Hoping for Hope: A Meditation on Advent

Hoping for Hope: A Meditation on Advent

In 20 days, the days will start getting longer. It feels pretty dark right now, with a bleak November casting its darkness into the holiday season. Some years it’s harder than others to believe that the light is coming again and this has been one of those years. We’d be forgiven if we temporarily forgot that the light always wins. That, in fact, the light is already winning. The trajectory of the earth in its orbit assures us that the…

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Why Gratitude Really Matters

Why Gratitude Really Matters

“I know I’m supposed to be thankful in all things but I’m having a hard time being thankful right now.” The comment came from a patient, a young woman in the hospital from some illness I didn’t understand. I had peeked carefully into our room to introduce myself as the hospital chaplain covering the 4th floor. A young seminary student, I didn’t know nearly enough to be ministering to people in crisis but I did know this: you do not…

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What is Your Name? (A Post-Election Sermon)

What is Your Name? (A Post-Election Sermon)

Reading for the week: Luke 8:26-39, the healing of the demon possessed man A sermon in the “Questions of Jesus” series (Editoral note: I don’t usually post sermons here at my blog, mainly because a sermon is very much a living thing. So much changes in the giving. I’ve been persuaded of the value of sharing more online so here it is, along with an audio file if you prefer to listen. May it be a blessing this week!)  …

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Post-Election Weekend Game Plan Options for Everyone

Post-Election Weekend Game Plan Options for Everyone

You survived the week! YAY YOU. Whatever shape you’re in right now, take a minute to congratulate yourself. This was a tough week. Lord have mercy, let’s figure out how to do democracy better by the midterm elections, shall we? I, for one, have emotional whiplash from all the hurt and pain I’m seeing. (And feeling, because I’m not a robot.) I’d planned to write more about listening and healing our nation this week but we’re not there yet as…

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The Secret to Healing America

The Secret to Healing America

I’m not a politically vocal person, at least not outside the safety of my own home. During this election season, my husband has listened to daily commentary about the state of the campaigns but outside of a couple friends who share my political views, I don’t talk politics. I am, quite frankly, afraid of the potential conflict.   Related: 5 Powerful Phrases for An Election Year I’m probably right to be worried. A 2014 Pew Study found that Republicans and Democrats…

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Should We Pray to Mother God?

Should We Pray to Mother God?

Many years ago, I walked into an argument in my Sunday School classroom. It went like this: “The Bible says “Our Father who art in heaven!” “Yes, but we know that God isn’t a boy or girl. So I can say ‘Our Mother’ if I want!” Without knowing it, these two kids were hashing out a battle that was much, much older than they are. The central question: Does it matter what we call God? Related: Why is God Not Female?…

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Raising World Changers

Raising World Changers

My daughter “got in trouble” at school a couple months ago. “Got in trouble” is in quotes because, like all sensitive children, her perception of trouble is a far cry from any actual trouble. Still, the recess teacher did talk to her and that counts in her book. The problem happened during a game of 4-square. There was a disagreement over whether the ball was in or out of bounds. Eventually the disagreement escalated into a full-blown argument and my…

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The One Thing All Kids Need to Hear

The One Thing All Kids Need to Hear

I was in fifth grade the year I discovered that girls were supposed to be squeamish. This was a painful and puzzling thing to find out. Up until then, girls and boys mostly played together. The cool girls were the ones who could keep up with the boys. They were athletic and daring. They rode horses and chased cows, had beat up jeans and practical t-shirts. The rules of our universe were that everyone competed to be bravest and toughest….

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5 Tips for Talking to Kids About Violence

5 Tips for Talking to Kids About Violence

Here we are again, with another weekend news cycle focused on stories of violence and questions about domestic terrorism. Yesterday, a friend cried, “Are we safe anywhere anymore?” Another said, “How am I supposed to raise children in a world like this?” And several others asked, “What am I supposed to tell my kids?” I’m still pondering the first two questions, which are very hard and hurt the heart, but I have some thoughts about the third.  Here are five principles…

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That One Time, When I Was A Mess

That One Time, When I Was A Mess

The fact that I was at a MOPS meeting was a complete surprise to me.  I drove there and signed myself in, of course, but it was so removed from my normal behavior that it felt of an out-of-body experience.  Even now, that memory is tinged with a hazy yellow, like someone has overlaid the “halcyon days” filter.  I went because my neighbor invited me.  She seemed nice and fairly normal. I was new to the area and desperate for friends.  Peering…

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