Christians, even the most devout, have an uneasy relationship with the Old Testament. We rhapsodize over the psalms and spin heroic tales from Israel's hall of fame, but to be honest, we're queasy over discussions of slavery, God-sanctioned Canaanite slaughter, the exclusion of women from worship spaces, and all manner of bizarre customs. We're far… Continue reading Do We Still Need to Know the Ten Commandments Today?
Sunday Scripture When I am serving as a substitute teacher, I'm often intrigued by the books I find sitting on the desktops of the teachers I am helping. Sometimes there is even time for me to skim a chapter or to scan the table of contents and to be inspired. On a middle school math… Continue reading When Obstacles Become Part of Your New and Good Story
In the dark, in the car, hands on the steering wheel, I sighed in frustration. “I can’t do this anymore,” I said out loud, startling myself with the fierceness of my tone over the sound of the car’s heater. On that frigid January night, I was brittle with fatigue and hollow with disappointment. I had… Continue reading What Is Your Reference Point for Success in Ministry?
COVID-19 has initiated the celebration of some very unique milestones. For me, the most memorable was the day I sat between two of my grandchildren and read them a story for the first time since we began sheltering at home. We celebrated the relaxation of strict quarantine here in rural Maine with our little group of… Continue reading How to Persevere All the Way Through the Pandemic: Are We There Yet?
Sunday Scripture "I don't need to listen to this," I said out loud (to myself) as I clicked out of my podcast app. The truth is, I could have information pouring into my eyes and ears every minute of the day: news, commentary on the news, audio books, book reviews, interviews, or conversations on the… Continue reading Practice Rich Habits of Faith to Minimize Distractions in a Noisy World
Strict practitioners would not have approved of my methods, but on one long ago mid-winter Wednesday, I smeared ashes on the foreheads of my two preschoolers and myself. An offering of the hardwood that had heated our home the day before, these ashes were not “ceremonially correct” in any way. At the time, I did… Continue reading Ash Wednesday in the Parenting Pressure Cooker
“Deep in our hearts, we know that the best things said come last,” said Alan Alda in his memoir entitled Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself. He’s right, of course. We chat for hours of an evening, asking for and receiving updates on mutual friends, alternately bragging on and complaining about our kids; and then “linger at the… Continue reading What Is the Main Message of the Book of Revelation?
I'm convinced we're prone to make entirely too much of visible, quantifiable ministry. Don't get me wrong--I love sharing the faith that is in me with a big roomful of women and then trusting God with the results. It's also extremely satisfying to write and then painstakingly edit an article that shows up online and… Continue reading Intercessory Prayer: The Hardest Work in the World
“Do you always read to your kids like that?” she queried. My friend was referring to my rendition of a Dr. Seuss classic delivered at tongue-twister speed from a rocking chair in the church nursery. “Just Dr. Seuss,” I replied. “It’s funnier if you read it fast.” She grinned and raised an eyebrow. “You do… Continue reading The Secret of Slow for Mums in a Hurry
Sunday Scripture The schools called a two-hour delay on the first Monday of the New Year. The condition of my driveway and my icy walk with the dog in early light confirmed the wisdom of their decision, but, even so, it left me feeling out of sorts. Substitute teaching is always a "throw the apples… Continue reading What Is God Really Promising Here?