Twelve ways to intentionally cultivate character

intergrity-cultivate character

12 ways to intentionally cultivate character:

1. Do whatever you must do to come to sense how deeply you are loved by God.
2. Constantly make the choice you know is right instead of the choice that is easy.
3. Never say a bad word about someone else. As you get better and better with this, keep raising the bar higher and higher. We can never be too careful with words.
4. Learn to pray, meditate, and be in silence and solitude every day for at least some period of time.
5. Learn to control your mind and your thoughts.
6. Instead of finding reasons to excuse your wrongdoing, find reasons to excuse and forgive the wrongdoing of others, and deal with your own wrongdoing in prayer and silence.
7. Be quick to apologize, to accept responsibility, and to give credit away.
8. Put away anger and lust.
9. Determine to never again intentionally mislead someone about something.
10. Determine today to abandon forever all attitudes and actions that do not or cannot take you where you want to go.
11. Forgive yourself for your own mistakes, sins, and oversights, and accept the forgiveness of God.
12. Seek out whatever help you will need in doing the above — accountability, counseling, forgiveness, whatever it may be.

If you are not a praying person, do everything on this list anyway, without the prayer part!

Thoughts about gay people and Christianity


church in a gay friendly city

Sitges, Sspain – March 3, 2012: Church of Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla in Sitges, Spain. The 17th century church next to the sea is an iconic building of the gay-friendly city. (

I don’t understand the gay people and Christianity thing. I’m talking about the extent to which the evangelical church is willing to alienate one of our society’s most persecuted groups in the name of doctrinal purity, or what they usually call, “holiness.” When this word is used in regard to the gay debate, it is nearly always used inappropriately, as least as far as I am concerned. Holiness is ultimately about wholeness, about being pure, being “one,” seeing the world in a unified way, being shot through with only one thing, which Christians say is supposed to be love. Only usually it isn’t.

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About This Blog

about us

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. –Frederick Buechner

That place, for me, is here on this blog, where I get to do what I love — write, help people, and think about new ideas.

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The Purpose of this Blog
About Me
About You!

Most popular posts (by number of comments):
The God of Kim Davis: Why Kim is Not Free to Love
The Almost-Suicide of My Daughter, prt. 1
What I Believe (a.k.a., My Scary, Ultra-Liberal Ideas)
Ten Things Christians Say That Drive Me Crazy
Our Missed Opportunity with Chick-fil-A
Why You’re Probably a Bad Listener
I Believe
My Confession
For Sandi
Setting boundaries with toxic parents
Does Suicide Equal Hell?
Why Suicide Is Not Selfish

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Christian Dildos
Setting Boundaries with Toxic Parents
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Characteristics of Thoughtful People
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50 Things I’m Good At

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A Primer for Those Struggling with Faith
The Reality That is Making Me More Liberal (theologically)
Making the Spiritual World Real

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The Myth of the Bible-Based Church
Does Right and Wrong Start with You or with God?
God’s Love (4-part series)
Our Missed Opportunity with Chick-fil-A
Not Crazy About Crazy Love


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Ten Things Christians Say That Drive Me Crazy


1. I’ll pray about it. a.) Really? When? For how long? How will you know when you’ve prayed enough? b.) Most of the time I believe this is just an excuse to avoid having to say a direct “no” to things we don’t want to do. After all, “No” is harder to argue with if you’ve prayed about it. Like “Oh great, the No is coming directly from God now. How can anyone argue with that?”

2. Got saved. Like it’s past tense, or ancient history. Like saving isn’t still happening. Like the biggest thing that has ever happened in your spiritual life happened back then, kind of like that concert you went to way back when. You don’t remember much about it now, other than it was awesome. But it was awesome. And by the way, saved from what? Most people can’t really articulate this very well.

3. The end times, or last days. I’m not sure if any concept has been responsible for more “Christian” lunacy than this. Setting aside the fact that the theological concept of the “rapture” was almost completely invented in the early 1800’s, even if we are “living in the last days,” the response of every single human being doesn’t change one bit — to live with honesty and integrity in the present moment and, if you are a Christian — to know this is what honors God.

4. Is this a sin, or will I go to hell if... This one may bother me on so many levels as to require its own post. Summary — adventures in missing the point. Salvation is life with God. Sin is that which keeps us from knowing that life. Both holiness and wickedness are cumulative. They both grow slowly in the human heart and they both lead a person down a certain path.

5. He/she would make a wonderful Christian. Why is that? It’s usually because they are especially kind or loving or patient, in which case that person already makes an exceptional human being. I think more Christians should focus on what it means to be an exceptional human being. We would discover that being an exceptional human being pleases God. Jesus was an exceptional human being. By the way, Jesus wasn’t a Christian either. He would have made such a wonderful Christian!

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A Body of Broken Bones, prt. 2


sticks and stones may break my bones

sticks and stones may break my bones

It is the rankling, tormenting sense of unworthiness that lies at the root of all hate. The man who is able to hate strongly…is the one who is…blind to all unworthiness in himself and serenely capable of seeing all his own wrongs in someone else. But the man who is aware of his own unworthiness and the unworthiness of others is tempted with a subtler and more tormenting kind of hate: the general, searing, nauseating hate of everything and everyone, because everything is tainted with unworthiness, everything is unclean, everything is foul with sin.

The beginning of the fight against hatred, the basic Christian answer to hatred, is not the commandment to love, but what must necessarily come before [love] in order make the commandment bearable and comprehensible. It is a prior commandment — to believe. The root of Christian love is not the will to love, but the faith that one is loved. The faith that one is loved by God. The faith that one is loved by God although unworthy — or, rather, irrespective of one’s worth!

In the true Christian vision of God’s love, the idea of worthiness loses its significance. Revelation of the mercy of God makes the whole problem of worthiness something almost laughable. The discovery that worthiness is of no special consequence is a true liberation of the spirit. And until this discovery is made, until this liberation has been brought about by the divine mercy, man is imprisoned in hate.

Humanistic love will not serve. As long as we believe that we hate no one, that we are merciful, that we are kind by our very nature, we deceive ourselves; our hatred is merely smoldering under the gray ashes of complacent optimism. We are apparently at peace with everyone because we think we are worthy. That is to say, we have lost the capacity to face the question of unworthiness at all. But when we are delivered by the mercy of God the question no longer has a meaning.

Hatred tries to cure disunion by annihilating those who are not united with us. It seeks peace by the elimination of everybody else but ourselves. But love, by its acceptance of the pain of reunion, begins to heal all wounds.

From Thomas Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation, ch. 4 (pp. 74-76)