Unlaced and Undone


There was a “Kindness Assembly” at my daughter’s school today. One kid from each class was chosen to read an essay about something kind that they did, or a time when someone showed kindness to them. My 6-year-old was chosen from her class. She marched up to that mic like a pro and read her (4-sentence) story. While her friends waved like mad from the Kindergarten section.Don’t get me wrong—I was proud. It is no small thing to stand up in front of hundreds of people and say what’s true. There … [Read more...]

Winter’s Dramatic Conversion

“Really,” said Winter, “I’m not one for sunflowers and birdsong.It’s all just too precious for me. Too easy.Gray skies are poetry; frozen earth is pure scripture.A good blizzard is benediction--black crystal slicing through the air...That’s a living color portrait of the soul.It’s all ice and razors in there, you know.”Then Winter shuddered in his thin coat, and drifted offHis lonely way. The shadow of himself hovered above the ground,Hesitated,And then followe … [Read more...]

The Damp Murkiness of our Inner Underworld

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“There is a part of the soul that stirs at night, in the dark and soundless times of day, when our defenses are down and our daylight distractions no longer serve to protect us from ourselves. What we suppress in the light emerges clearly in the dusk. It’s then, in the still of life, when we least expect it, that questions emerge from the damp murkiness of our inner underworld.”  --Joan Chittister, Between the Dark and the Daylight. The damp murkiness of our inner underworld?? Sign me up! Not on … [Read more...]

Six People You Need to Forgive

Ah, the reject pile... No, not photos of people who got kicked out of new member class (KIDDING people, kidding. All means all). I’m talking about scraps of paper, stacks of notecards, and maybe complete folders: containing the anecdote or bit of commentary that didn’t make it into the sermon; the sermon that got started and never took off; Or the series idea that didn’t develop as fully as the OTHER series idea. But there it sits, all the same. Every preacher has this pile. Promise.Other peo … [Read more...]

ADVENTageous: Un-busy


This the growing edge of Advent: to take a time fraught with stress and damaging expectations, and instead use it for spiritual discipline and good work in the world.  I’m going to write about my attempt to move through this season gracefully and hopefully; the effort to grow, rather than deplete my every ounce of energy; and the work of sharing good news and compassion, rather than just sharing Made-In-China stuff. Care to join me? Send in your stories, and I may share some.  Something must … [Read more...]

Top Ten Reasons to Stay Home on Black Friday

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Maybe it’s a sport in your family. Some people play flag football or ultimate frisbee to burn off the pie and stuffing, but y’all lace up for a 100-yard-dash through Best Buy and Home Depot. Maybe it’s a bonding thing. Or maybe it’s the only day that you can afford to buy things like new shoes for your children. Maybe you’ve got your reasons, and they are none of my business. I’m not judging. You go do what you’ve got to do, and I’m not the boss of you. I hope that all will hear the following in … [Read more...]

Narrow Margins

So. Nobody wins.The myth of scarcity, the fear of other, and the rhythmic force of silent money: that narrative wins races, and people lose. And while neither party has the exclusive rights to that narrative—we hear it from every corner—this morning’s results show us where, on the map, those tactics speak the loudest.And yet…  that fearful story won so narrowly, in so many places. Is that good news or bad news?It is bad news that, no matter who wins, half of the country wakes up with … [Read more...]

Your Faith-Based Voter Guide

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Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on Politics in the Pulpit. Read other perspectives here. The toxic commercials. The clutter of yard signs. The sensory assault of angry billboards and radio spots… To quote a friend: Bring on the ridiculously early Christmas music and gaudy decorations. Anything is better than this!! In fact, the only thing worse than the sensory overload of election season is the tense, carefully guarded environments that many of us navigate dai … [Read more...]

Talking About Real Life and Faith: A Review of the Animate DVD Series for Small Groups


Leaders in the progressive church-y world are always looking for ‘The Thing.’ You know, the perfect curriculum, book, or teaching tool for that one group, or this one season. What we often fine is that ‘the thing’ with the most engaging activities, the colorful promo materials, and the user-friendly leader guide—has terrible theology. No depth, lots of bloody Jesus language, and heavy on patriarchy and/or prosperity gospel.On the flip-side: ‘the thing’ with layers of meaning, challenging ques … [Read more...]