Does the “Fetal Cell” Problem Justify Religious Exemption for Vaccinations?

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Rachel Stone posted yet another excellent article about the importance of childhood vaccination for public health over at her new Religion News Service (RNS) blog. Rachel has consistently spoken up in favor of most children being vaccinated against childhood diseases, including in a (surprise!) controversial post several years ago for Christianity Today in which she invoked [Read More...]

Why Do Parents Choose to Screen for Disabilities?

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Imagine you are standing at an intersection with your child, waiting for a walk light so you can safely cross the street. The traffic light turns red, the “walk” sign lights up, you grab your child’s hand, and just as you are about to step off the curb, a mysterious voice from above says, “Stop! [Read More...]

On Valentine’s Day, Love (Not Romance) is What Matters

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Our Valentine’s Day celebrations are even more pathetic understated than usual this year. Many years, Daniel and I have purchased a premade four-course Valentine’s Day dinner from a local pasta shop. For about $60 and the minimal labor of assembling the salad and heating up the main course, we can eat a restaurant-quality meal in our [Read More...]

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death Scares Me for a Different Reason

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The same medication that I take every day, in doses that would leave most of you passed out cold or hospitalized or dead, directly led to Hoffman being discovered in his apartment with a needle in his arm. [Read more...]

Ode to a Minivan

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I love my minivan for lots of reasons having to do with convenience, but also because of what my dependence on this questionably ethical material thing reveals about our lives in the kingdom that is both here and not here. [Read more...]

Lessons from the Renovation

Our kitchen renovation has been going on for one entire day, and I’m already tired of it. I just don’t enjoy feeding a family of five from a cramped corner of the living room, where food and utensils and the coffee maker are randomly piled on two card tables. OK – That right there is [Read More...]

God Does Not Make Me Happy (or Three Things I Learned About My Relationship with God)

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Last weekend, I went on a one-night retreat with my church’s vestry. (In an Episcopal church, the vestry is akin to a board of directors. We advise and collaborate with the clergy on big-picture questions around the church’s mission, and approve the annual budget. I am in my third year of a three-year vestry term.) [Read More...]

Our Home’s Resurrection Continues with a Kitchen Renovation

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Next week, we start a major kitchen renovation. I promise this will not morph into a DIY or home improvement blog, but I will occasionally write about our renovation here. So much of what I write focuses on our relationship with the material world—with our bodies, with clutter and Christmas gifts and food—and how material [Read More...]

What We Can and Can’t Know About Our Babies Before They are Born

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In using genetic screening to ensure that our baby would not inherit my painful bone condition, we understood that we could not control everything. But we could control this. [Read more...]

An Op Ed Loaded with Oversimplifications about Abortion & Adoption

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I’ve avoided writing about abortion for a while. It’s an issue tangential to my core concerns around disability, reproductive technology, and faith. The topic brings out the worst in some commenters. But this op ed on abortion, published by USA Today, was so chock full of poor word choices, faulty reasoning, and wrong assumptions that I had to write something [Read More...]

MLK’s “Single Garment of Destiny” & Slavery’s Legacy

My friend Kate was featured on NPR’s “Race Card” project last week, talking about her family’s history as slaveowners. Her grandmother upheld the “idea of the benevolent slave owner,” telling Kate proudly that their family’s slaves had been “trusted house servants,” rather than plantation laborers. Kate eventually realized, however, that such pride is sorely misplaced. Reading Kate’s [Read More...]

Painfully Aware of the Abyss: A Review of Holly Burkhalter’s “Good God, Lousy World, & Me”

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I once read a novel in which the protagonist divided humankind into two categories: those who are always aware of the “abyss,” and those who are not. “The abyss” referred to the darkness and suffering that pervade human life, the agony that screams from newspaper headlines and whimpers in lonely corners. I immediately recognized myself [Read More...]


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