The Most Stunning Children’s Bible — That’s No Longer in Print (But Should Be)

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There is an appealing, almost haunting spareness to the Taize Picture Bible (1968) in both word and image. Published in the USA by Fortress Press (mine is a fourth edition, 1978), the “note to readers” says “The guiding editorial policy in this adaptation has been to facilitate understanding by readers of many age levels while remaining faithful to the words and meaning of the Biblical text.” There is nothing prettified or cutesy about the images or the storytelling in this book. In fact there’ … [Read more...]

The Things We Can’t — and Shouldn’t — Make Our Children Do

original cartoon courtesy Tom LaMothe

 When I was pregnant with our first child there were so many things I wondered and hoped. I hoped that we would like each other. That he would be interested in the world and that we would have at least some things in common. And I hoped he would like books. Like me."Don't worry," my husband said. "He will like what he likes."There was just so much uncertainty and so little control. I kind of hated that.We do indeed parent in the "age of anxiety." We worry … [Read more...]

A Veteran’s Plea: Patriotism is Not a Tea Party. Neither is a Funeral.

Age 22 -- after 4.5 years of active duty and still so baby-faced!

A powerful guest post by my dad.Some time back, I joined  a nonprofit organization that aims to ensure dignity and respect at memorial services for veterans. Among other things, they organize human shields against the Westboro loonies. Those Westboro folks have never been a problem where I live (I like to think they don’t have the guts to come to my state!), but the nonprofit does other things to support veterans and their families, and that appeals to me very much.I'm not really much of … [Read more...]

8 good things about my dad

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Like any daughter, I've had my share of conflicts with my dad. Many of those ended when I was a teenager, but live on in our differing memories about that time. He says I was grumpy. I say he was grumpy. Probably, we're both right.In any case, it's my dad's birthday today. His GOLDEN birthday, as it happens, since he is turning, not eight, of course, but the double-digit number of the second half of the year that he was born (19?!). And so here are eight good things about my dad. Dad's of … [Read more...]

3 things that’ll help you understand the Ebola crisis

Two nurses standing in front of Ebola case #3, who was treated, and later died at Ngaliema Hospital, in Kinshasa, Zaire. (1976, public domain)

While I was waiting for a flight last week, all airport televisions were blaring ongoing 'coverage' of the man with Ebola in Dallas, and the people he may or may not have come into contact with, and who would or would not be responsible for disinfecting the apartment he'd been staying in. It was banal television scare-mongering at its worst, and I endured only a few minutes of it before inserting my noise-reduction headphones and blasting a compline service.It's been a mere six months since … [Read more...]

6 Simple Ways to Annoy Non-Christians

Sometimes we Christians get a little confused on best practices for alienating those who don't agree with us. The Bible is clear: sometimes it is just our faith itself that's the offensive bit. But we don't need to leave it at that. Here are six simple moves that help ensure that the non-Christian people around you find your Christianity thoroughly annoying.1. The bait-and-switchIn this move, you invite unsuspecting non-Christians to an event that is actually some kind of church service … [Read more...]

The terrifying possibility of being raptured before our wedding nights


Like other children raised in dispensationalist circles, if I couldn’t locate my parents — our parsonage home was large and sprawling — my paranoid ideation included the possibility that not only had God cosmically arranged for my orphanhood but had also simultaneously damned me to suffer seven years, or possibly an eternity, of torment.Consequently, I prayed the “sinner’s prayer” many, many times over just to make sure I was really and truly “saved.”As scary as the doctrine of the raptur … [Read more...]

The beauty of the ordinary and what makes an artist: Spark + Tumble Photography


The connections we make in this life, across continents and across oceans, are nothing less than astounding, I think.A year ago I read a book review by the incomparable Lisa Ann Cockrel; a review that closes by noting that the book in question left Cockrel "craving latkes with spiced applesauce." As I was in Malawi at the time, and craving ALL the things I couldn't get there, especially food things, I found myself craving the very same thing. So I wrote to Lisa -- whom I'd written to before … [Read more...]

For the first time in (almost) forever…


Regular readers may have noticed that I appear to have, well, disappeared.(Apart, of course, from my new blog at Religion News Service.)It's been a very, very long couple of months. The 100-calorie, snack-size version is that we're back in the States now.And here is some of the emotional truth of the whole story; the story of our long and winding road to this particular point, a guest post at Cara Strickland's blog.I cried while unpacking plates yesterday.My son, who is … [Read more...]

How I learned to stop worrying and just eat the darn cupcake


Food wasn't a good gift from God to be received and eaten with pleasure and gratitude. It was something to fear, and fear it I did. The original sin, I believed, was a kind of gluttony: a deadly sin. It was better, according to Proverbs, to put a knife to my throat than to indulge in that sin. And in a distorted attempt to please God, I came to regard almost every meal as potentially gluttonous. One day when I was 16, my mother came home from work to find me sobbing on the front stoop, unable to … [Read more...]