Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Church Archives

How the Latest Revelations Re: ISIS’ Systemized Sexual Violence Against Girls Remind Me I Am Not a Pacifist

As if ISIS had not already convinced us enough of its total depravity … the latest revelations by The New York Times —(be forewarned, they are disturbing to read) — remind me why I am not a pacifist. As if […]


Help End Loan Shark Lending and One Cause of Poverty with This Short Survey

When this video recently went viral, I was rooting for the shark. Not so when it comes to loan sharks, who are one contributor to systemic poverty and sharply growing income inequality in this country. Friend Bruce Strom, whose story […]


The Recovery-Minded Church Available for Pre-Order—and a Peek at the Cover!

It’s been too long! Vacation, a family lice infestation, sickness, and preparation for a home renovation—much of it occurring at the same time—fun, huh?—have kept me away from this intersection. But I couldn’t not share my delight at the news […]


Poverty vs. Privilege

Lately, I’ve been learning about poverty and getting to know those in its grip, thanks to the”Open Door” community here in Atlanta. Open Door is a residential community in the spirit of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement, whose […]


David Brooks and “The Big Me”—A Critique

In the midst of preparing for this major house renovation, for which mental health breaks have come in the form of way too many back-to-back episodes of the T.V. series “Breaking Bad,” and regrettably less writing at this intersection, the […]


For All Restless Souls—The Love-Hate Memoir of One Churchgoing Gal

My review of Rachel Held-Evans’ latest book Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving and Finding the Church went live yesterday at the Episcopal Digital Network’s Sermons That Work. You can read it here.


Upcoming Review of Rachel Held-Evans’ Latest Book

Yesterday I submitted a final, much-revised manuscript for The Recovery-Minded Church: Loving and Ministering to People with Addictions (InterVarsity Press, 2015)—which hopefully means I can be back at this intersection between God and life at least a bit more often. […]


“The Power of Introductions,” Via Bruce Strom and Gospel Justice

I’ve featured the work of my friend and inspiration Bruce Strom, a lawyer who directs the organization Gospel Justice Initiative, at this intersection before. Bruce once had a cushy job as the senior partner at a corporate law firm, but […]


A Glorious Dark: A Review

Three years ago, when pastor, seminary professor and author A.J. Swoboda’s first book Messy made its debut, I said I hoped the book would not be his last; so when a review copy of Swoboda’s second book, A Glorious Dark, […]


Christian Purity: Is God’s Mission Possible When Purity Rules?

I had a really weird, somewhat distressing interaction this week, and it is still on my mind days later. It’s one of those uncomfortable encounters that you would like to press the “replay” button on and do over. Like a […]

The Lie of Invulnerability

This last week has been insane. Family sickness, repairs, car issues, multiple calls from school nurses, including one in which the nurse expressed concern my 7-year-old son had been bitten by a brown recluse spider…and just when I thought it […]

Thoughtful Christians—They’re Around, Via Fare Forward

The cover story from the latest (July/August) issue of Christianity Today offers a refreshing antidote to all the gloom and doom that often accompany conversations around the future of the church in this country.  The article features a gallery of […]

Mental Health Break—The Wittenburg Door

If you’re not already familiar with the online humor magazine The Wittenburg Door, now you are: think The Onion marries Reformed Christian theology and they have a wickedly funny child with an aptitude for making you laugh at most things […]

Mark Driscoll’s Fall: A Day of Reckoning for Evangelicals?

[CORRECTION NOTE: An earlier version of this article suggests Mark Driscoll has in fact now resigned; this is in fact not the case, and I’m very grateful to fellow saint and sinner Mark for bringing this error to my attention.  […]

The Rise of the “Spiritual But Not Religious”

Here at this intersection between God and life, I’m always interested in news pertaining to those who call themselves “spiritual but not religious”—hence this article from The New York Times featuring the work of three other authors who, like me, […]

Are You Opposed to People Owning Guns? Via John Piper

Those of you incensed, intrigued or yelling “Amens” to my recent post on new gun legislation in my state of Georgia, may be interested to read this wonderful post from John Piper.  (I’m glad to know John and I probably […]

What You Are Saying—On Piper’s “Masculine Christianity” and Evangelicals

One of the reasons I keep showing up at this intersection between life and God is you, your comments, your questions, and even in some cases, your downright infuriating remarks (which also keep me writing). The other day Jan thanked […]

