Oh, if only I could unplug my synapses

It's 11:39 PM on a Monday night. My body is tired, but my brain is ready for important musings and oddly random thoughts. Be very afraid: (1) On the food-as-theater show America's Iron Chef the "secret ingredient" the dueling chefs must use to create 5 dishes ranges from terrifying fish that look like they could chew through your jugular to the more prosaic garlic. My husband and I thought it would be more realistic if the secret ingredient was Cool Whip or Cream of Mushroom soup. Or maybe you … [Read more...]

Church as an advertisement for the church

Mega-church Willow Creek has been drawing a lot of attention from bloggers passionate about the church as they've rolled out the Reveal study, as well as the changes they're trying to implement throughout their institution as a result. The study (so far) has basically quantified what a lot of us who care about the church already suspected: the deeper you grow spiritually, the less impact church services and programs seem to have on your life in God. Although I don't resonate with the marketing … [Read more...]

Ding! You have mail!

If I had a nickel for every time I checked my e-mail in a typical day, I'd have enough shekels in my pocket so I could fill my gas tank. If I drove an 18-wheeler from New York to LA.When I first started writing, I used to run to the mailbox to look for the return of the self-addressed, stamped envelopes (SASEs) I'd sent along with my article or script submissions to editors. These SASE's contained the editor's verdict on my work: a fat envelope meant they were returning my manuscript to me with … [Read more...]

Pray for Rachel’s little boy

Our daughter Rachel is expecting baby number 2. We learned he's a little boy. We also learned there's a potential complication with his umbilical cord Instead of 2 arteries and a vein, he only has one of each. This condition, called SUA , could be a sign of an array of serious things - or he could be just fine. If you have any experience with SUA, Id' love to hear from you. The baby is about 20 weeks along. Halfway there...Rachel and Carlos are very, very concerned, as are we. Please pray for … [Read more...]

Ratio, O Ratio, Wherefore Art Thou, Ratio?

In the most recent issue of Rev magazine, church growth dude Charles Arn spun out some interesting ratios featuring the word "should":5:100 - Your church, according to Arn, should average 5 visitors for every 100 in attendance.1:4 - 1 of every 4 visitors should be a regular attendee within a year of his/her first visit. 1:7 - Every one of your members should have at least 7 friends in the church. 7:100 - Your church should have 7 groups for every 100 members-plus-regular-attenders6:10 - For … [Read more...]

Eleven ???? Tuesday

Spending time with my four year-old grandson Gabriel means that I become an instant authority on the way the world works - just for the day. "What do cars drink? Why can't the cat eat my soft taco if he likes it? What is grandpa doing right now?" I am required to have some snappy answers ready for him - or a very convincing "I don't know" that staunches the flow of further inquiry on a topic. And then I wondered why kids get to ask all the cool questions. Here are a few of mine:Why do cars like … [Read more...]

Motherless Mother’s Day

This Sunday is one of those "firsts" they talk about in the aftermath of a significant death. It's the first Mother's Day I'll experience without a mom. My mom died last September. Though it has been years since I was able to share the day with my mom in person, there is something achingly sad about not being able to celebrate the relationship this year. I think that's because after a difficult relationship with her that spanned most of my life, the connection and healing that took place during … [Read more...]

Should a tabernacle have a zip code?

Within the last few weeks, I've heard reports of renewal bubbling up in a couple of churches in the southeastern U.S. (I hesitate to use the term "revival", because right now, the people who are experiencing this particular nearness of God here are primarily Christians. In my head, "revival" is something that explodes out of the four walls of the church and impacts society.) I saw some video of a service at one of these churches, and before I even knew the source or location, I exclaimed, … [Read more...]

There’s no one at home…

...and there hasn't been for at least a year and a half.When we moved into our townhouse in June of 2006, one of the things I liked about our location was the fact that there were single-family houses across the street. And a good number of those houses were full of noisy kids.The house directly across the street, in fact, had 3 or 4 young kids living there, and the backyard was full of the kind of equipment suburban families buy to keep their kids entertained: plastic kid-sized picnic table, a … [Read more...]

Right between the shoulder blades

Tagged! In real life, it means someone is gonna slug you right between the shoulder blades as you're running away from them. In cyberspace, it means that a fellow blogger links to you and asks you to tag 6 of your buds (something impossible to do on the playground).This game: 6 random things about me; tagging 6 random friends/fam members to keep the love going like a crazy chain letter. The rules:a. Link to the person who tagged you.b. Post the rules on your blog.c. Write six random things about … [Read more...]