Advent is my favorite space on the church calendar. I understand the season as preparation and a solemn but celebratory time of waiting. Lent is longer, and I find myself losing focus, but I appreciate the invitation to reckon with Christ's offering up of himself and to examine my own heart before diving into the… Continue reading Happy Pentecost! But What Does It Mean And How Do I Celebrate?
When Ray Rhodes, Jr. was investigating topics for his dissertation, he followed his life long interest in Charles Spurgeon and began to research Spurgeon's marriage and the spiritual element of his relationship with his wife of thirty-six years, Susannah Spurgeon. Surprisingly, his interest led him away from "the prince of preachers" and toward a more… Continue reading The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon
Ministry professionals rarely lead with their weaknesses. We want church leaders with plenty of personality, charisma, and confidence. Missionary letters and reports may dip into Brené Brown vulnerability territory for a paragraph or two, but the overall theme is generally a litany of accomplishments and success stories. The 21st century church largely agrees that blessing and… Continue reading Pastoral Ministry: The Courageous Calling to a Faithful Love
Story has a way of capturing the imagination. Biography brings theological principles, life lessons, and spiritual wisdom to life as I bear witness to the grittiness, lived-out in a transformed journey. Poor choices and besetting sins become cautionary sign posts that might just keep me from going over the same cliff. Karen Wright Marsh shares… Continue reading The Marks of a Sinner’s Saintly Story
Five hundred years ago, the writing and teaching of Martin Luther set in motion within the church a series of reforms that were so widespread and foundational that we still speak of them as The Reformation. In this anniversary year, much is being written about the lives of the reformers, but direct access to Luther's commentaries, sermons,… Continue reading Martin Luther in His Own Words
For Martin Luther's fifty-seventh birthday, his wife designed, commissioned, and then presented to him a carved doorway for their home. It's elegance incorporated numerous features that demonstrated Katharina's knowledge of and devotion to her husband; however, there is no way that she could have realized how completely appropriate her gift would be. Michelle DeRusha's biography… Continue reading Together through the Doorway of Marriage
A favorite Elisabeth Elliot quote comes to mind whenever I overhear fragments of the ongoing row about the role of women in the church: "I am not a different kind of Christian because I am a woman, but I am, most certainly, a different kind of woman because I am a Christian." Since ten of… Continue reading A Different Kind of Woman
Ruth A. Tucker is a story teller. I have vivid and fond memories from my experience of reading her Dynamic Women of the Bible when it was released in 2014. As she unfurled and then analyzed the story of each Biblical woman, tiny shards of her own story would poke through the narrative fabric: an abusive husband, the humiliation… Continue reading No Sanction for Domestic Abuse
In this election year, I've heard it said that foreign policy doesn't fit on a bumper sticker. True enough, and I would go on to say that theology doesn't either, but that doesn't stop us from trying to put it there. One bumper sticker that's been around for decades reads: "Prayer Changes Things." You've… Continue reading Where Faith and History Intersect
The only thing better than a good biography is SEVEN good biographies, and that's what Eric Metaxas offers in 7 Women and the Secret of Their Greatness. Through touching down at seven distinct historical and geographical points, my mind was coaxed beyond its tendency to "see everything in the dark glass of [my] own era, with… Continue reading Seven Women. Seven Virtues.