Top Ten Reasons to Stay Home on Black Friday

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Maybe it’s a sport in your family. Some people play flag football or ultimate frisbee to burn off the pie and stuffing, but y’all lace up for a 100-yard-dash through Best Buy and Home Depot. Maybe it’s a bonding thing. Or maybe it’s the only day that you can afford to buy things like new shoes for your children. Maybe you’ve got your reasons, and they are none of my business. I’m not judging. You go do what you’ve got to do, and I’m not the boss of you. I hope that all will hear the following in … [Read more...]

Bad News, Good News

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Over the weekend, two young people in our community committed suicide. These young women went the same high school, and played on the same soccer team. I can’t imagine the grief that student body is bearing right now, not to mention the families of the two girls. In the wake of this tragedy, I’ve been impressed by expressions of sympathy and compassion from the entire community. I’m also impressed with the school’s response, encouraging parents to have real and honest conversations with their kid … [Read more...]

Your Faith-Based Voter Guide

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Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on Politics in the Pulpit. Read other perspectives here. The toxic commercials. The clutter of yard signs. The sensory assault of angry billboards and radio spots… To quote a friend: Bring on the ridiculously early Christmas music and gaudy decorations. Anything is better than this!! In fact, the only thing worse than the sensory overload of election season is the tense, carefully guarded environments that many of us navigate dai … [Read more...]

The One Where We Can’t Go Home Again

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20 years ago today, the pilot episode of Friends aired in primetime on NBC. 20 YEARS, you guys. Seriously. This article says the show is as popular today, in re-runs, as it was back then. I’d believe it, too. Even though you watch and go, ‘wow, it’s weird that they don't have cell phones,’ or ‘dang, Rachel’s jeans always seemed cool at the time…what happened?’ the show has joined the ranks of Truly Timeless Televiewing.Many will say it’s because that cast of 6 had such impeccable chemistry. O … [Read more...]

Sex, Death, and the Same Old Tree

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I just keep thinking about that tree.You know the one. It stood in the center of the garden. Everything else seemed to grow out from its center, and lean in towards it at the same time. Drawn to its vibrant color, its fragrance, the life that seemed to hum from within. Everything else in the garden depended on that one tree for air and light.So the gardener told the tourists not to touch it. To please not pluck its leaves, or eat its fruit, or spray it with pesticide or put a fence … [Read more...]

Not in the Fire, Not in the Wind

The following is from week 2 of the sermon series "Doors and Windows: Faces of Faith in Transition." Since many of you followed last week's conversation about "Mapping the Message," I thought you might like to see the product of all that series planning. I really enjoyed sharing some of the creative process, and I hope we can talk more about that soon!  Meanwhile, read on for some thoughts on finding that still, small voice--even when all around us feels like chaos. It’s official. Nothing is … [Read more...]

Mapping the Message: A Choose Your Own Adventure Tale for Preachers

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When I write about pastoral life, I try to make it interesting and/or useful to readers who aren’t clergy. There is almost always a spiritual or practical truth that applies to a broader audience.That said—if you are not a vocational minister, the following might literally bore you TO DEATH, and I don’t want to be responsible for that. Read on if you wish. But I won’t be offended if you go cruise another blog and come back here tomorrow (or the next day).Meantime-- I’m going to share some … [Read more...]

Love Anyway: An Ode to First Days

I was not the mom sobbing into my latte. Nor was I the mom skipping and cheering down the hall because it was my first moment of freedom in 5 years.  No, I was the mom frantically stashing school supplies into the cubby, because I did not know to bring them on meet-the-teacher night. I was the mom noticing that I was suddenly the last parent in the room, as the teacher started her welcome routine.  And mostly, I was the mom proud to know that I could leave my kid with strangers for a few hours, a … [Read more...]

Good Morning: Thoughts on Robin Williams, and Hearing Whole Stories

When I was little, my dad bought the soundtrack (cassette tape, of course) to Good Morning, Vietnam. For a time, we listened to it in the car. All the time. I knew every word to every song. And I also knew the dialogue. Dad probably thought I was too young to ‘get’ some of the  more crass humor (he was right); and that I was too little to catch the bad language (wrong!). Thing is, even though I didn’t really understand WHY “Follow the Ho Chi Mihn Trail” was funny--or what was so dissonantly hilar … [Read more...]


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