Church

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. […]

Your zip code won’t make you holy

The in-between moments I fill with podcasts and Voxer conversations with writer friends as I circle the suburbs in my minivan. One conversation with a friend about moving to a city or the suburbs, lead her to write down this encouragement: your place doesn’t make you holy. Friend, I’m hear to tell you the same […]

Confession: I Hate Spiritual Gifts

We all have weird things we dislike. Some people don’t like mayonnaise. Some people don’t like dogs or synthetic fabric or Cincinnati. My pet peeve is the phrase “spiritual gifts”. I’m a little embarrassed that this phrase makes me cranky, especially because my church of thirty years talks about spiritual gifts A LOT. All our […]

Sometimes Leaving Is Just the Beginning

The Sunday that changed everything started like any other —wrangling kids into their car seats and rushing to leave the house on time. But as we drove the seven minutes to church, a fist of anxiety squeezed the middle of my chest, making it hard to breathe. We dropped the kids off at Sunday school, […]

Church When I’m Not Feeling It

I grew up going to church three times a week. The habit is still entrenched in me to arrive when the doors open. It helps that I love my church. But there are times when coming even once a week is a struggle. On Sunday mornings, I’m often running later than planned, no matter how […]

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 […]

Belonging: Weaving Together the Simple Threads of a Beautiful Tapestry

Five years ago, the fabric of my family’s life started unravelling. In September 2012, I left a full-time contract to homeschool our daughters, and, like the overachiever I was, I thought that launching our new adventure with a month-long, multi-modal traverse across Canada would be fun and educational. Hardly. Winter set in quickly and our […]

Belonging to a Broken System

One of the main reasons I stay at my church is also one of the things I dislike most about it. This is it: it’s a large institution. I go to a biggish Presbyterian church. A “Presbyterian” church is literally a church governed by “presbyters”—Greek for elders, or leaders. That’s one of the big reasons […]

I am the Proud Mother of 49

Each morning I was greeted with lots of hugs. Little arms wrapped themselves around my waist and squeezed tight. Swarms of them came at once, their sweet voices proclaiming, “Good morning, Auntie!” One morning, as Mwikali moved in for her embrace, she peered up at me from under the folds of my t-shirt. Her big […]