Fear and Faith in the Desert Places

I love Robert Frost’s poem “Desert Places.” Typical of Frost, the speaker in this poem describes a natural environment of forests, fields, and snow. But this isn’t a beautiful or peaceful place. Quite the opposite: it’s a place of darkness, cold, and isolation–it’s a menacing and threatening place. For me, the genius of the poem […]

Encouragement in a Time of Cynicism

Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend, and the subject of her immigration status came up. She currently has protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program–an executive action under President Obama that provided legal status for those who were brought to the U.S. as children; often, they are called DREAMers. […]

Belonging and Being a Writer of Color at FFW

I lived in Central Asia for a few years, and I loved it!  But the weather was cold (think Southern Siberia); the winters were long; I never became fluent in Russian by any means; and there were aspects of the culture I never understood. In fact, I remember feeling incredibly angry and frustrated with myself […]

Debating Theology with My Younger Self

I have often wondered what my twenty-year-old self who was a relatively new Christian, but a zealous one, would think about me now. I imagine that girl would think I was a heathen, a back-slider, someone who traded the real Gospel and clear biblical teachings for a social Gospel. Horror of horrors! Nevertheless, I have […]

Learning to Love My Body

One thing I do not look forward to about a new year is the hundreds of social media posts where people, and particularly women, commit to getting “healthy” or “fit.” I have nothing against setting goals, and I believe the people who post these are sincere in what they say, but I bet if I […]

The Paradox of Getting Lost to be Found

When I first started reading the Bible, I remember my confusion at paradoxical statements like, “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Mt. 10:39). I used to wonder why Jesus would not speak plainly and say exactly what he meant. Later on, he makes […]

A Review of Glory Happening: Finding the Divine in Everyday Places

I seldom read the introductions of books. They make me feel the way I do when I am reading a recipe—I know it is important to read the whole recipe before I start cooking, but I want to jump into the mixing and creating part. But this time as I read an advance copy of […]

Finding Refuge in the Church of Baseball

In the opening of the film Bull Durham, the camera pans over an empty baseball field at sunset, while one of the main characters, Annie, says in a voiceover, “I believe in the church of baseball….There are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I heard that, […]

What a Social Media Break Taught Me about Soul-Care

Sometimes I think about Jesus’ day to day life in the first century. I’m aware the Gospels do not record everything he ever did;  there were mundane moments when he was probably overwhelmed by the heat of the desert sun or when he waved away flies that hovered over his meal, but those moments are […]