The Practice of Blessing

When we were moving last time, I did my best to fit in final coffee dates and chats with all the people who had been meaningful to me. One hot afternoon I found myself in the home of a Catholic friend with whom I’d had many deep conversations about theology and practice. We talked for […]

Does Your Church Smell?

I had read two books on Orthodox Christianity. That’s it. So obviously, I had no idea what to expect when I visited St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church for its Sixth Hour Prayer service. What I did know was that for some time now, I’d felt a deep desire to silence myself before the Lord, and […]

Feasting on Liturgy

When I left the Evangelical church for an Anglican one in college, it was out of proximity rather than theology. I had decided to attend university in France and there were very few English-speaking churches in Paris. As a freshman in college living abroad, I sought the ease of a community that spoke my native […]

A Reflection on Failing Lent

Last year was the first time in my over half-century life I’ve observed Lent. I didn’t grow up in a church that acknowledged it, and only in the last few years have I begun to experiment with living by the liturgical calendar. Rather than think about giving something up, I chose to frame it as […]

Home-Grown Liturgy

It all started when the priest’s wife hugged me under the tall trees in my front yard and gave me her secret recipe to make Church of the Great Shepherd’s communion bread. Even though I wasn’t ordained, didn’t have a fancy robe, and didn’t own a Book of Common Prayer, I was invited to be […]

Pavlov’s Dogs, My Senator, and Knowing God

In Mark 10, a blind man named Bartimaeus sits by the side of the road literally screaming for Jesus’ help. When Jesus finally addresses him, he asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” I love that question. Jesus wants to know what Bartimaeus wants, presumably to give him exactly what he wants. […]

Wearing Our Lives Lightly

Growing up in and around New Orleans, I celebrated January 6 as the opening of carnival season, the several weeks of hedonism that lead up to Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, which precedes Ash Wednesday and the long, bleak penances of Lent. We went to church, and we ate a king cake, a ring of sweet […]

What if Presence is the Only Revelation You Need?

I woke up with a start the other day and remembered those colored beads and tattered imitation leather rope stringing them all together. After summer camp, I wore that bracelet for months. That rainbow of beads to tell us the story of salvation—all about creation, sin, Jesus’ sacrifice, growth in faith, and going on to […]