Francis de Sales on being formed in Christ

St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) is known to Christian history as one of the great spiritual directors, meaning he would help people discern ways of paying attention to God in their own situations. He didn’t just give general advice; he spoke with friends about how...

The Season of Lent

In the weeks leading up to Easter, the Christian church has traditionally kept a season of preparation, called Lent. During these weeks, we consider the human condition and the need we have for Jesus, whose coming, death, and resurrection is our hope. Early on, the...

Ghosts in Our Past

Almost all of my trick or treating took place in the 1980s. By the end of that decade I was in grade eight and had pretty much left October 31st to the younger kids. My Halloween tradition was by then reduced to little more than listening to DJ Jazzy Jeff and the...

Prayer in Quiet and in Crisis

For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. – Nehemiah 1:4 The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king. – Nehemiah 2:4-5 Nehemiah was both a man of prayer and a man of action. The...

Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and the Family of God

In what may be a futile effort to convince myself that spring has arrived, I’ve lately been watching Ken Burns’ heralded 1994 PBS documentary Baseball. Its archival photos and film footage, period music, and priceless anecdotes evoke summers past, and make it an easy...

On Not Always Paying Attention to All the News

Considering the difficulty of keeping up with the news, John Stott commends, in his book Between Two Worlds, his own practice: “for many years now I have found a thorough reading of a weekly much more profitable than the cursory scanning of a daily” (193). How times...

An “Indispensable” Part: Frances Whitehead

The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the hand cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable." - 1 Cor. 12:21-22 History is full of significant figures. In the second...

Secrets

"Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, 'He told me everything I ever did.'" - John 4:39 Life is laden with secrets. From people on the outside, we keep our family secrets. From people who might ridicule us, we make a...

Powerful Name(s) – Notes on Matthew 1:18-25

When the angel Gabriel met Joseph, a sigh of relief wasn’t the meeting’s only outcome. Joseph had discovered not only the origin of his betrothed wife Mary's baby, but also the significance of the One to come. The angel instructed Joseph to name the baby Jesus because...