Desert spirituality at two o’clock in the morning

Stars over the desert

FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterestPrintE-mail Look at pretty much any culture that existed before the use of electricity, and you’ll see that they had deep superstitions about night. Throughout the ages, it’s been a nearly universal human belief that evil forces gained potency after the sun went down. Age-old evening prayers reflect fears of death: Now I lay me… [Continue Reading]

Six questions for conquering crazy-think and making good decisions

FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterestPrintE-mail I don’t do suffering well. Some generous people said that they thought I handled the pulmonary embolism thing¬†gracefully, but a) they would have retracted all of that and slowly backed away in fear if they could have heard my inner dialogue, and b) sitting in a quiet hospital room and listening to my iPod… [Continue Reading]

Behind the scenes of a mid-life crisis

FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterestPrintE-mail I think I had a mid-life crisis a few months ago. It was a weird experience, because I didn’t see it coming. Ever since my conversion I’ve had this unshakable sense of peace at the foundation of my life, a sort of root-level happiness that I never knew was possible. Yeah, things are hard,… [Continue Reading]

“Joy is not a flag Jesus plants in us; it is a fruit he grows in us”

FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterestPrintE-mail I received a copy of a new book while I was at the monastery this week. I planned to read it when I got home, but as soon as I glanced at the first page, I knew I’d been given something special. I ended up spending hours poring over its pages, soaking up its… [Continue Reading]

A Hallmark card for God

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FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterestPrintE-mail It was Yaya‘s birthday a couple of weeks ago, and when the time came to write up a card, I froze. How could I possibly express my appreciation for all that she does for us? This was when I was bad-busy, when I’d gotten myself in over my head with so many commitments that… [Continue Reading]

Explore your doubts, but do so in peace

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FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterestPrintE-mail I hear from a lot of people who fear they’re losing their faith. They’ve had some doubts come to mind that they just can’t seem to get past, and they’re rattled to the core to think that their entire belief system just might be false. Since I’ve spent so much time in the spiritual… [Continue Reading]

“He is not a means, and our joy is not the end”

6th-Century image of Christ from Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai

FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterestPrintE-mail A longtime topic of interest for me has been the concept of “spiritual dry spells,” when you can’t seem to feel God’s presence. I haven’t had a whole lot of emotional religious experiences, and when I was first in the conversion process, I had none. I felt like I was doing something wrong since… [Continue Reading]

"I sought but I didn’t find. Now what?"

FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterestPrintE-mail I occasionally hear from people who say that “seek and ye shall find” didn’t work for them. They explain that they prayed, read the Bible, researched, asked Jesus to help them, opened their hearts and minds, etc. but didn’t end up any closer to belief. A commenter named Amy once summarized it eloquently in… [Continue Reading]

"You pray before battle"

FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterestPrintE-mail Last week I was praying about how I’m bad at praying. (I use the word “praying” loosely here; “whining in God’s general direction” would be a better term.) I was walking around as I cleaned up the kitchen after dinner, half-consciously thinking stuff like, “I dunno, I do try pray, but I always get… [Continue Reading]

Doubt after atheism

FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterestPrintE-mail Occasionally I’m asked if I ever have doubts about God’s existence since my conversion to Christianity from lifelong atheism. The answer isn’t a clear yes or a clear no, because I’ve found that there are different types of doubt. In my experience, here’s how it’s broken down: Three Types of Doubt 1. Doubt based… [Continue Reading]