• Every Creature Beautiful

    The biblical story of the creation of the world is not one of defining binaries, but of recognizing the beauty inherent in each of us.
  • Sabbath: Resisting the Weight of the World

    The call to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy is a call to remember that God is the one in control. Every day, I need this reminder that I can trust others to serve while I rest, and that the manifestation of God’s kingdom in the world does not rest entirely on my shoulders.
  • The Joy of Pride

    A couple of weeks ago, a friend asked me, “What is the most important piece of advice you’ve ever received?” That’s a difficult question to answer because I’ve received a lot of great advice over the years. The first thing that came to mind, though, was a message about pride shared with me back in elementary school. On my first day of fourth grade I didn’t know anyone. It wasn’t the first time that I’d been the new kid in class. I was used to that by now. It was best to just blend in - experience had taught me that there would likely be a new school next year. Good grades came easy to me because it was really easy to remember facts and information. When the time came for the class to select its representative for the annual regional spelling bee. I would have been a natural pick based on my high marks in Spelling, but a student named Andrew had represented the class every year since kindergarten. Our teacher decided to do a mini-bee between the two of us to see who would go to regionals. I studied my butt off for weeks. The mini-bee took the form of a written test and the highest score would win. Although the list was comprised of hundreds of difficult words, I felt prepared and confident because of the work that I had invested. After grading the tests, the teacher announced that I had won the mini-bee and, what’s more, I had achieved a perfect score. As she told the class how impressed she was at my score, I fought to keep a smile off my face - I didn’t want to gloat in my accomplishments. My teacher saw my internal struggle and, a few moments later, pulled me into the hallway to share some wisdom that I’ll never forget: Randy, you worked really hard on this, and you should be proud of what you did today. God made you with some incredible gifts, and you should be excited about what he’s doing in your life. In high school a few years later, I was hanging out with my best friend, a guy from my youth group. As we were casually chatting, I could tell he had something heavy weighing on his mind and he was trying to decide how to confide in me. Finally he turned to me and said, At church they always talk about the sin of pride and how we should eliminate it from our lives because it’s evil. I’ve been trying to live like that, but it really sucks. I feel like everything I do has some bit of pride in it. I can’t respect myself this way. It makes me want to give up. It’s like I can’t have any hope unless I can have some pride. My friend and I went on to discuss pride and what it looks like in our lives. That conversation, like the one with my fourth grade teacher,…
  • The War is Coming!

    Sometimes, in our preparation for war, we are the ones creating the fight.