Life, Meaning, and Melancholy

While camping with my daughter this week, we spent some of our time at a simple lakeside beach at one of Michigan’s recreation areas. The sandy swimming area was at the bottom of a beautiful green hillside. The hillside was dotted with large leafy trees that provided shady picnic areas to relax in. The lake

Discernment: A Response to Existential Despair

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor,

What Is Spiritual Direction?

Many people have asked me what spiritual direction is, or what the difference is between a spiritual director and a pastor, minister, counselor, etc. So I thought it might be worth while to write a post specifically addressing some of these questions. It is a bit long, but I hope it is thorough! ————————————– What is

The Cracks That Let the Light In

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” This great line from a Leonard Cohen song speaks to the tension between brokenness and redemption. We mourn the cracks and areas of woundedness in our lives, but it is often through those very cracks that light is able to penetrate into areas

On the Complexity of Sin and Human Action

You might be familiar with the classic scene from Winnie the Pooh where Pooh gets stuck halfway through the window in Rabbit’s house. It occurred to me recently that this is a great depiction of how many of us find ourselves in the world. From the exterior of Rabbit’s house, Pooh appears fine for the

A Life of Cultivation

I originally wrote this piece for The Abby of the Arts website as part of their “Monk in the World” series.   A certain form of existential paralysis has shadowed my inner life in the past. I’ve had so many questions, dreams, longings, and have been exposed to a range of paradigm-shifting experiences in a relatively short

“Being In” the Suffering

Rather than just reflecting on the theological and philosophical discourses that carefully dance around suffering, Wendy Farley has been of great assistance in helping me to think about suffering as it is—as part of the human experience. Farley draws upon the language of traditional folk songs to exemplify ways of simply “being in the suffering”