Prayer and Anxiety On Sunday morning I will teach six- seven- and eight-year-olds something about prayer. Or they may teach me. Later this week I’ll begin a two week intensive journey of learning together with a group of adults about…Read More
Last weekend I found myself at the Lorraine Motel. Memphis is a town haunted by racism, like most of the South. Like most of the US. It suffers from a legacy of pain and suffering. The cost has been so high for this struggle for justice.Read More
A Tale of Two Hawks Sitting on the cool concrete floor of a chapel in west Tennessee, I am stunned by the blue of the morning sky. Cold gray branches point their gnarling fingers skyward. An elegant soar of wingspan…Read More
Epiphany: A Season for Unsettling Questions On the Ninth Day of Christmas . . . I was feeling somewhat adrift. Needing some guidance, I decided to ask myself some questions. As a long-time journal keeper, I’ve found that sometimes questions…Read More
At dinner tonight we were going around the table saying what we are thankful for. We do this every night. It often takes most of the meal time. Not always because we have so much on our lists, as that we are easily distracted. Other times the list is lengthy. Life with a talkative four-year-old.Read More
A Runner’s Meditation
one – two – three – four
one – two – three – four
hold back. sink down
one – two – three – fourRead More
Christmas | Twelve Days to Celebrate
We’ve been celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas at our house, with enthusiasm – or at least dedication – for more than twenty years. Hard to believe. In the beginning I was an eager and well-intentioned, but mostly uninformed young Baptist. I gave my husband (who was still my fiancée that first year) 12 gifts in the days leading up to December 25. The next year at Christmas, when I was about to begin seminary, and we had been married for a few months, we shifted the tradition to the days after Christmas.Read More
“Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.” (Anne Sexton) This is the work of Advent. If I can listen to my own soul* and give you even an inkling of what I hear, I have given a gift far greater than all the stuff or the fluff that fills most of the sound and fury of our waking hours. But giving this sort of authentic self revelation to those with whom we are already most familiar. . . now that is a challenge.Read More
About sixteen and a half years ago, my Grandma Campbell died. I was in the midst of a long and difficult search for my “first call.” I had been interviewed by nearly a dozen churches and religious agencies. Some went well. Others were dismal. None of them was working out. Altogether they had worn my soul thin.Read More
But finding a book in the mail stack or on the front porch is nothing unusual. The surprise in this book today was the author. And the topic. The real surprise is that I had overlooked this book for so long.
It has been 11 years since I first sat down in silence and began the practice of centering prayer. It has been 20 years since I first sat down in a classroom with Dr. Wayne Oates to learn the tasks and the art of pastoral care. It has been more than 30 years since he wrote Nurturing Silence in a Noisy Heart. I was still in middle school.Read More
Tomorrow is the Sunday of Advent in which we invite and celebrate joy and a good Sunday for a baptism. I will attend a baptism for a baby I know tomorrow. He and eight other little ones will be blessed and welcomed into the church. I assisted at the wedding of his parents a couple of years ago. It will be a joyful time for many reasons. Yet, it is not a joyful time for all children.Read More
It actually started almost a week ago. Sitting at my desk in St. Paul, I realized I had extra time. The snow was pouring. My flight had already been delayed by an hour. That’s an email, by the way, that you really don’t want to see when the snow is pouring. Even in Minnesota where they have the world’s best snow removal equipment and more plows and de-icers than Garrison Keilor has jokes. An extra half hour. I tell myself: Surely that’s enough to put together all the receipts for my credit card bill and turn it in before leaving campus! I start printing and gathering, sorting and checking. Then I see I’m missing one hotel receipt.Read More
St. John’s Abbey church is an amazing cavern with a multi-story wall of honeycomb shaped windows. Each pane is filled with abstract shapes and color. They grow more beautiful as morning light rises. However, this morning the beauty cannot outweigh the exclusivity and harm of the words and deeds of the tradition itself.Read More
What are we going to do with Jesus?
A dozen or more years ago I was invited to be on a panel of Baptist leaders in Georgia to forecast the future of our kind of Baptists (the moderate and progressive kind). I was too young and inexperienced to do much forecasting. And I’d been asked mostly out of tokenism. They needed to have at least one woman say something.Read More
Advent I : I am Wide Awake
I am wide awake.
Standing at the top of a six-foot step ladder.
About to fall off.
Ordinary Time XXXVIII
Gratitude: On this eve of Thanksgiving, what else can one write, but words that offer thanks? So many places to start. But I think I’ll simply name a few small things. Things easy to overlook, but important not to miss. . . like ladybugsRead More
Ordinary Time XXXVII
For me this week, which ends the church year, also marks coming around full circle in a year of blogging. I began with Advent last year. So this week I will take time to read through all 93 entries of the past year. Except for a six week sabbath in July and August, I blogged twice weekly. I will be noticing themes, ideas, patterns, and even things that are missing.Read More
Ordinary Time XXXVI
My daughter loves to hear our childhood stories. She also likes for us to tell stories from the time after we were married, but before she was born. That’s a barrel full of material. So the other day on the way to school, I told her about climbing up to Spence Field. “We wanted to climb high up the mountain so we could see a long way.” I tell her. I don’t tell her that it was also because we were young and wanted to prove ourselves.Read More
Ordinary Time XXXV
This morning’s run along the Harpeth River brought birds from out of the bushes and trees. As the last leaves skittered up the path before me, the sun was shining, and the wind alternated between a steady breeze and great gusts. Overhead and along beside me crows complained, red-winged blackbirds swirled, a hawk circled two times, doves mourned, and other smaller birds busily prepared for colder days ahead.Read More
Ordinary Time XXXIV
This week I sat down with one of my favorite pastoral theologians and got to catch up on what she’s doing with her life energy now and tell her about the work that I’m doing as well. Christie Neuger has written and edited several important books in pastoral care and counseling and also in the broader arena of the practice of ministry.Read More
Ordinary Time XXXIII
This post is especially for the many of you who are also writers, or aspiring writers, sermon writers, devotional writers, academic writers, bloggers, and journal-keepers. This week I took steps to solidify one of my most central habits. I have a habit of writing. It has been slow coming.Read More