Self-Control – Vegetable of the Spirit? No.

  The fruits of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5. They all seem sweet-tasting – except for one. The first three, ‘love’, ‘joy’, ‘peace’ all sound like what you want to experience, but the last one, ‘self-control’, does not. Self-control seems more like ‘the vegetable of the spirit’. Perhaps the turnip. But in the long run, self-control is the most refreshing fruit. Self-control ‘re-freshens’ your person. It gives you back to you. The common reaction to ‘self-control’ is that you ‘have’ to do things you don’t want to do.… Continue reading Self-Control – Vegetable of the Spirit? No.

Never Talked to a Mere Mortal

  “You have never talked to a mere mortal.”  {Full quote is at the end of this post} This CS Lewis quote disturbs me. It confronts me, wrenching a hazy ‘idea’ of immortality from the back of my head and thrusting it tangibly in front of me – on my neighbor’s face. Immortality, it seems, has a nose. Immortality has eyes. My neighbor is an immortal. I try to stay disturbed. I try not to run from it, holding that quote in mind, ‘I have never talked to a mere… Continue reading Never Talked to a Mere Mortal

Marriage Thermostat

  “It’s cold in here,” I say. “No, it’s about right,” my wife replies, “You just came in. You’re not regulated.” I mumble, “I know my own skin.” I am convinced that the temperature is all wrong. Intolerable, in fact. I check the thermostat for vindication. “68 -72 is the comfort zone,” I cite the American Journal of HVAC – a line I’ve used before.   Jean repeats her standard line, “Yes, but the thermostat is placed wrong. You’ll warm up…just wait.” “Hmmpfh,” I politely emit (snort), my nose inches… Continue reading Marriage Thermostat

Seeing Things As They Really Are

  When Adam awoke to life, he saw things as they really are. He saw gifts. The daffodil at his feet? An unexpected yellow surprise, delicate and bright. Bending closer – he would be startled by its airy fragrance. Perhaps this was the moment when Adam first learned to sniff. And upon sniffing, Adam further discovered, in cross-eyed astonishment, that he possessed a nose. “What a happy fellow I am,” he might have thought, “that I am given this thing… this instrument of pleasure, situated just-so upon my face so… Continue reading Seeing Things As They Really Are

Money Can’t Buy Me Love

. I’ll buy you a diamond ring my friend if it makes you feel alright I’ll get you anything my friend if it makes you feel alright ‘Cause I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love Can’t buy me love, love Can’t buy me love The Beatles: Can’t Buy Me Love, March 1964   Money can’t buy love. We know because we’ve tried. It is our  life-experiment and each time it fails. We’ve paid for good meals, but the date still turned bad. We’ve bought the… Continue reading Money Can’t Buy Me Love

Typical Date Night

My wife (Jean) and I often go out for a “date night.”  It is one way we stay connected. So here’s how a typical date night goes: Spouse 1: “Do you want to get in a date night this week?” Spouse 2: “Sure – well – do you?” Spouse 1: “Yes.. don’t you?” Not exactly a roaring start. Even after 31 years together – we are still shy – does she really want to spend time with me? Then the appointed evening arrives.  As we drive out of the driveway,… Continue reading Typical Date Night

Admitting Depression

. When I am depressed – I admit it in a straight forward manner. “I’m a little down. Well, sorta… a little. But it’s better today.” People don’t know what to do with such bold confession. Some will venture a question, “What are you feeling?” “Oh, you know,” I say. They look at me, “No, I don’t.” “It’s just been stressful, that’s all. I’m just tired – not sleeping all that well. It will pass.” “How long?” I am getting a little irritable from their incessant questions. But I answer,… Continue reading Admitting Depression


“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying.” Woody Allen I don’t think much about dying. I avoid the whole idea. But then Easter comes along… when God died. And that brings the whole terrible subject up again. Easter – with it’s Maundy Thursday, it’s tombs and grave clothes – annually reminds me of death. But I get reminded annually anyway: birthdays. Yes, that’s right, birthdays remind me of death. It wasn’t always this way. When I was little, I couldn’t… Continue reading Resurrection!

Anxiety Teaches Hope

I didn’t admit my anxiety until I was 35. I was counseling a man experiencing significant panic attacks. I asked him to describe the sensation. He was from  a rural NC town so that his manner of speech was lyrical and visceral: “Up in my chest…there’s a tight turnin’ – like someone twistin’ a wet towel”. “And I feel,” he said, “this doom…this terrible doom.” I’d heard people describe anxiety before – but the way this man said it…  He made a fist next to his chest and slowly twisted… Continue reading Anxiety Teaches Hope

Debt Collector

I have a confession. By day, I am a Christian Therapist and Teacher. I teach forgiveness and the free life. But by night (and dark corners of the day), I am a Debt Collector. This disturbing realization was prompted by an article I recently read. It was written by a man who worked ‘undercover’ in a debt collection agency for 3 months. He described their day. After a group meeting with his supervisor, he would sit and make “up to 150 -200 calls a day.” That sentence got a visceral… Continue reading Debt Collector