Passing the Peace

Hi, folks. I took a week or so away from blogging to finish my book, and now I'm taking a week away to spend with my family. Enjoy this guest post from my friend Annie Kratzsch, and look for more guest posts in the coming days. I'll be back to writing around mid-August, and look forward to catching up with the world. A few weeks ago, I was proselytized twice in three days.On a Thursday night, before I could get all the way through the mall doors, I heard the universal opener for selling s … [Read more...]

When It’s Complicated, Just Show Up

A few months ago, my church sensed a call to get involved with refugee ministry. There was so much ugliness coming from all corners of the political world (some corners more than others). There was fear-mongering and moral posturing; there was "othering" and "not those people"-ing. We wanted to offer a voice to counter that inhospitable message. We wanted to embody the radical hope offered by both the gospel and the Constitution. Like compassionate people all over the world, we saw those h … [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...]

$^*t Jesus Says: The “No Trespassing” Edition

No, it wasn’t an Onion article. You read that right.A cathedral in San Francisco—where most people pay more in monthly rent than the working poor make in a year—has installed overhead sprinkler devices in their alcoves. Not for fire safety. But to prevent the homeless from sleeping on their porch.And with no neighborly warning, either.  Like, “Hey, guys, sorry, but we now water the porch every 30 minutes or so, because you’re dirty and gross; so if you hang out here, you and your few belo … [Read more...]

The Miracle Purse

I've said it before, I will say it again: I love church ladies.When I was a kid, a church grandma named Mrs. Little used to sit on the left-hand side (the choir side) of the sanctuary, about 4 rows back. Every Sunday of the world she brought--I kid you not--a purse full of candy. Yes you heard that right. A Purse. Full. of Candy. Needless to say, she was popular amongst the young crowd. She would sit down and unzip that purse, and it was all Jesus 'let the children come to me' up in there. … [Read more...]

Parking, Free for All (?)

My church shares space with a secular preschool. It is a WONDERFUl school. As far as I know, it is the only co-op program in the valley. The parents camp out overnight for registration--I kid you not, like it's Springsteen tickets--just to make sure their kids get in. It fosters a wonderful, warm sense of community in the 'it takes a village' sort of sense. They are great neighbors to have, not to mention, they have been a priceless asset to me as a mother of young children.That said--I WISH … [Read more...]

til by Turning, Turning, We Come ‘Round Right

Spoiler alert: if you are coming to Foothills for worship tomorrow and you want to be surprised, wait and read this on Monday.Over six years ago, when i first walked into the sanctuary at Foothills, what i saw with my eye and what i saw with my heart were two different things. My eye saw a space that was much-loved, though cared for with limited resources. Bright (i mean bright!) paint colors that detracted from the beautiful stain glass; old carpet; a communion table and pulpit in synthetic … [Read more...]

Yes, AND: The Gospel of Tina Fey for Congregational Transformation

It's been about 6 months now since Foothills adopted an "Open and Affirming" mission.  As we close in on Easter, I'm reflecting on how it's changed us, and also, the truths of transformation that we learned along the way.  As ever, Tina Fey preaches it better than me.According to the gospel of Tina Fey, “the fun is always on the other side of a ‘yes.’In her memoir, “Bossypants,” she expounds on the rules of improvisation. Call me a church nerd, but her rules of improv sound pretty dang t … [Read more...]

Soul Seasons

A pumpkin latte in my hand. From Not Starbuck's. A cool crisp 62 degrees out. I am on a porch swing with a background of lush foliage, bleeding slowly from green into reds and browns and yellows. I am wearing my favorite brown sweatshirt, and reading a really great library book. The day ahead is miraculously full of nothing but open time, save playing with my kids, and later having some friends over for dinner.OK, so almost none of those things is true. I do, in fact, have a pumpkin(ish) … [Read more...]