September 30, 2014

Last week I was on an early morning flight trying to sleep and was awoken by the shrieks of a little boy, who looked to be about 5 years old. He was jumping in his seat and launching into the seat in front of him. His mom’s body posture was withdrawn and indifferent. Admittedly, I wished she would distract him into a quieter activity and silently gave thanks to God for giving me two girls. Into the hushed space between… Read more

September 17, 2014

A few years ago when I was a new parishioner at a big church, I grew incredibly frustrated at the slow or non-existent response to my e-mails and offers to help. I was studying theology, passionate about church in the changing religious landscape and home with two little kids. I had time on my hands and pent up vision and energy. I know that the pastors were insanely busy but they also missed gaining a very willing volunteer. I ended up… Read more

September 15, 2014

As the reports and tributes about Joan Rivers poured in last week, I was particularly struck with the fact that she is remembered for her honesty. Writer after writer commented that her gift was naming the absurdity and tragedy of life. The New Yorker reported that a few years ago, at a comedy club in Wisconsin she did a bit about Helen Keller and a heckler complained that his son was deaf and he didn’t think it was appropriate. Joan’s… Read more

January 22, 2014

I was recently asked to define self-care. The first thoughts that came to me were the typical answers: a massage, a day totally off work, exercise, sleep. All good examples of self-care. However, as I went deeper, I realized that every time I am intentional about something, about ANYTHING, I am caring for myself. I am taking the time to act from my soul. The most arduous task done from the soul is an act of self-care. The most luxurious… Read more

December 24, 2013

Family situations can put us right back into our childhood roles. We walk into the house or pick up the phone hoping that those on the other end will have grown¬–they will have stopped the passive aggression or the guilt-trips or the emotional abandonment. But likely, they haven’t. One thing that I find striking about the stories of Jesus early childhood is how early he seemed to have figured this out. Maybe it is the ultimate proof of his divinity… Read more

December 21, 2013

The older I get, the more Grinch-y I am at the beginning of the holiday season. The decorations just seem to be more chaos in the midst of my unfolded laundry. The cards and gifts are names on a list that I’m trying to get done before it’s too late. The extra church services take energy away from accomplishing goals. I remember that I used to really love Christmas but I can’t quite remember why. And then, gifts and cards… Read more

December 19, 2013

I’m talking about transcendent Christmas music, not Last Christmas by Wham, which seems to come around on my car radio every two songs these days. Songs like For Unto Us from Handel’s Messiah or Born on a New Day by the King’s Singers or Bach’s Magnificat or just about anyone’s version of Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming or Noa’s version of Ave Maria. You know, those soul songs of this season that penetrate straight through your ears to your… Read more

December 11, 2013

On the shuttle at the San Francisco airport today, I sat next to a woman headed home to Oregon. In the few moments we shared, we chatted about where we’d been and where we were going, sharing a moment of connection in our day of travel. I would never have done that three years ago. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, went to school in Southern California, lived in Budapest, Hungary and then back to the Bay… Read more

May 8, 2013

The sermon discussion group got all riled up about the word “saved” in Acts 2:47 this morning when they read, “And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” There is so much baggage to the word “saved” that many of us associate with certain versions of Christianity: those with an agenda, those looking only to save lives after death. Minutes before walking into the discussion, I saw that Dallas Willard had died. I… Read more

April 25, 2013

Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another. Seth Godin I have had the privilege of quite a bit of reflection time this month on the cusp of a few months while our head of staff goes on sabbatical. I have been pondering the heart of my role as a pastor. There are plenty of people who want to define that role for me and I field regular requests to lend my… Read more

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