Archives For Scouting the Divine

How Much Do Small Places Matter? Wendell Berry Weighs In

Wendell Berry is like grit for my fingernails, a writer who helps me breathe in the thickness of life.

In his stunning essay, “Contempt for Small Places,” this farmer with a prophetic bent writes:

“The health of the oceans depends on the health of rivers; the health of rivers depends on the health of small streams: the health of small streams depends on the health of their watersheds.

The health of water is exactly the same as the health of the land; the health of the small places is exactly the same as the health of the large places...

We cannot immunize the continents and the oceans against our contempt for small places and small streams. Small destructions add up, and finally they are understood collectively as large destructions..."

 Is Berry reflecting on the land or the state of our souls? Continue Reading...

Everything Hinges on Your Ability To Do This One Thing

The loudest voices in our culture herald a consistent message. Go big. Go viral. Get busy.

Get distracted. Ooh! Look at this. Ooh! Shiny, shiny, shiny.

Perhaps you’ve noticed this, too.

The screens and software and computer devices we use are designed to train us to pay attention to them and nothing else. The way they sound, feel, and look are created so they become the center of lives. This isn’t cultural commentary as much as basic brain science.

As the Hugh McGuire observes in this brilliant article:

  • “New information creates a rush of dopamine to the brain, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good.”
  • “The promise of new information compels your brain to seek out that dopamine rush.”

Ever notice—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, text—sets off a rush of dopamine. The rush causes us to develop behaviors that reinforce our behaviors. Responding soon becomes habit.

Start a project. Need dopamine. Check Facebook. Dopamine rush. Check email. Second dopamine rush. Hit refresh. No new emails. Visit Twitter for dopamine rush. Return to project. Repeat cycle again and again.

No wonder it’s so hard not to look at our phones when we feel the vibration or hear the ring or ping. Our brain science urges, “You want this. Just a peek.” Continue Reading...

The Secret to Making this the Best Summer Ever

Maybe you’ve found yourself crying out to God and all you hear is silence.

Maybe you can’t remember the last time you sensed the presence of God.

Maybe you’re wondering why God doesn’t make Himself more real in your life, in your situation.

Let’s be honest. We all go through days, months, even years, when God feels 10,000 miles away. If that’s you, you are not alone.

Tucked into the New Testament, we find the promise:

Come near to God and he will come near to you. —James 4:8

Are you ready to draw near? Continue Reading...

Giveaway: 5 Fun Facts About Scouting the Divine to Celebrate the 5th Printing

Sweet Friends,

I am humbled, honored, and downright thrilled to announce that Scouting the Divine: My Search for God in Wine, Wool, and Wild Honey has entered into its 5th printing! To celebrate, I wanted to give a few extra special gifts. Continue Reading...

sheep

I love the way God is at work and even uses a tiny sheep to accomplish his purposes.

For those of you who have read Scouting the Divine or been through the six-week Bible study, then you're familiar with Lynne, the shepherdess, who I spent time with her and flock unpacking Scriptural truths.

Lynne and I continue to keep in touch, and I recently received the following note from her regarding a small sheep named Piaget. This precious creature was near death and Lynne nursed her back to life as a loving shepherdess.

While other shepherds would have given up on Piaget, Lynne never did--even waking in the middle of the night to crawl in the pen to be with Piaget.

Their story offers a rich portrait of God's tender love for us.

Here is an update from Lynne on how God is still using Piaget for his purposes:

Continue Reading...