Review: Deliberate Acts of Kindness

What do the person running the church nursery, the senior running the register at the local St. Vincent de Paul thrift store, and the person unloading canned goods at a food pantry all have in common? They are all volunteers, drawn into service by a desire to make a difference in someone else’s life. The motivation may have a spiritual component to it (“God had done so much for me, I want to use my time and talents to pass… Read more

Yes, Seders Are For Christians*

Yes, Seders are for Christians. The asterisk in the title above Last week’s guest opinion piece written by Rabbi Yehiel Poupko and Rabbi David Sandmel entitled “Jesus Didn’t Eat A Seder Meal” was published on the Christianity Today website as a pushback against the appropriation of Passover Seders by a growing number in the Christian community. The two rabbis pointed out that Passover was given to the Jews, and all others should cease and desist. A year ago, I interviewed Reform… Read more

Passover: One Thing To Try, One Thing To Taste

Passover is largely about Egypt; Easter is largely about Passover. – Rabbi Ismar Schorsch To Try: Each year Jewish families retell and experience anew the Exodus through the Seder. From the Hebrew word meaning “order,” the Seder is a formal festival meal that has an entirely different focus and purpose than any other meal of the year. The Seder is to be held on the first night of the Passover observance – this year, on Monday evening, April 10th. (The… Read more

When A Parent Is “Left Behind”

There has been much written about the exodus of Millennials from the Church. But I haven’t seen much discussion about the effect of that exodus on those they’ve left behind; specifically, the parents who sought to pass on their faith to their children both at home and via involvement with their local church. This was highlighted for me when I was in what I thought was a casual conversation with a couple of other veteran moms after a church service… Read more

Holy Week: Where “Follow Me” Leads Us

I started Lent this year with good intentions. But we all know those good intentions can be little more than pavers on the road leading to bad places, right? I wasn’t sure a full social media fast would be do-able for Lent this year, so I decided that I needed to apply some discipline to how I was interacting with it – specifically, in regards to the real-life reality show going on in our nation’s capitol. Lent this year has… Read more

Review: Of Stillness And Storm

My husband and I once had a pastor whose wife had never signed on with her husband’s calling. She married a businessman, not a downwardly-mobile spiritual entrepreneur who had meetings 4 nights a week and dealt with congregational crisis what seemed like 8 nights a week while she was left to function as a single parent to their three young kids. She stood by his side gamely, but his calling took a toll on her during the years we knew… Read more

What Do Your Kids Know About Communion?

I taught Sunday School for years. The experience taught me a few things. One essential lesson was to avoid any craft project involving glitter. I found glitter in my clothes, hair, and Bible for days after creating sparkly Noah’s Ark rainbows with my class of first-and second-graders. A word to the wise: no matter how cute it looks in the curriculum guide or on Pinterest, there’s really no sane reason to drag glitter into your Sunday morning. A second, more… Read more

Reflection: The Sound of a Million Dreams

A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way? – Proverbs 20:24 I worked at a college for five years and developed friendships with a few students that extended beyond their graduation day. As a result, I was part of the lives of a couple of them when they had what has been dubbed the “quarter life crisis”. The big dreams and plans of their college years crashed headlong into the painful realities of young… Read more

True Influence: The Mordecai Option

The Jewish feast of Purim took place this year from sundown Saturday, March 11th through sundown of the 12th. It is for me an opportunity each year to revisit this remarkable story of survival in the face of super-size, demonic anti-Semitism. The book of Esther found in our Bibles never once mentions God’s Name, yet his unseen hand is visible in every moment of this drama. I’ve always loved Queen Esther’s brave words when faced with the news from her… Read more

Touch Not The Lord’s Anointed?

Those who’ve attended a spiritually-abusive church have more than likely heard some version of a warning drawn from the pages of Scripture about not challenging a leader’s authority: “Touch not God’s anointed.” There are a couple of big problems with this kind of talk. First, in an authoritarian church system, challenging a leader’s authority might mean anything from not showing up every time the church doors are open to daring to ask a question or express a doubt about something… Read more

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