On Doing Advent Wrong (or Maybe, Just Right)

Christmas is about the material illuminating the immaterial, about intangible spiritual truths being revealed through tangible physical things. God doesn’t reveal the love and grace at the heart of the universe by beaming deep thoughts into our brains. God reveals love and grace through a newborn baby. There is nothing “spiritual” about a baby; babies are all flesh and need. Similarly, our Christmas traditions communicate what we know about God’s love and grace through stuff that we can see and smell and touch and taste, stuff that speaks to our own flesh and need. [Read more...]

On Three-Parent IVF and the Act of Begetting

Every few months, a story pops up about a new frontier in reproductive medical technologies: so-called “three-parent IVF.” NPR recently reported on efforts in Britain to allow embryos created via this technique to be transferred into women’s uteruses, while a New York Times Magazine cover article last summer focused on whether the Federal  Drug Administration would approve human clinical [Read More...]

Not All Pain is Gain

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Not all pain is gain. Pain is not always fixable. This is the truth. But it is not a hopeless truth. [Read more...]

Revelation on an Ordinary Wednesday

(This post is a departure for me, more of a creative semi-autobiographical vignette, perhaps even a piece of what could become a short story. Whatever it is, it has been wanting to be written for many weeks now.) She was alone in the kitchen, the weak gray light and clink of dishes as she unloaded [Read More...]

When Failure Leads to Blessing

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the [Read More...]

Bittersweet Bedtime Stories

My two younger kids were feeling nostalgic the other night. While they have long been in the habit of reading on their own at bedtime, last night they pulled a few favorite picture books off the shelf (The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton, Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel, and a falling-apart-and-taped-and-retaped copy of Richard Scarry’s Busy Busy World that was [Read More...]

Shame on You, RNS, for That Brittany Maynard Poll

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At first, I thought it was Onion-style satire. I kept seeing a link show up in my Facebook feed to a Religion News Service (RNS) poll asking, “If you were Brittany Maynard, what would you do?” The link was not to another blog post or essay discussing Brittany Maynard’s decision to pre-emptively end her life [Read More...]

It’s Still a No Brainer for Christians to Support Gun Law Reform

When it comes to many controversial sociopolitical issues facing Christians (and everyone else) today, I usually take, or at least acknowledge, a middle road. For example, on the use of genetic and reproductive technologies, such as IVF, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, and prenatal screening, I write with the intent of educating people so they can ask [Read More...]

A Christian Response to Brittany Maynard’s Decision to Die

The face on this week’s People magazine cover is Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old, recently married woman who went public with her plan to take a fatal prescription on November 1, rather than live with her terminal brain cancer until its deadly end. Her reasons include not merely avoiding the suffering she expects to experience, but also protecting her loved ones [Read More...]

Does the Bible Leave You Disquieted? Read This Book (Even Better, Win a Free Copy!)

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The Bible is an invitation. An invitation to contemplate who we are, as individuals, communities, and as a species. An invitation to contemplate and encounter what is holy and sacred, which is found smack in the middle of the mundane, the ordinary, and the difficult as often (even more often, I think) as it is found in the strange, the extraordinary, and the transcendent. [Read more...]

Rethinking Prayer

I have struggled to pray for most of my life. Prayer has rarely made sense to me, not in an intellectual sense, but as a practical matter. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing when I pray, especially when I’m praying by myself. I feel restless and off-kilter, my efforts awkward and superficial. [Read More...]

Four Important Things to Understand About Volunteers (from a Mom Who Volunteers Too Much)

Lately I’m being eaten alive by everything on my to-do list. It’s hard to communicate just how crazed my schedule is without 1) boring you to pieces, and 2) sounding like a first-class whiner. So I’ll just say there is an awful lot going on. © 2010 Dave Dugdale, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio [Read More...]


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