The Passengers of United Flight 93 Defined Their Moment

I was writing a book, titled Facing Forward, in September 2001, a memoir related to the uncertainties of mid-life. Then on a bright Tuesday morning, September 11, everything stopped. Uncertainties about mid-life were irrelevant. I joined our country in a collective lament. The world as we knew it ended that day and the world has not been the same since. I include below the concluding paragraphs of the chapter I was writing in the aftermath of  this sad day. In the end… Read more

A Shamed and Failed Knight ~ Saint Francis’ Other Life

For a knight — picture Ragnar Lothbrook — no greater humiliation befalls him than to fail, to be sent home on a horse. “You’re not needed here — thanks.” It upends everything knighthood stands for and, worse, violates every instinct an aspiring knight lives for. “Go home.” Or, to put it in modern vernacular, Get a job!  The quintessential feature that energizes and drives the aspirations of the knight is the cry “save us!” Have you heard the cliché A… Read more

Thoughts on Eugene Peterson’s Christian Repartee

by Wendy Murray I have been saying for a long time that Christians who devote much distemper and judgmentalism to the LGBT community are hypocrites and ought to apologize. I was reminded why I’ve been saying it in the wake of the tumult created when the beloved elder, writer, and pastor Eugene Peterson made charitable statements about his gay friends and church-goers. In an interview with Jonathan Merritt published by RNS, he was asked, “What’s your position on the morality… Read more

Pop’s Garden

Thirty years ago this month a 92-year-old man died and I’ve never forgotten him. His name was Bill, but everyone called him Pop. He was the oldest member of the first church my (now-ex) husband and I pastored, decades ago in New Jersey. You could say Pop was the patriarch of that small-town church, but there was nothing about him that suggested a heavy-hand. He was a gentle soul with an iron spine and, of all the people I came… Read more

Warrior Poet, Columcille ~ Light of the North Who Brightened the West & Inflamed the East

In sixth century Ireland approximately one third of the population were poets. As Saint Patrick died c. 493 another Irish champion was on the rise: Columcille (also known as Columba), whose life is remembered this month (he died in June 597). He came from a line of kings who had ruled in Ireland for centuries and was himself in close succession to the throne. He was raised by priests, and in time renounced his rank to become “a religious” (a friar)…. Read more

Yes, I Can’t Find My Glasses

When I was young — meaning inexperienced, myopic and shallow — I remember passing a knowing look to my sisters when my grandmother, yet again, lamented that she couldn’t find her glasses. Her glasses! Her glasses! The world stood or fell on my grandmother’s not being able to find her glasses. How we laughed. I’m not laughing now. I lost my glasses at work today in a job that demands that, well, I must see. I worked at Staples, in the… Read more

There Is a Reason King David Was a Man After God’s Heart and It Is Not What You Think

As a member of a coterie of journalists who cover religion, I have been confounded by the moralizing in print this presidential election season has elicited from journalists and thought leaders. Christian journalists and pundits have either struggled to reconcile their finely-tuned moral sensibilities with a morally ambivalent candidate or they haven’t struggled at all about it and have instead called down unequivocal condemnation and scorn. Are Christians obliged to condemn moral imperfection of secular governing authors? Are they remiss… Read more

Reflections on Life After Antidepressants

The main point I have wanted to make in this series of posts related to my discontinuation of antidepressants is this: It can be done. You will survive. Your body is working with you to recover. The last days of my third and final taper, nearly two years after I had made the first attempt, ended innocuously. Step by step I was slicing down my tablets until they became too small to slice. At this point I started skipping days: I’d… Read more

Third Try to Get Off Antidepressants: Success, at Long Last

In honor of Mental Health Awareness month, I have been posting about the long and arduous journey I took to get off antidepressants. They had been prescribed for me by a general practitioner when I was experiencing a difficult passage in my life and, over time, had come to affect my health adversely. I made the decision to get off them but it was a long haul. This post addresses how, by my third attempt, I had learned some fundamental… Read more

The Troubling Matter of Medical NonCompliance

by Wendy Murray In keeping with my posts this month — Mental Health Awareness month — I include below an account of an experience I had with a medical professional who proved unhelpful and even belligerent in my attempt to seek her help in withdrawing from my antidepressant. I have learned that this story is typical and many patients, like myself, contend with unhelpful doctors.  I want to be clear that, even as I write about my experience with this… Read more

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