Showing Up for the Stranger: The Church Speaks Out Against the Travel Ban

Ever look around at the news/world/government these days and say "for the love of all that is holy, where is the Church??"Blatant marginalizing and silencing of women; racist rhetoric at every level of leadership; the destruction of the environment and the attempt to dismantle the EPA; the growing gap between the rich and the poor, and the continued scapegoating of the most disadvantaged among us; escalating violence in our communities and the continued glorification of guns and violence as s … [Read more...]

10 Ways to Care for Someone (When Nothing Will Fix It)

You just can't imagine what they must be going through. You don't know what you could possibly do to help. You have no idea what to say.Thing is... No one does. There is no magic formula of care and concern, words and deeds that will make this terrible thing better for this person you love. The death of a spouse, the cancer diagnosis, the divorce, the job loss, the debilitating accident, the incarcerated daughter... You can't fix it. Very often, not even a professional can fix it--not a d … [Read more...]

The End of Words: A Zechariah Advent

Thanks to the magic of Facebook pop-up memories, I revisit the posts of Christmas Past on a pretty regular basis. The last few weeks' flashbacks have shown me that, every year around this time, I have a viral blog post. Almost like clockwork, I write some clever ode to terrible Christmas music, a survival guide for clergy with young children, or a snarky diatribe about the so-called War on Christmas. According to the calendar, I am due for such a post right about now.But this is not going to … [Read more...]

Assemble: Word 3, Advent 1

One of the best parts of Christmas at my house is getting out the nativity sets.When I was a newlywed--with no children--I decided that I was going to be a collector of international nativities. My husband and I are both kind of minimalists in the home decor department. We don't do knick knacks, we think less is more, and anything that has to be dusted is probably more trouble than it's worth. However, I felt like nativity sets were the perfect thing for me to start gathering. They would … [Read more...]

Anticipate: Advent 1, Word 1

I spend a lot of my time and energy anticipating future needs. Mine, and those of other people.I anticipate the needs of my kids: That one is starting to whine and look kind of puny--better fix a snack before she has a meltdown. His jeans are getting too short, again; better order some, because he will outgrow them in his sleep, AGAIN. They should go to bed now or we will have a difficult morning. Make sure everybody pees now, or somebody will have to go behind a tree when we get to the pa … [Read more...]

Ticking Clock and Turning Tide

We are not theme park people. We are National Park people.We are beach people. We are long-roadtrip-to-visit-friends people. We are mountain people. But we are not Mouse people, Princess people, or long line people.So it's a mystery to me, why I was recently overcome with the overwhelming urge to take my kids to Disneyland. I think I felt some magic window closing... I know that older kids can still get excited, and still have a great time. But there is an age at which they move past the … [Read more...]

$10 In My Pocket

Guest Post: by Tiffany FlamingI have $10 in my pocket. It might as well be $1,000,000. I have that much of a clue as to what to do with it. It doesn’t seem like a lot of money but it is heavy with meaning and generosityI’ve had a rough, well, let’s say year and a few months. I’ve been quiet over here because I am more of an internal processor when life goes south and in many ways it has. But in many ways, it’s pretty great. I am on the verge of a new chapter and over the last few mont … [Read more...]

The Poetry of Emptiness: Reflections from the Festival of Homiletics

Guest post: My friend and colleague Rev. Laura Ann Phillips shares a good word from the Festival of Homiletics, happening in Atlanta this week. It feels like I have been “going” non-stop since October 2014, and if I’m completely honest, it’s exhausting. I’ve been reading articles about gluten intolerance and insulin resistance wondering if that’s what is wrong with me. Maybe what I’m eating is making me tired? I’ve been trying to figure out how to get more protein in fruit smoothies as a safe … [Read more...]

Don’t Like Your Pastor? Don’t Leave Your Church

There's a blog post going around called "So You Don't Like your Pastor..." I read it. And it wasn't about what I thought it was going to be about.First of all, it was written from a completely male perspective. Not just written by a man, but written as though only men exist in the world, ever. You know how those things go... But the article was about clergy burn-out, the unique stresses of pastoral life, and how church members should have empathy for their pastors... Understanding that m … [Read more...]