Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

About This Saint and Sinner

About Me

I am a saint some moments and a sinner in others, with one great husband, two precocious children and a few dear friends to remind me when I forget.  They, in addition to good food, travel, music of all kinds (especially 80′s weekend on 98.5), theology, P.D. James novels, episodes of “The Office,” hiking, rock climbing and most things aquatic, make life fun.

My musings here at the intersection between life and God are for saints and sinners who “still haven’t found what they’re looking for” (to borrow the words of the U2 hit)—but know they’re looking for “More.”


More meaning and purpose.

More truthfulness.

More real and abundant life.

More belonging.

We’re the skeptics, seekers, cynics, idealists, and religious misfits on the margins of church, and there are a whole lot of us, saints and sinners all of us, both “in” the church and “out.”  You might call us “restless souls.”  Whether we’re converted, unconverted or under conversion, we’ve tried church and it has failed us.  Still, somehow, maybe even miraculously, we keep coming back to Jesus.

If you count yourself among this tribe, then I hope you’ll keep coming back to this intersection between life and God, and lending your voice to the conversation.  You belong here.


My Top Posts

If you’re new to this site, you might want to start with my most popular posts:

Faith, Feminism and Womanhood

Theology and the Bible


Spirituality, Social Justice and Mission


My Biography


These days I am a full-time writer and author mostly. My second book, The Recovery-Minded Church: Loving and Ministering to People with Addictions (InterVarsity Press) by Jonathan Benz, will hit book stores January 2016. I am also the author of Grace Sticks: The Bumper Sticker Gospel for Restless Souls (Wipf & Stock, 2013). On occasion I find myself in the pulpit again or volunteering in various ministry settings (be they at Hospice Atlanta or at Open Door, a residential community in the Catholic worker tradition). I have written articles for TouchstoneThe Christian Century, The Washington Post Social Reader and Theology Today (among other publications). I hold an M.Div. from Princeton Seminary and a B.A. in Russian Studies from Yale College.


In previous lives, and in no particular order, I:

  • was a production assistant for ABC News ‘ “John Stossel  Specials,” a job that despite  the mindless servitude had a few perks—among them, meeting Barbara Walters in her sweat suit at the company Christmas party, bumping into Peter Jennings in the cafeteria line (while swooning dreamily), and producing specials like “Why Greed Is Good” that put me on a path towards ministry
  • was a “Missionary Kid” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, memories of which include green checkered school uniforms, a strict British headmistress who always bid me “stand up straight,” a hole in the ground for a toilet and baby cobras in our front yard

    Yup, that’s me (age 4) on the left, looking a bit shell-shocked at the Singapore airport. Don’t you love the seventies?


  • organized a national college student campaign to end the genocide in Sudan while working as a press secretary for Nina Shea (of the Advisory Council on Religious Freedom to the President) before the advent of social networking
  • spent a couple summers living and working among Sudanese refugees in a camp at the border of Sudan; this included waking up one morning to hear the sound of an Antonov bomber flying over my tukul and running for cover, as well as a stare-down competition with very large, bulbous, alien-like insect on my wall, which I soon learned delivered deadly bites (I’m so relieved I asked)
  • told myself I’d never go to seminary, but then did just this (apparently God answered my mother’s life-long prayer for me)
  • said I’d never marry or have children, but did both; then told myself I wanted four children only to discover, with the birth of my second child, that my quiver felt plenty full
  • was told by my high school English teacher, Mr. French, that I write like Virginia Woolf—it wasn’t a compliment—and have been trying to break the habit ever since
  •  flirted in college with a modeling career that never materialized because I liked eating and didn’t succeed at chain smoking (honestly, I never really tried)
  • worked for a church as a mission pastor: ‘nuff said
  • thought God really was more like a strict, old grandfather with a punishment fetish, and now suspect God is more akin to a very large, motherly African American woman who likes to give big hugs, make greasy breakfasts, garden and do jazz improv
  • grew up in a conservative, evangelical home in which women were not supposed to be pastors, but ended up as one, anyway



In future lives, with differing degrees of seriousness, I hope to:

  • be a back-up singer for Bruce Springsteen (so what if I don’t really sing?), or, alternatively, a Russian-speaking Bond girl (Yes, “that’s James.  James Bond.”); four years of college Russian and an intensive immersion summer at Middlebury would then come in handy after all
  • land an interview with Marcus Mumford and confess my undying love for him
  • learn the cello
  • become fluent in Mandarin
  • visit more of the world and live overseas, ideally somewhere in the Far East
  • buy a motorcycle and ride it cross country
  • write more books
  • love more compassionately, live more freely, laugh more heartily and give more generously

These days I manage posting 1—2 times a week.  To make sure you don’t miss my newest posts, you can subscribe via email or RSS (hit top right “Subscribe” button).  One day, for subscribing, you’ll get a FREE e-compilation of my Weird Sayings of Jesus. Today you’ll only get my heartfelt thanks and the promise to be more personally in touch.


You can find a list of published articles here.

My Contact Information

You can email me at or follow me on Twitter or Facebook.



Previous Posts

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 »

A 1:6 Women-to-Men Ratio on Ashley Madison — Why?
At the risk of beating a dead horse — can anyone help me understand where that awful expression comes from, by the way? — this piece takes a new angle on the whole Ashley Madison scandal. What does an eye-opening dearth of female users on ...

posted 2:37:06pm Sep. 07, 2015 | read full post »


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