I Believe…

i believe

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I believe in love. Not the squishy, touchy-feely kind, but the kind that takes guts and practice and a lot of failure before we start to get it right.

I believe in freedom and pluralism, grateful that I live in a country where I am free to believe in God but where no one has to.

I believe in God, and that the vast majority of people who do not believe in God, or who believe in a different god than I do, are fine people with a lot to teach me. I am not at war with them, and I am not on the side of any so-called Christian who is.

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Embracing Powerlessness, prt. 3

I said in my last post that in this one I would explore our true power. If you are just coming to my blog and have not read the two earlier posts in this series, please check them out before you read this one, because I am convinced that you will never understand your true power until you have come to grips with, and understood, the extent to which you are powerless. You will never embrace your true power until you know what it is — and what it isn’t.

Your true power lies in the only place — and I repeat, the ONLY place — that you have true control, true say, true influence: your own actions and attitudes. Yes, I have truly written two posts and part of a third one in order to give you the cliche, “You can only change yourself.” This cliche can never sound like anything but a cliche until you grasp how deeply, frighteningly true it is. But when you do the work of confronting your powerlessness, this is all you are left with, and it comes as a relief. “At least there’s something I can change!”

The good news is, this is what matters most. Imagine how your life would feel if you were unable to feel angry or anxious.

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A Primer for those Struggling with Faith

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Image courtesy of Coralie Mercier, licensed under Creative Commons

One of my main goals as a teacher, counselor, pastor, and writer is to help people who are really feeling lost on the faith journey. At the bottom of this post you will find links to posts that I believe might be helpful to you if you have found yourself in that position of struggling to get, or hang on to, faith. And if that’s you, there are several other things I want you to know.

Struggling with Faith IS the Faith Journey

As a marriage counselor I tell premarital couples that they will not always feel about each other the way they feel now. Times of dryness and difficulty, and perhaps even great struggle, are part of the marriage journey. When couples don’t know this they get to those times and fear the relationship may be over. What we need for our faith life, in order to hang in there, is first and foremost the knowledge that the struggle itself is part of the journey and not a sign that we have wandered down some other path. In other words, you are okay.

You Can’t Go Back the Way You Came

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The Difference Between Willingness and Capability

People Are Often Not Capable of Doing Everything They Are Willing to Do

In the religious tradition I grew up in (and in society as a whole), there was and is a strong focus on the will.

The phrase that best embodies the idea of the will is “Just do it.”

Nike — just do it.

Nancy Reagan — Just say no.

It’s quick, simple, and has the appearance of common sense.

“I’m really struggling to stop drinking.” “Well, it’s important, isn’t it? Just do it.”

“I’m starting to have serious questions about God and faith.” “Just keep believing. Belief is a choice. Just do it.”

“I know I should be nicer to my wife and kids but it seems like no matter how hard I try, stupid and hurtful things keep coming out of my mouth.” “You don’t want to be a jerk, do you? Just be nice.”

But it’s not common sense at all. The fact is, there are many things we need to do, and many we need to stop doing, that we just aren’t capable of doing or stopping.

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