10 Meaningful Ways to Start Your Kids’ School Day

We've probably all read the beautiful, powerful, tear-jerking letter that Glennon Melton (of Momastery fame) wrote to her son Chase for the first day of school. The letter is several years old, but it always re-circulates in the newsfeed this time of year.I love that letter. I shared it far and wide. I used it in a sermon. I read it and cried into my latte with the best of them.But also, that letter is long.  It is a special occasion letter, not something you are going to sit down and t … [Read more...]

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Grief for the Villians

A guest post: by Rev. Elizabeth GrashamMy ex-husband calls my cellphone once a week to talk to our son.  In and of itself, that would probably sound normal to any person who lives with a custody agreement, post-divorce.  Except the first person my son hears when he answers the phone is not his dad; it’s a voice recording.“You are about to receive a prepaid phone call from [XXXX], an inmate housed at the [XXXX] Unit. If you still want to accept this prepaid phone call, please touch ‘1’.” … [Read more...]

Naughty or Nice: Tell Your Kids They’re Good

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...]

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 Right Kind of Prayer

A few weeks ago, Saint Andrew Christian Church hosted a "Welcoming Church" event, in partnership with a sister congregation and the GLAD Alliance. The goal was to generate conversation around what it means to be an open and affirming congregation, and what difference it makes to identity and mission when you 'say out loud' that you welcome everyone. Because, if we're being honest, most of our congregations still chant the mantra. You know the one: "We welcome everybody. Why do we have to talk abo … [Read more...]

Guest Post: Corn Mush and Depression Gravy

Thanks to Rev. Rachel Frey for this special Thanksgiving guest post. She is a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) serving as a health care chaplain in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. A native Texan, Rachel has acclimated to the cold of the Great White North, but not to celebrating Thanksgiving in October, as Canadians do. She and her family will be celebrating US Thanksgiving this coming Saturday, giving thanks for the abundant life they share, even for jobs that require them to … [Read more...]

Enough

I followed a sparkly red lady bug and a plush green dragon down the street.Nevermind it was October 31. It was about 100 degrees outside, and the plush, fuzzy, cozy costume—which would have been just swell in some chilly autumn Midwestern burrow—was utterly ridiculous in the desert. But dang, he was adorable.We’d just moved from one desert suburb to another… just a few miles apart, but worlds away. The place we’d been the previous year—with a two-year-old witch and a newborn, who went dre … [Read more...]

Good China, Good Sleep, and Sexpectations: 10 Truths from 10 Years of Marriage

We are celebrating 10 years of marriage this month. 10 years, 2 kids, 1 dog, 2 cross-country moves, countless road trips, several bad hair cuts, more than a few miscommunications, and more West Wing marathons than we’ll ever tell…Just to be clear: my marriage is not perfect, nor do I pretend it is on Facebook; I don’t parade it through the sanctuary as the ‘life as it should be’ lesson, and I don’t claim the ability to fix people who are struggling. However: I’m a pastor, and I hear a lot abo … [Read more...]

Annie

5 years ago, my friends Mark and Kara said their vows on a beautiful beach in Mexico, at sunset.  And I got to witness it. On that same trip—stop me if you’ve heard it—I jumped off of a burning boat, 6 months pregnant, and made a swim for it in the ocean. (If you haven’t heard it—post for another day.) Luckily, my peril at sea was not a cosmic sign re: my friends’ impending nuptials. Far from perilous, their 5 years of marriage has been blissfully filled with love and laughter. (In fact, they mig … [Read more...]