Tag Archives: discipleship

The transforming choice

The first and best thing to do with mystery is be quiet. The word itself suggests it. It’s from the Greek mustēs, “secret,” something shared only with the initiated. It has the sense of “shhhh,” a sound best made with a forefinger pressed to the lips. Maybe that’s why, after Jesus’ disciples had witnessed his […]

We’re all in this together

Last week I reflected on Jesus’ comment that we Christians are the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13), a seasoning presence in what might otherwise be a tasteless world. If we simply live our faith as authentically as possible, like salt is simply salt, we might make a tasteless world a little more savory and […]

Come and see

“Come and see,” Jesus said to those would-be followers who wanted to know where he was staying, and they came and saw, or so the story goes (John 1:39). But often seeing is not as easy as that. I can look and look at what is obvious to someone else and not see a thing. […]

Almost Christian

It’s profoundly ironic that we’ve created a Sunday called Christ the King (the gospel for the day is Luke 23:33-43) to celebrate Jesus, who went out of his way to avoid being made a king. We sing, “Crown him with many crowns, . . . and hail him as thy matchless king,” despite reading that […]

A little R&R

Did Jesus really say we can’t be his disciple if we don’t give up all our possessions (Luke 14:33)? Think how hard it would be if we did that. How would you hold your breakfast cereal? How would you brush your teeth in the morning? If that’s what he meant, there would be a lot […]

Becoming the Word

We’re still close enough to the season of commencement addresses to remember the advice of Ray Bradbury: “Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. . . […]

Companions in the journey

Sometimes Jesus just seems cranky, like during this road trip through Samaria (Luke 9:51-62). Someone offers to follow him, and Jesus encourages him to reconsider. You’ll have no place ever again to call home, Jesus tells him, no place even to rest (vv. 57-58). Jesus invites another, who wants to honor his father, and tells […]

On love for one’s enemies

Sometimes it seems Jesus expects too much of us. The invitation he offers makes the life of discipleship look pretty good. When we look closer, however, things look different. Jesus promises “more and better life than [you] ever dreamed of” (John 10:10 MSG). He says: Don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing; […]

When you’re desperate enough

How desperate do you feel? Thoreau believed most people “lead lives of quiet desperation” (Walden, “Economy”), not the frantic desperation of someone who’s in imminent danger, but the subtler kind, the low-level anxiety that slowly eats away at us. We may pretend it doesn’t exist, but once in a while it bubbles up and lets […]

How to live well

It’s easy to lose the meaning of what you try to say when your words are translated into a different language and a different culture. Kentucky Fried Chicken got off to a bad start opening a franchise in China when their slogan, “Finger-lickin’ good,” was translated, “Eat your fingers off.” And a Swedish company missed […]