Re-Centering of the Self: Seeing Christianity through a New Lens

What is a “spiritual life”? I didn’t have a good answer to that until recently. My road to a deeper spirituality was a long, arduous, and somewhat surprising one. It didn’t come through religion, church, Scripture, meditation, prayer, or any type of spiritual practice. Not that those things can’t get one there, I’m sure they can. It began with an examination of the self, one which revealed to me a small-false-ego-self that had to be stripped of all the detritus surrounding it so that it could be confronted in full light.

Read More
Brad BensonComment
How the Ancient Practice of Lectio Divina Can Help Parents Live and Model the Moral Life

Ever since I became a parent, I have been particularly invested in living a moral life. This is not to say morality was unimportant to me before, of course. But now I have a little human around who observes everything I do and say, and I genuinely want to guide him toward making decisions that are right for him and those around him. Therefore, the choices I make each day, for myself and for him, have decidedly profound implications.

Read More
Ryan TahmasebComment
Aligning Values & Actions: A Practice in Self-Discovery & Transformation

Developing self-control obviously does not come without struggle, as can be heard in Paul the Apostle’s famous lament: “That which I do not want to do, that I do.” Jesus delivers a similar warning when he tells us to “watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The Desert Fathers put extremely strong emphasis on developing self-control as a means for attaining “purity of heart.”

Read More
Brad BensonComment
The Importance of Self-Reflection for Parents

Doesn’t this ring true? We must do the work of aligning who we really are inside with how we actually act every day. And self-reflection enables us to bridge this gap. When we take stock of whatever’s going on beneath the surface of our thoughts, words, and actions, we’re better able to understand the gap between the way we are living today and the way we know we should be living.

Read More
Ryan TahmasebComment
On Biblical Interpretation & The Importance of Questions: A Conversation With Wil Gafney

It’s really important for folk of all ages to have spaces where they can ask questions and have those questions honored and respected, and sometimes left hanging. It’s important for congregants and students to hear that clergy and faculty have our own questions with which we wrestle. It’s also important to introduce folk to biblical criticism early, to demonstrate the seriousness with which we take the complexity of the text.

Read More
Ryan Tahmaseb Comments
Healing Means Allowing Grief to Help Us Grow

I don’t love the truth of it, but over time I’ve learned that our most powerful learning experiences often occur after a loss of some kind. With loss comes grief, and for a while, grief has a weight to it that can feel unbearably heavy. But whenever we’re ready, which hopefully isn’t too long after the loss, we can begin to work on giving our grief expression through activities like therapy, writing, prayer, honest conversation, and meditation.


Read More
Ryan Tahmaseb Comments
An Approach to Keeping Children Open to Religion in a Secular Age

I was raised in a Protestant Christian household, but after being confirmed at the age of 13 my parents gave me the choice of continuing with the church or not. I couldn’t run away fast enough. The whole thing seemed like a sham and a waste of time. Nothing aligned with the science I was learning in school, and the church’s ideas of God, creation, and heaven seemed beyond ridiculous.

Read More
Brad Benson Comments
The Grace of Enough: A Conversation with Haley Stewart

There is no checklist for living more simply that’s going to fit each person’s circumstances or vocation, but we can all begin with prayer and discernment over what we want versus what we truly need. It’s easy to assume that because it’s the norm to have something, it’s impossible to live without it. There are many things that add convenience to our lives, but we can also handle inconvenience!

Read More
Ryan TahmasebComment
And All The Bells On Earth Shall Ring

It’s Christmas morning, and despite everything painful, sorrowful, and even tragic that has happened to you and to me and to the world this year, the light has arrived. Today we celebrate the arrival of Jesus—the Christ—even though in some mysterious way the Christ has always been present in the world.

Read More
Ryan TahmasebComment
How Parenting Brings Us Closer To Ourselves

My son was born over a year and a half ago. When my wife and I look at pictures of him from his first few months, we can’t believe how much he has grown. His face has already lost much of that chubby roundness, and he looks and moves like a toddler. We’ve witnessed his first words, his first haircut, and his realization that running, dancing, hopping, and jumping are all more fun than walking. I’ve also started to realize how much I’ve changed, too.

Read More
Ryan Tahmaseb Comment
Holy Light in the Holy Darkness: Advent and Waiting For New Life

As we move closer and closer to the Winter Solstice—the shortest, darkest day of the year—it seems worthwhile to take some time to reflect on what this season of darkness has to teach us. In the Christian tradition, this season is known as Advent. Advent comes near the end of the calendar year, but it also marks the beginning of the new church year. It intentionally pairs what’s happening outside with what’s happening inside each of us.

Read More
Ryan Tahmaseb Comments
The Path of Love: A Conversation With Brian McLaren

At its best, Christianity has called people to move beyond selfishness to caring for their families, and beyond caring only for their families to caring for their neighbors, and beyond caring only for their neighbors to caring for the outsider, outcast, other, alien, refugee, and stranger . . . and even beyond that: to daring to love our enemies.

Read More
Ryan Tahmaseb Comments
Acting According To Divine Truth

My father was born in Iran, home of Rumi, the Sufi master. For years, these words from one of Rumi’s poems greeted my students on the door to my classroom: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is field. I’ll meet you there.” I’m still searching for this field.

Read More
Ryan Tahmaseb Comments
Responding to Mass Violence: How We Can Turn Grief Into Action

I’ve been an educator for ten years, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to prepare myself to answer students’ questions about local, national, and international incidents of mass violence. Each time there’s a horrific bombing or shooting, our Head of School sends out an email to faculty and parents. The awfulness of the tragedy is acknowledged, and there are links to resources on how to discuss tragedies with kids.

Read More
Ryan Tahmaseb Comments
Grateful and Grounded: A Conversation with Diana Butler Bass

The spiritual awakening that I’ve described in many of my books – and I am of the opinion that this awakening is the work of the people – happens when each one of us demands that our religious traditions and institutions live up to their own teachings and wisdom.  Without the passion of the people, and our participation in these ancient traditions, institutions will always be uninspired, inauthentic, and hypocritical. 

Read More
Ryan TahmasebComment
What It Means To Have Faith Today: Part III

So many of us, myself included, are obsessed with being “busy.” Our culture is all about efficiency—about getting as much done as possible, as quickly as possible. This is true even in the way we physically move from one place to another. In his essay “An Entrance to The Woods,” Wendell Berry puts it this way: “We seem to grant to our high-speed roads and our airlines the rather thoughtless assumption that people can change places as rapidly as their bodies can be transported.”

Read More
Ryan TahmasebComment
Parenting Forward: A Conversation with Cindy Wang Brandt

I’m so excited about Parenting Forward the book! I didn’t set out to write a parenting book. In fact, I have always been a faith writer, viewing the world through the lens of faith and culture. I was raised in a conservative evangelical faith, and in the past ten years or more of my life, I’ve embarked on the journey of what is commonly known as “deconstruction,” meaning a re-examining of the faith values of my childhood and whether they hold up to be true. 

Read More
Ryan Tahmaseb Comment