wisdom and simplicity

The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.
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our illegal war against ISIS

As a chaplain, I’m a theologian, not a lawyer. But as a commissioned officer, I’m also trained in military strategy, political science, and the ins-and-outs of making war. I have master’s degrees in both theology and military science but not law. Clearly, I am more interested in the philosophy of war—especially the notion of a just war—than I am the legality of any particular conflict. That said, I am in plainly in the minority among those warfighters, commanders, and leaders in today’s armed forces. In fact, though one of my principal roles is apparently to advise commanders on the ethics of war, I have yet to be consulted by a single leader on the subject. Typically, commanders run to the JAGs to tell them what they legally can do rather than be troubled with what they morally should do.

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on terror and comfort

At times our conscience terrifies us, and our heart panics. It looks for something good in us or some good work—something for our hope to grasp hold of and think that surely God would be merciful to us and forgive us our multitude of sins, if just for this one elusive thing. Usually, our searching is for not, as we realize that we are not good, are not loving, are not anything we hope or want to be, let along what God has commanded us to be.

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a meditation

There is a contemplative in all of us, almost strangled but still alive, who craves quiet enjoyment of the Now, and longs to touch the seamless garment of silence which makes whole.
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why are we so afraid?

I have written before about the fear that grips Americans, including American Christians. Our entire political process is driven by fear—of the other party, of terrorism, of threats from other nations, of (fill in the blank).

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a windows-down road trip

Heading out of Little Rock last weekend for my hometown in southern Indiana the air conditioner went out on our van. While at first our hearts all sank at the prospect of driving 400 miles with the air out through the August sun, it didn’t take long for us to realize that this accident would be the best part of the trip!

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the cross as misfortune

"Suffering" is not a very popular word in the vernacular of contemporary American Christianity. Oh sure, we talk about 'suffering' and 'persecution' from time-to-time, even in our own cultural context, but can be we honest for a minute and admit that such things have really no part our American Christian experience? Seriously, being made fun of or mocked for your faith isn't suffering. Not even close.

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how NOT to pray

I did not watch yesterday’s coverage of the first day of the Republican National Convention. I will not watch today’s coverage or any coverage of this convention or the Democratic National Convention. I did read through some of the transcripts of various speeches and found very little that was original, inspiring, or confidence-building. Was I surprised by this? Not in the least.

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time to return to writing

I’ve been silent on this blog for some months now. Not that I haven’t been writing, I just haven’t been writing consistently or online. The events of the past few months have driven me inward, forcing me to contemplate aspects of faith and life that have been largely ignored or little explored before now—aspects like violence, pacifism, war, nationalism, and others. Have I arrived at staunch conclusions about all of them? Certainly not. But it is time to collect my random musings, put fingers to keys, and start writing online again. Not for you, dear readers, but for me. The exercise of writing helps us reason and think. It is therapeutic. It can lead to prayer. It can prompt worship.

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prayer for Good Friday

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