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

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...]

#BecauseJesus

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While flipping through radio stations, I came upon a show where the morning hosts asked people to call in and 'tell me something good.' I thought, hey, people sharing good news. I like good news. So I stopped to listen and heard some nice stories about recovered health and restored relationships. The beauty of the day or a joy of a fresh start. Then a guy called in and said this:“Yeah, with all this stuff going on in the Middle East...I just think about how Jesus says in the Bible that when t … [Read more...]

Dig In: 10 Ways to Find Your Feet in a New Place

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Hey. I haven’t had much to say lately. I’m not sure why that is, other than that when you write and talk and write and talk, all day long, then go home and talk some more, you will at some point run out of words. They always come back, eventually—usually as an assault to the senses, like an alien, animal thing trying to escape you all at once; a rush of words that literally burns itself into your brain (maybe while you’re asleep) and MUST BE FREED AT DAWN OR ELSE YOU’LL RUN MAD.However—this p … [Read more...]

A Doctor, A Pastor, and a Car Salesman…

No, they're not walking into a bar. But perhaps they should...Here's what I know about TMJ: well, I know a lot, and guess/infer a lot more--this is some of each. For starters 1) it affects more women than men; 2) it is a whole-person issue, encompassing physical, dental, and psychological factors--which means that no type of insurance coverage-- even if you have benefits for all three of these areas--wants to cover treatment. Some come right out and say in the fine print 'we do not cover … [Read more...]

Before Someone Drops a House on You

I've long had a theory about Fred Phelps: He didn't really hate gay people.Well, ok, he probably did. But not to the degree that his antics would lead one to believe. He was probably homophobic in the same way that a lot of people are homophobic...in a passive way that is mildly accepted by much of popular culture (which is a whole 'nother post) but you don't see all of those mainstream haters pounding the pavement with these ugly signs, and forming an abusive cult around their ideology. W … [Read more...]

Singing in Dimly Lit Places: Is Religious Freedom Under Threat?

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Here is the question that will be on Patheos Public Square  next week: While the principle of religious freedom is inscribed in the Constitution and forms a core idea of American democracy, it has also become an increasingly embattled issue amid broader cultural tensions over individual rights, the power of government, and the separation of church and state. Is religious freedom under threat, as many advocates claim? What does it mean to defend religious freedom in a diverse, modern society … [Read more...]

Singing for Our Lives

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I’m not sure how it started, or when. But at least since I was a young’n, and probably a good many moons before that… each year, several hundred high school students would gather at the Hyatt Regency in Louisville for Kentucky All State Choir. (Yeah, that’s how we rolled, y’all. A glimpse of my wild and crazy youth right here).That hotel is about 20 stories high, with a large open-air atrium for a lobby. You can look up from the ground floor and literally see the door to every guest room, sur … [Read more...]


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