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…

Advent Hope

Psychology has done a wonderful job of giving us words and concepts such as vulnerability and the false or shadow self to talk about our weaknesses. The AA or 12 step program starts with the admission of powerlessness. The Bible starts (in Genesis) with two concepts of humanity: Original goodness Original sin We need a…

When Popular Messages Leave Us Feeling Empty

Many of the messages that I hear in certain church settings are based on “getting your best life” or “fulfilling your purpose/potential/call”. I think we have purpose, potential, and a call. Yet why do they seem to leave me feeling empty? I’ve reached some potential/call/purpose, but it’s not as satisfying as I thought it would…

Homily – God’s Unfailing Love towards the “idiot”

Liturgical Readings for the day:  http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/022318.cfm Three readings tying three themes of sin, forgiveness, and God’s unfailing love. In Ezekiel 18, the writer begins with listing a set of behaviors that are considered sinful, worthy of death because the act themselves cause pain and sorrow for others. In Matthew 5, Jesus has started listing his “10…

Using the VIM framework for Pastoral Counseling

I did a spiritual formation retreat last weekend and shared on Dallas Willard and Henri Nouwen’s work; specifically looking at their views on transformation. Both use the starting point of longing/desire/deep need, which is a “goal” or vision. I’ve posted a summary on it here:  https://elchappy.com/2017/08/13/a-retreat-for-transformation/ I think this can also be used for a…

Listening: the art of Pastoral Presence

When I think about our work, I think of the God who listens.  He hears our cries, petitions, longings, and hopes.  In Jesus, we find the Good Shepherd making space for others to share their stories (i.e. Samaritan woman, the blind man at the pool).  We see them share specifics as Jesus asks poignant questions….

Pastoral Counseling – A new imagination

One the gifts that I’ve learned in counseling comes from this passage: Philippians 4:8 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put…