“Belief Without Borders”—The Importance of Wandering

The older I get the more I’m convinced wandering is essential to rest.  A soul that has come to rest has known what it means to wander.  And, God forbid that our souls should ever only rest and never wander […]

Wasn’t April Fool’s Day Last Week?—World Vision, Evangelicals and Gays

April Fool’s Day seems a fitting day to review what happened last week, when, within just two days of announcing its decision to hire gays in recognized same-sex marriages, World Vision reversed its decision. An official statement from World Vision […]

Justice Advocate Bruce Strom Shares Stories from Frontlines

Yesterday we met Bruce Strom who is helping to grow and steer a movement of lawyers and churches giving a voice to legally disenfranchised (and poor) populations in this country. Today we get a bit more personal, with Bruce sharing […]

Favorite Hauerwasisms On The Cross, Church Growth, Etc…

This intersection is a place where hopefully you and I both can come and reflect, vent, ask questions and share doubts and experiences without judgement. It’s also a place where you get to be a bit of a guinea pig: […]

Beyond Christian Apologetics

[NOTE: This is a revised version of an earlier post.] The other day I did my first author reading at our local library. Only two people showed up, which was great, a) because it meant we were able to have […]

Talk Radio Interview Re: “Grace Sticks”

IRN USA Radio’s program “Chuck Morse Speaks” invited me back on Wednesday morning for a conversation with co-producer of the show Andre Traversa.This time the subject was my book. You can tune in to that one-hour discussion here. (Note: the […]

Rick Warren’s Dieting Plan Weighs In: Too Light on the Book of Daniel

Yesterday Chuck Morse of IRN USA News interviewed me on the radio. (You can listen to that conversation here.) Actually the segment was really more of a conversation with Chuck and his producer-partner Andre Traversa about mega church pastor Rick […]

Martin Luther King on Self-Sacrifice

Today when we remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was both a deeply flawed and greatly inspired public servant and man of God, I am struck by this recollection of King from this morning’s Our Daily Bread devotional: In […]

Centuries of Institutional Church Chauvinism…Based on a Mistake?

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard both men and women in the church say—about women in leadership or women’s ordination issues—something to the effect of,  “It’s just impossible to ignore certain Scripture passages” (the “certain Scripture passages” […]

Fr. Barron on Pope Francis as TIME Magazine’s “Person of the Year” in 2013

One of the gifts of Christmas family reunions (that, with the size and spread of a very large extended family only happen every ten years or so) is meeting a long-lost relative who you can get to know a bit […]

“The Lord’s Supper”: A Poem

Whiny children with grubby hands lining up to grab at the hem of Your clothes in the bread and the wine. Pretty please. Only an indulgent parent would begrudge the presumption with which we take the bite-size pieces or the […]

Women Bishops Are So Passe

As a former Episcopalian with great affection for Anglicanism, I’m taking a little break from our regular Tuesday and Thursday series on holy space with photojournalist Katie Archibald-Woodward to get on my soap box and give thanks for yesterday’s overwhelming […]

Pope Francis On “Nonsense” of Proselytism, Grace and Following One’s Conscience

It’s not every day that you get to sit down at tea time with His Holiness. But that’s precisely what happened a couple weeks ago for the prominent Italian journalist and atheist Eugenio Scalfari. An unexpected phone call from the […]

Listening To The Sound of Silence: A Review of Diarmaid MacCulloch’s Latest Book

How does one tell a history of silence? After all, silence encapsulates everything not said—the elisions and the possibilities, the inchoate, unexplored universe beyond the hard limits of our language. Oxford historian Diarmaid MacCulloch’s latest book Silence: A Christian History […]

Ministerial Miscellany: Gratitude and Silence

It’s been too long. I’m sorry. Life has been, well, too fast-paced lately—and will remain so until mid November. But I’ve missed you. This week, I’ve been reflecting on gratitude and silence. First, gratitude: The other night my son asked […]

Americans Divided on Definition of “Religious”

Religion Today recently posted the results of a survey of Americans’ understanding of the term, “religious.” Apparently the old divide between those who define religiosity based solely on faith and beliefs (historically Protestants) and those who take the concept to […]

“Resurrection of the Flesh”

Something about good food, wine, art and the charm of the Italian people here in Tuscany has kept me from writing the last two weeks. For that I am a bit sorry– but admittedly not very much. In the last […]

