When Jesus set the parameters for a blessed life, they must have landed with surprise on the ears of his hillside congregation. The Beatitudes are even more counter-cultural today, for the 21st-century church conveys blessings of a different sort: Blessed are those who keep up appearances; Blessed are you when you look good and say… Continue reading Blessed Are Those Who Are Nice
When C.S. Lewis wrote Surprised by Joy, he was clear that it was a “spiritual autobiography” designed to track his pilgrimage from atheist to deist and, finally, at long last to “the most dejected, reluctant convert in all of England.” In Christian circles, we’re fond of talking about finding God, until we realize that He has… Continue reading Surprise! God Has Your Best Interest at Heart
When we read about women in the Bible, there's a tendency to flatten them out into cardboard characters, one-dimensional and distant. Kate Merrick was in that camp as well, intimidated by the fabulous woman of Proverbs 31, judging Bathsheba, missing the depth of Mary's sacrifice in saying yes to God, and brushing Sarah off as… Continue reading Laughter on the Pathway of Lament
I come from a tradition that is suspicious of written or scripted prayers, believing that spontaneity is a sign of sincerity and casting askance glances at those who must borrow the words of others in order to talk to God. Then I became a mother and realized that not only were my own words in… Continue reading A Mosaic of Images on Joy and Prayer
Welcome to Week 5 of our discussion group around C.S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces. I haven't taken time to figure out how many of us are reading through the book together, but I have become aware that as many of us are reading and sharing our insights, there are also many who are following along… Continue reading Till We Have Faces (5): Why Should Our Hearts Not Dance?
When I pause for a minute to ask my self what I really want in life, my unedited first response is . . . well, embarrassing. I want to be happy, and my shallow definition of a "happy" life looks something like this: a vehicle that never breaks down, children who behave well and experience… Continue reading A Theology of Happiness
Everyday, the townspeople of Thrim would ask, "Hey, Yoj, how are you today?" And everyday, Yoj would answer, "I am fabulous and full of life!" And why shouldn't he be? Yoj was the happy doll maker who awoke each day with a song on his lips and dinner invitations almost every night -- until one day a mysterious stranger… Continue reading Fabulous and Full of Life!
A journey through cancer and a journey of joy would seem to be two very divergent paths -- particularly if the cancer is terminal and if it hits in the midst of a season of health and productivity. However, Steve and Sharol Hayner have invited readers into their experience of Joy in the Journey --… Continue reading Finding Abundance in the Shadow of Death