Church

Prepare the Table

Preparations and Feast We start early. Dressed in layers that reflect the cool spring morning, and the day of feasting to come. Waiting for the sun to rise. We are a faithful few, gathered and quiet – maybe a little impatient – steam rising from our cups, waiting. As the light blinks above the tree-line, […]

Podcast: What Are You Afraid Of?

Season 1, Episode 4 Catherine McNiel is asking this question of herself and others: “What are you afraid of?” Why, she asks, are we, as Christ-followers, often taught to fear our neighbors, withhold hospitality from strangers, and vilify the “others”–those whose beliefs, appearances, and lives look different than our own and perceive them as a […]

Obey: a Four-Letter-Word

OBEY. It’s a four-letter word—at least, that’s how I think of it. I associate this word with punishment, negative emotions, consequences, rigidity, and legalism. The word itself makes me cringe at times.  It feels autocratic and one-sided, as in a command that also means, “Do what I say.” The word itself feels cold and authoritative. […]

One Game. One Throne.

Thoughts on Misplacing Life’s Instruction Manual.     Yesterday I organized a closet that needed cleaning years ago. A cluttered cabinet was repurposed to stack boxes of games hoarded over the decades when I raised four children in a now empty nest. It’s difficult to let go of these treasures: Scattergories, Stratego, Don’t Wake Up […]

Valor’s Unsettling Saints

Previously posted in March of 2020. What kind of women are women of valor? I think they are women who are courageous enough to use their God-given gifts, others-oriented, and are willing to buck the status quo to follow Jesus and bring forth goodness and justice.   Right off of the bat, I think of St. […]

Here Lies Fear

Coming of age in any epoch means WEATHER.           Doing it as a burgeoning evangelical in the late 1900s (as my kids love to remind me) was like sipping a tempest in a teacup. There was no smoking, no parties or swearing for this sold-out Jesus-freak. There were—instead—bad perms, sub-par Christian rock, and not-so-subtle-sweatshirts like this […]

Hollowed (Out) Halls of Justice

My daughter excels at catching insects with her bare hands. This skill set is on par with her fluency in “meme” and her ability keep up with Daveed Diggs’ light-speed verses in Hamilton. I am in awe of these aptitudes, and that she wields them despite sharing DNA with me. So, I wasn’t surprised when […]

Simplicity and Justice

I remember Tom and Jerry, Leave it to Beaver, and Sunday paper with comics mom cut out and taped on the refrigerator door. I remember Laurel & Hardy, The Rifleman, and watching boxing or NFL with Dad in between Sunday services when I was supposed to be napping on the bed or on the floor. […]

Serving Simply

As I walked down the uneven sidewalk, I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people swarming past me. Many carried umbrellas (though there wasn’t a cloud in the sky), some impossibly napped while squatting, while many others walked oblivious to the body spaces of others. This was a typical day walking in a city […]

Walking Hope

The sky had been stormy for hours already, so the transition to night was difficult to discern. Disoriented, soaked through, and shivering—we waited for direction.  We had started out the day staring at an “x” on a map, a destination we needed to reach. As the day grew long, our surroundings didn’t look right and […]

Prayer in the Night Review

After the success of Tish Harrison Warren’s bestseller, Liturgy of the Ordinary, her new book, Prayer in the Night comes out January 26. Combination memoir, rich theological work, and cultural commentary, this book is truly remarkable. It is about the very real and common human struggle with theodicy (the problem of evil) and anxiety in […]

Hurting Yet Whole

Adaptation from Hurting Yet Whole: Reconciling Body and Spirit in Chronic Pain and Illness  by Liuan Huska Chapter 10, “A Community of Wounded Healers” We are not a few weeks post-Advent, but I am ready to repent and lament again. Call me melancholy, but Advent and Lent are my favorite seasons in the church calendar. […]

The Hope of Remembering

In art class one day, I was attempting to paint a landscape with oil colors. I couldn’t get a particular area just right. It seemed off. I began to pull my canvas off the easel when my teacher stopped me. “What are you doing, Paula Frances?” “I’m going to start over. It doesn’t look right.” […]