weather in San Diego year round. Usually in the 70s. So when it drops to the 30s and 40s at night, or we try to go cycling in 45 degree weather morning time, I complain and fret. I’m sleepier during the hour change. The colder, dry weather…

Long Living and Dwelling Satisfaction

We are living longer these days. Into our 80s and 90s. And strong. By all accounts, I’m barely halfway if I live to be 85. I’ve seen and done a lot of things that have brought me joy. Sometimes I wake up and ask myself if the life I have is it. I’ve been trying…

Richard Mouw and the Workplace

“Christ will transform culture at the end time. The ships of Tarshish, presently vessels that serve rebellious designs, will someday carry the wealth of the nations into the presence of the Creator…Human culture will someday be transformed. Does this mean, then, that we must begin that process of transformation here and now? Are we as…

Contemplative Prayer as a Mexican

I resisted silence for a big part of early 30s. I felt so silenced growing up. Mexican kids aren’t allowed to talk back and the narrative is that we don’t have a voice (as kids or mexicans). To my surprise, when I was introduced to more contemplative spiritual practices, it caused a well of emotions…

Repost: Porn and the Sacred

I was making a list of pastoral theology books today in case I get to teach a course. I had to add Ronald Rolheiser to my list. His books and site are a pastoral diamond mine! It’s no surprise that his recent post on pornography came from an angle of deep faith and spirituality. He’s…

Obscurity and Deeper Longings

What do I long for? A sense of being whole, accepted, and in congruity with a true self that keeps calling out to me. “For all of us, however, there are moments of dawning awareness, little cracks in our armor that reveal glimpses of our deeper longing and our true nature. We generally don’t like…

Morning Mess

Don’t write or talk until there has been time allotted to silence and solitude, prayer and reflection, lament and repentance. The mind and heart may not know what truth and love really are. If I get up in the morning and the first thing I do is check my messages or jump on social media,…

The Lord’s Prayer: OUR and US

 A friend of mine reminded me the other day how communal the Lords prayer is. It is filled with the words “Our” and “Us”. We know that the Spirit of God is at work when there are more signs of community, mutual understanding, and a turning towards God and one another in peace.  This echoes…

The Image of God is the Image of Justice

But you, God of mercy and compassion, slow to anger, O Lord, abounding in love and truth, turn and take pity on me. – Psalm 86 The Lord has made known his salvation; has shown his justice to the nations. Rejoice at the presence of the Lord: for he comes to rule the earth. He…

Prayer for Hatred and Hostility

—— I was convicted recently over an article I read regarding hatred. As a Christ follower, we seek reconciliation with God, our neighbor, and our self. Even if we get upset about political or social matters, we are not to be driven by hatred or stay in a place of hostility. This hatred and hostility…

Leadership and Civility

In Scott Peck’s book, “A World Waiting to be Born:  Civility Rediscovered”, we learn that in order to become healthy organizations, we need to discover the art of civility.  Every organization will inevitably have conflict.  He goes on to say that, “As consciously motivated organizational behavior, civility (like healthy civics) requires consciousness of one’s self,…

Morning Prayer

From the Divine Office: (A needed prayer for the rhythms of work) We thank you, Lord, for enlightening us through your Son,— fill us with his light throughout the day.Enlighten us, Lord. Let your wisdom lead us today, Lord,— that we may walk in the newness of life.Enlighten us, Lord. May we bear hardships with courage…

The Art of Dying

When I first started doing ministry and chaplaincy work, I was faced with my own mortality. It didn’t take long for me to learn that death was real. My first funeral I officiated was my baptism into this new reality. I didn’t realize that the person we were honoring that day–that even their death–they were…

The Myth of Greatness

Scott Peck was a psychiatrist and spiritual director for many years. I’ve enjoyed his readings immensely. I periodically struggle with my vocation–my sense of calling and purpose in this world. On my best days, I have a sense that I have a gift to listen, care, and be a healing presence to others. On my…

Morning Meditation: 6.12.2020

Can you and I just confess that we need instruction and direction?  That we get stuck in life, need direction, or just some plain encouragement to keep doing good? My morning times are a means for me to pull myself together and “get into” God’s presence.  Sometimes there is a sense of God’s nearness and…

