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 shows up in my mailbox but a book called Recipe for Joy. It's like ge … [Read more...]

A Measure of Elf Awareness

I’ll just admit it. The Elf on the Shelf creeps me out. I mean, something that watches every move I make, reports back to Santa, and can run around my house at night? No, thank you.Jenny, the fabulous Bloggess, expressed distaste for said elf more aptly and colorfully than i ever could. But don't go see her if you find my language to be occasionally borderline or offensive. Let's just say, she does not use %*$&#@ symbols. She's not a preacher. She can say what she means. But language a … [Read more...]

Week 1, Day 2: Homecoming

Many thanks to our guest author today. Jane Fugate is a dedicated social worker and addiction counselor. She is a published author, a popular speaker and presenter, and she helped develop the television program "The Family Works." She began her career serving in the Red Cross Special Services during the Vietnam War. Natives of Kentucky (!!) Jane and her husband, Bob, are active members of Foothills Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Phoenix, AZ.What are you Waiting For?They say … [Read more...]

How God Gets Stuff Done

Other people have said it--have been saying all week--but it bears repeating: God does not 'intend' rape. Ever. Are we really having this conversation, America?Abortion is bad, m'k? We are all in agreement on this, whatever you may think of those who advocate for choice. I have another post with my thoughts on life , if you want to go there. But for now, let's reflect on the appalling truth that a man like Richard Mourdock (did you know who he was before yesterday? me neither) can use the … [Read more...]

The Great American Road Trip

What is it that keeps us moving? What are we looking for?I've wondered about this all my life.  When we've got literally everything we could ever want or need at our fingertips, why do so many of us keep wandering the varied landscape, as if it can tell us some deep and abiding truth of the soul?Maybe because it can...I don't know if i could tell you what that truth is, but i glimpse it every time i travel. Maybe it's because our friends and family (as Harper calls them, "our peoples") … [Read more...]

A Perfect Day

Following a pretty rotten day, the universe will sometimes throw you a nearly perfect one. Or maybe it's just that, for me, two consecutive rotten days are unacceptable. In any case, yesterday= pretty dang crummy. Today, however, rolled something like this:Day started, per usual, with a small girl crawling into bed with me and firmly wedging herself in my back to snooze for a few more minutes. Then it was up and around for breakfast with the fam at our favorite pancake place.  Unseasonably c … [Read more...]

A Moving Picture

My 3-year-old has a new catch phrase response for when you ask her a question and she doesn't know the answer. Or at least, doesn't have the words handy. She says, "I don't know. I haven't seen the movie yet."Now, somewhere in her quickly-developing brain, there is a very literal connection in there, something that has to do with an actual movie. Not that she's seen many movies--she does well to sit through a 20-minute cartoon--but she thinks there is a movie that goes with everything. Every … [Read more...]

The Mercy Instinct

As a pastor, I see it time and time and time again: a person has been deeply wounded by a loved-one. They struggle to process the world through this new lens of heartbreak. It doesn't matter if it is a sibling, a spouse, a friend, or a parent/child relationship --we are hurt most profoundly by those we love. It is, in fact, the cost of loving, and perhaps the most painful cost of being a person.What I notice, time (and time) again, is the impulse of grace that comes into most relationships at … [Read more...]

Good Stuff

How do we develop a taste for good things? Is it an acquired taste, cultivated by careful nurture? Or are some of us just born with a hunger for life that drives us through every transition, challenge and heartache with the promise of good news on the other side?I ask my 3-year-old, "What are your favorite things?" I see wheels turning, and finally she says, "I don't know." (Translation:"I do know, but I don't quite have the words in my 3-year-old sense of self...") So I start ins … [Read more...]