Experiencing the Transformative Power of the Lord and the Joy of Incarnational Community

I preached for the first time on Thursday, September 22, at The Well, a campus ministry on the campus at Ashland University. The subject of the sermon was on two parts of The Well’s mission statement: to “Encounter the Transformative Power of the Lord” and to “Experience the Joy of Incarnational Community.” Here is whatContinue reading Experiencing the Transformative Power of the Lord and the Joy of Incarnational Community

Hold On Loosely

This morning as I drove the kids to school, a blade of light cut through a hole in the clouds in that divine way, you know, the way that feels like God is descending through the clouds to rest his glory on your shoulders, and you feel blessed, and particular, the center of the universe.Continue reading “Hold On Loosely”

The Universal History of People Doing Whatever They Feel Like Doing

In those days there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing. – Judges 17:6 I’m reading Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones right now. At the same time, I’ve been trudging chapter by chapter through the book of Judges in the Bible. The confluence of these two narrativesContinue reading “The Universal History of People Doing Whatever They Feel Like Doing”

Sifted As Wheat

Sometime around 2005, the “everything happens for a reason,” feel-good faith of my college years shattered. I had had two miscarriages and health complications that accompanied those losses, and to tell you the truth, God did not feel real close, or real good, or real loving. In fact, I didn’t feel anything for God exceptContinue reading “Sifted As Wheat”

Sarah Ruins Jeremiah 29:11

Pete Enns has ruined Exodus, Isaiah, and Christmas, so I thought I’d take a stab at ruining one of the American Christian’s favorite Bible verses, an oft-quoted, stenciled, and memorized Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans toContinue reading “Sarah Ruins Jeremiah 29:11”

Enter Through the Narrow Gate

“Enter through the narrow gate,” Jesus told his disciples. I’ve been thinking about this narrow gate for a long time, bewildered that God would make a small entrance into his kingdom on purpose to keep people out. Jesus says the only way to the Father is through the Son, that the Son is the Way,Continue reading “Enter Through the Narrow Gate”

What Happens to Suffering When We Pray

This week, my daughter, Lydia, broke one of her arms for the fourth time in six years. There’s never a great time to break a bone, but in my opinion, the start of the summer is the worst time. As I scurried down to church camp to pick her up the day after dropping herContinue reading “What Happens to Suffering When We Pray”

Maybe you’re like me

A year or so ago a friend in a private Facebook group made up of mostly Midwestern, Christ-following protestant/evangelical/questioning white folks challenged the group’s membership to read books by or about people other than mostly Midwestern, Christ-following protestant/evangelical/questioning white folks. Just two years ago I realized how much I favored male authors over women afterContinue reading “Maybe you’re like me”

Eyes Above Water

This morning I read the first few verses of the Book of James for a Bible study, and now, lodged in my mind are the words, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (1:2), alternating with Elvis Presley bellowing, “Lord, this time, youContinue reading “Eyes Above Water”

Dying Mom Stories and New Year’s Resolutions

As a reader and editor for River Teeth, one of my major biases was dying mom stories. Writers think just because their loved one has died or might die or is dying, they ought to write about her. It’s sad. It’s hard. It’s life changing. So we write dying mom stories. The trouble with the vastContinue reading “Dying Mom Stories and New Year’s Resolutions”