Finding God at Rock Bottom

Karen Beattie and her husband went through a difficult few years. She was unexpectedly laid off just as her husband decided to go back to graduate school, leaving them without regular income from employment. After a miscarriage and a bunch of dead ends on their quest to adopt a child, they realized they might never [Read More…]

Bodily Betrayal, Redeemed by Love

John Green’s bestselling young-adult novel The Fault in Our Stars is a love story about two teenagers, both with terminal cancer. I was particularly taken with the narrator, Hazel, who has metastatic cancer in her lungs and uses supplemental oxygen. This fictional teenager astutely observes the shame, frustration, and feelings of inadequacy that can come with inhabiting [Read More…]

Caring for the Small and Vulnerable

At the end of each day, somewhere around 9 p.m., comes this moment: I let the cat in. She nibbles at the food left in her bowl, then goes upstairs to the dog bed in our room. (No one told her it’s a dog bed; she just thinks it’s a really, really big cat bed.) [Read More…]

[Snapshots from Oak Ridge] Summer and Fall in Tandem

I walked outside after my book group meeting last night around 10:30, and the air not only felt like fall, it smelled like fall—the mild tang of leaf mold, a hint of smoke. We still have summer-like days ahead of us, no doubt, but fall is creeping in—including in my garden. Here, a bee gets busy [Read More…]

How Screens are NOT Ruining My Family’s Life (& Maybe Even Making It Better)

This headline from the Huffington Post: “8 Ways Screens are Ruining Your Family’s Life.” Ah, nothing like a good dose of hyperbolic hysteria to get an audience riled up! You, with the TVs and laptops and smartphones: Betcha didn’t know you were ruining your family’s life, did you? This is a popular bandwagon to climb [Read More…]

The Brilliance and Beauty of a Marriage, Lost (& Found) in the Mess of Everyday Life

My lost-then-found diamond has become a metaphor for our marriage—lasting and solid and brilliant even when months and years go by when its shine, quality, and distinctiveness are hidden in the scrum of everyday life, obscured by groceries and vacuuming and the many loads we carry. [Read more…]

Grappling for a Christian Response to Syria

Oh, but this is an uncomfortable place to be, this place of uncertainty, where we are confronted with the grave suffering of God’s beloved children and want to do something but suspect that there is nothing we can do to make it better, now. [Read more…]

[Snapshots from Oak Ridge] The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The kids went back to school on Wednesday, all smiles and energy. (The teenager left too early to be photographed, and wouldn’t have wanted to be anyway.) We had a truly terrific summer—summer camp, the 4H Fair, swim lessons, a final camping trip last weekend. And now we’re all ready to plunge back into the [Read More…]

Passing on the Faith: Community Trumps Theology

In church choir, my children are learning what it means not just to go to church, but what it is to be church for one another—what it means to be in a fellowship of people with a common faith, where standards are high and all are accepted, with a common goal of worshipping God with their best efforts and talents. [Read more…]

On Disquiet Time and Chickens

Hello friends. I am popping in to say that I will be blogging minimally between now and September 1st. I will be devoting much time to writing a chapter for the upcoming genre-busting Disquiet Time, which will be like no devotional book you’ve ever read (and will include chapters from some of my favorite blogging colleagues [Read More…]

Mainline Churches—A New Home for Disaffected Evangelicals?

By now, it’s old news that one in five Americans, including one-third of adults under 30, claim no religious affiliation. Popular blogger and author Rachel Held Evans, who identifies primarily as an evangelical, wrote a much-shared CNN blog post about how churches can attract disaffected “millennials,” or young adults, back to church. (She is talking mostly about young [Read More…]

The Redemption of the Mundane: My Post at Convergent Books

There’s a new imprint in town! Convergent Books is a division of Penguin Random House dedicated to books on progressive Christianity. I am thrilled and honored to have been invited to contribute to their new blog. My first post, on the redemption of the mundane (how I glimpse God’s goodness in the banal details of [Read More…]


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