Category: Spirituality

God for the Doubtful Days

Mike “Science Mike” Mchargue and I probably disagree on some things But like him I have spent time as a fundamentalist Christian, a hardcore atheist, and many things in between. Now, like him, I’m in the “in between.” And on my more doubtful days I find his definition of God particularly grounding (at least the […]

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Easter and the Pandemic

“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. . .” Isaiah 53:4 What would it be like to die alone? What would it be like to watch from a distance as a loved one did? What would it be like to be denied the right to tend and bury their body? The many […]

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Nothing Done With Love Is Wasted

Sometimes I paralyze myself with my own cynicism and critical mind sometimes. When I am burnt out on the posturing, inauthenticity, the mundanity, or the inanity of something in the mainstream (from soulless corporate jobs to mindless consumerism to self-referential intellectualism), it can be hard to see a way out. Whenever I desire to share, […]

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You Are Responsible for Your Own Disillusionment

We aren’t so much disillusioned by the failures of others as by our own failures. We aren’t just disillusioned with our ideals because of the corrupt systems at our companies or in our countries. Plenty of people keep their idealism while fighting corrupt systems. We are disillusioned because we go along with the systems. We […]

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No One Talks About the Next Leap of Faith

Most of the best things in my life have come because of leaps of faith. I took the leap of faith to skip college because I took the leap of faith to follow my philosophical convictions. I found Praxis because I took the leap of faith to skip college. I found work I love at […]

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Unexpected Cardboard Signs and the Gifts the Poor Can Give

“. . . ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them . . .” – Luke 21 Today I passed a smiling dirty man holding a side on the side of the road.His sign didn’t ask for help. It just said “Be safe and enjoy life.” I double-take […]

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Make Good Memories Like It’s Your Job

The future is uncertain, but what is done well is done well. I’ll always have the Christmases with my grandparents, the movie nights with my father, the books read with my mother, the balls thrown to my dog, and the days preparing for the stage with my high school theatre pals. I’ll always have that […]

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The Value of Knowing Awful People

“Surround yourself with people you want to be like.” “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” This is all fine advice. I’ve found it to be true in my own experience. But like all advice, it has its counterpart. As good as it is to have admirable, wonderful […]

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A Lesson from My Grandmother’s Frugal (and Generous) Life

I’ve put together this tribute from the notes for and my best recollection of the the eulogy I spoke at my grandmother Ruth McMinn McIntyre Shull’s memorial service in July 2019. The eulogy given differed in a few small respects (live edits, etc). Like many of her generation, my grandmother was the definition of frugality […]

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Futility and Platelet Donations

You’ll never understand futility like trying to donate platelets and having your donation go to waste. The whole process of donating platelets is much more intensive than the blood donation process. It can take up to two hours, and it requires you to be quite still. Despite my best efforts, I failed on this count, […]

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Post-Nausea Gratitude

When’s the last time you were truly nauseous? It’s a horrible feeling – all the worse because it’s usually a low-level, dull sense of unease and volatility. I experienced nausea today for the first time in months, and – as it always does – it feels like the end of the world. No amount of […]

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Why Be Moral? Let Your Curiosity Have a Say

Why be kind, just, ethical? I’ve already spent a good amount of my time thinking about this question – and there is more than one good answer. But I’ve been fascinated lately by a new way to think about the reasons for “being good”. Perhaps one of the most powerful moral motivators I can imagine is […]

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This Is What Peace Looks Like

When I walk in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park these days, I get a few moments where I see at a deeper level. I see hundreds of smiling people. I see couples in love, parents with children, and happy dogs trotting ahead of them. I see people playing soccer and football, throwing frisbees, roller-blading, running, biking, picnicking, and doing (popsicle) […]

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Forgiveness Keeps the World Turning

If you’ve ever wronged someone, you might know how the feeling of guilt drags along behind you like a ball and chain. If you’re like me, you tend to judge yourself more harshly even than other people judge you. If you’re like me, you know that living without confessing and receiving forgiveness for a fault […]

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The Variety That Requires Fidelity

Some of us long for variety in our lives. We like reading new books, trying new kinds of skills, going to new places. We can’t stand the idea of being pigeonholed. We’re the kind of people psychologists would pin down as being high in the trait of “openness”, or openness to new experience. But there’s […]

