sheep holding forgive me sign

Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: Forced Rehab and Misplaced Forgiveness

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Is it possible to force a person into rehab? My mom confronted my sister about her drug problem again. Of course my sister continues to deny it even though we all know she is lying. She has … Continue reading Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: Forced Rehab and Misplaced Forgiveness

Reflections on Les Miserables

Why does Les Miserables move me so much? In 2014, I watched an incredible Broadway performance of that famous musical. At the end I stood cheering and applauding. I was also weeping openly. Why? I don’t cry that easily–and I know the story extremely well. I’ve even read the book from upon which the musical and the many movie versions are based: all 530,982 words, or 1488 pages of it. But I still wept. What I see here each time is the universal story:  the grinding, soul-destroying poverty and injustice that rules the lives of most; the occasional ray of light … Continue reading Reflections on Les Miserables

Further Reflections on Bishop Bledsoe and the Nature of Grace

The Nature of Grace I’ve got the whole concept of grace heavy on my mind today.  In a world held together by a gracious God, I am more and more aware that we don’t always receive what we want and never receive what we deserve. Others have written eloquently about this subject, particularly Dietrich Bonhoeffer:  “cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ,”  and Philip Yancey, “God dispenses gifts, not wages. None of us gets paid according to merit, for none of us … Continue reading Further Reflections on Bishop Bledsoe and the Nature of Grace