In Defense of the Millennials

If you tune in to one of my favorite blogs, Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish, you’ll find an ongoing conversation there about the occasional promise and (more commonly) perils of the generation that follows mine: the “Millennials.” This demographic is of […]

Barbara Brown Taylor On Giving Up Power and “Spiritual Poverty”

Leaving Church, by Barbara Brown Taylor, is (somewhat ironically) full of enriching meditations for the church. When she left a twenty-year career as a priest and in essence also “left church,” Brown Taylor says she was compelled to let go […]

Renaissance Fair Church

The following reflections conclude my presentation for the hip Presbyterian Women of Clairmont Presbyterian Church. (The full, multi-media presentation, titled “Losing Our Religion: A Church for Restless Souls?,” is available upon request.): Stand-up comedian David Cross does a routine in […]

6 Ways To Get People to Leave Church

This morning I’ve been working on a presentation for the hip “Presbyterian Women” of Clairmont Presbyterian; they’ve asked for some reflections on the crisis of a younger generation steadily “losing its religion” and what the church can do in response. […]

Why Is The Church Increasingly Irrelevant? Musings of a Restless Soul

It’s good to be back here at this intersection between life and God for all fellow saints and sinners. I’ve missed you! While I was away, I was again reminded of the church’s irrelevance. Three things happened to remind me. […]

A Call To Fast From Politics: Remembering David Kuo

David Kuo died Friday from brain cancer at the age of only 44. Before the publication of his memoir, Tempting Faith, Kuo was the deputy director of the office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives under the Bush Administration, an experience […]

The Tragedy of Rick Warren’s Son: What Might It Teach Us?

The news of popular evangelical pastor Rick Warren’s son taking his own life over the weekend hit close to home. And, if you have ever struggled with the disease of depression or have loved ones who do, maybe you can […]

The Inauguration of Pope Francis…and a Church’s Revival?

Yesterday’s inauguration of Pope Francis seems a fitting juncture at which to take stock of him- this in response to a reader’s recent note asking what I think about the man who reminds him of his Jewish rabbi grandfather. And, in […]

“How Prayer is Transforming Nations”

Are you doing a program for the Lord or welcoming the presence of the Lord? That was the question put before an audience by a guest speaker at World Vision years ago, at a time when our family was living in […]

Hearing God Speak

  Lately, God has been talking to me about what it means to hear God speak. First, there was Stanford anthropologist TM Luhrmann’s article, which begged my initial question in Friday’s post: what does it mean to hear God speak? Then […]

“There’s Power in the Pen”: An Interview with Author Amy Julia Becker, Part 2

We’re back with evangelical author Amy Julia Becker for the second and final installment of our conversation.  Becker was named last fall by Christianity Today as one of a handful of influential women writers whose writings are shaping the church […]

Finding One’s Voice and Why It’s Important

Yesterday I made my first visit to my daughter’s prospective new school.  Founded in 1938 by the formidable Katherine “Kitty” Cathcart Hamm, the embodiment of the best in Southern gentility and herself the mother of a deaf son, the Atlanta […]

God of the Main: Beyond Reductionisms and “Waiting for Gospel”

  Walter Brueggemann’s review of Douglas John Hall’s latest book, Waiting for Gospel: An Appeal to the Dispirited Remnants of Protestant “Establishment” (Cascade), in the current issue of The Christian Century, sums up well the depressing state of the mainstream American church: […]

Happy Belated Birthday, Martin Luther King!

It’s because I’m black, isn’t it? I had just refused his request for money outside Barnes & Noble, my daughter in one arm, my son at my side, our arms laden with their new gift card purchases in the form […]

The Oscar for Best Neighbor

[Correction: a previous version of this post implied this year’s Oscars had already happened, when in fact the ceremony will take place on Feb. 24; apologies for the misinformation- but I am still rooting for the youngest actress in the […]

Why Our Restless Souls Matter

We writers try to find ways to remind ourselves that what we are writing really matters.  One way I do this is to remember who I’m writing for. Some of you know by now that Grace Sticks is a book for […]

The Skeleton at the Beauty Parlor Retires

The skeleton at the beauty parlor is retiring. I heard the news just the other day. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that the neighbors who every year at Halloween brush off that funny, old ensemble, positioning it strategically near […]

Democrat or Republican: How Would Jesus Vote?

