Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Sin 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 […]


The Prodigal God—Inspirations from Tim Keller’s Book

I’ve missed you! The challenge of writing for a full-time job is that it can relegate recreational writing to a distant backseat. But I want to keep coming back to this intersection, because I find that when I’m away from […]


The Neuroscience of Temptation

It’s been too long. I hope you’re enjoying God and life. That next book I’m working on is now evolving into a book about addiction and mental illness—and how churches can and must learn to love and welcome people with […]


Musical Mental Health Break: “Porno” by Arcade Fire

This week’s musical mental health break goes out to a friend whose husband is addicted to porn and has been for years. She loves him. He loves her. And yet there is much to thwart that love in a world […]


“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 […]


“This Isn’t The Way It Was Supposed To Be”

Several days of listlessly lying around with the rest of the family, all of us having succumbed to the flu, has not produced any great mystical visions or deep thoughts.  In the absence of these, I’m grateful for a resource […]


Our Golden Calves: A Correction to “More Thoughts on Disappearing Mothers”

Fellow saints and sinners, none of you pointed this out (rather surprisingly), but it occurred to me this morning that I had originally written this: “The Bible and my Reformed tradition have taught me that we human beings are capable […]



It’s amazing how throwing Latin at a subject can imbue it with more solemnity.   That’s what Brian Doyle did in laying out his life’s confession in the August 22 issue of The Christian Century.  “I, Brian, a sinner,” began […]


A Toddler Meets the White Witch

A shorter, storybook version of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe for younger children comprised last night’s bedtime reading ritual.  A five-year-old boy and three-year-old girl snuggled up next to their mother to hear with bated breath […]


“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 […]

Evil in “High Places”- Why This Week’s Convictions Belong to a Long Struggle for Justice

                  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. – Ephesians 6:12 (King James […]

From Boobs to Brains: A Four-Part Interview with a Stanford Neuroscientist

If all this boobie talk is becoming tiresome- incidentally just the other day NPR’s Terry Gross was interviewing someone who has written a whole book on breasts- we’re on to a subject I find frankly far more scintillating.  It’s one […]

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 […]

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 […]


Temptation.  I have to imagine Jesus knew what a fact of life it is, because he taught us to pray daily for ourselves in this respect: “Give us this day our daily bread, and lead us not into temptation, but […]

Indecent Exposure: “Jesus the Light,” Epithets Continued

“And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.  For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, […]

The One, Unforgivable Thing: Weird Sayings Continued

“If anyone speaks a word against the son of man, it will be forgiven.  But if anyone speaks a word against the Holy Spirit, it won’t be forgiven, either in the present age or in the age to come” (Matthew […]

“The Little Ones”: Weird Jesus Sayings Continued

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to trip up…it would be better for them to have a huge millstone hung around their neck and be drowned out in the deep sea.” Matthew 18:6 Jesus could […]

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. […]

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 […]

Great Expectations

 We all expect things out of the cards we have been dealt in life.  We expect to find  the right someone and be married for life.  Or to land the job that will finally make  us happy.  Or to live […]


“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 […]

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 […]


“If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away.  It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  And if your […]

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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