The Need to Remember

It’s been seventeen years since the unimaginable terror of that nightmare day we refer to simply as 9/11. Sixteen times now we have noticed that day on the calendar and felt that ache of what was lost… so many precious lives, the general sense of safety on American soil, the naive innocence that never imagined it could happen here.

I guess the ache is deeper in my own heart this time having recently visited the site where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood. I walked through the streets and felt the gravity of that place just from knowing what had taken place. And, on a cool and rainy April morning, I walked up to the memorial pool in the footprint of the north tower.

(This is a brief video I took as I walked up to the memorial that gives just a momentary glimpse of the sight and sound.)

The names etched on stone, each one a life snuffed out by the insatiable hate of that act, seemed to whisper to me as I glanced across them, longing to be remembered. The sound of the water flowing endlessly through this elegant crater seemed to drown out the noise of the city around us. The realization of what we were seeing and the significance thereof caused people all around to speak in hushed tones and somber demeanor. Continue reading The Need to Remember

The Grace of Withholding

We are arrogant creatures, are we not?

When it comes right down to it, most of us tend to reasonably comply with the laws and regulations that fit our own understanding or thought processes, but scoff and disregard others that don’t make any sense to us. We think something is a good step if it makes sense to us. We tend to see someone’s actions as stupid if it doesn’t fit our frame of reference.

Most of the things that we determine are good or bad are based upon what we have reasoned are the right things. Even on hot-button issues in our society, much of our villainization of those who hold opposing views comes from the fact that, to us, our perspective is clearly superior.

Why are we so adamant?

Is it possible that we all have an inordinately high opinion of our own opinion?

I was reading a passage that started my mind swirling this morning. It’s found in Psalm 84:

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you! (Psalm 84.11-12)

Continue reading The Grace of Withholding

A Letter to My Fellow Pastors

My fellow-laborers in this kingdom work,

I’m sure that most of you have heard about the tragic loss of one of our brothers who ended his life on this earth this past weekend. He was, by all accounts, a gifted, successful, and fruitful servant of our King. But he was also a man embattled with things that a good many—perhaps even most—of us face in our often lonely lives in full-time ministry.

I didn’t know the man and I am not trying to draw conclusions about his life or his death. But I understand how even a faithful child of God could find themselves at such a desperate place.

My last pastorate ended over eleven years ago soon after a diagnosis of a severe depression. I learned many difficult and painful lessons in that season. I learned that sometimes the intense and overwhelming feelings we can experience are so unbelieveably loud while the foundational truth that we know is very quiet. When what we know and what we feel are so greatly at odds, our whole being is in conflict. It is agonizing at best. Continue reading A Letter to My Fellow Pastors