I have been tempted to whinge and to fuss  about all the chaos that this summer has brought to my privileged life–change of service times, people traveling here and there, moving furniture, ripping up carpet, letting go of things no longer necessary to my life. My conversations with peers is often about how things are no longer the way they used to be–institutions, mores, conversational tones. Yet, almost immediately after I start down the road of hurts and slights, I… Read more

  I sit with people in a practice we call spiritual direction, in which a central question is “How can I pray?” I am by character a “Word” person, one who responds well to spoken liturgy, to written prayers, and to words that come from within my own heart ad mind. However, I sit with many people for whom words are not a primary mode in which they communicate; they are more sensate, more activity driven, more aware of touch… Read more

My main identity as a teenager was that of an accompanist. In church and at school I was called on to be the one who played the piano to support the Sunday night sing of the gathered youth group, the men’s ensemble or the visiting soloist. It was an important role because, before the days of guitar and recorded tracks, the piano accompanist was the person who established the basics for singing–the key, the rhythm, and the tenor of the… Read more

A Reflection on Teach Us To Want by Jen Pollock Michel I am always delighted and challenged when an author struggles with the question of desire. A superficial reading of sacred texts and theological writings give us at best a mixed message—our desires are God given AND our desires are likely to get us into trouble on our spiritual journey. Depending about location—age, class, denomination, culture, we gravitate to the patchwork of ideas that suits us best. Jen Pollock Michel… Read more

I am having a hard time focusing this summer! Even though I am no longer traveling, and trying to attend to hearth and home, to what is local and in front of me, I am enormously distracted and all over the place in my thinking and affections. The world is swirling in pain, in division and in need. People I love are careering around the world from one fascinating place to another, and taking their friends with them in narrative… Read more

I am dedicated this summer to the task of creating space for a new decor in one of our rooms, and in order for that to happen, I have been emptying out shelves, primarily of books, that have been in place for the over 30 years we have lived here. Those shelves have borne the weight of many of my last lives–the parenting years, the newly Christian feminist years, the start-up ministry years, along with representations of an eclectic array… Read more

I have returned from a splendid journey to London and Iona, and now my actual and virtual worlds are filled with the comings and goings of those close to my heart: my son is about to fly to Belize, my husband is working in Salt Lake City for a few days, and many colleagues in ministry are gathered in Detroit for our denomination’s bi-annual assembly, trying to make airline connections, navigating strange roads full of wildlife or extreme weather. Now… Read more

Ellen Painter Dollar is one of my favorite colleagues in the Patheos family of writers. I read what she writes with delight and care, in part because she is from a different part of the country, a different stage of life, a different Christian tradition, with a different vocational goal as a calling. In a post this week she posted a provocative reflection called Why I Don’t Pray and Read the Bible (Much). As I read and re-read Ellen’s post,… Read more

A Long Loving Look at Slow Church, by C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison I am welcoming the arrival of this new book, Slow Church, to my library, to my thinking and to my prayer. The two authors, lay people from two different parts of the United States, have thoughtfully and deliberately presented a model of being church that is not so much an alternative to much of present day church life, as it is a call to remembering and acting on… Read more

Come Holy Spirit! Come to this traveler, now re-entering home, seeking your wisdom for ways to respond to the sights, sounds, sensations in your world–so variegated, so abundant, so fragile. Come, energize my will to go with the wind on which you soar– to discover truth, to expose lies, to refresh weariness, to act in thousands of tiny acts of kindness and truth-telling that will set people free, make them whole and bring them into Sacred Presence. Come, Spirit, to… Read more

Browse Our Archives