Blog

Voices in the streets

By on Aug 22, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Voices in the streets

This week I was glued to Twitter on more than one evening, watching the events in Ferguson, Mo., unfold in the wake of Mike Brown’s murder. In light of these events, today’s gospel passage (Matt. 15:21-28), one that always frustrates and challenges me, has mostly saddened me. Here we are again. Mourning another life cut short, yearning for a gospel that can make sense of the senseless. In Matthew 15, we read that Jesus is with his disciples when a Canaanite woman approaches him, shouting for mercy, asking for help, for healing for her...

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His sorrow is splendor

By on Aug 21, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

His sorrow is splendor

A little girl in our community has died. Suddenly. Unexpectedly. Shatteringly. Nine years old, Christ have mercy. And this is the part where those who call themselves “pastors” are supposed to provide words of comfort or meaning or hope or something, right? Right? But what if these are hard words to find during times like this? What if they are difficult words to spit out? What if they all seem hollow and forced, and I hate them even as they bounce around in my brain, even as they are tumbling out of my mouth? What could words ever do,...

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Living into the love of God

By on Aug 20, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Living into the love of God

I have been thinking a lot about the love of God. I am getting ready to do a spiritual retreat with a group of doctors this morning and then tomorrow head down to Portland to speak at the Word Made Flesh Conference. In both cases I had intended to focus on prayer but God keeps bringing me back to the need focus instead on “learn to love me more.” Trust and faith are products of love I realize. Trust and faith do not occur spontaneously, nor do they come with focusing on our need to trust and have faith. Trust and faith come by learning to...

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Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth

By on Aug 19, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth

I love being a foster care provider for handicapped adults. I love Our Girl Audrey and Blind Linda fiercely, protectively and I am so grateful that our family has had the opportunity to have them as part of our family. And I will be forever grateful that our family had the chance to know and love and care for Old Gertrude. (Some days I long to hear her funny sayings, to french braid that thin old hair, and fry up some scrapple for breakfast.) I believe that the delight that I have enjoyed as a care provider is one of the ways that God has...

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The practice of missional living

By on Aug 18, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

The practice of missional living

As summer comes to a close, we begin to settle into what we often call our “normal” routine. Vacations are over, school is starting, the temperatures will soon begin to drop, and the busyness of summer will give way to the steady rhythm of fall. And if you’re a sports fan, particularly a football fan, it also means that you get to enter the joyous time of weekend games. Practices have started, the media outlets have kicked it into full gear, scrimmage games are already happening, and eyes are turning towards the television to see...

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A prayerful response to Ferguson

By on Aug 15, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Asked why I raise my hands, I say a number of things: “I lift them to praise God for redeeming me.” My hands are holy because his hands were pierced, and so, I raise my hands. “I raise my hands to call God, Abba. Like a daughter who reaches up to her daddy because she knows she’s loved and wanted. When I’m reminded of the love of God, I raise my hands. “I raise my hands when truth is spoken.” Yes. Yes. This. I say when truth lights up my soul and illuminates the lies I so easily believe, the lies that keep me from living whole,...

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On immodesty

By on Aug 14, 2014 in The World Together | 6 comments

On immodesty

I was taught to fear my body. It was a dangerous stumbling block for the men around me and if I showed too much skin, men would be filled with uncontrollable urges and it would be my fault. The way I was taught this sounded much more empowering and flowery; but this is, essentially, what I was being taught: My body was dangerous and something to be feared. I spent many years hiding it under baggy clothes to protect myself and the men around me from this dangerous burden I carried: my body. When I was growing up, some of the women trying to...

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Why I’m fundraising my salary as a pastor

By on Aug 13, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Why I’m fundraising my salary as a pastor

I’ve received a lot of questions and concerns about why my church would create a staff position they cannot pay for. I’m assuming that means far more people share the question. Here is a bit more of the story: I first met St. Louis Mennonite Fellowship when my friend Leslie gave my name to Pastor Samuel Voth Schrag to come speak to a Sunday School class about the Baptist denomination. As I prepared, I looked at SLMF’s website and poked around into their beliefs and practices. What I discovered was a theology that matched my own. I said...

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“We are Groot” — a kingdom image

By on Aug 12, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

“We are Groot” — a kingdom image

Guardians of the Galaxy is the latest addition to Marvel’s franchise, and it is an eclectic mix. It has the saddest and most moving opening of a blockbuster sci-fi movie since J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek, and yet it is as full of quips and wit as Joss Whedon’s cleverly-dialogued Avengers. It has a bazillion homages to great sci-fi films, but it still feels like its own story — complete with a fully believable walking, talking tree creature and a wise-cracking raccoon. And smack dab in the middle of all this? One of the more unusual kingdom...

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Iraqi genocide: Our violence got us here

By on Aug 11, 2014 in The World Together | 2 comments

Iraqi genocide: Our violence got us here

My spirit has been grieved in a way I haven’t experienced before as the situation in Iraq and Syria has turned for the worse as of late, and is now straight up out of control. The ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) has made amazing strides in gaining power throughout the region, taking over whole areas, and has now begun exterminating all of the “others” who are not like them. There’s been the ultimatum given to Christians (and other religious minorities often overlooked): leave town, convert to Islam and pay a special tax, or...

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