Bridging The Divide

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I used to cringe at the word "ecumenical". It smacked of engineered truces and kumbayah emotions. It conjured images for me of 1960's World Council of Churches meetings and "So a priest and a rabbi walk into a bar" jokes - only the jokes never seemed to have a good punchline since everyone involved in ecumenical dialogue seemed to take themselves as seriously as a heart attack. I much preferred conversations about unity to ecumenism talk because it took me right to Jesus' final prayer for … [Read more...]

“Or It Could Go Like This…” – On Re-Leashing Imagination

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Maybe ten years ago, I participated in a small playwriting workshop led by a man who'd directed a number of Broadway plays in the 1960's and 1970's. (For the life of me, I can not remember his name at this moment.) Each workshop participant read the short scene he or she had brought to the class. I was feeling pretty great about the script I'd created, frankly. The workshop leader smiled and nodded appreciatively as I read. Obviously my positive feelings about my own work were being mirrored … [Read more...]

Can Christians “forgive themselves”?

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Last fall, just as I was putting my finishing touches on my book about regret, a friend sent me a link to this blog post. The author, Chad Bird, suggests that we are deluding ourselves when we talk about forgiving ourselves: "For a time I believed such advice.  No more.  I know now that to 'forgive yourself' is not only impossible; it is foolish, dangerous, and futile.  It is the vain attempt of a soul plagued by guilt to seek relief in the very last place he should be looking: in himself.  … [Read more...]

Friday’s Miscellany

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Evidence of a series of storms, in the form of layered grit, can't quite mute the expression of gratitude on this license plate. If the plate was clean and shiny, it wouldn't preached the message it did to me this morning in the Kohl's parking lot. When things aren't all so shiny-lovely in my life - as now, when some of those I love most in all the world are struggling and suffering - fear, pain and anxiety form the bulk of my Holy Spirit-groaned prayers for them. Yet I am more likely … [Read more...]

Beer, Dr. Spock, And The Parenting Advice I Needed Most

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When I gave birth to my first child in 1983 at age 24, I realized about thirty-six hours into this new adventure that babysitting as a young teen, assisting with a pack of deaf Boy Scouts in college, and nannying part-time for a few months when I was first married was not sufficient training for motherhood. Though I never consciously figured any of it was, I'd stayed away from parenting books during my pregnancy. After more than a year of trying to conceive, I was completely focused on being … [Read more...]

No Swimming Allowed (Final)

Click here to read part one of this story I'm sharing as a response to the recent Strange Fire conference. Click here for part two. No Swimming Allowed (conclusion) Dave was a left-brained guy, and decided to wait and see what the fruit of his encounter with God was before he talked about it with Christy. She'd always seemed content to stay on the shore and read about swimming, rather than diving in. A litmus test for his new level of engagement with the Lord came when he was driving home … [Read more...]

No Swimming Allowed (Part 2)

Click here to read part one of this story I'm sharing as a response to the recent Strange Fire conference.   No Swimming Allowed (Part 2) Imagine what it would be like to live your life on a flat, waterless prairie and receive your first invitation to visit the ocean. You prepare by packing a huge beach towel, bathing suit, flip flops and sun block. As you arrive at your destination, you can smell the unmistakable scent of the sea, of saltwater and fish and tangible warmth. You … [Read more...]

Some People Are Meant To Stay Behind The Scenes In Life

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It should be obvious to anyone who meets me that I am a graduate of the Wendy Ward Charm School program. Key word: should. Reality: No one will ever mistake me for either Miss Manners or America’s Next Top Model. Wendy Ward fail. Two things from my sojourn in the Wendy Ward program have stuck with me through lo, these many years. The first is the fact that I learned to do a runway-perfect 3/4 pivot turn. Not exactly a skill I rely on in daily life. Or ever. Something tells me if I … [Read more...]

When It’s Time To Dial 911

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After my mom died in south Florida 6 years ago, I came home anxious to jump into my regularly-scheduled life. I was no stranger to loss and trauma. I thought I was prepared by those experiences as well as the excellent care I received from the hospice team during the final weeks of my mom's life to walk through the proverbial valley of the shadow as I grieved her passing. I thought wrong. By December, I felt as though I was crawling through a room packed with heavy insulation every single … [Read more...]

It’s Time To Resign From The Casserole Club

It was an honor to have 19 other women join my long-time prayer partner and I on last weekend's guided silent retreat.

Dr. Halee Gray Scott's recent salvo calling for women's ministry leaders to stop doling out flowers and fairy dust to the women of their churches reminded me that each one of us has the power to change the ladies tea/chocolate spa/casserole club model of women's ministry. There are some women that expect that kind of de-fanged busywork from church, but I most of the women I know have little time or energy for it anymore. Many of us suburban Boomer women inherited our notions of what … [Read more...]