Maybe some of you have asked that question.  Maybe you’re asking it today as we head to the polls to elect America’s next president. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint, because I don’t have an answer.  The truth is, I’m suspicious […]

“The Beautiful Wife”: How One Woman Is Crusading to Save Christian Marriages

Reading the book, The Beautiful Wife, by author and speaker Sandy Ralya, whose agenda to save so-called “biblical marriage” seems a bit dubious from the start, feels like the times I’ve been asked to buckle up during a spate of turbulence […]

“Hope of the Earth”?

“This nation is the hope of the earth,” Republican candidate Mitt Romney said in passionate closing remarks at last night’s third and final presidential debate. The statement for a moment filled me with great pride, and maybe I’m not alone. […]

Safe Houses

Yesterday Christians for Biblical Equality produced a list of various ways that churches can proactively address the problem of domestic violence both within congregations and the greater community. Rev. Anne O. Weatherholt, who is rector of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church in Maryland, […]

Square Halos

In his book, The Road to Missional, Michael Frost describes the experience of wandering through the Vatican Museum in Rome to stumble upon an eighth-century mosaic fragment that depicted Pope John VII wearing not a shiny, gold halo but a […]

Top Five Least Favorite “Christian” Code Words

The other day a pastor friend asked if I’d like to help her preach on Stewardship Sunday.  A kind but dubious invitation which I agreed to with a level of trepidation.  That’s because anyone who has been around the church […]

31 Days of Community

The Nester’s “31 Day Challenge” has inspired fellow saint and sinner Tammy Perlmutter to blog thirty-one days straight about the laughter, surprise and heartbreak of living in intentional Christian community.  Jesus People USA seeks to live out the kind of New Testament […]

Why “Church, Inc” Has Failed Us and Why Jesus Won’t: An Interview

And now, finally, what a number of you have been waiting for…Today’s guest is missional church thinker and activist Lance Ford, who is organizing the upcoming Sentralized gathering in Kansas City, Missouri (September 27-29), in which I’ll be taking part.  He […]

The Venezuelan Poodle Moth

This “Venezuelan poodle moth” was the “face of the day” several days ago on Andrew Sullivan’s blog, The Dish.  Apparently the image had been buzzing around the Internet for a while, its authenticity confirmed by zoologist Dr. Karl Shuker, according to […]

Hurricane Isaac Spares God’s “Chosen People”

Yesterday morning, when tropical storm Isaac was gathering speed and looked ready to hit this year’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, conservative Christian talk show host Pat Robertson was, oddly, silent.  The coincidence of a second hurricane in four […]

“Reading the Bible For All It’s Worth”

Some people really know their Bibles.  One of them is Steve Hayner.  Steve is the president of Columbia Theological Seminary, in Atlanta, Georgia, and has taught missiology, pastored churches, and worked at the helm of the student ministries organization, InterVarsity. […]

Recovering the Lost Language of God’s Mission

Andrew Sullivan’s “The Dish” featured a piece yesterday on how radio programming initiatives are keeping alive the dying minority languages of New Zealand’s Maori peoples:  “In the Maori community of New Zealand, for example, the combination of 21 radio stations […]

A Riot in the Cathedral

Have you been following the story of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot and their so-called “punk prayer protest” against Russian President Vladimir Putin? The band, whose highest-profile members are three young women now facing a three-year prison sentence, has […]

The Meaning of Tradition and Why Church Families Do Such Weird Stuff

This week some of my now very large, sprawling extended family took part in its annual “Robb Regatta” off of Shelter Island, an island off the eastern tip of Long Island, New York.  I regrettably couldn’t make it, but got […]

“Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?” Is the Wrong Question

In an op-ed piece for The New York Times, titled “Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?,” Ross Douthat makes the observation that last week, as the Episcopal Church was approving a rite to bless same-sex unions, Episcopalian church attendance figures for […]

“Is There a Case for Foreign Missions?”

“Is There A Case for Foreign Missions?”  That was the title of a speech delivered by the writer, Pearl Buck, for a packed gathering organized by the Presbyterian Church in November 1932.  Buck, in summarizing four decades of experience as […]

“The Man Who Gave the World His Number”

My hubby and fellow saint and sinner Paul Dover ran across this article from the BBC which brought tears to my eyes.  It’s about a guy named Jeff Ragsdale who, finding himself alone in the aftermath of a devastating break-up, […]

Awkward Church Moments

I was practically lizzing yesterday (to borrow Elizabeth Lemon’s term in “30 Rockefeller”) when I heard this story from someone I ran into the other day.  Apparently he had not set foot in a church for years when he visited […]

Apostolic Movements: A Permanent Revolution?

