Relics Writ Small

At home in my dresser upstairs I have a wee yellow sock, about four inches long. Just one. Downstairs I have a drawer in the laundry room full of single socks, which, despite my husband’s indictment, do not lose their partners through any collusion on my part. Those socks are casualties of clothes-basket subterfuge, a [Read More...]

Is Despondency a Christian Value?

Because I spend a lot of time reading and editing online articles on religion, and because we Americans are particularly sensitive to issues of public expressions of faith, and because the campaigning season is upon us, I also get a healthy dose of politics. The 2012 election is nearly 15 months away, and I’m already [Read More...]

Coexisting in Tyre and Sidon

The lectionary reading for this coming Sunday is from the Gospel of Matthew, 15.21-28 – the faith of the Canaanite woman. On many of my readings over the years, all I could really think about in this short story is how apparently rude Jesus is to the poor woman. First he ignores her; then he [Read More...]

Rebuild My Church

As many of you may know, my passion is the Church — its unity, its sanctity, its truth. I lament the state of the Church for a lot of reasons. Here is a visual lament, beautiful and mournful: Thirty Abandoned Churches from Around the World. Imagine vital communities gathering, celebrating, remembering, worshipping in these buildings. [Read More...]

Tuck Me In

We have all seen the galling pictures of poor children in underdeveloped countries around the world, and perhaps we have become inured to their connections with real, everyday life. Photographer James Mollison has seen something else through his lens and it gets behind the stereotypical shots of poverty and privilege. His recently released book, Where [Read More...]

You’ve Got Mail: Forward or Perish

There isn’t much in scripture that seems to indicate Our Lord will be using my email habits to judge my soul. I don’t think He’ll have to look that hard. Nevertheless, forwarded emails about Jesus that demand I send them on to ten people or surrender my salvation make me nervous. “Stop what you’re doing [Read More...]

Real Transformation or a Pleasant Experience?

Today I ran across an interesting commentary on the quick fixes churches apply to the church growth problem. Dan Dick was writing about the United Methodist experience, but his comments could apply across the board. He considered the measures the denomination and local churches had taken to reverse church decline, and noted that “The United [Read More...]

Vision: A Creedal Reflection on Psalm 10

“Why, O Lord, do you stand off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” The deaths of 68 young people at a camp in Norway silences us with horror and grief. The looming menace of the federal government’s default makes us stoop with dread and frustration. The drought and famine in Somalia appalls [Read More...]

Beer Brewing and Carpentry

This week a handful of us had a lively conversation about Dorothy Sayers’ “Why Work?” essay. Written in 1942, the essay tackles head-on Sayers’ concerns about her society’s consumption patterns and what they say about our perception of the value of work. The early part of the essay considers the economic consequences of unrestrained capitalism [Read More...]

Borders Blues

It’s not like I was a frequent customer. Its absence doesn’t directly affect me at all. But Borders Books is no more, and I have the Borders blues. Oh, I freely admit I’ve been an Amazon junkie for a long while. (Sorry, Steven.) But bookstores are not shopping sites only; they’re destinations. Bookstores are for [Read More...]

Waving the White Flag

After a long while in the spiritual life, most of us come to the point where we realize we’re making very little “progress.” Over and over we come to the shocking realization that the same weaknesses, the same pettiness, the same hardheartedness plague us in ever new and shifting forms. Like germs, mutating to fit [Read More...]

An Ancient Radical

The bones drying on the shelves … not so different from the valley of dry bones, the lifeless remnants of community. Can these bones live? The old prophet was wise enough not to posture, not to philosophize, not to speculate, not to issue any power statements. O Sovereign Lord, you alone know. All around us [Read More...]


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