Ashes and Casseroles: The Business of Life

I did a funeral this morning for a beloved saint of the church. Now I'm working on an Ash Wednesday service for later this evening.I tell you what--sometimes us Pastors have the funnest jobs EVER.Days like today, I remember that we are in the business of death. We are in the business of comforting folks as they exit the world; of blessing people into the next life; of drawing threads of narrative to speak the purpose of it all. We are in the business of sitting next to the widow.In ce … [Read more...]

Forwarding Address

I'm feeling a little out of breath. I'm new to Patheos this week, which means I'm moving from my old blog spot. And while other people have done all the heavy lifting for this move (thanks, Deborah and Hillary!) I still feel like I'm in the middle of a literal re-location. I'm trying to bring with me not just my archives, but also followers, subscribers, and people who 'like' me on Facebook... In other words, it feels like i'm coming in with boxes of important stuff that needs to be organized. … [Read more...]

Zumba-dy Stop Me

Maybe you don't know this about me, but i'm a 'retired' dancer. I've been missing the dance part of my life lately because my daughter has recently started ballet. All those little leotards are making me remember 1)the time when i could fit into such a thing and 2)the sheer joy of movement. For the past 12 years or so, the yen to dance again has come and gone in seasons. This time, in looking at dance studios for my kid, i found one that had an adult Zumba class, and figured I'd try it.  I've … [Read more...]

Those Guys are Awesome

Like many Americans, I spent a small slice of my life in the service industry. Several summers waiting tables, and nearly a year at hotel. I could spend days telling stories--good, bad and ugly--of the people i encountered in that time of my life. But in the interest of the broader message here, I'm going to share just two:The Bad Tip:  It was a Sunday lunch shift. The 'after church' crowd who, in southeastern Kentucky and elsewhere in the Bible belt, are also known as the worst tippers e … [Read more...]

The Risk of Relationship

A follow-up to yesterday's discussion re: "Moral Compromise."  We are talking about the beginnings of transformation. The sharing of real stories, real relationships; engaging open discourse and genuine interest in those we mark as 'other.'  Time and again we find that once an 'opinion' or an 'issue' becomes about a real live person, everything changes.That truth goes both ways. Always.There is still a long way to go down the road to equality and inclusion of LGBT folks, in all segments o … [Read more...]

For Life. Still.

On this anniversary of Roe v. Wade, when emotions run high, it seems an important time to re-post this piece i wrote awhile ago. What has happened to the elusive 'middle road,' that place from which people of differing views can see another side, and engage in valuable discussion and discernment to approach difficult topics? If you've already read this, talk amongst yourselves.Come to think of it--talk amongst yourselves, anyway. It's important. Find somebody with whom you do not agree … [Read more...]

Goodness and Truth

It was that lovely week of Christmas when utterly NOTHING happens at church, and we clergy types can lounge in our sweats for days on end, in recovery from the high holy days. Christmas had fallen in that same week of blessed cool weather that the desert gets, just every now in then, when the sun is still shining but you can actually wear a jacket outside without melting. It was like that. My mom was in town, and we had walked the kids over to a neighborhood park for some excercise.There was … [Read more...]

The Rhythms of Grace

Last week, I signed my 4-year-old daughter up for her first dance class. !!  I bought tights and leotards, and she's been wearing them around the house for weeks now. I'm trying to teach her the grande jette. Because, you know, it is always preferable to begin the (beginner, toddler, community center) class from a more advanced perspective than your peers.Oh, yeah. I'm going to be that mom. Consider yourselves forewarned.Thing is, while the 'retired' dance teacher in me is thrilling at … [Read more...]

Cold News

The Phoenix area news last night was hilarious. Temperatures were to drop down in the THIRTIES overnight, and desert folk were losing their mind.I realize that if you are living through a Midwest winter, or a Plains-state winter--or pretty much any other winter that is actually winter--lows in the 30s with highs in the 50s for a week does not constitute a 'cold snap,' or a 'frigid blast.' But around here, it is the dang apocalypse.I watched neighbors run around yesterday, throwing … [Read more...]