Morning Meditation 6.10.2020

Yoke of slavery.  I don’t like using that S word for obvious reasons.  Maybe a truer expression is to be controlled, oppressed.  A yoke of being controlled, manipulated, or made to do something out of threat.   In all four passages for today’s liturgical readings, there is a whiff of being controlled or manipulated to be…

Our God Reigns

There are numerous instances in my life where things (an event, musical piece, relationship, school paper, work situation, a basketball game) seem to be spinning of out control. Chalk it up to things like unknown variables, high emotions and tempers, fears or concerns, or multiple voices. Whatever it is, I feel like I’m spinning. Usually,…

Mutual Empowerment

Since the pain and hurt we feel as a nation is caused by un-wielded power, empower others. How? Here’s an example. A wealthy, white business man took a chance to empower me for a new service at his company. I provide corporate chaplaincy services to a dealer group because someone believed in me and gave…

Spiritual Formation: on Evasion

“Evasion is directly related to both the closeness of God’s approach to us and to our instinctive withdrawal from God‘s presence. Experiences of God as mystery evoke awe, even fear, in the face of the numinous and uncontrollable otherness of God….T.S. Elliot [says]… ‘if you’ve never run away from God, I wonder who your God…

Words I Hear as a Chaplain

Throughout the last few weeks, I’ve been trying my best to listen to each word, inflection, and ways employees are communicating. I’m convinced that it’s in these words and communion that something holy is happening. Yes, there is pain and loss. But there is also marks of God’s presence nearby. Just gotta look underneath the…

Rumors During a Crisis Repost

I’ve wondered how and why so many rumors are believed, shared, and talked about. We are “story” natured so we tend to make meaning through storytelling. These “stories” serve to express feelings and maybe even repressed anxieties we’ve had along the way. Rumors work in much the same way. We’re trying to make sense of…

Midday Prayers 4.29.2020

Psalm Reading: Psalm 38: 9-11, 15, 17, 18, 21, 22Silence 30 secondsGospel Reading: Matthew 3:13-17Silence 15 secondsDevotional ReadingSilence 15 secondsSelf-Examination QuestionPrayers of the PeopleOur Father PrayerBenediction Psalm 38: 9-11, 15, 17, 18, 21, 22 9 All my longings lie open before you, Lord;my sighing is not hidden from you.10 My heart pounds, my strength fails…

Curiosity is Essential to Survival

I wrote this piece for SquarePatch.org today. I’ve been thinking about what is essential during this pandemic and crisis. Curiosity is essential to survival.  Grazer uses the example of early life tribes that had to use the power of story to share experiences of new discoveries.  Fire. Water. Discovering that you can boil potatoes. Or…

The Entry to Joy

I guess if I think hard enough, looking back, I most experience joy when I’m not pretending. When I live in the reality that I am not whole or perfect, I can enter into the possibility acceptance and hope. When I play drums or have to track a song, I am most alive when I…

Worthiness in Crisis

As chaplains, our call (not our job) is to come alongside others and point them to bigger realities, even a transcendent one. The last three weeks have been heavy conversations of anxiety, questions, and uncertainties. Visiting an empty shop with tools sitting around and racks not being used was heavy. But it made me think…

Midday Prayers for 4.1.2020

Hosted by Rafee JajouPsalm Reading: Psalm 130Silence 30 secondsGospel Reading: Mark 10:13-16 Silence 30 secondsDevotional ReadingsSilence 15 seconds2 minutes of Self-Examination3 Minutes Supplication Prayers for the World Our Father Prayer Benediction

Improvise (Jazz) in Times of Disruption

Life can be very unpredictable.  It can change very quickly. When the rhythm changes, we improvise.  Like the text, we can be hard pressed, perplexed, or feel like we’re struck down.  In these moments of disruption, we are all improvising. Jazz is the art of disciplined improvisation:  adapting to change and creating on demand.

