impressions of Cuba

Cuba car

Open your eyes and you are in the late 19th century. Horse-drawn carriages clip along, the spokes of their wheels blurring together as they deliver cargo to its destination.Close your eyes and open them again. It is 1950. Gleaming Buicks, Chevrolets and Oldsmobiles parade by touting progress and post-war determination.Close your eyes and listen. The clip of horse hooves and the roar of engines join the boom of hip hop and the sound of street vendors hawking their wares. Roosters crow and … [Read more...]

Sacred Apricots

On a summer afternoon this past summer, I received the news that my grandmother had mostly lost consciousness and, under hospice care, hovered in that mysterious space between life and death.I had said a meaningful goodbye to her just days before, and now, 500 miles away, there was nothing left to say. I was restless on the doorway of grief and had no further capacity to work that day.I left the office and went to a local farm stand where I purchased a $12 box of perfectly ripe apricots. … [Read more...]

Why an Incarnation

A response to the #progGod Challenge: Why an incarnation?Easter gets all the buzz.But personally, I am less concerned with resurrection and more transfixed by incarnation.Every year of my life, the sentiment goes stronger, the belief grasps tighter, that it is the incarnation that saves me, that incarnation is the germinating seed containing the healing of the world, that incarnation may be Christianity's best hope for a relevant future. Easter is not possible without Christmas. In … [Read more...]

A sermon in response to Newtown

Just a note... Our church community is doing an Advent series entitled "Unwrapping Jesus." We started with an Easter story with Jesus as Savior, moved to Palm Sunday with Jesus as Revolutionary, and yesterday moved to Jesus as Healer with this story of the friends who bring their friend to Jesus for healing. You can also listen to it at because the manuscript is just what I thought I would say.  There are no words that can adequately address the pain our nation is … [Read more...]


Tomorrow is my last day here in Guatemala. I will go home with many memories and lessons from this trip as I did last year. This year, however, my familiarity with people and a short history in the country helped me see Guatemala not only as a place to receive help from our team, but as a place from which I have much to learn and in which there are many people that I respect.It's a fine line between idealizing someone and respecting them. I think when you come to a place like Guatemala, it … [Read more...]

My heroes

Yesterday, I met Doña Teresa, a Guatemalan Habitat for Humanity owner who lives with her teenage daughters and 5 year old Marcos whom she adopted when he was abandoned by his mother at 8 months old. Teresa is proudly settled in her new home, basking in the peacefulness that now surrounds her and the extra room her children have to play and grow. She is a weaver at a local cooperative. She is a force of gentleness and compassion.My colleague Steven worked on Teresa's house this last June and … [Read more...]

Thy Life’s A Miracle

I'm writing from San Lucas Toliman, a town on the shore of Lake Attitlan in Guatemala. I was here last year with a team from our church building houses as part of our 5 year partnership with Habitat for Humanity in Guatemala. A group of about twenty return to this town twice a year to help construct houses and build smokeless stoves in this community. This is our fourth trip, and by now, the relationships are beginning to cement. We are not just here for occasional help, we are serious about … [Read more...]

I am not thankful the church has alienated so many people

I am not thankful that the church has alienated so many people. People tell me they can't come to church because they are sad, doubting, don't have it all together, are lacking easy faith, or don't fit into the "normal" families they see all around them. Nothing frustrates me more. Since when did the church of Jesus Christ, the one who dined with sinners, the man of sorrow and grief, become a place for a veneer of perfection and easy faith?If it wasn't for Jesus, I would have given up on … [Read more...]

I am not thankful for the struggle with my weight

I am not thankful for the struggle with weight. When I was nineteen, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries. It is a hormonal disorder that causes weight gain among other side effects. It was a relief to find that the defining struggle of my teenage years was not just lack of discipline but physiological. But damage to my self-concept and to my relationship with food had already been done. I had missed the sports and games of young life because I had been so self-conscious about my body. To my … [Read more...]

I am not thankful for tragedy

I am not thankful for the tragedies I have experienced. The first came when I was almost 21 years old. My best friend's brother and my date to our senior banquet (we didn't have proms at the Christian school I attended - another thing I'm not thankful for), was shot and killed.I am not thankful that my good friend Debbie dropped dead two years ago next week, leaving behind two beautiful daughters who will always have an empty place in their hearts as they move through high school, college … [Read more...]