Come In and Have Breakfast

I grew up in Central Pennsylvania, in a small town on the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg. Almost 20 years ago my husband and I and our three children moved to Dallas, Texas. We make several trips to Pa. every year to visit parents and extended family. On our most recent trip I caught an interview on public radio with Cooper Wingert, a local historian and author of the recently published, Slavery and the Underground Railroad in South Central Pennsylvania (Arcadia Publishing: The History Press, … [Read More...]

Surprise! You’re the Keynote Speaker!

I was at a banquet years ago that focused on celebrating the progress made by a consortium of ministers and churches to combat hunger in the community.I was having a delightful conversation with a pastor seated next to me, Rev. Goodson.The organizer of evening stood up and prayed over our meal and then said, “We are all looking forward to the keynote address by Rev. Goodson following our meal together.”Rev. Goodson’s mouth dropped open, but he quickly recovered himself, got out a pen … [Read More...]

Hold Steady!

The theme of holding steady has been in my mind and spirit lately. It seems to be everywhere I look. A few nights ago on the news there was a story about bus driver Logan Tyer in Aledo, Texas. As he was picking up his last few children on the way to school, it started to pour rain, then hail and then the bus started shaking. It was then that Tyer’s training kicked in. He knew he had to pull over, but not under a big tree or electrical lines. He pulled over, told the children to pack their things … [Read More...]

The Little Red Hen

In December I was at World Market doing some Christmas shopping. I browsed through the scarves looking for gifts for my daughters and my son’s fiancée, and through the specialty foods section looking for unusual condiment for my foodie friends. My basket full of purchases, I was in the checkout line when my eye caught the impulse buy rack. This time it wasn’t snickers bars or gummy bears, but a rack of Little Golden Books. Next to the rack of books was a rack of matching shopping bags decorated w … [Read More...]

Mixed Emotions

Is there any such thing as an unmixed emotion? I wish there were. It would be a lot simpler to be a human being, a lot less tangled up. Looking back over the last several months, I tried to find one. But alas, complexity is all that meets my eye. Our son and his fiancée move to Boulder, Colorado. I’m happy for them because they love the mountains an … [Read More...]

The Devil’s Hindsight: Edgy Exegesis on Luke 4:1-11, Matthew 1:12-13, Mark 1:12-13

Lectionary Reflections: Lent 1CLuke 4:1-11, Matthew 1:12-13, Mark 1:12-13References to Jesus' temptation in the desert appear in all three synoptic gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Mark makes a brief, two-verse reference to the event (Mk. 1:12-13). Mark recounts that the Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness. In Luke and Matthew, we are … [Read More...]

Confessions of a Shabbos Goy: Reflections on Friendship

I recently read a quote by the Lebanese American poet Kahlil Gibran posted by a friend from High School on Facebook. She wrote it on the occasion of saying goodbye to beloved friends whom, in her travels, she had to leave to return home."For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations, are born and shared, With … [Read More...]

Who Was Born on Your Birthday?

Knack for Noticing is Back!Dear friends and readers,For some time I wrote a weekly column for Patheos called Edgy Exegesis.Some weeks it was edgier than others! I stopped writing it a year ago, but appreciate the Facebook messages and emails I continue to get from those who find the archived entries helpful in their sermon preparation … [Read More...]

Progressive Christianity: Imagine a Future Like the Kingdom of God

This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on the Future of Faith in America: Progressive Christianity. Read other perspectives here.In 1971 John Lennon wrote "Imagine," a track on the album of the same name. The song's lyrics encourage the listener to imagine a world at peace.The impediments to a world at peace, according to the so … [Read More...]

Bacon Feta Chocolate Swirl?

We spent a week in August at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. We’ve been going there off and on as an extended family for over 30 years now. One of my favorite features of the annual beach week is the nightly family walk to the boardwalk which inevitably includes a stop at the Ice Cream Store. Located at #6 Rehoboth Avenue, next to Candy Kitchen, this d … [Read More...]

A Lifeline in the Blizzard

When a new semester starts I usually feel a bit overwhelmed at the full fall ahead. I decided I had tagged the commitments facing me this fall “Demands,” and needed to retag them as “Opportunities.”To that end I committed to a change in the way I begin my mornings. Rather than begin each day with an anxious litany of “things Alyce has to do,” I … [Read More...]

The Parable of the Unemployed Fundraiser

Here is a story a friend of mine who works as a development officer told me recently. It's a true story that I think could function as  a modern day parable.The President and Vice-President for Development at a prominent north eastern university scheduled a meeting with a wealthy alumnus potential donor. The University was in the process of ra … [Read More...]

Alyce Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

The only way to be able to bear living far away from your family, assuming that you like them, is to avoid nostalgia at all costs. For the past 13 years, I’ve done so quite successfully. My mom, my husband’s parents, all of our siblings, cousins and nieces and nephews, and now, a grandniece, all live in Pennsylvania. I love my job and there are lot … [Read More...]

The Baby in the Middle

Several weeks ago our daughter Rebecca and her husband Dallas invited us to dinner on a Friday night. They’ve been married two years. In the middle of dinner, Rebecca said brightly, “I got Dallas a new white board for our home office. It covers the whole wall. I even put a green wood frame around it. Do you want to see it?”Rebecca is the Direc … [Read More...]

French Onion Soup

I preached at First United Methodist Church  in Rockwall, Texas yesterday. After the three services, one of the members asked me if I would like some vegetables from their community garden. He held out a box brimming with onions, red, yellow and white. “I got tired of looking at the big expanse of lawn behind the church that wasn’t doing anybody any … [Read More...]

You too?

This summer I’m going to the reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg on its 150th anniversary. I am not a Civil War buff, though I do find it interesting. I’m going in place of my dad. My dad, Robert H. Fowler, Sr., was a Civil War Buff, published Civil War Times Illustrated magazine and wrote an award winning novel on the Civil War entitled Jim Mun … [Read More...]