July 19, 2018

Such strange grace

April 5 will mark six years since Michael Spencer’s death. We will be devoting next week to some of his most memorable writings, writings that helped many of us survive wilderness journeys akin to his own. Today, I had lunch with a friend who I was encouraging to write for us. She has had a fascinating […]

Church Changes

I have found myself in an interesting position lately. I’ve been preaching at a small, rural Lutheran church about fifteen miles from my home. It is a sweet, traditional congregation, a church that was founded in 1838. For some time now, they have had a semi-retired pastor serving them. They are too small to support […]

Mondays with Michael Spencer: March 14, 2016

How God Ruined Church for Me An edited version of a 2007 post by Michael Spencer You see, it’s supposed to work like this: The world of churches is like a big mall, and there are many different kinds of stores. You choose one store–ONE–and you go there for everything you need. You are LOYAL […]

Sept. 11 Special: Interview with Charles Featherstone

Note from CM: I first met Charles Featherstone over a cup of coffee at Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago a couple of years ago. Even in our brief interaction, I was intrigued by him and the story of his wilderness journey. I learned only a small portion of it then, but now that Charles […]

Ryan McLaughlin: A Luminous Darkness

A Luminous Darkness By Ryan McLaughlin At long last, I had found my way out of the wilderness! Or so I thought, at least. My wife and I became Roman Catholic on a beautiful spring evening in the heart of Boston. As Holy Saturday became Easter Sunday, the bells rang out and the lights came […]

Scenes from the Desert

Here is a gallery of scenes from the desert for you to enjoy. The pictures were taken in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve and the McDowell Mountain Sonoran Preserve in Arizona. Seeing the images is obviously not the same as being there, but perhaps they will provide the opportunity for you to take a wilderness journey of your […]

Report from the desert (2): The golden hour

Photographers and cinematographers love “the golden hour” (sometimes called “the magic hour”). This describes the time of light right after sunrise and right before sunset. During these periods, the sun’s light is more diffuse and softer, bathing the world in a pleasing reddish-golden hue. I took the picture above yesterday at McDowell Mountain Sonoran Desert […]

Report from the desert (1)

I’ve been here in the desert for a couple of days now. The temperature only strays below 100 degrees after the sun goes down, and soon makes its way back up there by around noon the next day. I don’t seem to be bothered much by it; in fact, I rather enjoy it, though I’ve […]

Into the Wilderness…

I left a good church last month. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Why do I call it good? It was full of people whose hearts were in the right place. The leadership was comprised of quality individuals. It was a church that wasn’t satisfied with the status […]

Death Letter, part four: Hope and Healing

We live in a Good Friday world, but we are an Easter People. • • • This is our final installment of reflections on David W. Peters’ memoir, Death Letter: God, Sex, and War. Peters served as a battalion chaplain in Fort Hood, Texas from 2004-2007, which included a deployment to Iraq in 2006. After Iraq he also […]