A Labor Day prayer

Creator of all, before the words that transformed work into a a curse, you gave labor to man and woman as a gift full of dignity and meaning. And even after the great rent in the relationship, but immediately before Man and Woman were sent to make their way in the world in pain and sweat, a single sentence tells us that there would be an echo of Eden's  in all the toil  that followed:"Adamnamed his wife Eve,because she would become the mother of all the living." - Gen. 3:20Man named. He'd b … [Read more...]

At The Table: A Reading For Two Voices

Once upon a time, I used to write a lot of readings for use during church services. Some of the pieces were meant to tell a story in a unique way, other readings were simply a creative division of a Biblical text that would allow a congregation to listen to familiar words with fresh ears because 2-5 voices proclaimed them.This summer at our church, there was a call for the congregation to bring our "Living Psalms" to one another. Below, you'll find my psalm, the first script I've written in a … [Read more...]

Trying to look on the sunny side

"My husband reads your blog, and he commented that you seem to have a lot of complaints about the Church," a friend told me recently. A number of responses came to mind, mostly of the "Well, yeah" and "No duh" variety.There are lot of voices offering criticism of the church around the blogosphere. A sizable percentage of these critics sing the laments that jilted lovers do. Their minor key songs are the kinds of songs sung by those who gave time and money and the best parts of themselves to a … [Read more...]

The electric fence

"I'm wondering if you and your husband have run into issues of sexual sin among any of the leaders in your congregation." My query paused the conversation while my friend reviewed her experiences in the last year or so since her husband had become an elder in a mid-sized, non-denominational congregation.The fact that she had to pause and think about it answered my question. "Well, there's a couple dealing with infidelity on the part of one of the spouses," she said at last."Are they in … [Read more...]

Country music words quiz

I've avoided the genre like smallpox, but in recent years, a few crossover hits have captured my imagination. And that Mad Magazine coverboy, also known as American Idol winner Scotty McCreery, got me to thinkin' 'bout tryin' the Country Music for the first time. (!) I challenged myself to give country a chance for a month.I'm almost done with my 30-day challenge period wherein I listen to pop-hit country US99 in the car when I drive. There are a few songs that I simply can not stomach as a … [Read more...]

Spiritual narcissism

Yesterday while I was playing hooky, I headed to WI for a quick visit with Meg, my long-time prayer partner. We ended our day in the empty sanctuary of her Pewaukee church. It is a small modern space, but was sited onto the land with great respect to the old trees and plantings already residing on the land. Windows behind the altar bring breathtaking views of creation into the building all four seasons of the year.  As Meg and I prayed, I could almost hear a sermon preached to me by the … [Read more...]

Review: Story Engineering

Toward the end of his life, King Solomon famously noted, "Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body." (Ecc. 12:12) In our modern age, we are now up to the point where there are endless numbers of books about the writing of books. Some new classics about the art of writing, like Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird or Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down The Bones, are designed to inspire both beginning and veteran authors. There are other books that function as "how to" texts for … [Read more...]