Rain Dance

When it rains in Phoenix, people can talk of nothing else. Srsly. Facebook, yoga class, office, preschool, line at the grocery store...Not only is it the only topic worthy of conversation, but people in an otherwise standoffish metro sprawl area get downright chatty. A few drops from the sky and boom--instant community. Might as well be a small town in the south during football season.Grown-up people run outisde, spending the rest of the day in soggy clothes (and with bad hair). Children think … [Read more...]

The One Where I’m the Grownup

Find a person who is good at what they do, and ask them a simple question: who shaped you for this? I'm willing to bet that the person you're talking to is more than ready with a litany of people who helped mold them for leadership. Whether their career path is ministry, teaching, business, art, media, or some kind of trade, ANYbody who has managed to get good at something will be able to tell you who first (and best) modelled that vocation for them. Just sit back and hear the story.I can no … [Read more...]

Sometimes, It Falls from the Sky

It was one of those rare Phoenix days when everything shimmered with a utopian light. (No, not recently!) Hot air balloons dotted the sky, and rocky mountain foothills struck a dramatic pose against the technicolor blue. Ancient saguaro raised their arms in praise of all creation. The sun was a friend and not the oppressor it would become a few months later. Temperatures hovered in the 70s, meaning no need for climate control. In other words: desert perfection. Arizona in springtime.I walked i … [Read more...]

For Life

I mean... way to say it out loud, Mr. Akin. Your ignorance may be astounding--horrific, even--but you are teaching us a valuable lesson. The moral of the story is--this is what single-issue voting will get you.I'm one of many, many people of faith in this country: who are pro-choice, but anti-abortion. If you think that is an oxymoron, stick with me here. I think that abortion is sad and awful, and should not be used as an alternative to birth control, or as a matter of convenience. That … [Read more...]

Ask: Why Fear of Death is Killing the Church

A telemarketer called the church. She was selling neighborhood mailing lists. I told her no thank you."I'm just trying to help you grow your church! Don't you want your church to grow??" she shouted angrily. Whoa. Where was this coming from?I said (with the manners of a saint, given her tone), "we have a budget for resources like this, but it's been designated for other things.""Yes," she said, "but the church doesn't really run on a budget, does it? I mean, it's all donations, ri … [Read more...]

On Doing, and Being Done

August is to church what April is to accounting firms; or December to the mall; or crab season to those deadliest guys.Traditionally, you think of Christmas and Easter as the 'big' seasons for church work. But they've got nothing on August. August is the time for starting new things, engaging new people, upping the game in worship, and generally trying to get 'Church' back on people's planners--and in their collective imagination--as everybody gets into a daily routine at the end of summe … [Read more...]

Ode to Phoenix in Summer

Waves of heat dance off the pavement, ominous vipers hissing, "don't passsss by here..."The neighboring cactus, equally uninviting: "Do not touch. Do not touch. Do not touch..."The few green growing things, they all have claws. "I am not food. I won't be harvested. I am not food."The sun-- elsewhere mother of all-- works here to push life away. "Do not plant. Do not sow. Do not plant. Do not grow."Driving all life inside; to shade, to cover, a forced-air shelter, a man-made cave.Dust wh … [Read more...]

If You’re Still Saying “Lifestyle,” We’ve Still Got a Problem…

I'm going to say a thing. Stop me if you've heard it: "Just because I don't accept someone's lifestyle, doesn't mean that i hate them!"I've heard it before. So have you. Most recently, as a direct quote from Rick Warren. But more broadly, coming from folks in conservative settings all over the place.  And chances are, if you've heard some version of this line, the conversation was about gay people. Everywhere you look these days, churches, pastors and fundamental Christians are getting more … [Read more...]

What Whining Will Get You…

I've got two small children. I know what whining sounds like. Sometimes, before the request has completely left the tongue, I will stop and say, "Is that really how you want to ask me about that?"Because I would really like them to learn young that whining gets them nowhere. That i tend to be more generous with snacks, outings, tv shows, and life in general, when I have been approached with a certain degree of pleasantness. Manners are important, but this is not just about manners. It is about … [Read more...]


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