Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Sanctification Archives

5 Spiritual Lessons from Editing The Recovery-Minded Church

The edits to The Recovery-Minded Church: Loving and Ministering to People with Additions (IVP) have been substantial and time-consuming, thanks to a talented editor (a shout-out to Helen Lee) performing her job well. The editing process has also kept me […]


Being There: A Eulogy to Our Dog Carter

Today our canine companion of 15 years—about the length of our marriage—died. He passed away peacefully at the age of 17 with his closest family around him, stroking him wistfully between sobs and thanking him for the life and love […]


Brokenness—as Creative Tension?

This morning a meditation from Paula Ripple’s Growing Strong at Broken Places sparks some thoughts about embracing brokenness as the very site where God seeks to form us, like a master potter, into the people we can become. Ripple draws […]


Lessons for Restless Souls from Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises”

An audio version of Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises has been keeping me company in the car; and has convinced me that Hemingway was a restless soul, too (by “restless,” I mean another soul looking for more purpose, more […]


The Gift of Child’s Play

This week my son has been teaching me about the importance of being transparent about our questions about God and life. I mentioned he was scared. He still is. The source of his fear, a giant foot on a rampage […]


When Jesus Makes Your Quesadilla

Yesterday I met Jesus. He was behind the counter at Moe’s, dressing my quesadilla. Cheese. Black beans. Lettuce. Salsa. Olives. Sour cream. He told me the guacamole and bacon cost extra and smiled when I asked if additional sides of […]


The “Eucatastrophe” of Easter

Yesterday fellow saint and sinner Tammy shared this meditation on the meaning of Good Friday; but its use of J.R.R. Tolkien’s term, “eucatastrophe,” also makes it an Easter sermon for anyone anywhere who has sat, metaphorically speaking, outside a tomb […]


“Working on a Dream”

With another manic Monday before us, here are a couple of items some of you shared for the benefit of this motley crew of saints and sinners… Fellow saint and sinner Michael responded to a recent post about Saturday Night […]


Jesus the Vine: Jesus Epithets Continued

I promised you more Scriptural name calling, so this morning we continue with Jesus Epithets: All the Names Jesus Gets Called in Scripture. Today’s feature is for all of you botanists and green thumbs out there.  I, unfortunately, can’t count […]


God’s Obedient Child: More Musings for Rebels

I’ve been stalling on the subject of obedience: just the term makes me a bit squeamish, and I’m not sure where this discomfort comes from. Maybe my squeamishness is the result of having grown up singing in church one too many […]

Thankful Lists: How To Go Cold Turkey With Complaining

This Thanksgiving, I’m reminded again of Helen at the assisted living center who regularly tells me she hates her life and wants to die. From a pragmatic standpoint, it doesn’t really help that Helen doesn’t believe in a God who […]

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 […]

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 […]

Sleepless in Atlanta

Every so often my demons- they know me well- stop by. Early this morning, not wanting to wake my husband who lay snoring next to me, I found myself crouched in silent tears next to the kitchen door, seeking some […]


In the last several years, fellow saint and sinner Tammy Perlmutter has, like many of us, witnessed a whole lot of change, much of it just downright sad, hard and disenchanting.  Tammy posted this wonderful little entry on change in […]

Of Dating, Backgammon and Patience: A Sermon

Fellow saint and sinner Jake Dell preached this sermon yesterday, and has agreed to share it with us.  (Thank you, Jake!)  You can find more of Jake’s reflections at his blog: How many times have you left someone or something […]

5 Ways to Put Coveting To Rest

I appreciate the sentiment of Emily Dickinson:  “Consider the lilies- is the only commandment I ever obeyed,” she once quipped (as quoted in the intro to Rachel Held-Evans’ A Year of Biblical Womanhood). Because while I used to think that […]

A Spiritual Inventory for iPhone Users

This week with the start of another school year and a few more things added to our family’s schedule, I’ve found myself even more glued to my iPhone- so glued, in fact, that just the other day I found myself […]

The Quality Difference: “Habit” Versus “Act”

“Quality is not an act but a habit.” So reads the banner which hangs in the warehouse of a trucking company where I serve as a corporate chaplain.  The mantra, I’m discovering, holds equally true whether we’re talking about marriage […]

Anger Management 101

Two days ago someone I know who I would prefer not to know made me very angry. I was so angry that when I went grocery shopping, I left all of my purchased bags of groceries in my shopping cart […]

The White Chip

  “The White Chip” He said she’d not make a good poker player. She only played once, now one’s for the taking. The white chips— for the lowest wager— and she’s still gambling on a turnaround. No more conceit.  No […]

Existential Schizophrenia

Maybe the universal human dilemma can be summed up in the following question: how do I live between the two poles of, on the one hand, my own insignificance and the transitory nature of my finest achievements, and, on the […]

“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 […]

The Haves and Have-Nots: Weird Jesus Sayings Continued

“You’ve been given the gift of knowing the secrets of the kingdom of heaven,” Jesus replied, “but they haven’t been given it.  Anyone who already has something will be given more, and they will have plenty. But anyone who has […]

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 […]

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 […]

5 Ways to Stay Spiritually Grounded When Fantasy Calls

Addiction and fantasy can often go hand in hand.  An alcoholic friend of mine will often say that there are times when he “gets stuck in his head.”  I know what he means.  While I have never craved the bottle, […]

The Difference Between Grace and a Sears Appliance Warranty

The $400 Kenmore Inteli-Clean vacuum cleaner I bought last year as part of a crusade on dog hair and allergens is on the fritz.  Again.  When I turn it on, it squeaks, moans, whirs, shakes and does nothing. If Jesus […]

Mess Happens

A friend likes to say, “Small people, small messes.  Big people, big messes!” Have you ever wondered where God is in all of it? One of my favorite stories from Scripture is of the woman at the well (John 4). […]

“Imperfection,” a.k.a. “Perpetual Progress”?

  Epektasis: it may sound like a venereal disease, but it is actually Latin for “perpetual progress;” and it has been around since the fourth century whenGregory of Nyssa coined the term as a way to explain his understanding of true perfection […]

The Gift of Failing

Garrison Keillor read this poem by Wendell Berry on yesterday’s “The Writer’s Almanac”: IX. I go by a field where once I cultivated a few poor crops. It is now covered with young trees, for the forest that belongs here has come back […]

The “Terrible Thing” About Hope

The other day I was listening to an NPR interview with the writer Hisham Matar, whose latest novel,Anatomy of a Disappearance, draws from his own experience.  Matar’s father, a dissident under the regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, mysteriously disappeared […]

Playing Host to Our Demons: Weird Sayings Continued…

“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.  Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’  When it arrives, it finds the house swept […]

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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