Unlaced and Undone

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There was a “Kindness Assembly” at my daughter’s school today. One kid from each class was chosen to read an essay about something kind that they did, or a time when someone showed kindness to them. My 6-year-old was chosen from her class. She marched up to that mic like a pro and read her (4-sentence) story. While her friends waved like mad from the Kindergarten section.Don’t get me wrong—I was proud. It is no small thing to stand up in front of hundreds of people and say what’s true. There … [Read more...]

Winter’s Dramatic Conversion

“Really,” said Winter, “I’m not one for sunflowers and birdsong.It’s all just too precious for me. Too easy.Gray skies are poetry; frozen earth is pure scripture.A good blizzard is benediction--black crystal slicing through the air...That’s a living color portrait of the soul.It’s all ice and razors in there, you know.”Then Winter shuddered in his thin coat, and drifted offHis lonely way. The shadow of himself hovered above the ground,Hesitated,And then followe … [Read more...]

The Damp Murkiness of our Inner Underworld

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“There is a part of the soul that stirs at night, in the dark and soundless times of day, when our defenses are down and our daylight distractions no longer serve to protect us from ourselves. What we suppress in the light emerges clearly in the dusk. It’s then, in the still of life, when we least expect it, that questions emerge from the damp murkiness of our inner underworld.”  --Joan Chittister, Between the Dark and the Daylight. The damp murkiness of our inner underworld?? Sign me up! Not on … [Read more...]

The Cross We Bear: Capital Punishment and the “Worthiness” Narrative of Christianity

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Christians love a conversion story. American Christians especially.Kelli Gissendaner’s is a good one. Faith leaders and Christians from across the country have raised an outcry to stay her execution, because of the dramatic transformation she has experienced while behind bars. During her prison stay, she has studied theology; made friends with well-known theologian Jurgen Moltmann; and ministered to fellow inmates, sharing the gospel and her own faith story generously.The pleas go so … [Read more...]

Waiting for a Punchline: Llama-Crossing, Viral Dress-Watching, and Kansas Being Kansas

Why did the llamas cross the road? a) To get farther away from Kansas; b) they saw Arpaio coming and they didn’t have their papers; c) they wanted to know what color the dress was REALLY… Listen, Kansas. I know it takes some doing, a real concerted group effort, to be the most backward, most ignorant, most intentionally obtuse state in the union right now, but I’m telling you—IT’S NOT A CONTEST. At least, it’s not one we want to win. Yesterday’s newsfeed was filled with llamas, dresses, and unf … [Read more...]

Psalm 23-and-a-Half

The Lord is my shepherd,      whether I like it or not. I shall not want.      Except for a bigger house, a nicer car, a slimmer waistline;      a newer device, a little more power;      and to always, always, every day, be right about everything. He makes me lie down in green pastures      as the world grays with concrete      and browns with toxic fumes           and bleeds with violence and rage. He leads me beside still waters                            even though I pull away, and … [Read more...]

Dark Before Dawn: A Soundtrack for Lent

I usually put out a playlist sometime around Holy Week. But this year, I started on it way early because we are using so much secular music in worship. Our theme is "Nothing But Time," which lent itself (get it? LENT itself? no extra charge for the puns, folks) to lots of wonderful art support.Ever thought about how much of your stress and anxiety is wrapped up in how you think about time? From the day to day hurry to the broad, existential, why-are-we-here kinds of things. If we could c … [Read more...]

Those Who Do Not Learn From History…

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I'm tired of writing about Kansas politics... So let's talk about Oklahoma instead! I was going to write about the recent ban of Advanced Placement history courses, but thought it would be better to hear from someone who actually lives there and has a connection to that school system. Here's what my friend Aaron Todd has to say from Midwest City. My hands are shaking as I write.  A tangible expression of the mixture of emotions that have been stirred up inside my head and my heart.  I am fill … [Read more...]

Water and Ash

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From dust you were born. And to dust, you will return.Is that a threat, or a promise? On the darkest days, we sense death hovering in our vicinity, like a grey cloud. It feels chilly. It sounds like slow, dirge-y organ music in a minor key. It smells like ash and feels abrasive against our skin—like burlap.Sack cloth and ashes… That’s what we could be about today.Or.We can choose to hear those words as blessing and benediction. From dust you were born. To dust, you will retur … [Read more...]


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