Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter: Why We Must Build Bridges.

Ahnnalise Stevens-Jennings

I'm sitting in the police station compulsively chewing my finger nails. This is the moment that I have been dreading for weeks. The officer walks around the corner while I am mid finger nail.“Are you here for your police ride-along?” I want to say no, and then just go home, but I know that I can't. I stand up and gather my courage.“Yes, thank you,” I manage to choke out.I follow him through the bowels of the police station. We are passing by things that most civilians pray that they w … [Read more...]

Revisiting Christ in missions and service in the age of selfies

Bec likes selfies. We all do.

Revisiting Christ in missions and service in the age of selfies Bec Cranford serves as the Director of Community Relations and Volunteer Services at the Gateway Center, and supervises a contextual education course at Candler School of Theology.Poverty pornography, charity charlatans, and self-serving service versus relational missions honoring Christ in the least of theseAs we mature in Christ, many of us will become dissatisfied with churches that have a mentality of country clubs, and … [Read more...]

Lean In to the Conversations that Scare You

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Recently, this question was asked on a Facebook page: "What do we do with White sensitivity?"I am grateful that we live in a time when we can ask these questions freely. They signify an underlying willingness to listen and learn. The hope that I see in the Emergent Church is a willingness to lean into these types of self-exposing questions and to find conversation partners who will help us delve deeper into our own psyches and open our hearts wider. I personally love these types of … [Read more...]

Loss and Redemption in Relationships

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In this season of anticipatory and happy holidays among a number of cultural and faith traditions, I want to focus on the subject of personal loss in relationships for a moment. I am grateful that there are some houses of worship that will offer “blue” worship services to address the spiritual needs of, and to comfort, those who have endured gut-wrenching losses recently. Loss.Loss is a subject that weighs heavily on all who encounter it, especially when the loss is unanticipated and … [Read more...]

The Cost of Changing Faith

Faith changes have a lot in common with building IKEA furniture.

An ongoing discussion I keep stumbling into is how people are dealing with changes in their faith. Whether through a church transition, personal challenge, or a change in the direction of life, faith is continually growing and transitioning. These transitions are challenging because things that seemed secure are now more fluid. There are periods of calm, where it feels more settled, and moments where the foundations are shaking and we’re not sure which way to go. This can be a very lonely p … [Read more...]

Call and Affirmation

Call & Affirmation

“No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16-16 NRSV]I’ve learned to be someone who’s trustworthy enough to listen deeply without judgment, to make connections with other people at a soul-deep level, and to reflect back the innate goodness and inner wholeness of the … [Read more...]

Buddha Inside/Jesus Outside

I see Jesus in the Lotus every day

Tonight Great Spirit said,' your story is ready to be birthed. Your peace has been lodged in the birth canal and is fading from lack of inspiration. Breathe forth!!!'Two years ago I dreamed of a paper with two paths drawn— one labeled ‘wounded healer’ and the other I could not decipher but knew it said the same thing. I lie in the French Broad River of North Carolina in early July and expose my palms announcing, pleading really, ‘Open my wounds to grace and reveal God’s glory!’. I really need … [Read more...]

We Go Up to the Mountains

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I am blessed to live in a place where we can easily go up to mountains. Daily we can look on them and be reminded of how small we are and how mighty they are. Daily I can gaze at their beauty, take pictures of them in different light, see how they change in snow and cloud. Mountains are amazing. They make you remember the Creator and remind you to be amazed to see all that he has made.But I have also discovered that mountains are more than just something to observe. They are something we … [Read more...]

Stepping Away from Leadership Voluntarily

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I have had, over the years, some interesting and deeply thoughtful conversations with leaders, primarily in the church, on the subject of leadership. Prior to my engagement with church leadership, I had experienced leadership roles in community nonprofit organizations, professional associations, and my career as a commercial banker.I believe that many leadership skills can be taught and enhanced through education and training, especially in workshop and seminar settings with other leaders … [Read more...]

She was a friend of God

"Mother and Son" 2011 Abstract

She was a friend of GODI’m just getting in from my friend of 33 years mother’s funeral. She’s being buried on her 91st birthday!! What a glorious and full life!! I wouldn't have missed the service for anything. Rita Law was a woman I always gravitated toward at family/friend gatherings. Her light was so bright, I was like a moth to her vibrant flame. Her last few years were marred by worsening dementia and yet one could always sense her inner radiance.Rita raised seven children— all pilla … [Read more...]


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