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I Don’t Want To Make the World Feel Smaller

Should we really want travel make our world feel “smaller”? Last week I took a flight on Delta Airlines, and their pre-flight advertisement followed this theme of a smaller, more accessible world as it showed beautiful images of people frolicking in tropical water paradises. etc. I don’t blame the good marketers of Delta for pursuing this theme: it’s […]

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Maybe God Doesn’t Want To Cut You Down To Size

“He has shown strength with his arm;     he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,     and lifted up the lowly. . .”  There’s a great tradition in the Jewish and Christian religions (and in religion in general) of God cutting “the proud” and […]

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Your “Imperishable Things” Need the Perishable Ones

For millennia, philosophers and religious leaders (hereafter referred to as “wise guys”) – one after another – have reminded people like you to go after the things that last. Muscles? Bodily health? Beauty? Sex? Wealth? Ask many Christians, Stoics, Buddhists, or other practicing wise guys and you can expect to be told that “these [perishable] things will all pass […]

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My Favorite Collected Wise/Inspirational Sayings (from Other People)

Some words just have a magical quality. “To sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world. That’s what everybody does every hour of his life. If I asked you to keep your soul – would you understand why that’s much harder?” (from The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand)  Don’t words like those just hit you […]

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Be An Instigator

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard was to “be first.” Be first to say hello to a stranger, be first to volunteer, be first to take on a challenge. This is fine advice. The more I manage to follow it, the more I enjoy my life and see others enjoying theirs as […]

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Your Story Makes Things Lovable

Nostalgia is a strange thing: it makes us fond of some stupid, awkward, and ugly things. Tonight, for instance, I was listening to some cheesy country songs from the 90s and early 00s. By many objective standards I should dislike this stuff (the over-production, 80s hangover mullets, and twangy rock/pop sound, etc) but for better or worse I’ve come […]

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Be the Euphoria You Want To See In the World

As part of my Charity:Water campaign, I’m writing blog posts for people who contribute $25 or more to bring clean water to 23 people. You have a word/topic/question you want me to riff on? I’ll (probably) write it. One donor asked me to write about euphoria: when I experience it (and why), when I see it in […]

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Which Hallucinogen Would I Try First?

As part of my Charity:Water campaign, I’m writing blog posts for people who contribute $25 or more to bring clean water to 23 people. You have a word/topic/question you want me to riff on? I’ll (probably) write it. One donor asked me to write about what it means to me to “live in the moment”, so here […]

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Living In (All) the Moment(s)

As part of my Charity:Water campaign, I’m writing blog posts for people who contribute $25 or more to bring clean water to 23 people. You have a word/topic/question you want me to riff on? I’ll (probably) write it. One donor asked me to write about what it means to me to “live in the moment”, so here […]

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You Will Never Succeed If You Can’t Forgive Yourself

“Forgive yourself.” I used to think that this was advice for the weak. Even now it seems like an easy way out from guilt or failure. But I’m learning something about growth and improvement: getting back on the horse after failure is half the battle. And for any person trying to mount back up after […]

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What If I Become Evil?

“You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” – Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight  What if I become evil? This is a great tragedy: to go through life struggling for the good only to become corrupted, to lose, to give in, to actively participate in making the world worse. Many […]

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You Probably Don’t Know Your Greatest Fears

You think your greatest fear is heights. Or confronting your boss. Or succeeding at work. Or facing down spiders. Or dying in a plane crash. You might be wrong about that. These fears are fearsome, to be sure. We have to confront serious psychological discomfort to get past them. But people overcome these sorts of fears […]

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You Are Another Generation’s Reward

“For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” – Matthew 13:17  What if I told you that a long time ago, millions of people hoped that you would exist? I happened to tune in […]

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Accept the Fractured World

The world comes with fractures. And it’s hard for people like me to reckon with that. I tend to think that it’s a fluke when I don’t like someone, or when there’s division. I’m typically surprised when I get into a real conflict with someone. I think warring camps are ridiculous. I want to heal and bridge divides. I want […]

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The Power of (Ancient) Spoken Words

Tonight I had the opportunity to read one of the Scripture texts at my church’s pre-Christmas Eve Christmas Eve service. This service sort of like the dress rehearsal, and I played a bit part. But even though I had a small bit of text to read, that text was no joke. What other time of year, […]

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