How to Keep God Out of Your Marriage

What is bickering? How does it get started? Bickering is an open competition between two parties. The goal is to have the last word. Whoever has the last word wins—this is what fuels the interchange and makes it tiresome. It also explains why when an episode concludes it often resumes the next day exactly where it left off. So each player competes to respond with accusations, quips and insults that seek to undo the opponent. I learned how to do this expertly while playing sandlot baseball at 8 years old. “It was fair!” “No, it was foul!” "You're a blockhead!" "Your mother wears army boots..." Sad to say I’ve carried my bickering instincts and strategies right into adulthood. I can’t think of

Guide to Prideful Living

C. S. Lewis observed, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” Let’s face it, pride is a turn off. Prideful people aren’t much fun to be around. Pride frays at the fabric of relationships: marriage, family, team or community. It stunts personal growth. It blinds us to our every weakness so that we live in a dangerous state of overconfidence. Most of the time I am flawless at seeing other people’s pride but not so good at seeing my own. I can tell myself I have a humble attitude and blithely continue in my established prideful habits. It is in focusing on my habits that pridefulness

Prepare for the Next Mass Shooting

Twenty one years ago, Karen and I served a 6 week pastoral exchange with the Rev. Peter Good of the Omagh Methodist Church in Northern Ireland. We wanted our kids to see the beauty of Ireland and meet the wonderful people we’d grown to love during my student pastor internship there more than a decade earlier. On a busy Saturday morning August 15 a 500 lb car bomb tore open the shopping district full of pedestrians. In the end 31 people died and more than 300 maimed for life. It was the single worst act of violence in the modern history of Northern Ireland. We spent a week attending multiple funerals each day. The thoughts and feelings of that awful day come rushing back each time the news br

How to Stay Cynical

A cynic is someone who believes that all people are motivated by self-interest. H. L. Menken said, “A cynic is a man who when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.” Maybe you’ve become a cynic. Maybe you’ve had a series of failed relationships and you say to yourself, “I’m so done with men (or women)” Or maybe the years have raised up cynicism about your job. You buy lottery tickets hoping you can win big and leave your workplace behind. Maybe its government or even the church. Cynicism is attracting quite a crowd this days because it’s an incredibly safe place to live. Within the protective cocoon of cynicism you can completely disengage. You don’t have to care anymore. Nobody sets

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