Jeremiah 33:6a Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them
In 3 days I am going to enter the hospital for back surgery. This is an eagerly anticipated event because I have been in so much pain for such a long time and this is my best chance at relief. But it got me thinking about healing and the value of touching and holding those in pain. It is not uncommon to be afraid to touch or hold a person in pain, either physical or mental pain, because we don’t want to cause them any additional discomfort. But, when it comes right down to it those of us who suffer chronic pain want to be held. To feel the gentle touch of another person helps us to know we are cared for and loved, that we aren’t forgotten or discarded. You see there is much power in the touch of the...
For all the exuberant talk about the liberation of what is often called the “new atheism” as exemplified by people like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, the late Christopher Hitchens, Bill Maher, and Saturday Night Live alumna Julia Sweeney – with the vast majority of which I heartily agree – there is one area, so far little remarked, where the “new atheism” and the “new atheists” simply cannot compete with conventional, theistic religion: comfort and reassurance. Yes, yes, to be sure, conventional, orthodox, theistic religion is, in many ways, a congeries of pathologies ranging from the comically absurd -- Neanderthal humans hunting t. Rex, anyone? -- to the violent to the downright evil. Their name is “Legion”, for they are many. I have criticized many of them in this space,...
Psalm 131:1-2 God, I’m not trying to rule the roost,
I don’t want to be king of the mountain.
I haven’t meddled where I have no business
or fantasized grandiose plans.
2 I’ve kept my feet on the ground,
I’ve cultivated a quiet heart.
Like a baby content in its mother’s arms,
my soul is a baby content. (MSG)
One of the benefits of a sabbatical is having the time to stop and let the world go by. In fact I have begun to practice an extension of stopping that I call “what will be, will be.” On my trip I would wake in the morning and intentionally decided to let the day unfold as God intended for it to happen, making few plans, being open to opportunities to meet people or visit a place I hadn’t been before, taking the time to really listen to the person I just met, stopping and really seei...