Anis 1

A Love Beyond

Iranian Musician Anis Oveis Risks Everything for Music------------------Outside in the night air, a security guard keeps watch for authorities. Inside, a beautiful young woman fidgets with her scarf, making sure her hair is completely covered. The band Mavara, for which she plays keyboard, takes the stage, but at the first sign of trouble they are ready with a plan to shut everything down. They are nervous, not just because they are about to perform, but because they don’t know what will … [Read More...]

Cover of Northup's memoir from

“12 Years a Slave,” An Eternity for Women

"Sin. There is no sin. A man does what he wishes with his property."The whip hisses and pops, tearing open the flesh of a slight-framed, barely pubescent slave girl. Stripped naked and hog-tied to the whipping post, terror and resignation cohabit her face.Patsey once sat humming naively in the fields, fashioning dolls from the others’ discarded corn husks, a deranged benefit of Master Edwin Epps’ alternative use of her body. Her innocence is not just his property, but his gift: “God given … [Read More...]

Chix 6: A Broadway-Bound Game-Changer for the Girls

Raising healthy girls and successful young women means not just instilling strong faith, but giving them faith in themselves. -----Musicals have a tradition of being, at heart, love stories. A show's energy is generated not only by rousing music, but by the audience anxiously rooting for the damsel to escape the clutches of the villain (whatever form that takes), for the star-crossed lovers to defeat the odds and stroll off into the sunset. Rarely disappointing, in an upbeat finale, the … [Read More...]

Reza Aslan's new book makes us think about where truth lies.

Seeking the Stolen Savior

Can a Muslim man help young Christian women find Jesus?Like so many of us, acclaimed author Reza Aslan had that unforgettable, life-changing moment: a come to Jesus moment. At the age of 15, the Iranian-born Aslan, whose family fled the revolution and left religion behind, found Jesus in the blue skies of 1980s Northern California. He had a divine encounter with a savior that created, as it is wont to do, a passionate evangelist who shared the good news of Jesus Christ with everyone he met, … [Read More...]

Can I love from a posture of fear? Can I accept love from this place?

Can Christians handle perfect love?

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. -- 1 John 4:18Where do you find fear in your thinking and actions? Those are the places we must set our sights to discover and where we must focus our spiritual efforts to heal, since we will not be able to truly think or act with love in those spaces. Real love, whether at a personal level in a relationship with your significant other or a family … [Read More...]

Who's our daddy?

Who’s the Man?

What happens when a few good men decide manhood needs an overhaul? Last month I mentioned the enlightening and sometimes shocking discussion that unfolded during the all-male panel moderated by Eve Ensler [a sold-out event at the Paley Center for Media] called "Breaking the Male Code: After Steubenville, A Call to Action." (You can see the panel roster and bios at that link.) Our country having just last weekend celebrated fatherhood at its most idealistic, it feels like a good time to co … [Read More...]

A Mother’s Day Prayer to Our Mother God

Mother God,Today we honor the mothers of the world and we honor our Mother God. We honor the deep strength, the sheer grace, the unending love, the watchful eye of the fierce, unwavering protector. We honor the lioness, the stalwart vigil kept, the spirit fire lit, the tears bravely spilt, the strategic sacrifice, the billowing, brilliant mind which thinks, which dreams, which leads us in the harsh struggle for the greater good.For the pain of birth and the joy of life created and … [Read More...]

Audrie Pott

Your Very Cells Call the Divine into Ending Our Rape Culture

After my last post about the Patheos theme of "Defining Moments" Mike Helbert left the comment, "It's been awhile!" (Thanks for your note Mike!)It's been awhile because I've been speechlessly saddened over the past several weeks as I listened to news story after story about young women committing suicide after being raped, often not fully understanding what happened until the rapists sent pictures of the attacks viral. These 13- through 16-year-old girls were criminally violated, socially … [Read More...]

Wild ride.

Call Me Crazy: Daring to Discern God in My Odd Defining Moments

My three most significant defining moments over the past decade have had one thing in common: they involved the decision to listen to some "crazy" people and ignore some "smart" ones. Learning to discern whose wacky wisdom to take to heart and whose sober advice to set aside has been a precarious curve, but the outcome has proven worth the risks. It all began in 2004 in a nail salon in Chelsea, near my first apartment in New York City.I had moved from Alabama less than a year before and the … [Read More...]

Wherever two or more are gathered...

Repenting of Not Lenting: Forty Days of Femmevangelical

To Lent or not to Lent? 'With whom' is the question.I was raised Southern Baptist, and growing up we did not observe Lent. In some ways, probably mainly because I had never participated, it sounded exotic: 40 days of personal preparation and mysterious transformation of some sort before getting to celebrate Easter, a sober commitment required before sidling up to salvation. I came from a tradition of front-yard pictures in fluffy Easter dresses, a bunny that left elaborate baskets, and a … [Read More...]