The Stewardship of Privilege

Professor Reuben McDaniel (1936-2016) was an accomplished scholar, a model teacher and a commanding presence in business school at The University of Texas for more than three decades. He was also (in partnership with his wife Myra) a leader at St. James’ Episcopal Church, where my spiritual director (who had recently served as interim rector) … read more

An Economy of Joy

A guy I know on Wall Street invented a new way to trade derivatives and made more money than he can spend. I asked him: Why do you still come to work? He said, “Business is just an excuse to enjoy people.” I don’t expect to hear the gospel on Wall Street, but there […]

‘Silence is what trust sounds like.’

A technology business recently asked me to listen to recordings of their salespeople “cold calling” prospective customers. On each call, a salesperson was speaking with someone at another company, someone they didn’t know, hoping to interest them in learning more about the technology. In some cases, the customer would agree to introduce the salesperson to […]

A Philosophy of Stage Fright

Years ago, I went to my mentor for help with anxiety about an upcoming presentation. I’d had a conversation about the spiritual power of money with an acquaintance, a well-connected businessman, and he’d invited me to give a talk on the topic to his colleagues at work as part of their lunchtime speaker series. As […]

Cultivating Boredom

  Two years ago Microsoft published a study showing that between 2000 and 2015 the average human attention span fell from 12 seconds to about 8. (Nine seconds, the study famously pointed out, is the attention span of a goldfish.) Our shrinking capacity for attention coincides with the rise of smartphones. As young comic writer […]

Enemies and Inspiration

These days when fear and anger can lock us in endless cycles of reactivity, it’s worth remembering that the willingness to take an opponent’s perspective is a reliable source of inspiration. I learned this in August 2005. Texas voters were about to approve a constitutional amendment to define marriage, and my friends were fearfully speculating […]


Psalms 40,54; Isaiah 10: 5-19; Matthew 11:2-15 Listen to the author read their meditation and prayer: Dr. Steven Tomlinson, Advent Meditation We await the upending of expectations. Waiting begins with a question: Why me? When will this end? Who will save us? The questions we ask determine the answers we can hear, the future we […]

A Bad Chaplain

The summer before I turned 40, I worked as a hospital chaplain.  (My priest had enrolled me in clinical pastoral education, saying it was probably the only way to save my soul.) I wore a clerical collar and visited suffering patients.  After about two weeks, my steely-eyed supervisor stopped me as I was leaving a […]

Small Experiments in Faith

In the Gospels, Jesus says more about money than about any other subject except the Kingdom of Heaven. “You cannot serve God and Mammon,” he says in Matthew 6:24, describing money as a spiritual force that competes with God for our attention and devotion. We’re discussing this passage in a seminary class when one of […]

Dr. Steven Tomlinson

Friday, December 11 Psalm 31; Haggai 1:1-15; Matthew 23:27-39 Listen to the author read their meditation and prayer: Dr. Steven Tomlinson Advent Meditation Because blindness makes brokenness bearable, we learn not to see. We avoid that which challenges our self-image. We hide what we judge unacceptable. To survive, we redact. We don’t reckon the cost. […]