Shining The Light

candle

When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”, and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” – Luke 2:22-24 At this time of year, the religious Christian community celebrates the birth of Jesus, the Messiah. My family and I have always … [Read more...]

1938 Menu Hacks

cook

I've always loved reading old cook books. My mom hated to cook, so our weeknight dinners when I was growing up were usually broiled steaks with iceberg lettuce salads and Green Giant frozen vegetables in rotation with Chinese take-out, McDonald's, or pizza. Long before I was first introduced to cooking in my middle school Home Economics classes, I was reading recipes in the Good Housekeeping magazine that arrived in our mailbox each month. We had a few mostly-unused cookbooks on a shelf in our … [Read more...]

Holiday Traditions, Under Construction

When my adult son offered to host Thanksgiving last month, it felt as though a baton was being passed instead of platters of turkey and cranberry relish. For three decades, I’ve been the one to cook Thanksgiving dinner. Now, it was time to hand off the honor to the next generation… at least this year. We work hard to create and maintain family traditions, especially around the holidays. This season is thick with memory – recalling every gingersnap, stocking, visit of Christmases past – as well a … [Read more...]

Mona Lisa In A Plastic Orange Frame

frame

He told them a story. Then he told them another one."The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed," he said. "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast kneaded into dough."Jesus told them stories meant to help their souls awaken to the life to which he came to invite them. He told them stories that held up a mirror that allowed them an unfiltered look at who some of them really were, instead of who they pretended to be.I've been thinking about the way in which we tell stories about God to … [Read more...]

I Need A Hero

fierce convictions

Regular readers of this blog know that my family and I have experienced a number of nightmarish church experiences over the last three and a half decades. Not too long ago, someone asked me why I didn't just exit the Church at one particularly miserable juncture twenty or so years ago and just keep walking.My short answer came from Simon Peter's words to Jesus: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." (John 6:68) Though I don't believe that showing up in a church for … [Read more...]

Unpacking Spiritual Baggage: Part 2

louis v

If you attended a church service this weekend, you may have been sitting in a roomful of suitcases. There's no way to tell what percentage of people in a given congregation are schlepping baggage from a previous negative church experience, but I suspect the numbers would startle even veteran church leaders. Bad baggage is often eagerly recycled by leaders. This may serve the needs of the organization. It may even be called good pastoral care by some leaders, who rationalize that putting hurting … [Read more...]

Q & A With Author Amy Simpson

anxious

When we worry, we fight the constraints of the way we and our world were created. We try to enter a place we can't go. We try to control what we have not power over.  -- Amy SimpsonI play a little game with myself called "Worst Case Scenario". It requires me to apply equal measures of worry plus creativity to any given anxiety-producing situation in my life. It turns every stressor into an instant Y2K. My imagination goes into 7th gear trying to prepare for every possible unhappy ending to … [Read more...]


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