Alan Hirsch’s latest book, The Permanent Revolution: Apostolic Imagination and Practice for the 21st Century Church, co-authored with Tim Catchim, is on my must-read list. Apparently, Hirsch’s main point, according to Hirsch’s Books and Culture reviewer, Gregory Metzger, is this: the five-fold model […]

“Hell Is Hotter”

“1.4 million lack power amidst relentless heat,” or so go the headlines these days. Here in Atlanta over the past weekend, the heat index was upwards of 110 degrees.  It was so hot that simply stepping out to get the […]

“Rightness” Versus Truth

Barbara Brown Taylor spoke at First Baptist Decatur yesterday six years following the publication of her memoir, Leaving Church.  She is one of my role models for her authenticity (an over-used word, I know, but for lack of a better […]

“Flirt to Convert”: The Promise and Peril of Missionary Dating

Apparently Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church is doing a whole series on dating and relationships: “You Make Me Crazy” offers “survival skills for relationships.”  I guess “Christian dating” is just one of those perennially hot topics. When I was dating, the […]

“Ask Sister Gramick Anything: How Would You Reform the Church?”

I’ve just made the virtual acquaintance of Sister Jeanine Gramick, thanks to yesterday’s installment of Andrew Sullivan’s series, “Ask Sister Gramick Anything.”  Sr. Gramick may be best known for her work at the helm of an organization that she started […]

The Missionary As Barefoot Nature Preservationist

Hillary Spurling’s Pearl Buck in China: Journey to The Good Earth is my current bedtime companion these days, and I’m probably reading it as a way to better understand myself. You may know Pearl Buck from her seminal, best-selling work, The […]

The “Signs and Wonders” of the Kingdom of God

The  “2012 Kingdom Culture” conference hosted annually by Bethel Church, in Redding, California, starts today- and I’m intrigued.  (Are any of you participating? I’d be curious to hear more about what you know or have experienced here.) I’m most intrigued […]

What I Learn From Comedian Russell Brand

If British comedian Russell Brand (of the movie “Get Him to the Greek”) can be crude, he can also be downright hilarious, as evidenced by the below videos.  “We’ve Got To Do Something” and “African Child” are ridiculously funny caricatures […]

Shaking the Dust

“[Jesus] said to the apostles, ‘If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’” – Luke 9:3-5 The chaplain was making her usual rounds at one of the […]

Vatican “Nunsense”: Why Old “Habits” Die Hard

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers…” – Genesis 3:15 “But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.” – Luke 24:11 I’ve been following with […]

Mutuality in Ministry

Yesterday marked the end of a week-long “Mutuality” series with Rachel Held-Evans.  For technical luddites like myself, it was also an introduction to “syncroblogging”: Held-Evans invited bloggers everywhere to reflect on the theme of mutuality between men and women in […]

Stand-Up Comedian Tim Hawkins Waxes on Church Culture

I’ve just discovered church stand-up comedian Tim Hawkins.  His below routine- especially the part about the church’s obsession in recent years with hand sanitizer- will make you chuckle.  Tomorrow, some thoughts sparked by 1 John on what it means to […]

The Cave of Forgotten Dreams

I watched Werner Herzog’s documentary, “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” the other night.  The film tells the story of the recently discovered Chauvet cave in southern France that houses the world’s oldest paintings- paintings of a prehistoric people whose life and […]

Runway or Runaway Religion? Thoughts on “Christian Fashion”

Some of you have heard about mega-church pastor Ed Young’s latest initiative to coach the church on what to wear and what not to wear.  I was made aware of it through a post by saint and sinner Lance Ford, […]

“What Is a Third Place?”

“Third place.”  If it’s not my position in a race to the ice cream running neck and neck with a five-year-old and a two-year-old, what is it? Fellow saint and sinner Lance Ford has posted an enlightening article (credit: Sentralized) […]

Boobie Traps: Breastfeeding in Church

Boobs and breastfeeding have been a “protuberant” topic these days. First there was the recent TIME magazine cover story that sent ripples through the blogging community. “Are You Mom Enough?” went the headline.  By first impressions, the picture shows a Photoshopped model (young, […]

What To Make Of God’s Annoying Fan Club?

