August 2008

Perfection Vs. Peace and Contentment

As a little girl I had a Barbie doll. Not one of the many derivatives of Barbie made today, but the very first Barbie. She was made out of hard plastic and had heavily painted eyelids and impossible physical proportions. She had a wardrobe that included a perfectly miniature snap on bra. I loved her. She was perfect.

Like most girls in the 1960s, I played with her for ...

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Ceiling-Shattering Election Season

A few moments ago, as I looked over my friend's Facebook status updates (if you're not on, these are sentences people write to tell everyone what they're doing, thinking, or feeling), I saw that each update sizzled with election fever. And what's not to be excited about?

No matter what "side" you're on, no matter which issues ...

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Bold Forgiveness

The last place we expect to get hurt is within the family of God. We assume church people are safe people. But, hurt comes with church leadership. When it happens, the wounds it brings can quickly become a breeding ground for bitterness.

Bitterness can become a gnarly vine that chokes our souls. It poisons our hearts and actions. Scripture says we and others will pay ...

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Tentative or Extravagant Hope

[S]he who has never hoped, can never despair.

–George Bernard Shaw

It seems we can't have one without the other - hope and despair. But truth-be-told, we don't want that package deal. We're afraid to hope precisely because we do not want to know despair, pain, suffering, disappointment. We work to keep our hearts intact and (hopefully) despair-free. ...

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When Yes Means No

Remember the song Ado Annie sings in Rogers and Hammerstein's musical Oklahoma? "I Can't Say No"? Some of the lines go like this: "I'm jist a girl who cain't say no; I'm in a turrible fix. I always say, ?Come on, let's go,' jist when I orta say nix!" The song's about relationships, or physical intimacy more specifically, ...

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I Had an Affair

We drove into the Rocky Mountains to a small retreat center. With our hopes high and our hearts still aching, we entered the weekend eager to heal. The days included group meetings where volunteer couples modeled good communication skills, then gave us a topic to discuss. Throughout the weekend Allen and I rehashed recent events, talked about the kids, money, forgiveness, ...

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The Fine Line Between Passion and Idolatry

If I say, "vegetable farm," do you think, "passion"? My friend Michelle does. She's a P.R. consultant to a prominent company, and her husband is an engineer. But responding to God's call, they're trading in their jobs and corporate incomes to take over her family's vegetable farm. She loves whole foods, natural living, cooking ? a perfect ...

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"God, Rock The Summit"

This year's roster at Willow Creek's Leadership Summit conference includes an impressive lineup of leaders from both the ministry and secular business realms. Pastors John Burke and Efrem Smith, and Bill George (current Harvard Business prof and former CEO of Medtronic Inc.) spoke yesterday, as (of course) did Bill Hybels. Today we heard from Craig Groeschel and ...

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Letting Mother Mary Be

The house was perfect. The four-bedroom tract house in a kid-friendly subdivision was what our family needed. I loved the retro-feeling kitchen with the big window that looked out at the backyard, and our children were thrilled that the chain-link fence all but guaranteed them a dog.

The one thing that concerned me was the three-foot concrete statue of Mother Mary standing ...

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Ethnic Blends

When a position becomes available in most churches, leaders tend to contact those they know and trust for names of those they'd recommend for the job. The people we contact and those they recommend are, more often than not, people just like us in ethnic, economic, and educational background.

Consequently, the people we know recommend people they know, and by the time ...

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