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...]

The Soulmaking Room: Review

There's an obscure story in 2 Kings (that reads "Second Kings," for all you politicians trying to quote scripture for pandering purposes) in which the prophet Elisha is taken into the home of some gracious hosts. In fact, his life as an itinerant preacher takes him by this house frequently, so the woman has her husband build a guest room-- just so Elisha will have a place to crash when he's in town. A biblical guest room! Isn't that lovely?Predictably (because it is a Bible story), this act … [Read more...]

Cleaning the Brushes: The Never-Done Work of Ministry

My friend Kory shares some thoughts on the "never done-ness" of ministry. On behalf of pastors everywhere, I say, "amen, brother."I helped my neighbor stain his pool deck this weekend. I wish I could tell you I did this Mother Theresa-style, all selfless and void of any agenda. But in all honesty, I had two motivations: (1) he helped me stain my deck last year, and (2) I want to stay in his good graces so my family and I have an all-access pass to use his pool.It took us about four … [Read more...]

Healing and Holding Up the World: A Tribute for National Nurse Week

Guest Post: by Elizabeth Myer BoultonMy mother was a nurse all her professional life which meant we grew up with graphic (and often hilarious!) dinner conversation, weird work hours, and the knowledge that we would have to be actively dying or bleeding to death before we could go to the Emergency Room.Now that I’m a mother who actively sought out nurse midwives for labor and delivery and nurse practitioners for our family's medical care, I've learned more about my mom than simply knowing … [Read more...]

Lost and Found: A Parable In Socks

You know what was great about living in the desert all those years? Among other things--not having to wear socks. Ever.Maybe occasionally with running shoes or hiking boots, if you were going out on a trail. Because, you know, rattle snakes. But otherwise, it was 10 months a year of sandals. Glorious, breezy, open-toed, sock-less freedom.Sure, I love a warm fuzzy pair to wear around the house on a cold winter day. But even better was the complete absence of cold winter days. For the most … [Read more...]

An Ecological Conversion: Called by God (and a Scientist) in the Cloud Forest

Guest Post: by Scott Hardin-NieriOur family delighted in God’s creation as we served in Monteverde, Costa Rica as Global Ministries Volunteers. We met neighbors like Howler Monkeys, Three Wattle Bell Birds, Sloths and Toucans. We learned their names and recognized their voices and watched and listened to them with awe. There were human neighbors who also inspired us; like the cab drivers, hotel owners, tropical biologists, bakers, house keepers, coffee farmers, and teachers-- from faith b … [Read more...]

Handing Hate the Microphone

Kansas legislators recently introduced a measure that would require transgender students (at public schools and universities) to use the restrooms corresponding to their gender-at-birth. Other states have similar policies but, of course, Kansas always has to go one-up on these things. So in our state, students who "catch" a classmate using the wrong facility would receive a $2500 settlement.  Because, you know, the trauma of it all.I know, ick.A group of student LGBT advocates from on … [Read more...]

7 Ways From Sunday: 7 True Things From 7 Years of Blogging

Yesterday, I logged into my "back end" blog stuff to edit something and noticed--purely by chance--that I've written 499 blog posts. Ever.499.... That means that this, right here, is my 500th blog post. **Cue fireworks and champagne and fancy outfits!**Actually. Cue coffee in a local dive, a morning of people-watching (my favorite) and rain-day hair. That's what I'm rocking for this momentous occasion.7 years ago, I got a free Wordpress account and started messing around. I had … [Read more...]

No Tribe But Ours: A Refugee Story

I really just carried the fruit basket... But I'll tell you about that in a minute.While Kansas, Arizona, and other states draft fresh, angry legislation to keep refugees from entering their boundaries, hundreds of families are quietly coming to resettle in an American city near you.And 99.99% of them are not terrorists. Despite what some politicians would have you believe.My congregation, like many faith communities, has been deeply moved by images and stories of refugees around the … [Read more...]