As I cradled my third newborn in his first hours of life, I was seized by a single, overwhelming thought: Never again. I could not possibly have another baby. My “never again” was more than a wearily satisfied observation that our family now felt complete. My “never again” was a desperate plea, tinged with panic, stoked by fear. Panic is what sets in after you’ve had a c-section with an epidural that didn’t quite work, and you consider how it… Read more

In college, my favorite professor assigned Charles Sheldon’s 1896 classic In His Steps when we were covering the Social Gospel in an American religious history class. In His Steps is a novel about a minister in an East Coast town who, after being shamed by his own failure to respond compassionately to a jobless wanderer, enlists his congregation in an experiment. He challenges them to begin asking, before they make any decision, “What would Jesus do?” At the time, I… Read more

Guest post by Karen Swallow Prior Note from EPD: This is the transcript of an interview conducted by my friend and colleague Karen Swallow Prior, professor of literature at Liberty University and author most recently of Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More – Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist, with Charles Camosy, author of a groundbreaking new book on abortion. I find Camosy’s approach to this divisive issue refreshing and hopeful; given my personal and professional interest in disability, I especially resonate with… Read more

A mixed bag. We are all a mixed bag. This is Theology 101, a most essential bit of Christian doctrine: We are all deeply flawed—“all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3;23). And no matter what our flaws are, God’s grace is sufficient. I thought of this as I watched my friend and colleague Rachel Stone’s words being misconstrued, twisted, and blasted by fellow Christians yesterday. Read more

My “cloud of witnesses”—people whose stories have influenced my life, shown me what is important and led me in the way I need to go—is full of regular, imperfect people whose influence was also somewhat haphazard and unintentional. Read more

A viral social media phenomenon that helps us understand just how fundamental and deep our differences in perception can be—and that those perceptions have nothing to do with whether we are good, thoughtful, and wise or bad, shallow, and silly—is more than a meaningless distraction. Read more

I go back to the paradox that our bodies both betray us and reflect our deepest, God-given self. I think of the broken, brutalized body of Christ on the cross, as he suffered through pain that was both horrific—a reflection of all that is wrong with this world—and redeemed—a means for God’s grace to be revealed in a new, world-changing way. Read more

Jesus showed us how even small acts of care are multiplied in God’s economy, so that ultimately all are filled and satisfied—not because the economists and politicians and voters focus on big problems at the expense of little ones, but because every act of mercy, justice, and love is born in the heart of our infinite God and is therefore infinitely powerful, capable of bringing about change far beyond our limited vision of what’s possible and prudent. Read more

My husband and I are fans of Washington, D.C.’s football team, which means we (especially my husband—I’m a fan because he’s a fan) have spent two decades of football seasons being disappointed.  We are grateful, however, for the increasing pressure being put on the NFL and the team’s owners to get rid of the team name because it is linked to our nation’s sad history of stereotyping and mistreating Native Americans. © 2014 Fibonacci Blue, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio… Read more

I wonder if, as our children grow and their increasingly complicated needs outgrow our capacities to easily meet them, the physical care we offer actually becomes more important, not less. We love people by engaging in basic acts of care for them. That is the essential, sometimes undervalued, foundation of parental love. It’s also the essential foundation of Christian love. Read more

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