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

It is Well, BUT…

Recent days have seen some truly amazing people leave the bonds of this world in what has seemed truly untimely deaths. The ones on whom I reflect have lived lives that testify powerfully of a life beyond – the true life that they no doubt enjoy even now in the presence of their Father whom they loved so very truly.

The peole that truly knew these folks are left in a very challenging spot. We are taught by our trust in God’s promises that have gone on are far better off than we. Disease has no more power over them and the frustrating limitations of this flesh has been left behind.

But we who remain are caught in this awkward mixture of deep sorrow for the loss of one so dear and yet a profound gratitude that their suffering has ended and their joy is full. We know down deep in our souls that it is well, as the old song so simply states it. And yet, our hearts hurt.
Continue reading It is Well, BUT…

The Stuff We Don’t Talk About

As our culture reels from the shock of the news of the apparent suicide of yet another famous and successful celebrity, it seems fitting to ask some questions.

Like most of us, I have been tremendously entertained by Robin Williams and his unparalleled gift for humor. I was equally enamored with several of his less humorous performances in movies such as “Dead Poets Society.” He was brilliant. But his death begs many questions for which there are simply no answers.

The truth is that it’s too late to ask most of those questions – at least to ask them of him. But there are people all around us every day that struggle with the same emotional illness that led to such a tragedy.

It always seems that, when someone famous and rich and successful makes such a decision, we are outraged and grieved and heart-broken – and rightly so. But what can we do?

We can start talking about the stuff we don’t talk about.
Continue reading The Stuff We Don’t Talk About