Why Busy Christians Need to Learn from Thomas Merton

Merton books

The Catholic mystic Thomas Merton’s witness and wisdom can help those of us seeking to integrate contemplation and action today. Who would have thought that a cloistered monk, writing from behind the gated boundaries of the austere Cistercian order, would become a counter-culture hero, the “conscience of the peace movement,” as Daniel Berrigan called him, and a spiritual teacher to millions?Merton first published a spiritual autobiography narrating his conversion to Catholicism and the monas … [Read more...]

What is a “Coming of God?” Part 1

There is much confusion in Christianity today surrounding the milieu of biblical eschatology. Specifically, there is widespread misunderstanding about the nature and timing of Jesus’ coming, arrival or presence (parousia in Greek). In popular preaching and imagination, it’s often called his “second coming” or “return.” Many life-long Jesus-followers are surprised to learn that these are not terms found in the Bible – and then to consider how these terms effect our thinking on just what this all m … [Read more...]

The Bleeding Edge

Recently, my friend Jacqueline taught me a new expression. Sometimes, when things are as far out as people can imagine, we call that the cutting edge. Jacqueline taught me that the bleeding edge is even further out. It is an organic living boundary where something is happening, sometimes uncomfortable, but probably growth.I can conceive of business as usual. I can even imagine taking a risk in my spiritual life, a risk in believing, in loving, in seeking. Even if these risks are out of my … [Read more...]

A Life of Love and Academic Freedom


 tenure: the right to keep a job (especially the job of being a professor at a college or university) for as long as you want to have it  --Merriam-Webster Tenure is the beautiful thing that allows professors to have a guaranteed position at a college or university for as long as they want it. It is a highly coveted achievement and one that is celebrated when it is received.Part of the beauty behind this is that it gives teachers the ability to do their work with a sense of … [Read more...]

Let’s Talk About Privilege

Ahnnalise Stevens-Jennings

Privilege is a word that I have not been able to go through a week without saying ever since my first year of seminary. I think that says a lot about the character of Wesley, but this is not a day for me to start rattling on about the things I love about my school. I promise to save that for next year around graduation when I am getting nostalgic.Privilege, (as some people know, some people do not know, and many people pretend not to know), colors our lives and the way that we walk in them. … [Read more...]

Just the Rhythm of My Blood and Breath

"Broken Glass" - Photo by Marg Herder

I’m tired.I’m tired of so many of my state’s politicians doing and saying embarrassing things. (I live in Indiana.)I’m tired of walking around wondering what conservative Christians who oppose LGBT equality will think of next in their effort to reinforce our marginalization and their own isolation from us.Tired of being treated as less than, unequal to, or a special case.Tired of trying to figure out if I can watch the local news yet without someone saying something demeaning abou … [Read more...]

God Can Also Be Found In The Dark- The Film Metalhead and what is says to us about Grief

My Goth brother reading an evangelical mag with his buddy in the 90's

God can also be found in the Dark- Metalhead Film.Have you ever heard a sermon about grief? Was there an altar call afterwards? Should it have rather just been long wails or maybe weeping? The Sunday after my brother shot himself, I showed up at church. It was all so surreal. I moved around. Feeling hardly nothing. Just trying to keep it together. “You know, don’t want anyone thinking I might be crazy.” During worship, I just wept. I suddenly felt arms around me. Lots of arms … [Read more...]

Seize life!

0000cover copy1

The questerThe quester… that could describe my life and I like that! When I was seeking for meaning, the message of Ecclesiastes in the Bible about life as  smoke + spitting into the wind spoke loud and true to my heart. Twenty seven years later, it still does. I confess the good news of the gospel to me was not Jesus and the cross but his truth of resurrection. Being part of the life force that gives hope even when it looks dark and meaningless. This book is not a favorite of many, but I cho … [Read more...]

Accompaniment as Emergence

The Truth a - 2011-02-24

I’ve been called to a ministry of accompaniment that means I have chosen to walk with one or two people or a family, serially, one after the other, to be a support for whatever it is that they are going through. To me, emergent church in the world looks like the ministry of accompaniment. Grounded in scripture, I cling to Jesus’ new commandment to love others as Jesus loves me; by this I will be known as his disciple. [John 13:34-5]In the past, our accompaniment has been to families with imm … [Read more...]

Soul Train Line


This week I leave for the first of three conferences I am working this month. I’m under-prepared for the first one, new kid on the block for the second one and probably should be working on something right now for the third one instead of writing these thoughts. In varying capacities, my job for each event could be described as “professional [read: perfect] Christian” or facilitator. In each instance I will have a microphone put in my hand, walk on stage and be expected to say something profo … [Read more...]