Why Church is Important (One Reason, Anyway)

Perhaps part of me thinks that to be worthwhile, prayer and Bible study have to be strenuous and difficult and unpleasant. Showing up to church to sing beautiful music, read ready-made prayers, and hear an excellent sermon seems too simple. [Read more...]

Revitalizing Churches and Communities the “Slow Church” Way

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After years of driving south to visit my husband’s family in North Carolina, our family has developed a series of designated stopping places that give us just what we need at certain points in our journey. There’s the Delaware rest stop with pretty flower gardens and a playground, which is a perfect place to stretch [Read More...]

Why I Don’t Pray or Study the Bible (Much)

While I grew up in the Episcopal Church (the same Episcopal Church I currently attend, in fact), I didn’t start thinking proactively about my Christian faith until I got involved with an evangelical fellowship in college. I learned a lot of unfamiliar evangelical lingo, including “quiet time” (sometimes shortened to “QT”) to refer to time [Read More...]

“A Beautiful Disaster”: Marlena Graves on Suffering, God, & a Child-Like Faith

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When people get all in a tizzy about how the Internet is ruining real human relationships, I get exasperated. Because thanks to Facebook and online journalism, I have a cadre of writing colleagues with whom I have almost daily contact, and whom I also consider friends. One colleague/friend is Marlena Graves, who is one of [Read More...]

Evangelizing with Strawberries

Every Memorial Day, families in our suburb of Hartford, Conn., gather in the town center for a parade. Our church takes advantage of our location on the parade route to invite passers-by to stop for bowls of strawberry shortcake (with hot dogs and drinks also available). It’s a modest fundraiser for the church, but also [Read More...]

Abiding with the Living and the Dying: Thoughts on “Holding Silvan”

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This assumption—that a life marked by suffering is not worth living—leads us to believe that bodies subject to pain and limitation ought to either be heroically rescued or hastened to death, rather than embraced and abided as they are, in their living and their dying. [Read more...]

“Inspiration Porn” Objectifies People with Disabilities

Admire me for what I do—for writing well or raising decent kids or having a lovely garden. But don’t admire me just for existing, just because I live a mostly unremarkable life with scars and a limp and a history of dozens of broken bones. [Read more...]

We Know God Through Scripture…and So Much More

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Shortly after we were married, Daniel and I traveled to Boone, North Carolina—home of Daniel’s alma mater, Appalachian State University—so he could introduce me to his college stomping grounds. Our weekend included a Sunday morning service at the Baptist church Daniel had attended during college. The pastor closed the service with a prayer that, according [Read More...]


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