______________________ LIFE, FAITH, ETCETERA

The Zimzum of Love December 7, 2015

zimzumThe Zimzum of Love:
A New Way of Understanding Marriage
– Rob and Kristen Bell

My wife and I have been through counseling.
We’ve also had training to “do” counseling.
We have, in fact, provided counseling.
And we have 36 years (more or less) of marriage.
Just saying, I know a little bit about marriage and counseling.
From that stance, I can highly recommend this book.

This is a pretty short, easy read.  Yet, there are some great truths and principles here.  There’s a lot in these pages that is relatively standard marriage counseling, as well as some new ideas.  All of it, of course, has that trademark “Bell-style” way of looking at life; a style I very much enjoy.

stickAnd, you get stick-figure drawings!
Who doesn’t like stick-figure drawings?!?!

We are given, of course, an explanation of zimzum (originally tzimtzum, a Hebrew word), and how that concept relates to marriage. Chapters 2 through 5 expound on how marriage is Responsive, Dynamic, Exclusive and Sacred.
“The Zimzum of Love” is highly anecdotal. There is a lot of back-and-forth between Rob and Kristen.
Every marriage is unique, but a book like this helps us see how universal many of our experiences are. Just about whatever you may be going through, rest assured you are not alone.

This book is written from a Christian perspective, and thus incorporates a lot of spiritual language and understanding.  The associated actions could be easily adapted by non-Christians, as well.  I can’t imagine anyone not receiving some benefit from reading this book.  I think this would be a good hand-out for premarital counseling, as well as for those already married.
I’ve only done a few wedding ceremonies, but for future ones I’m asked to officiate I will be offering this book to the couple.

Marriage has been at the forefront of recent national discussion.
Some see marriage as a meaningless social construct, and think we’d all be better off without the legal commitment and ceremonial form.  Many of us, including Rob and Kristen, believe marriage is much deeper than that.  We believe that there’s more going on than meets the eye.    More than biology.  More than just synaptic brain activity.   More, even, than what it means for the 2 people who are married.  That marriage means “more” for our entire society.

“The Zimzum of Love” takes an in-depth look at this “more.”

– dave

Buy the book.  Click HERE.

Some thoughts from other readers:

“The Bells wield their heartfelt words and honest voices to cheer on couples of all kinds. . . . This is a ‘feel good’ book, not because it skirts the issues, but precisely because it delves so deeply into them. . . . Married or not, read this book.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“After having stood on the cliff of divorce, I sure wish that our marriage counselor would have had a resource like this to share with us.” – Roger

“This is a book about how to people partner in life and create a special space between them–they zimzum. I’ve got a fantastic marriage, but I learned new things about my wife as we read this together.” – Mike

Buy the book.  Click HERE.


– There are moments in marriage when you realize that some of the most profound truths of the universe are lying next to you in bed.

– Great marriages have an ease about them, a back-and-forth nonreactive, non-defensive, open, and ongoing flow in which you never stop talking and figuring it out together.

– Life never stops changing. It’s inevitable that these changes will affect the space between you.,br.

– Any thought – however trivial or fleeting it is – about who or what you aren’t takes directly away from who and what you are.

– Home is whenever I’m with you. [Recently stated by me to my wife during our recent move, before reading the book.]

– Out of 7 billion people on the planet, you decided to say yes to just one of them.

– Learn to see things from their perspective. When in doubt, assume that they are seeing something that you don’t.

– Few triggers are more explosive than the phrase “You always do that.”

– One of the primary ways you strengthen this bond is through shared experiences.

– Marriage -gay and straight – is a gift to the world because the world needs more – not less – love, fidelity, commitment, devotion and sacrifice.

– It’s easy to divide your experiences in marriage into the good ones and the bad ones. We are invited to transcend those binaries, becoming aware of the divine presence in all of life.

Buy the book.  Click HERE.


Journeys of the Heart: Mary’s Story July 5, 2012

Journeys of the Heart: Mary’s Story
– Tom Gale

In this work of fact-based fiction, we explore the issue of sexual abuse.  We delve into repressed memories, relationships, and brokenness.
But, mainly, we examine the heart; how to connect with our “hidden” parts and truly love ourselves.  And, of course, to know more deeply the wonder that is the Love of God.

In addition to Mary, we meet many interesting characters along the way.  We see how dealing with our own issues can affect those around us.

The chapters “Where The Hell Is God,” and “Do I Have To Forgive The Jerk” were a couple of my favorites.
We also look briefly at what “church” is, and what it isn’t, and we see how literalizing some teachings, like those on divorce, can cause great harm and work against what God would really want for His children.

This isn’t just Mary’s story.  It is the story of thousands of women (and men).
This edition of the “Journeys of the Heart” series could be a significant step towards wholeness for someone who has suffered sexual abuse.
It is also a resource for those called to help by walking alongside those who have suffered in this way.

