Sex, Violence and Football: Great American Pastimes

via Pixabay

Monday morning quarterbacks--this is your day to shine! Have fun cornering your colleagues at the coffee pot and regaling them with all the uniquely insightful commentary that your friends and neighbors enjoyed last night during the game. Some of the rest of us will be Monday-quarterbacking the commercials. Which, on the whole, were pretty disappointing. Those singing sheep though...  If I hadn't just bought a Honda like, 2 months ago, I might well be on my way to a dealership this … [Read more...]

Clergy Survival Guide: Flu Season Edition

image via Pixabay

I once had a teacher who suffered from severe mysophobia (fear of germs) to the point that it significantly interfered with her life. Her husband taught in the next classroom over, so every morning he would open all her doors, turn on all her computers/projectors, etc, and set her up for the day. She rarely stepped out from behind her desk, and as far as I can tell, never ventured to the bathroom or the cafeteria. We all thought she was nuts.But now, I kind of get it. Because, you guys, kids … [Read more...]

Something in the Water: Privilege and Poison in Flint


It must be something in the water, they say... When a common trend takes hold of a community. Like a bunch of women in the same church get pregnant at the same time; or an extended family has a big  wave of weddings in one summer; or a bunch of houses in the neighborhood go on the market at the same time.Or when all the kids in a single town suddenly turn up with lead poisoning.Except in the instance of a small town in Michigan, it is not proverbial. It is no folksy appellation. It is a r … [Read more...]

Let it Go: What Church Can and Can’t Be at Christmas


Here's what I did NOT need to see: that article from "Christianity Today" about how many Americans will go to church for Christmas.The answer? Everybody. ALL THE PEOPLE. They will come from the city and country, from hill and holler; the believing and the skeptical, and happy and the heartbroken, the long-lost and the never-known... It's Christmas and THEY ARE COMING. Prepare the overflow seating...These publications hit us all year long with the depressing 'mainline decline' … [Read more...]

This Magic Window


Most years, I’m a Christmas minimalist. My kids get 3 or 4 gifts each—some of which are books, some “boring” things they needed anyway. I refrain from planning lots of festive family outings, opting instead to nest in and avoid the rushing, shopping madness out there in the suburbs. We do our church things, we put up a tree, we bake stuff for the neighbors. It is simple and good.So why is it that, this year, I cannot stop shopping for toys? And have thrown myself into the ‘daily surprise’ fre … [Read more...]

Naughty or Nice: Tell Your Kids They’re Good

My friend Mackenzie took this pic. She is the queen of elfing. In the best possible way!

I swear I didn't lose it on purpose.Here's how it happened. When my daughter was a baby, my friend Rachel bought her an Elf on the Shelf. I didn't actually get it out of the box until she was about 3, and my son was 1. My daughter promptly named the elf "Rachel," and here's the CREEPIEST thing--she had not seen aunt Rachel, the PERSON, since she was a baby. Had no idea this elf came from aunt Rachel, the person--because, hello, elves come from the NORTH POLE. So, how the elf became Rachel … [Read more...]

Keeping the Light

chris-campbell-xmas (2)

Normally, I’m a purist. Nothing green or sparkly goes up at my house until the first Sunday of Advent. Not a strain of Christmas music creeps over my airways until December 1. No shopping until I really HAVE to. And even then, my version of ‘shopping’ is pretty modest.But this year? Somebody call the liturgical police—because I am like Buddy the Elf up in here. I finished most of my shopping online weeks ago. The minute I finished my turkey and mashed potatoes on Thursday, I cranked on the al … [Read more...]

The Diverse Face of Terrorism: Thoughts on the Planned Parenthood Shooting


We don't know much, in these early hours after the shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado. But here's what we know for sure.The terrorist was white. And American. And most likely, Christian.Not a faceless boogeyman in a turban. Not a young black man with droopy pants. This guy was your neighbor. You pass him on the street as you walk your kids to school. You wave on the way to the mailbox.You might even sit by him at church.Lest we forget--lest we ever forget for a … [Read more...]

Room at the Table: 7 Perks of Welcoming Refugees


Repeat after me: Not all Muslims are extremists; the U.S. Government ALREADY does rigorous screening on all immigrants to our shores; and you are more likely to be crushed by a piece of furniture in your own damn house than to be killed by a terrorist. But. If you are reading my stuff, you probably already know this. And you are probably sick and tired of  trying to convince other people.But listen. Step away from the 'unfriend,' 'block' and 'unfollow' buttons. If you begin to filter all of t … [Read more...]