The Ancient Form
By |   September 16, 2014 |   in Ancient/Modern, Blog

Many are mourning the death of Robin Williams. The “Mork and Mindy” house is here in Boulder, Colorado where I live. In the last week, it has become a shrine. Hundreds of people have come, some from long distances, to hang a sign on the fence, leave a candle or flowers, take pictures, or simply stand in grieving silence. Not knowing what else to do, they have created sacred space on the sidewalk where they can mourn in community and reflect on life and death.

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Ora et Labora (Prayer and Work)
By |   September 11, 2014 |   in Ancient/Modern, Blog

Once or twice a year, I steal away for a 2-night soul rest. I have been going on these personal retreats since my early 20’s when I was single. As my seasons of life changed—from single to married, from married to parenting—it has become increasingly tricky to take these retreats. Now I must coordinate calendars to accommodate my family and pastoral duties.

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Four Ways Being a Father Has Impacted My Spiritual Quest: Part 2
By |   September 8, 2014 |   in Blog, Parenting & Formation

In my previous article, I shared with you two ways that being a dad has impacted my spiritual quest: stewarding and serving. In this article, I share with you two more plus a bonus fifth way.


3. Saving

On Christmas Eve two years ago, my daughter, Abby, became my eternal sister when she accepted Jesus Christ’s free gift of salvation. My wife, Kim, video recorded the conversation and the prayer that Abby prayed as she received Christ as her Lord and Savior. The moment was super special and memorable, but it did not come as a surprise to us.

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What’s The *Real* Story?
By |   September 5, 2014 |   in Blog

In his monumental work “After Virtue,” Alasdair MacIntyre wrote;

I can only answer the question “What am I to do?” if I can answer the prior question “Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?[1]

As followers of Jesus we situate ourselves within the beautiful story of Father, Son and Spirit making and remaking the world. Spiritual formation takes place when we inhabit the story of God, expressed in the life of Jesus. Empowered by the Holy Spirit we are changed inwardly making the world a better place to the glory of God.

In the letter to the Ephesians the apostle Paul wrote, “But that is not the way you learned Christ!”(4:20)

This verse makes me wonder, how do we learn Christ? MacIntyre’s emphases on story gives me a clue because learning Christ has much more to do with inhabiting a specific kind of story than just reciting some prepositions.

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Four Ways Being a Father Has Impacted My Spiritual Quest: Part 1
By |   September 4, 2014 |   in Blog, Parenting & Formation

Being a dad is one of the best parts of my life. It can be equally frustrating—stomach bugs, late nights, messy house—and exhilarating—first steps, learning to read, surprise love notes in my sock drawer.

The Bible has a lot to say about both parenting and being parented, and it is clear that God has ordained the parent-child relationship to be a redemptive one. The following are four ways that God has used my role as “dad” to impact my spiritual quest. I share the first two in this post, and share the second two (plus a bonus!) in the next post.

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Crucible of Parenthood
By |   August 21, 2014 |   in Blog, Parenting & Formation

At just 4 years into the wild jungle of parenting, I write this with no claim to expertise, but rather as a kind of field note from within. My three boys are still toddlers, yet in this short amount of time I have come to learn that God uses the experience of parenthood as a means of transformation. I like to call it the “crucible of parenthood”. A crucible is something designed to put you to the test for the ultimate purpose of creating something good. Children are a blessing; they are also a means of our formation into Christlikeness—if we are willing to embrace what God is doing in this work.

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Seeing Jesus
By |   August 18, 2014 |   in Blog, Parenting & Formation

Since my friend Dallas Willard died, I’ve found myself doing things that are “out of the box.” As a self-employed person I’ve tried to stay focused on writing, teaching and spiritual direction. No distractions! But as part of DW’s advisory council, I watched him do tangential things because (I thought) he wasn’t staying focused! Why? Because he loved God (and listened to God) and loved people (and listened to them).

So besides volunteering weekly at the Samaritan Center (a drop-in center for the homeless), I now also teach a Bible study there. It’s intriguing to teach these friends of mine who are moved by Jesus’ encounter with the demon-possessed boy because most have had seizures and they (and I) have seen others lie on our concrete, writhing in seizures. A few have died.

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Listen for What Finds You
By |   August 14, 2014 |   in Blog, Silence in a Digital World

Editor’s Note: At the end of July we had some significant troubles with our website and blog (as you may have noticed). As a result, a few pieces on August’s topic didn’t make it online during our month on Silence. Perhaps God was asking us all to take a break and find silence offline rather than reading blogs? Perhaps. But we didn’t want you to miss these poetic words from our non-conformist blogger friend, Robert Rife.



With the topic at hand, at the risk of sounding overly clever or non-conformist, my post-modern poet aims at a metanarrative. In addressing silence, I am seeking it. Sometimes it’s not more information that’s needed. Sometimes we just need to sing.


Listen for what finds you


Listen loudly for the stirring glass

of day, unknowing. Her constancy

rewards your swelling incontinence

of spirit, grey and unraveled. She lowers

her eyes in hithering glance.

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Your Child’s Spiritual Mentor
By |   August 4, 2014 |   in Blog, Parenting & Formation

Parents are, by nature, spiritual directors to their children. Intentionally or not, gifted or fumbling, believers or not, a parent is a child’s first spiritual mentor. The reality of parents as spiritual guides to children is so critical, in my mind, that I co-authored a book on it: “Habits of a Child’s Heart: Raising Your Kids with the Spiritual Disciplines” by Valerie E. Hess and Marti Watson Garlett (NavPress 2004).

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Simplicity: An internal stance of the heart
By |   July 19, 2014 |   in Blog, Simplicity

When people think of simplicity their thoughts often turn to clearing out cluttered closets, garages, sheds…places where stuff has accumulated with the passage of time. However, when I think of simplicity I believe that a good place to start simplifying our lives begins in the area of disorder attachments. Often our hearts are so filled with disordered attachments that things like love, service, even the simple enjoyment of the things of life are buried under the oppressive weight caused by unceasing pursuit of those things we believe our happiness are contingent on having, keeping or not getting.

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