Charlottesville, the Church, and Our Self-Deceit

Nobody thinks they’re a racist. Have you ever noticed that? In the social media bubbles of our own making, the echo chambers of our design we can safely assume that we are able to love everyone. Even some of the people who marched under Nazi flags chanting “You will not replace us” this weekend, when their identity was outed online wanted to make sure the world knew “I’m not the angry racist I appear to be in those pictures.” And while that... Read more

FAQs: “How Do You Do It? (I Never Could…)”

I distinctly remember long, slow runs around the Abilene Christian University campus around eleven o’clock at night when I was twenty years old. They were the kind of runs you take on a break from a research paper or because your roommate’s boyfriend is still over or because you slept until noon and you’re not tired yet. The kind of quiet runs that tend to drift into prayer. Not well-articulated or particularly deep prayers, but – as your blood is... Read more

FAQs “Why are Muslims Killing Christians Over There?”

“So why are Muslims killing Christians over there?” Usually right after I am asked this question I feel my husband politely squeeze my elbow in a gentle reminder that I would do well to try and not permanently offend the kindly elder at a church that helps financially support our work with the more pointed edges of my geo-political opinions. Because he knows that somewhere deep inside I am tempted to respond with a terse “They’re not,” and then head... Read more

FAQs: “So Are You Teaching Them English?”

“So are you teaching them all English?” Maybe people ask this from time to time because the whole Bible-translation-for-people-who-speak-unwritten-languages gig can be a bit confusing. Why not teach people English so they can read the Bible in a language that already has scripture translated? Surely that’s simpler than developing a whole orthography for a language that has never been written down, a full blown literacy program to teach people to read the language they speak, and then translating the entire... Read more

FAQs: But Are You Safe?

My family is back in the States this summer on our home assignment that comes every two or three years. It’s been a sweet time of reconnecting with family, friends and church partners that we love and miss terribly when we are in North Africa. It’s been fun to introduce our girls to American culture and see their amazement over things like water fountains and traffic lights and hear the things that strike them as unusual (“Mama, why are there... Read more

Introducing Eva Petross

So I’m very excited to make an announcement that has been a few months in the progress. I’ve asked a long-time friend of mine to become a regular contributor and partner to this blog. Her name is Eva Petross…kind of. It’s a Pseudonym. And in order to explain why she needs to write under a pseudonym I will also be explaining the reasons for why I’ve asked her to write regularly here. Eva and her husband and children are missionaries in... Read more

Break Out the Cheese (A War-Time Story) by Eva Petross

The first time I ever evacuated from a war-zone I left behind a huge block of beautiful cheddar cheese in the fridge. As tanks rolled through town and war planes were minutes from bombing the airstrip we were about to fly off of, I boarded our Cessna Caravan lugging our single suitcase and five-month old daughter literally thinking mournfully, “But the cheese!” Because in that part of the world, cheese was completely unavailable, and weeks earlier I had carried that... Read more

Hearing From God: Movers and Quakers

If you’re a longtime reader of this blog, you’ve heard me talk about growing up in a little 10 person church. I talk about it so often because it is the filter that I view the majority of my life through. A down-syndrome boy who led worship, a mentally unstable preacher, senior saints and racial diversity, communion served by ex-convincts, we had it all. But one of the more formative parts of our church, is something I’ve never really talked about... Read more

Hearing From God: A Secular Enchantment

“In those days, the Word of the LORD was rare, there were not many visions.” -1st Samuel 3:1 It would be nice if people saw that the world cannot be disenchanted, and that the choice before us is really a choice of enchantments. -Francis Spufford “I don’t believe in God. I believe in Science.” -Nacho Libre After the 2011 Tsunami hit Japan, the London Review of Books reviewed an essay on the recurring problem that people in the coastal regions of Japan called “Hungry... Read more

Hearing From God: Kidnapping Sinatra

Why is it; that when we speak to God we are said to be praying but when God speaks to us we are said to be schizophrenic?” – comedian Lily Tomlin   This is a true story. At 22 years old, Barry Keenan was the youngest Los Angeles stock exchange investor making tens of thousands of dollars a month back in the 60’s, but he got hooked on pain killers and alcohol and lost everything. His world was unraveling quickly... Read more