God as a woman, seeking out the marginalized

One of the most popular images of God in the Bible is the image of God the shepherd. Through this image, we see God as a humble, but loving and protective man. A man who wants all of his sheep--99 out of 100 isn't enough!--to be safe.I particularly like this image, actually. It shows me a God that refuses to exclude the minority. A God that is not simply interested in getting in good with the popular crowd. It shows me a vision for God's kingdom as a safe space for the marginalized.But … [Read more...]

God is not really a king.

I've been thinking a lot about my deepest held images of God: why do I hold them? Where do they come from? What do they say about the Christian faith I was raised in? What do they say about me? How do they hold me back? Or how could they possibly be liberating?I used to be afraid to think about images of God. I used to think that if there were no more images of God, God would disappear for me.Yet, personal religious experiences that I've had recently have changed my mind.I believe … [Read more...]

When your home church doesn’t feel like home

I've been away from my hometown in Michigan for four years now, but I'm back, for at least a year.Only it doesn't feel like home right now.Parts do. I get along with my parents better than I ever did, and, now that I am no longer an angsty teenager, I can see them as humans...friends even. My siblings and I are as close as ever, and even though my best friend (since we were babies) is now all married and grown up, our relationship is the same as ever. Two of our three cats still like to … [Read more...]

Relevant Magazine, Hugo Schwyzer, and a thing called grace

Trigger warnings for rape, abuse, stalkingI believe in a thing called grace.Really, I do. I believe people can change, and when people change, I believe in giving those people a second chance. But here's the thing.Life's complicated.Because, sometimes, showing "grace" to one person means denying grace from another.Here's an example: You have a child molester who has raped and abused young children. This child molester meets Jesus. Jesus changes said child molester.Great!But what if … [Read more...]

Never going back

Trigger Warning for AbuseI used to be in an abusive relationship.Once, I broke up with him, and he threatened to kill me for it.I was in his car, and I told him I didn't want to be with him anymore. He decided that if I wouldn't be with him, I  couldn't be with anyone. So he gave me the choice:Change my mind and stay with him, or he would crash the car into a telephone pole.I forced him to take me home that day by threatening him with a crowbar I found on the floor of his car. But … [Read more...]

Our Mother who art in heaven…

I'm trying this new thing where I don't just think of God as a man. Where I get this image out of my head that God is an old man that looks like Gandalf and has Morgan Freeman's voice. Where I let God out of this box of masculinity that God's been confined to.It's difficult. The images of God that we focus on in the Bible are all quite masculine. God is a Father. God is a King. God as a husband. God is He and Him. And to complicate matters, the preachers that have always told me about God were … [Read more...]

It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship?

When I was growing up, and people asked about my religion, I would parrot the phrase I'd heard from countless well-meaning pastors, Sunday school teachers, and friends. You know the one..."It's not a religion. It's a relationship."Then, there's the viral video that's been going around lately. I'm sure you've seen it making the rounds on Facebook, Twitter, and the Blogosphere:"Why I hate religion, but love Jesus."(side note: for an excellent response to this video, check out Elizabeth … [Read more...]

If the Bible had an F.A.Q. section…

Do you ever wish that the Bible had an F.A.Q. section?Or maybe it does, and I just haven't found it yet. Some Christians probably have--you know, the one's who are always saying, "The Bible clearly says that..." Yeah, those Christians must have found the F.A.Q. section.Because, let's be honest. The Bible is anything but clear.It's complicated, contradictory, and confusing.If the Bible had an F.A.Q. section, this is what I'd like to see in it:*What IS salvation?*Is there a hell? … [Read more...]

Good tidings of great joy

At yesterday's annual family Christmas gathering, my mom was asked to do the impossible: gather up my younger cousins and get them to sit still long enough for her to tell them the Christmas story. And, being the super woman that she is, she accomplished this task with seeming ease. She managed to capture the undivided attention of those eight rambunctious little boys and explain to them the beautiful message of Luke 2.She closed with: "When I see those beautiful, shining lights on the C … [Read more...]

Sarah vs. Evil Overlord Depression

I don't remember exactly when I first started suffering from depression. It was probably around junior high.Back then, depression would waltz in and out of my life. It would stick around for a few days or weeks, then it would leave, and it would forget to call, and good riddance!When I started dating my abusive ex-boyfriend at age 16, depression decided to crash on the futon for a few weeks. Those weeks turned into months......and years.The first two years involved many a prayer to … [Read more...]


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