“I’ve got nothing against God, it’s His fan club I can’t stand!,” goes one bumper sticker.  Endless scandals, bickering, and declining membership and budgets in many denominations all point to a long, historical track record of failures to be the […]

The Lesson of the Refrigerator Repairman

He showed up at our door yesterday afternoon to fix the refrigerator. (What do you get when a professor and a minister have a broken refrigerator? Answer: An appliance repairman.) The first words out of his mouth signaled he was […]

Simone Weil and the Church Uprooted

Some of you know that one of my favorite thinkers is Simone Weil.  Last night I read a short chapter on this twentieth century French philosopher and social activist by another of her admirers, the historian John Lukacs, in Remembering […]

“The Beloved Oppressor” and Bad Atonement Theories

Larry King interviewed Admiral General Aladeen of the Republic of Wadiya (a.k.a. Sasha Baron Cohen) a few days ago in advance of Baron Cohen’s forthcoming movie, “The Dictator.”  (If Baron Cohen’s first film, “Borat,” is any indication, the film will […]

“A Resurrected Christianity?”

In recent days, Diana Butler Bass and Andrew Sullivan (in a Newsweek cover story, “Forget the Church, Follow Jesus”) have both given expression to some angst about the death of the church.  Bass has gone on to hold out the […]

The Easter Grouch Speaks

“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” – 2 Corinthians 4:10 —————————- “Christ is risen!”  My cup is running over- or so I’m told. […]

Bruce Springsteen as Preacher and Prophet

Last week Bruce Springsteen kicked off his Wrecking Ball tour at the Phillips Arena here in Atlanta.  The pictures brought back memories of the first (and only) time I heard Springsteen live in concert at the Arena only a couple years earlier. […]

Cyber Evangelism

I’ve missed you all! If you’ve missed me, it’s because I’ve been playing single mom on the home front to two young children who have decided that they would prefer not to sleep at night when Daddy is away. Until […]

Disorganized Religion

We preachers have our most embarrassing moments.  I imagine it’s true for musicians, too.  The other night I witnessed one. Mumford & Sons’ lead singer Marcus Mumford, performing for a full house at Ryman Theater, in Nashville, Tennessee, first forgot […]

A Dog, A Chicken and An Armchair Theologian

My husband jokes that I cry at road kill, so you might imagine my reaction when yesterday’s stroll turned into a scene from the PBS program, “Predator and Prey.” The scene started out almost bucolic-like. There I was with two […]

R-Rated, Dirty Laundry: The Temple and Jesus Epithets Continued

“‘Destroy this Temple,’ replied Jesus, ‘and I’ll raise it up in three days.’ ‘It’s taken forty-six years to build this Temple,’ responded the Judaeans, ‘and are you going to raise it up in three days?’ But Jesus was speaking about […]

The “Wheat,” The “Tares,” and Church “Purity”

Apparently conservative theologian and proponent of “masculine Christianity” John Piper is at it again. (Whatever happened to “Christian hedonism,” to borrow Piper’s own term, anyway?  This Piper seemed like a guy I could have a beer with.) Today Piper tweeted […]

“Ashes to Go”

Jesus died in the open air.  He didn’t die in a temple. When we remember our own brokenness and death and receive ashes on our foreheads, we should be doing so in the open air, not in the recesses of […]

God May Still Use the Church for God’s Mission. Maybe.

Yesterday’s exchange with a stranger on Facebook who saw Kevin Carter’s Pulitzer Prize winning picture and my accompanying prayer and proceeded to explain why my prayer, with its inappropriate, “Mother-Spirit” language, would not be heard and why I, an “unsaved […]

“Leaders Who Last”: A Review of Dave Kraft’s Book, for Feedback

I mentioned that fellow saint and sinner Tammy Perlutter’s review of Dave Kraft’s book, Leaders Who Last, was one inspiration for my last post. Here it is for your feedback.  You can find more of Tammy’s musings at her blog, “Raggle-Taggle.” […]

If Jesus were a CEO Pastor…

If Jesus were a CEO pastor, then… …before the sending out of the disciples, he would have canvassed the neighborhoods around Palestine before devising a marketing strategy (Matthew 10). …he would have sent the disciples out, in the spirit of […]

