On Reading God Between the Lines

In a series called By Heart, The Atlantic features authors’ reflections on their favorite passages of literature. Iranian-born Dina Nayeri,who wrote the recently released A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea, choose from Marilyn Robinson’s quiet but strong book, Housekeeping: There is so little to remember of anyone—an anecdote, a conversation at a table. But every memory is turned over and over again, every word, however chance, written in the heart in the hope that memory will fulfill itself, and become… Read more

Yes, I Have a New Book!

It’s time to Talk Taboo! I can not emphasize enough how excited I am about my new book coming out in October 2013, Taking Taboo: American Christian Women Get Frank About Faith. It’s been a long time coming – an anthology of young American Christian women finally getting to speak their minds about the issues the church seems to want to stay hushed up about. I and my co-editor, Erin Lane, and all the contributing writers we invited want to… Read more

On Being “Punk’d” by God

It’s hard to describe to someone else what it feels like to get “punk’d” by God.  Well, God doesn’t actually punk people I am well aware. But truly, once in a while it can definitely feel that way. Thankfully thus far I’ve only really experienced it twice in my short life. And the last time I really didn’t know how we were going to hug this one out. It felt like a joke that had gone too far. In fact… Read more

On Jesus Sightings Beyond the Jello

The morning of Easter Sunday I read Luke 24, the chapter that tells what happened on Resurrection Sunday.  I’ve been sitting with the text for a couple of days and I can’t help wondering if we should be expecting post-Resurrection appearances of Christ over the next few weeks? I want to imagine that the Risen Christ celebrates Easter with the rest of us, thrilled as we are over the miraculous love that out pours from the communion of the Trinity,… Read more

On Mouthing Off in Faith

I wonder how many of us believe in the power of our words, that what we speak aloud can have a profound effect on what occurs in our lives. I have heard variations of that all my life. My mom used to tell my siblings and I that what we say in life is what happens. She was always encouraging us to speak our dreams out loud, to say both playfully and firmly what we wanted out of life, no… Read more

On Being a Silly Naive Christian

Last week I wrote a piece for The Washington Post about having faith enough to believe that God can act against logic and what seems possible. (I unfortunately did not get to choose the final title of my piece) In this particular instance I was referring to older women having healthy children despite scientific probability weighing against such hope. My article was in response to another piece, “How Older Parenthood Will Upend American Society: The scary consequences of the grayest… Read more

On Men Who Follow Directions

I have always loved the Epiphany story of the Three Wise Men found in the 2nd chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. And not just because it’s about men who follow directions and end up realizing that it was a really good idea. I love the story because it’s about people who have already “arrived” in life and are comfortable by all cultural standards, but who remain open to risk-taking, adventure, humility and being transformed by mystery they may not… Read more

On Crazy Love

The last movie I saw in 2012 was the film adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. I didn’t plan it that way, for it to be the last movie of the year but it turned out to be fitting. It is a story about the triumph of love, not romantic love but crazy love, the love we receive when we haven’t earned it, when we least deserve it, when we hardly expect it. This is the kind of love that… Read more

On the Size of Holy Imaginations

Though journeying together is rich and powerful in its ability to sustain us in faith, belief and hope. there is something to be said about discerning whom we invite to walk alongside us. In this season of Advent, Mary and Elizabeth are fitting for each other because they truly believe in God’s ability to move beyond their understanding. They share a similar faith imagination that can hold mystery and divine possibility in the face of what the world will call… Read more

The Search for the Kingdom of God…A Work in Progress

I have the discombobulating experience of having been raised in 4 different countries on 3 different continents in both “1st” and “3rd” world countries. Though baptized in the Roman Catholic Church in the USA I grew up attending Mass and Protestant services in international communities around the world. There was also the added complexity of my early exposure to other faith traditions. In my early childhood years I grew up directly across the street from a synagogue in New York… Read more

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