We’ve turned a story of a flesh-and-blood man standing apart from his own decaying culture into a nursery decoration. Brian Godawa has torn the cutesy pastel version of the Noah story off of the nursery wall in an attempt to help modern-day readers remember that Noah and his family were three dimensional people struggling to live counter-cultural, obedient lives in the years leading up to the flood. Noah Primeval: Chronicles of the Nephiliim (Embedded Pictures Publishing, 2011) is definitely not… Read more

I’m blogging through Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward: A Spirituality Through The Two Halves Of Life. Click here to read the first post in the series. In the first chapter of his book, Father Rohr seeks to help his readers understand the nature of those two halves of life. If the first half of life is to create a container for our life that answers questions of identity, security and relationship, the second half of life is a journey toward learning… Read more

There are some books that demand a re-reading, even before you’ve finished reading the book the first time through. I believe Father Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life (Jossey-Bass, 2011) is such a book. Rohr, a Franciscan priest and internationally-known author and speaker who may perhaps be best known for his groundbreaking book A Christian Perspective on the Enneagram, offers readers a deep, shimmering and sometimes-upending perspective on the spiritual work that is meant… Read more

2011, it’s been an interesting trip `round the sun with you. Before you turn into something that’s so last year, I thought I’d review some lessons I learned while I was in your classroom during the last 365 days:   (1) Shoulder surgery IS as bad as they say. Everyone kept warning me that last winter’s rotator cuff repair was going to hurt, be awful, be a ridiculously long recovery, yada yada yada. I’ve survived reconstructive knee surgery, and lived… Read more

A true disciple of Christ travels light, right? We’ve all heard messages about how Jesus sent 72 of his first disciples out in his name with instructions that included traveling with only the clothes on their backs. We have Paul’s impassioned description of what his life as a follower of Christ was like in 2 Corinthians 11 to underscore the fact that following Christ may be filled with challenge and difficulty, not comfort. I ran across this passage a few… Read more

Twenty-nine Christmases ago, our first child was a little baby girl just about able to sit up by herself for the first time. In the days leading up to Christmas, my husband and I knew it was time to think about one thing we could begin doing that would mark our own Christmas as a family. At that time, my husband and I had been married for four years, and had created a couple of scrappy holiday traditions out of… Read more

When I was a kid, Chanukah meant eight nights of presents, wrapped in shiny blue and silver paper. It meant treats of Chanukah gelt, foil-wrapped waxy coins of chocolate, and playing the dreidel game while each night’s candles burned. The game featured a four-sided top with Hebrew letters on each side that were meant to remind us of the “reason for our season”. I was told the reason for these December festivities was to celebrate the miraculous story of brave… Read more

Perhaps it is a sign of the times. This month, instead of Christmas carols, I’ve heard minor key songs of lament from so many people I know. I am powerless to do much to alleviate most of the suffering around me. I want to be present, to be honest about my own similarly-broken state, and to be ready to share the comfort and provision God has given to me. And being fully present in the lives of those who hurt… Read more

If Oprah can create a list of “favorite things”, I decided that I could, too. However, my list is quite a bit less fancy-schmancy than O’s. It’s meant to be fun, and perhaps spark some reflection about what comforts, blessings and experiences have been favorites for you in 2011. So (sing it with me) – these are a few of my favorite things: When we were in Israel last spring, a friend there gave me a tube of this ointment-thick… Read more

As the year’s odometer is about to roll over (hello, 2012!), you might be considering a new devotional. I’ve used a variety of devotional books over the years, and have even contributed to a couple. Most follow a pretty standard format: a Bible verse or inspirational thought, a short meditation on the passage, a prayer. The best devotional tools serve their intended purpose of nudging readers Godward. If you’re interested in devotional material that nudges you a little farther and… Read more

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