Bumps in the Night: Why We Love to Turn Up the Terror

I think I was about 15 the first time I read Pet Sematary. I was terrified. I was grossed out.I was totally hooked.I remember holing up in the basement to watch the movie with some friends. It was ok. But nothing like the delicious thrill of the words on the page, and the invitation those pages offered into the macabre layers of my own imagination. Something about King’s brand of terror has never translated well to the screen… His art is language, and trying to force real, physical ima … [Read more...]

EXPECTO PATRONUM! And Other Spells That Don’t Ensure Your Internet Safety

Listen. Most any 'change in privacy' notice you see on Facebook is a scam. Social media sites would completely implode on themselves if they started charging, and they know it. Or if everything suddenly became "public," in the most basic understanding of the word. Furthermore, anything that says "if you copy and paste this into your status, then _____ thing will or won't happen" is definitely a scam. Your status box has no magic power to create a force field around you and the rest of the … [Read more...]

Get it Together, America–We’ve Got Company

Maybe this week in U.S. news is no more embarrassing than any other. But I tell you what, I am feeling especially appalled by our collective bad behavior. Maybe it’s because the behavior has been especially…well, appalling. Or maybe it’s because the POPE IS IN TOWN, and, I don’t know, it seems like we should clean up the place a little. Use a napkin, at the very least, and not put our *^@%#^ feet on the table.It’s hard to know where to begin, with such ignorant, arrogant and buffoonish ac … [Read more...]

Talking to Strangers: Scene in a Bar

I was drinking a beer. That was her first clue that I wasn’t a real Christian.When she asked me what I did and I mentioned that I was a pastor, I’m guessing that sealed the deal.So when she asked me to tell her about my church, I could have quoted our denomination’s identity statement, keeping it light and generic. Or I could have told her about youth group and women’s ministries and mission work in El Salvador. But I figured I was already batting zero—drinking a beer AND being a lady min … [Read more...]

The Naked Truth About Dress Codes

Women's bodies sure are controversial these days.And not just in the political/ideological sense regarding reproductive rights and healthcare. I mean just--there is fundamentally something offensive and confusing about curves, cleavage and knees. And I guess now, bones. A girl at a Kentucky High School was sent home for wearing a top that was very, very revealing... of her collar bones.   The Missouri Legislature figured that maybe a stricter dress code would cut down on sexual harassment c … [Read more...]

Healing and Hilarity in “Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome”

If David Sedaris and Anne Lamott had a baby together... it would be this book. And I mean that in the best possible way.Sometimes the market seems saturated with spiritual memoirs. (I know, because I want to write one and editors tell me as much...) They range in tone from super feels-y to very jaded; and in creed from the ultra-conservative-gone-athiest to the other-way-around. Some speak to the spiritual-but-not religious crowed, and some address the r … [Read more...]

All the Weird, Wonderful World: A Back-to-School Prayer

As I mentioned last year, I am usually not the parent crying into my latte on the first day of school. For one thing, my kid LOVES school, so I am just happy to see her skipping off into hours of playtime, new-friend-making, and math--which she loves, which is beyond me, but go girl anyway. Mostly, I am just trying to get out of the massive crush of suburban parenthood without a)having a panic attack or b) absolutely losing my $h^t at the mom who is TEXTING IN THE DROP OFF LANE and blocking the … [Read more...]

More than Half Enough

Guest post, by Rev. Ryan Motter“Well, look at you.  You’re half the man you used to be.”It was in the line after worship, standing at the back door as we shook hands and exchanged pleasantries.  The other congregation members were offering gentle reminders: “Don’t forget the Youth meeting on Wednesday,”  “Please remember that I’m having that procedure tomorrow morning,”  “I’ll be out of town for the next three weeks.  Pray for me.”From these folks, she comes up and places her hands on … [Read more...]

Saving Atticus

One day, all is right with the literary world... And then suddenly, one of the most significant characters of all time has transformed into someone we scarcely recognize. How does this happen? And what does it mean?First, a word about narrative sequence: Go Set a Watchman is not the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird. Nor is it an intentional prequel. As legend has it (b/c any word spoken in reference to Nell Harper Lee smacks of legend) the author penned these pages first. They amount to what A … [Read more...]