Why “Sophia” is My Favorite Word for Praying

One of the great pleasures of the past year has been getting to know Micha Boyett (a.k.a. “Mama Monk”), a writer, poet, and fellow blogger on Patheos. Micha has a series of guest posts titled “One Good Phrase,” in which she invites writers to explain a particular word or phrase that has power in their [Read More...]

The Only Really Honest Ones? Addiction and Grace in “Sober Mercies”

I recently reviewed Heather Kopp’s memoir, Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up with a Christian Drunk for the Englewood Review of Books. My review begins: In a recent interview, popular blogger, author, and recovering alcoholic and bulimic Glennon Melton said this: I think addicts are the only really honest ones. Life is hard, and everyone thinks [Read More...]

[Snapshots from Oak Ridge] Married 16 Years Today

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We fill our walls here on Oak Ridge Lane not with fine art (we have neither the money nor the passion for collecting), but with things that speak to the life we have built together—posters bought on trips to Italy and California; a limited edition print of the Washington National Cathedral (I lived in the [Read More...]

Why I’m Celebrating the Royal Birth

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Oy. So much cynicism. Ever since Kate Middleton gave birth to the new prince, George Alexander Louis, earlier this week, the cynics have been having their day. My Facebook feed is thick with curmudgeonly rants about the inordinate attention given to a celebrity infant, along with smug affirmations from some that they, unlike their more frivolous [Read More...]

My Kids Are All Gone, and I Don’t Miss ‘Em

Forty-eight hours. That’s how long I have without one. single. child. in my home requiring food or their missing sandal or an arbiter for sibling warfare or a warm body at which to aim a stream of nonstop chatter. Well, I had forty-eight hours as of 4 p.m. yesterday. I’m already down to 29 hours. [Read More...]

[Snapshots from Oak Ridge] My Writing Companion

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When I sit outside to write, my dog Sunday insists on being nearby, even when she doesn’t particularly want to be because it’s very hot, as it was when I took this photo. She crawls into the shade under the car or right under the bench where I sit, ready to bounce up and follow [Read More...]

I am Pro-Choice, But Jezebel Does Not Speak for Me

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My friend and colleague Amy Julia Becker wrote a lovely post on the Christianity Today women’s blog making the simple but vital observation that life for people with Down syndrome is not tragic and hopeless, but rather just as full of “good and bad things” as other people’s lives. Besides offering a glimpse into life in her [Read More...]

College Hookup Sex is Built on a Troubling Ethic of Achievement at Any Cost

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After reading Kate Taylor’s New York Times article on the culture of casual hookup sex at elite colleges, I had to fight the urge to call my two daughters into the room issuing dire warnings of the world that awaits them in college. The world Taylor describes, in which driven young women drink their anxieties [Read More...]

A Reminder of How Much I Have Forgotten

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Originally published on my previous blog on July 23, 2011. For two weeks, while the kids took swimming lessons every day at a local outdoor pool, a friend and I camped ourselves in a shady spot just next to the park’s wading pool. I had a front-row seat to the parade of infants, toddlers, and [Read More...]

A Christian Argument for Stronger Gun Laws

Jesus was crystal clear on the question of whether violence is an acceptable response to violence, on whether arming ourselves with fists or swords or guns is the way to protect ourselves from fists and swords and guns. [Read more...]

[Snapshots from Oak Ridge] Instead of the Loaves & Fishes, the Hosta & Hydrangeas

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While I love strolling through a garden center looking for just the right plant for a particular spot in my garden, most of my plants were not purchased, and my garden is not so much planned as it is cobbled together out of what I had to work with. At least half of my garden consists [Read More...]

Do I Love the Bible? It’s Complicated.

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Christians like me, who lean left on political and social issues, are often accused of failing to honor the Bible as an authoritative source. As Derek Penwell noted in a recent Huffington Post piece (“The Problem with Assuming Liberal Christians Hate the Bible“), the opposite is often true. We lefties take the Bible very seriously, basing [Read More...]


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