Your right to forgo vaccines ends in our shared airspace

This piece from The Onion, "I don't vaccinate my child because it's my right to decide what eliminated diseases come roaring back" is, next to Eula Biss' sterling book, On Immunity, the most appropriate response to  the vaccine "controversy" that I have ever seen: As a mother, I put my parenting decisions above all else. Nobody knows my son better than me, and the choices I make about how to care for him are no one’s business but my own. So, when other people tell me how they think I should be r … [Read more...]

Why you should still bring canned goods to food drives

Food Drive. Photo courtesy vastateparksstaff via Flickr Creative Commons.

We live in a time in which most of us are so savvy that we're in danger of being cynical; so wise to the way the world "actually" works and exploring the hidden side of everything that we are apt to do nothing.Foreign aid? Creates dependency, is imperialism disguised as benevolence, more harm than good.Altruism? Just another way of asserting one's superiority, ensuring the survival of one's seed; an ego stroke."Gift" catalogs where little kids can "buy goats" for families in … [Read more...]

On taking communion: why it’s okay to make crunching noises

Bread and Wine #1. Photo courtesy KHRawlings via Flickr Creative Commons.

It may not seem like it, but this is a question of serious theological import: it is definitely okay -- no, more than merely 'okay,'  it is meet and right and your bounden duty to audibly chew your communion bread in church.When I was a very small girl -- no older than five or six -- a young woman in our church, who I liked and admired a great deal, made an offhand comment, in reference to taking communion, that I have never forgotten:"I always feel weird, crunching in church. I sort of … [Read more...]

Talking with children about death and God and Christmas (and much more)

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One of my sons talks a lot about death, and it comes up in the strangest conversational contexts.Such as:"I like to talk baby-talk." "Why? Do you want to not grow up and always be my baby?" "No, I want to not grow up so I don't have to die."Yeah. Heavy thoughts going on inside that mind of his.He will then sometimes go on to enumerate his fears about people we know who are elderly, or who are ill; people, that is, who seem to be a bit closer to death than we.This same … [Read more...]

A Very Foodie Giveaway

giveaway prizes final(1)

Let me be clear: I do *not* think that right now is "the most wonderful time of the year."It's dark. It's cold. It's rainy.And all the news is bad.You know it's rough when you start to feel jealous of the cat. My cat spends his time with his head pressed against the heating grate, sleeping, or else eating.Eating.That is the great thing about this time of year. It's good napping weather, sure, but it is even better eating weather. All the baking you didn't do in the summer … [Read more...]

Tis the season for really sad songs in church

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It is really no wonder that Western European Christians began celebrating Advent in the days and weeks leading up to the winter solstice, the time when the light starts creeping in, ever so slowly.But what's weirdly incongruous is how American culture -- and many churches right along with it -- "celebrates Christmas"  beginning sometime in October or November with all the holly jollying and ebullient, sometimes false, cheer.I have heard that many Americans find themselves feeling … [Read more...]

Five minutes that’ll make your day — and your life — better.

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"Being more mindful""Being more present""Meditating more""Spending more time in prayer""Nurturing the spirit more"Please tell me that I am not the only one who feels guilty at the mention of "yoga," "meditation," "mindfulness" and "prayer," with my first thoughts being something along the lines of I should do that MORE.And please tell me that I am not the only one who often feels as if there truly isn't room for anything MORE in my life -- that my responsibilities, w … [Read more...]

Don’t bother me, kids: I’m having my disquiet time

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I was nurtured in a Christian tradition that encouraged the daily practice of what was called a "quiet time." This involved sitting down -- preferably early in the morning -- reading some of the Bible, reflecting on it, and praying.All good things, all good things.For me, the experience of "the quiet time" was wrapped in conflict and confusion for some simple reasons.You were supposed to get spiritual inspiration from whatever it was you were reading.And because I was a devotee … [Read more...]

Craving an adrenaline rush? Do something selfless.

Hate me if you must, but I am not a fan of Cheryl Strayed's book Wild, and I don't ever plan to see the movie.Why? Because Strayed's choices were foolish, and could have ended very, very badly for her.I know that she acknowledges this. Still, she frames the story as a story of redemption, without necessarily acknowleging, to my satisfaction, the utter foolishness of much of what she did, much of which is apparent to anyone acquainted with the most rudimentary principles of outdoor l … [Read more...]

Eating disorders, diets, delicious food and a beautiful God

Once upon a time, I was convinced that as soon as I truly loved God as I ought to, food would cease to be important. And that, I thought, was how He wanted it to be. I would finally understand the sublime sufficiency, goodness, and beauty of God. I would eat only enough to survive and attain the slender, holy appearance of women depicted in religious art and literature.What didn’t occur to me until much later was that the beauty, tastiness, and appeal of food—the explosive sweetness of a rip … [Read more...]


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