Here’s a little of what others are saying about it:

– Mary’s Story is engaging. It draws the reader into a very personal story in a way that is not offensive yet does not skirt reality and the hard truths. It tells a story that needs to be told. This book is a wake up call to a church that marginalizes the broken.
Sandie BrockCincinnati, OH

– My honest thoughts and feelings were that I really wanted to keep reading to see what happened next, to see how Papa was going to work.  The journey is really, really, about the heart. Everything else is just, well, just everything else.
Doug from Wisconsin

– This book takes a look at the depth of evil that exists in the world but then focuses more on the immense power of love that can heal even the worst wounds.
MaryAnne from Illinois

Buy The Book.  CLICK HERE.

– None of us have been left unscathed by the brokenness of our world and unique experiences.  I recommend this book to any and all who desire to hear or have already sensed the desperate cries of their own heart wanting recognition, love and acceptance.
Jan from Virginia

– The gentle, relational descriptions of the healing process even spoke to traumatized places in my own heart.
I thank God for revealing a remedy for our brokenness which is all at once; simplistic, effective and respectful.

Matthew Bradley, North Carolina

Buy The Book.  CLICK HERE.


The Doctor, Jesus, & Me August 4, 2010

There are some things I really don’t like about myself.
One of those things is the time I waste on worry.
I worry a lot. Yes, yes, I know, “Don’t worry about anything. Pray about everything…” (Philippians 4:6)
I’m 55, and still learning that lesson.

One thing I worry about a lot is heated disagreements that might happen. These are often work related. Sometimes not.

Many times I’ve taken a 2 minute possible argument, and played it over and over in my mind. Sometimes for hours. Sometimes all night in bed. More often than not, these future confrontations never happen. Hey, at least I’m prepared…right?

Anyway, that’s one of the things I don’t like about myself. There are others. But (and this was quite a step forward for me) I realized a number of years ago that there are some things I do like about myself. I won’t list them here. I’ve found they are far too numerous to mention. I am, after all, pretty cool. 🙂

The point here is not what I specifically like about myself. The point is, well…

Back when my wife and I decided to get marriage counseling, and I needed personal counseling, we connected with the Rev. Dr. Thomas L. Sass. I don’t know how often this happens, but the counselor, and the counselees, became friends, and, on occasion, socialize together.
Now, the good Doctor and I, though friends, disagree often. That’s OK. I have enough grace to allow him to be wrong. Yes, very big of me, I know.

Some of his advice and teachings have long left my memory. Some I remember, and no longer, personally, find applicable. Some I may now disagree with. However, meeting with this man, and receiving his counsel, was truly a life-changing experience. It was, in many ways, the start of a new journey which has led me to where I am today. (Dr. Sass may or may not wish to take any credit for that.)

His insights and teachings were often theological, and simultaneously psychological. Some were very “deep.” Oddly, (or maybe not), one of the things that impacted me the most, seems now rather simple.
He usually gave “assignments” to be completed between each session. Early on, after a lengthy discussion, he gave me the following:

“This week, I want you to simply enjoy being you.”

I really can’t express the extent of the impact that had on me.

Growing up, we all get a lot of input that shapes how we see ourselves. Much of that input, for many of us, is negative. All too often, we start believing it. All too often, we give the same negative input to others. In a world of “Compare, Compete, and Control,” it is quite necessary to make sure others know that they are “no better than we are.” (Of course, religion and legalizm help us kick it up a notch, to where We are indeed, better than they are!)

Ultimately, “they” are no better than us, and we, no better than they. When this truth is released from the shackles of self-preservation, it can bring freedom instead of bondage. We can quit the whole “compare/compete/control” business, and start to love others without an agenda. Without a need to “change” them. Without a need to convert them. Without, dare I say, a need to “evangelize” them. We are now free to express the love of Jesus to them. We are, also, finally….Finally free…to love ourselves; to accept ourselves, as they say, “warts and all.”

This doesn’t mean we don’t change. Change is inherent with growth. (This includes [big revelation] our changing view and understanding of God.)
But, it is not our job to change each other. It’s our job to love each other. Jesus taught us to love others as ourselves. (Mk. 12:31, Mat. 19:19) This is why learning to be ourselves, and to be OK with that, even with our “shortcomings,” is an essential part of life. It is an essential part of living in grace.

As I said earlier, Mr. Sass and I may disagree. We may disagree now more than we used to. But too many people are ALL about what they disagree on. I think, just maybe, we should focus a little more on what we DO agree on.

So, in light of all the above, I have an assignment for you.
“This week, I want you to simply enjoy being you.”

And to Tom: “Thank you, and God bless you.”

— df


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