Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Return to "The Shack"--A Reflection on the Children of Sandy Hook Elementary

I know the best thing to do for the families in Connecticut right now is to sit in silence and mourn their losses with them, like Job's friends did before they opened their big, fat mouths for forty chapters. To light candles, send cards, or whatever our hearts direct in the way of sensitivity and compassion.

But I also respect the fact that so many are asking the "why" questions we always ask when things like this happen. So I've dusted off my copy of The Shack to highlight a portion of the book that may help those who are trying to sort out their thoughts and beliefs about God in times like this.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Reflection from a Peace-loving Patriot

I stayed in bed for a long time this morning, feeling the need for comforting hugs from people who share my sentiments. I felt alone, yet connected to far-away friends whom I know are also saddened and concerned for our future. I'd had a good cry as the election results rolled in last night.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Have a New Teenager in Five Minutes

Thanks, Dr. Leman, but sometimes I don't feel I can wait until Friday to put an end to the cold distance and eye-rolling of a fifteen-year-old (but I do recommend your books!).

If you parent a teenager, you know how a cold shoulder from your own flesh and blood can cloud the brightest of days and weigh your spirit down with feelings of sadness, guilt and downright misery. And you'll do anything to bring it to an end.

Or will you?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

When (God's) People Disappoint

Some time ago a woman told me she’d decided to leave her church (for what seemed to me a silly reason). “Only three people had the gumption to call and say they’d miss me,” she lamented over the phone. “I’m so disappointed!”

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I Just Want to Be a Mom--Sincerely, the Preacher

I never signed up, exactly, to become an author and to plant a church at the same time, all the while mothering four kids and trying to be a good wife. In fact, I’ve spent years judging others for having too many irons in the fire (confession time!). Suddenly, I’m meeting publishing deadlines and preparing sermons and hoping my kids have eaten breakfast.

Joyce Meyer says it’s almost become fashionable to be too busy. If that’s true, I’ll dress for comfort, thank you very much. But these days, it seems I have no choice.

Some of my friends have expressed envy—they’d love to have a book coming out, a ministry pedestal and the like. It is to those friends I must continue confessing the truth:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

We're Starting a Church and We're Crazy

Cornell Street

I took this photo on a recent road trip through Cleveland. I wanted to capture the architectural beauty of this church before nightfall. I didn't notice the name on the street sign, illuminated by the setting sun, until I uploaded the photo later.

How many of us can make full sense of the road our lives have taken? Three years of grad school at one of the world's top universities followed by three years of unemployment and counting....

Sunday, July 22, 2012

"God is Good" and Other Annoying Platitudes

Have you ever noticed that when people say, “God is good!” it’s often in the context of God doing something good for them?

I got the job! God is good!

They accepted our offer! Isn’t God good?

No more chemo! God is so good!

We won a trip to Disney World! God is good to us!

God does delight in giving us good things (James 1:17), and we are right to give Him glory when good things happen. But I have a confession to make: On bad days, when I hear the proclamation, I'm sometimes tempted to think, Of course He’s good. You just got a blessing.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Friends the Pagans (Part Two)

If you read Part One you may be asking the same questions I often get about our spiritual discussion group. I'll answer them here:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Friends the Pagans (Part One)

"I want to start a group," I told my friend, Suzette, one day. "A group for people who want to talk about God or gods, and spiritual-not-religious stuff." I told her I was tired of the Christian bubble, and Jesus never lived this way. He was out and about and liked all kinds of people. People like Suzette. Not just churchy people like me.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Meditations from Adopted Ducklings

One of our hens, Gloria, took it upon herself to sit on four fertilized duck eggs until they hatched. They are now more than twice the size they are in this photo, and she still thinks they’re hers. Gloria is so fiercely protective of her adopted “chicks” that she sustained an eye injury and has bald spots on her head from fighting off other hens who get too close.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My Visit to the 'Burbs and the Scoop on the Celebs Who Live There

This past week I had the privilege of speaking to the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in the Bedford Hills area outside of New York City. A well-known TV personality lives three miles down the road from my wonderful and gracious hostess and MOPS hospitality queen, Julie. "She gives out king-sized Snickers on Halloween," Julie said of the celebrity. But Julie would just as soon buy her own candy bar at the grocery store, where she runs into the famous "entertainment queen" on a semi-regular basis.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Why I'm Not Mad at God (New Thoughts on Unemployment)

Yesterday. Rain, grey skies, and a phone call. They hired the "lesser" candidate. We've been here many times before.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

On Open-Mindedness and The Origin of Life

We all like to think we’re open-minded. (Well, I suppose there are those who consciously don't want to be. I think I know some of them. Do you?) I’ve been thinking about the definition for a while, and generally I believe that open-mindedness means having open ears, and a willingness to understand and learn.

But lately I’m wondering if being open-minded could mean something more:

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Angry Old Testament God and How I Feel About Him

My daily Bible reading is currently taking me through the prophet books, and old feelings surface as I read Ezekiel, Obadiah, Amos.... God was ticked!

Then I get to Jonah and read, "...go to Ninevah...and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up against Me," and I think, There He goes again.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Green-Eyed Monster and Why I Want Your Half of the Cookie

I love discovering talented bloggers on the internet. That is, unless they have more talent than me. It happened recently; I stumbled upon yet another brilliant and hilarious writer with enough profundities to elicit hundreds of comments from hundreds of followers. I read several posts before going to bed and then, do you know what I did? I'll tell you what I did. No I won't. Yes I will.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dirty Feet and the Radical Business of Living a Normal Life

I am inching my way, highlighter in hand, through the book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by Dr. David Platt, the rare mega-church pastor who inspires members to downsize their living spaces, simplify their lifestyles and think globally about having an impact in the world.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

You Call This a Fast?

When my pastor asked the congregation to join him in a prolonged fast, I was tempted to decline. Grace and freedom, you know—the stuff of spiritual “maturity.” God will tell me when to fast, thank you.

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Sermon on the Mount: A Paraphrase

Feel free to sit here and listen while I preach to myself.

Matthew 5:1-16 (This is not meant to be an exhaustive commentary, just some scribblings and ponderings.):

Blessed are those who know they have much more to learn than they have to teach, and who are more eager to listen than to speak. The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the humble and the hungry.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Coming out of My Funk

I've been in a bit of a funk. It was over silly stuff - people who don't read and/or google. People who don't come to visit me (which was everyone, I was convinced. They think I live a thousand miles out on the tundra, when in fact I live exactly five minutes from town, if I'm the one who's driving. Eight if it's Dave.) Of course I was ignoring the other reasons why I think "no one comes to visit:"