On Enjoying the Show

I remember when dance recital week was the busiest/most stressful week of the year. I didn’t eat much in the month leading up to the show because somewhere, along the way, I’d picked up on the memo that real dancers didn’t eat. Don’t worry, i didn’t have the discipline and/or self-loathing to maintain ‘recital diet’ for the whole year. Still–much of the fatigue I recall attached to that season was probably due to some really practical factors like low blood… Read more

In Season

It’s fixin to be June in Phoenix. Lord help us… Some of you know that I’m kind of a snob about tomatoes. I mean, I LOVE tomatoes…But by ‘tomato,’ I do not mean those things that come out of a California hot house in January. That is NOT a tomato. But I can rhapsodize about a real tomato all day long—and the perfect BLT that I make when, on the rarest of occasions, I can lay hands on an actual… Read more

My Ordinnaversary

Nine years ago—this weekend exactly—I was ordained to Christian ministry. I remember a few things about that day; I remember that the church ladies who raised me put together a wonderfully warm and abundant reception; I remember the many people who drove some miles to be with me for the occasion; I remember the robe being placed on my shoulders and the hands being laid upon my head, shoulders and back; I recall feeling surrounded by blessing, strength, and a very real sense… Read more

Joy in the Morning. Again.

           Dear God,                    What the hell…??                    Thanks in advance for your quick reply.             Sincerely, Those of us who spend our days telling everybody how good you are. If you wake up with this prayer on your heart on a day like today, you are not alone. Nor are you unfaithful, a heathen, a blasphemer, or a heretic.  In fact, if you are a person who goes around with all-things-Holy on the brain, most of the time, it is… Read more

The Gospel of Dunder Mifflin

“Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam.” I once heard a television critic on NPR discuss the best series finales of all time. He named the top three as St. Elsewhere; Newhart; and Six Feet Under. Today, I hereby proclaim that The Office joins those ranks of shows that ended well. Really, really well. While those others may have ended with epic plot twists that blew viewers’ minds (the snow globe; the dream; the series of epitaphs spanning nearly 100 years of Fisher-dom) the Scranton crew went… Read more

What Does this Mean?

Nine years ago–almost to the day–I sat in a small meeting room with a committee who would decide yay or nay on my upcoming ordination. It was only mildly stressful; I’d been meeting with this group quarterly for several years…I figured if they hadn’t found issue with me thus far, there was little chance of them flagging me as crazy or unfit at this point. Mostly, it was just a conversation. So when one of the pastors at the table… Read more

Rootless and Wandering

If you ever wonder what pastors talk about when we get together, the topics are, in no particular order: -Church people. I mean, we don’t spill pastoral confidences, but we definitely talk about our people. It’s mostly good news. Mostly… -Sermons; process, upcoming themes, recent triumphs and epic disasters. -Kids (if we have kids) and how we balance the parent and pastor acts. (The answer is: just barely, most days). -Which new tv show/band/book series has THEOLOGICAL SUBTEXT. We really nerd… Read more

Recipe for Joy–Review

It’s always fun when people send you free books. A few weeks ago, I got a package in the mail containing a couple of books that other Patheos writers were going to read and review, forming a  virtual book club. The fun part (other than getting free books in the mail!) was that both seemed timely for things I’m doing in ministry right now. I mean, I’m in the midst of a sermon series called “Manna: A Gospel of Food.” And what… 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 make a… Read more

When Good People Say Dumb Stuff

In the wake of a tragedy like yesterday’s bombing, we ask the age-old question: why do bad things happen to good people? And in the hours and days following such an event, we might also find ourselves wondering: why do good people say dumb things? Through our collective prayers, we seek understanding; we ask for God’s comfort with the wounded and those suffering loss; we give thanks for our own loved ones, safe at home, by some stroke of grace or… Read more

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