No Swimming Allowed (Part 1)

John MacArthur's recent Strange Fire conference was a hot topic around the Christian blogosphere last week, and not just because Mark Driscoll mixed it up with a few conference organizers. We spent years worshipping in fundy circles, where John MacArthur functions as a sort of ad hoc pope. Of course, no one in these circles would ever elevate MacArthur with a title like this, but his radio programs, writing and Bible school certainly give him a platform of great quotable authority in his … [Read more...]

Some People Are Meant To Stay Behind The Scenes In Life

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 a … [Read more...]

`Fess Up

"Do you have anything you'd like to confess to me before we begin?" An acquaintance who was hoping to become an Orthodox priest had invited us over for dinner, and was now standing in his living room in full Sunday morning regalia, preparing to lead 6 of us in a worship service.Bill and I have visited churches of all kinds, but this was one of the most unusual. Though we'd known a couple of people over the years who attended ethnic (Greek, Romanian) Orthodox churches, and we've benefitted … [Read more...]

When It’s Time To Dial 911

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...]

Called to be the father?

You know how it is when you hear a sentence that simultaneously upends and undoes your thinking? This week, I revisited a book that had this sort of sentence in its introduction.You wouldn't be terribly surprised to learn that the book's author was Henri Nouwen, would you? He is the kind of writer who can marshall that sort of heaven-invades-earth power in a single turn of phrase. In the introduction to his book The Return Of The Prodigal Son: A Story Of Homecoming (Doubleday, 1994), he … [Read more...]

It’s Time To Resign From The Casserole Club

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...]

Healing And The Favorite College Game ‘Guess The Major’

In 2007, I wrote a post (here) about what happened to me when I visited the scene of a whole bunch of crimes (most of the PG-13 variety at that point in my life) after three decades had passed. My husband Bill and I headed to the cornfields of Central IL to see Shakespere's "Love's Labour's Lost" and I had an opportunity to revisit the campus where I'd been a student in the late 1970's. As I am working on a chapter for my upcoming book on the topic of regret, this episode has come to mind as an … [Read more...]