A very personal essay about mothers and mortality. How can we celebrate Eastertide during a time of COVID-19? In the May 5, 2020 print edition of Christian Century, online here. … [Read more...] about What Language Can I Borrow?
While I waited for my hair appointment, I chatted with two women over the magazines. They mentioned they were sisters, so I said, "How nice to make your hair a family affair." "It is nice, but it's not for a nice reason. Our mother died the other day." I felt surprised at this, and glanced at … [Read more...] about A Conversation with Strangers at the Hair Salon
When I was in seminary I was taught: Small churches are tough. You can't beat them to death with a stick! I believed that truism, and repeated it to others. Now I have fresh experience that allows me to see the backside of that truism, which is also true: Small churches are fragile. So far in my … [Read more...] about The Body of Christ is Both Tough & Fragile
For the last few Sundays I've filled the pulpit for a small church that has lost its critical mass. Attendance has dwindled to a faithful few, all of whom are running out of energy. Not a happy situation. Still, when I enter the church building, I feel a sense of welcome and warmth from the folks … [Read more...] about A Peculiar Energy, Even as the Congregation Dies
I was walking through an unfamiliar residential neighborhood to get some exercise, going at a good clip when I was brought to a sudden halt because the sidewalk disappeared. A certain establishment had not installed sidewalks along its considerable property line. The name of the establishment? … [Read more...] about Signs vs. Sidewalk: Which Speaks Louder?
I submit that there are two kinds of ministers: ministers who've been hurt by the church, and ministers who haven't been hurt by the church, yet. I suppose you could apply this bifurcation to any group of persons. There are two kinds of spouses: those who have disappointed their mate, and those … [Read more...] about Two Kinds of Ministers
Hospitality is important to me. I grew up in a home where it was common to have guests for dinner, even though we were a family of seven without a formal dining room. Simply getting everyone around the table could be a squeeze, but I don't remember a person ever complaining. We were happy to sit … [Read more...] about Superhost!
A recent article in the NYT,?Learning to Love Criticism,?discusses a Fortune.com study of performance reviews, which shows that women are criticized more severely, and in more personal ways, than are men. In other words: It's not our imagination! I am familiar with the dynamic described. As a … [Read more...] about Praise or Blame, All the Same: Handling Criticism
I'm a Presbyterian pastor who often talks about hospitality.?Last spring my husband and I took the practice of hospitality to a new level when we became?Air Bnb?hosts.? Many people are curious about the experience of hosting. Why would we want to open up our home to complete strangers? I'll readily … [Read more...] about Hospitality: What the Church Can Learn from Air Bnb
The conflict in Gaza occupies hearts and minds right now. I know you're praying for peace. But how else can a faith leader respond? So often we feel forced to choose a side.?Are you pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian? The topic always seems to boil down to this question which (reasonably enough) results … [Read more...] about 9 Things Pastors Can Do Besides Pray for Gaza
I wrote this in 2014 but, unfortunately, it's all still true, so I'll repost it, even though I haven't updated the links with more up-to-date examples of women's lower pay rates and the legislating of women's wombs. You'll have to forgive me if I'm cranky about Mother's Day. Once again the world … [Read more...] about Momma Don’t Want No Stinkin’ Card
I love Bodypump. But January is a tough month to love my gym. All these newly-inspired resolution-making types show up to give Bodypump a try. They bang into me as they set up their bench top and risers. They encroach on my space. They don?t know proper weight selection. It makes me cranky. … [Read more...] about Bodypump & the Body of Christ