The Promise and Perplexities

For more than fifty years I have been discussing the promise and perplexities of the human situation with both secular and religious audiences. This crossing back and forth from one audience to the other has been an eye-opening experience.   more

When I was a boy growing up on a farm in the hills of West Virginia, our “near” barn was about fifty yards from our house. I traversed those fifty yards several times a day to milk the cows, feed the horses, tend the chickens. I remember three things from those brief journeys.


One, I most often felt I had to run, and I did. Two, occasionally I would decide to walk, slowly; I’m not sure why. Three, and most importantly, I had my first inkling...

I’ve found that the same question can be answered differently at various times of our lives.


For example, my Dad used to look at me and ask, “Do you think you will ever amount to anything?”


When you’re young, especially in your teens, dads can still occasionally get hold of a good question in spite of their generally regarded ignorance.


Dad had gotten hold of one of those good questions. He asked it with a twinkle in his eye and a tone in hi...

Would you permit me to say a further word about joy? It is just so central to my own thought and life. It’s on my short list of the most important things needed to live a good life.

Joy shines through tears.

Joy is not to be held hostage by emotion–not by any emotion. Joy is that deep, eternal substance (I need a better word here) that is constant to human life.

Joy is unmotivated. Joy is there. Joy is there when we fail; when we suffer unspeak...

Anyone who knows me, or has known me, knows that joy is central to my understanding of what it means to be human. In addition to the experience of success we live in a world where we experience suffering, failure, loss, injustice, even evil. During such times, when the going is tough, when we’re vulnerable to the weakest and worst side of our nature, we need a deep commitment to something that keeps us in touch with the good, the better, the...

Earlier this morning I walked through each room in my home. I walked through so I could bless each room.


I stood in each, I thought about why I loved the room, why I wanted to bless the room. I made sure to include each closet.


Every room brought memories. I looked in each with careful attention. My heart was very quiet. Thoughts poured into me. Each room became intentionally special as I moved among them. I remembered things I had forgotten...

Prayer may be the most primordial act of the human spirit.


Prayer is considered a “religious” act, but it is also a profoundly “human” act. Every human heart/life needs the outlet of prayer. And, indeed, I think prayer is the last act considered “religious” that a human gives up.


Private, personal prayer is a form of speech freed from the opinion of others, freed from the approval or condemnation of others.


If one truly prays, one might get...

A lot happened before I came into the world. That is a good thing for me to remember!


And a lot will happen after I’m gone from this world. That is another good thing for me to remember.


My life in comparison to the ‘Before I was here’ and the ‘After I was here’ is but an infinitesimally small moment.


And now, as I move through the final bit of that small moment, I can’t help but cry out to Life, cry out to God:


“Please give me wisdom and in...

I’m far more interested in becoming the human being I’m created to be than I am in becoming religious.


My life has at its core a series of choosings and re-choosings of Jesus as the one who I follow in the work of becoming a true human being.


This is my supreme fascination: Jesus as a human being in order to come near us.


We become human in order to come near others who are also struggling to become more human.


I have learned from Jesus how...

The experience of loss is one of our most powerful and indelible human experiences. Here is my journal entry from August 24, 2010 on the loss of my brother, Ross:


I am en route to the memorial service for my brother, Ross. He died Friday night.


All of my years are gathered up in his years. He’s been there all of my 73 years.


He’s four and a half years older than me. I remember the first night after his departure for college. The bedroom we s...

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    My name, Landon, means “from the long hill.” I started my life in the hills of West Virginia. As a boy I kept climbing those long hills so I could see farther. After a lifetime of journeys and many climbs, I can now see much better, see so much more.

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The Joy of Slow

When I was a boy growing up on a farm in the hills of West Virginia, our “near” barn was about fifty yards from our house. I traversed those fifty yar...

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