The Heresy of Masculine Christianity: A Response to John Piper

The other day my son’s pre-K teacher commended him for continuing with his work when the other kids around him were goofing off.  My son had gone on dutifully coloring away with his crayons when he could have been lured […]

In Defense of Rob Bell’s “Love Wins”

Apparently Rob Bell’s best-selling Love Wins and its ambivalent stance towards an “eternal” hell (as “eternal” has historically been interpreted by evangelicals at least) continue to send ripples.  Two authors, author of Crazy Love Francis Chan and senior managing editor of Christianity […]

“Primate Crisis”

Primatology is on my mind today. Why? Because within only a few hours of having met a young woman who studies monkeys for a living, friend Paul Dominiak sent me this cartoon featuring an ersatz David Attenborough on the “Primate […]

“What Have I Done to Deserve This?”: Jesus and the Fig Tree, Weird Sayings Continued

The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because […]

Telling Secrets, a.k.a. “Confession”

Almost ten years ago, I, at the time a seminary student preparing for ministry in the Presbyterian church, confessed my sins to a Catholic priest and received the sacrament of reconciliation:  I cried tears of repentance, received absolution for my […]

The Online Priesthood of All Unbelievers

The other day I was asked to be the back-up wedding officiant for someone who had obtained their certificate of ordination off the Internet. Another person in the conversation had chimed in that she had once officiated at a wedding, […]

You Know It’s a Bad Day When You’re Giving a Blow Job to a Stranger for $5

Fellow saints and sinners, today was to feature a weird Jesus saying, but something profound happened yesterday that I have to tell you about. Because it is not every day that I get propositioned by a prostitute.  In fact, yesterday […]

“I Gotta Have Faith”

When gay singer George Michael recently put off his tour because of a bad case of pneumonia that landed him in the intensive care unit at the hospital and drew family and long-time partner Fadi Fawaz to his sick bed, […]

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; though all its parts are many, they form one body.  So it is with Christ.  For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body- whether […]

The Playground Police

Did you know that there are now apparently playground police   officers?  I got stopped by one yesterday. She was in full uniform.  The real deal: a City of Atlanta officer with badge, belt and holster to show for it. […]

Skeleton at the Beauty Parlor: Weird Jesus Sayings Continued

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 Every Halloween my neighborhood with its white picket fences and wrap-around porches magically transforms into an ethereal, other-worldly realm of flying ghosts, cackling witches and lit-up pumpkins. This year […]

For a Saint Named Betty

For all the saints, who from their labors rest, Who Thee by faith before the world confessed, Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed. Alleluia, Alleluia!… Betty died peacefully in her sleep last week.  She was 88.  I had coffee with her husband […]


“Speak softly and carry a big stick,” goes the African proverb.  I think of it every time I jog past this sign near my house.  Because if there were ever a place where many of us have felt like we […]

Beyond Tribalism

These days my denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), finds itself bracing for the possibility of further membership losses with more congregations jumping ship- this after a majority of presbyteries voted to remove the constitutional requirement that all ministers, elders and deacons […]

Previous Posts

Suicide, Depression and What Every Family Needs to Know
Today is the last day of National Suicide Prevention Month. That, and the suicide earlier this month of a young man in a church community in ...

posted 9:10:32pm Sep. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Mental Health Break — "On Melancholy Hill" and What's Up Next Here
Single motherhood for the next nine months — with my hubby traveling back and forth to Washington, D.C., thanks to a National Endowment of Humanities (NEH) research fellowship there — may reduce my presence here at this intersection. But I'm ...

posted 3:34:48pm Sep. 24, 2015 | read full post »

A Monk, A Man Behind Bars for Murder, and Their Life-Changing Correspondence
[caption id="attachment_5740" align="alignleft" width="400"] The U.S. locks up more people every year than any other country, including China, with a population roughly five times greater than that of the U.S.. 5% of the world's population ...

posted 8:37:11pm Sep. 16, 2015 | read full post »

This Old House: A Poem
              The dramatic transformation that our old house continues to ...

posted 9:19:25pm Sep. 11, 2015 | read full post »

2 Ways I'm Like Mr. Bean When On Retreat at the Monastery
It’s been a while since my last “retreat” at the monastery. The last time I was here, I was on ...

posted 4:25:13pm Sep. 09, 2015 | read full post »


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