Morning Thoughts 3.16.2020

From Walter Brueggemann’s Lenten Devotional with the sum of the gospel: *that we are caught in the snares of death; *that we have been rescued by the power of God; *that we are released to a new life of gratitude. We can be on our way with new life and new energy, and new noticing…

Designing Your Life – Chapter 4 Summary

[This is a part of a series I’m doing with a group of people using the “Designing Your Life” Book by Dave Evans and Bill Burnett.] Book Purchase:  Amazon When I was in my teens, we belonged to a church denomination that had lots of young leaders.  Somewhere along the way, I came to believe that…

Designing Your Life – Chapter 3 Summary

[This is a part of a series I’m doing with a group of people using the “Designing Your Life” Book by Dave Evans and Bill Burnett.] In Ch. 3 of DYL, the authors talk about what they call an ancient art of figuring out our direction in life, even if we don’t know the destination. …

Designing Your Life – Chapter 2 Summary

[This is a part of a series I’m doing with a group of people using the “Designing Your Life” Book by Dave Evans and Bill Burnett.] From mapping out where you may be (find out where you are) with work, play, love, and health.  What’s the dashboard gauge like for each of these areas? Once…

Designing Your Life – Chapter 1 Summary

When I was a kid, my teachers told me I had math skills.  So I was in the GATE program and thought I was going to be an aeronautical engineer.  I was in 4th or 5th grade when I had this idea. I don’t even know how I learned about such a thing!  When I…

Ash Wednesday Homily

Readings Psalm 103:8-14 Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season. We receive ashes as a sign of humility (from dust we came, to dust we return). Lent is a time to remember themes like seek, call, forsake, and return. What is Lent but a reminder that God has demands on…

Week #5 Roundup 2020

I’m trying something new. Instead of posting stuff on Facebook that are thought provoking for me, I’m going to post them on my site so that I can reference them later. It’s one reason I post to FB. The other is to share and have some cordial dialogue. This week, I’m thinking about anger and…

Homilia – 02.05.2020 John 1:35-42

While this week’s podcast is on Gospel of John, it’s a little more “stream of consciousness” where I talk about the text as it relates to what we desire, how habits shape those desires, and about conflict theory and our needs.

Homilia – 1.29.2020 John 1:29-34

Part of the Gospel story is for you and I to respond to this news. Much like J.Bap, we are being called to witness the power of Christ to break all forms of sin and shame in our lives. And the more we hide or run from our it, the more it perpetuates. John is…

Homilia – 1.22.2020 John 1:19-28

This gospel, and especially the first chapter of John (and especially the first 8 verses), are saying this:  Jesus Christ of Nazareth is indeed God in the flesh. God has become human so that humans might be made in the image of God.  John is not just writing, but proclaiming that the long awaited ruler…

Homilia 1.15.2020

The intro to this gospel can conjure up all the big, existential questions we ask ourselves: What is the meaning of life How did we get here Is there something bigger at work What or who is the source of life How did this all begin This is a book a child could read, and…

Longing for Revival pt2

When I was 12 years old, I started praying for my dad’s reconversion to faith. He was a minister and left the pastorate for reasons that are beyond me. Growing up in a Pentecostal church means that we pray. And when we were done praying, we prayed some more. Prayer was a desperate cry for…

Longing for Revival pt1

Every once in a while, I read a book that provokes, incites, and inspires. It challenges my beliefs and apathy. “Longing for Revival” is one of those books. In the first ch, author James Choung talks about his hatred for the word “revival” and shares why. I had similar feelings and experiences. Growing up in…

Ten Missiological Principles

Many moments of learning to be faithful lead me back to simple things like God’s desire to be near and close to humanity and creation. The God of the Bible is not one to be distant, full of vengeance, or cold-rigid-frigid. Incarnational, caring, compassionate, just. That’s the God of the Bible. Followers of Jesus are…

Compassion and Character Development

“God of justice, love, and mercy” are the lyrics to a song. And this God seeks to meet our needs. Jesus says in Matthew 15:32, “I have compassion for these people…” He goes on to meet the needs of the people without them even asking, which can suggest that God sees our needs and longs…

Workplace Prayers: Week of November 11-2019

Lord God Almighty, the One who works on our behalf, Make your face shine on us as we enter into the day’s work. Satisfy us with your loving-kindness that we might praise you as we attend to our daily tasks. Help us not to forget that you are with us in our cubicles, office, showroom…