Why I Need Your Grace

authenticity, vulnerability, and grace


We all need grace. I try to extend mine to everyone at all times. Here are some reasons why I need yours.

I’m a flawed person.

I am a flawed pastor, flawed teacher, flawed therapist, flawed husband and father. As charming and charismatic as I have learned to be when I’m “on stage” in some way (by which I mean simply being looked up to in one of my roles as pastor/teacher/therapist), I can be equally cold and aloof when the spotlight goes off.

It’s not because I don’t genuinely love people. I love you more than I can say and everything I say in all of my roles is 100% true.

It’s just that I’m tired.

I love people, but you wear me out sometimes.

It’s not your fault, it’s just my own limitation.

If you haven’t heard that from a leader before, it’s probably just because I’m the only one stupid enough to write it down.

Continue Reading »

Suffering That Hurts vs. Suffering That Helps

suffering that hurts -- suffering that helps -- man alone suffering


My original post on this topic concluded with these lines:

Both living in truth and living in falsehood bring suffering.

In my next post, I’ll talk about why the suffering that truth brings is better.

Have you ever had a terrible, miserable, horrible, awful experience that, when it’s over, you look back on it and say, “That was beyond horrible– but I wouldn’t trade it for anything”?

Most people have.

Severe illness of yourself or illness/death of a loved one.

A major business/financial failure.

A divorce.

To live is to have horrible experiences, to go through stuff that really, really sucks.

It sucks away your passion.

It sucks away your enthusiasm and joy.

For a while, it sucks away a lot of what you have always recognized as your life.

But when you look back on those experiences and know you wouldn’t trade them for anything, that’s because they were redemptive. Something good came out of them. You know you’re better for all the suffering you did.

You’re better. Or stronger. Or wiser. Or more compassionate. Or deeper. Or gentler. Or more humble, or calm, or patient, or honest.

You’re just better.

Often suffering isn’t in our control, but sometimes it is.

And anytime you  have a choice in the matter, always choose redemptive suffering over non-redemptive suffering.

Continue Reading »

Decide to Never Let Fear Keep You from the Truth

the truth -- never let fear keep you from truth

The most significant moment of my moral life was the moment I decided to never allow fear, or being offended, to keep me from considering whether something is true.

Make that commitment and your life will never be the same. It’s the moral equivalent of taking the red pill.

When you make that decision, you wake up. You start seeing with clarity you never knew was possible. The first thing you start to see is your own fear and defensiveness, how deeply rooted in you they both are, how quickly you become offended and fearful.

Continue Reading »

Five Things to Remember Before Sharing Truth with Someone

truth telling

image courtesy of 123rf.com

My work with individuals — students, parishioners, and clients — is built squarely on the critical role of truth and truth-telling. Below are some of my core beliefs about truth, and these core beliefs determine how I approach the truth in my work with people. I think more people (especially, but not only, religious people) need to be aware of these principles and observe them carefully.

1. Whenever possible, truth should never be forced on anyone.

We can force truth on a person in twenty seconds, whether they accept it or not. It may take them years to discover it on their own.

It’s worth the wait.

Continue Reading »

Ruthlessly Honest


Image courtesy of TW Collins, under Creative Commons.

From a recent Facebook post:

I want to be ruthlessly honest in my intellectual, spiritual, and political life and in my writings. I want to serve the truth and only the truth, not caring at all what a single person thinks otherwise. I’m not out to “defend” an ideology — just to learn and speak what is true. This even applies — especially applies — to religion.

If you need me to defend your ideology because you’ve already made up your mind about how things are, you’re going to be disappointed. I’m not your spin doctor.