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Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Women Archives

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.

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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. […]

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“Mean Grace?” Via Flannery O’Connor

This week I’m making my way through Flannery O’Connor’s book of short stories Everything That Rises Must Converge.  (The book’s title comes from the first story that appears in this series of O’Connor’s stories.) Three stories in, I’m struck by […]

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Mental Health Break—Mindy Kaling, to Harvard Law Graduates

This week’s mental health break comes from Mindy Kaling’s Class Day speech to graduates of Harvard Law School.  In addition to its main point—that these fresh-faced graduates of Harvard Law have the opportunity to use their power for good and […]

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Mental Health Break—One Saint’s Admonitions for Living in Present

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897), also known as “the Little Flower of Jesus,” was a French Carmelite nun who had wisdom beyond her years.  I stumbled across her reflections on living in the present in a little devotional I’ve been […]

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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 […]

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The Witness: A Good Friday Sermon

For the last three years I’ve had the privilege of participating in an annual ecumenical and interracial Good Friday service, “Women’s Views of the Cross.” This year I’ll preach from the perspective of Mary, the mother of James and Joses, […]

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“Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver

Each week in hospice a team of doctors, nurses, chaplains and social workers meets to discuss every patient in their care. Usually the meeting starts with a few moments of silence remembering those who have died in the preceding days, […]

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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” […]

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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 […]

Grace Sticks To Release November 1—Author Proceeds Will Support The Malala Fund

The day is almost here. My book Grace Sticks will release Nov. 1—and I feel like I’m having another baby, only without all the gore. When you buy a copy, you’ll also be supporting the work of Malala Yousafzai, the […]

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 […]

Mental Health Break—The Nunsense of Praise Music

Yesterday NPR featured the “singing nuns of Ann Arbor, Michigan.” The Dominican Sisters of St. Mary have produced a debut album, Mater Eucharistiae, following on the heels of two separate albums by Catholic nuns that rocketed to the top of […]

Official Release of “Mom in the Mirror” Today

Today marks the official release of friend Emily Wierenga’s book, Mom in the Mirror. Wierenga, a former anorexic, and Dena Cabrera, an expert on eating disorders, teamed up to write a book that tackles issues of post-pregnancy body image for […]

Our Bodies, Our Spirits- A Mother’s Day Gift

This past weekend as I lay sunbathing on a beach in Santa Monica, California, it seemed like everywhere I turned there was somebody beautiful. The tan, toned, athletic bodies were everywhere, which had me wondering whether, after two pregnancies, I […]

The Last of the Beguines (Another Restless Soul) Dies

As you now know, I love reading the obituaries in The Economist. The latest issue features the life of another restless soul: she was the very last “Beguine,” Marcella Pattyn, whose passing wistfully marks the end of a whole way […]

The Kiss: from “The Love Dare” Series

Self-described “author, artist and everyday radical” Emily Wierenga is a new friend in the blogosphere. Her latest book debuts on Mother’s Day: Mom in the Mirror explores issues of beauty and body image after pregnancy, and as a survivor of […]

“The Dating Game” Jesus and “Eligible Bachelors” Via Susan Patton

I agree with Princeton alum Susan Patton, whose advice to the daughters she “never had” is lighting up the blogosphere, about one thing: women should marry men at least as smart as they are. That’s where our agreement seems to […]

Song of a Caged Bird: A Sermon for Good Friday

I’ll preach the following sermon in just a few hours at today’s “Women’s View of the Cross”: A Service for Good Friday. (I appreciate your prayers!) This sermon takes the perspective of the maidservant in the court of the high […]

Good Friday Humor, Part 2: Monty Python’s Dead Parrot Skit

Last year around this time I wrote a post that asked how appropriate humor is on Good Friday. A sermon written from the perspective of Pilate’s wife, Claudia, had sparked associations with Monty Python’s rendition of Pilate in the movie, “Life […]

“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 […]

“There’s Power In the Pen”: An Interview with Author Amy Julia Becker, Part 1

  Last fall Christianity Today named writer Amy Julia Becker one of “Fifty Women You Should Know.”  Becker has authored four books on faith, family and disability, the latest of which made its debut last week: What Every Woman Needs to Know About […]

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 […]

Potty Prayers: How I Am Learning to Pray in the Bathroom

She almost hit me with the door as I was exiting the restroom of a company where I serve as a corporate chaplain. She’s the one in the front office who usually smiles when I come by. Not today. “How […]

The Ripped, Bikini-Clad Preacher Earns Another Win

Fellow saint and sinner Amy Richter has drawn my attention to an article that appeared in The Huffington Post a few days ago, and has thanked the Fellowship for its early coverage.  Apparently, Amy’s story, “The Ripped, Bikini-Clad Reverend,” which originally […]

Visio Divina (The Visual Word): An Advent Series

Starting tomorrow we’re in for a treat.  That’s when we’ll begin a special Advent series featuring the photography of the very talented, fellow saint and sinner Katie Archibald-Woodward.  (Just think: we’ll get to say that we knew Katie before she […]

Wacky Wednesday: Villainy and Veneration

First, villainy… By way of an addendum to my recent review of the new James Bond flick, fellow saint and sinner Michael Frost has shared a wonderful resource: The Ultimate James Bond Fansite.  If you’ve ever entertained the notion of being […]

James Bond Does Theology, Too?

Last night’s premiere of the new James Bond movie, “Skyfall,” was a sensation. The grand narrative of good versus evil unfolded in a quick-paced, suspense-filled string of high-speed car chases, jaw-dropping stunts, and gratuitous destruction. And, all the traditional eye […]

Sermon on the Mount Family Planning

Here at the intersection between life and God, author Sandy Ralya recently wrote a kind response to my original review of her book, The Beautiful Wife.  (Thank you, Sandy!) Where I question Ralya’s challenge to Christian couples to have more […]

Reading, Writing and…Reviewing Books

“Doing what you’re doing- writing a book- is like running naked through the town square,” a friend of mine recently remarked. Thankfully, we don’t have much of a “town square” where I live in downtown Atlanta; and, besides, in the […]

“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 […]

The End of Biblical Womanhood?

And, finally, my review of Rachel Held-Evans’ latest book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, which aired on Sermons That Work two days ago and is reprinted here with the permission of The Episcopal Digital Network: If “biblical womanhood” were a rutabaga, then Rachel Held-Evans, […]

Why the Dearth of Women Emerging Evangelists? An Interview with Matt Brown of Thinke

Some of you probably recall that not long ago the Facebook page “Emerging Evangelists” gallery of exclusively male blogging evangelists (excepting a couple brave, smiling wives) elicited an outburst.  What was so “emerging” about an all-male club of evangelists in […]

Independence Week

Last night I was reading an excerpt from Simone de Beauvoir’s autobiography, The Prime of Life, in which she describes in almost ecstatic tones the wonder of working and living on her own as a writer and philosopher.  She was […]

“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 Skimp on Recent Developments

Fellow saints and sinners who weighed in on a popular post from last year, “The Minister and the Little, Black Dress,” will be mildly amused to learn that I finally did it: on Monday evening on the occasion of my […]

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 […]

The World of Biblical Literalism: Men With Short Hair and Women Without Jewelry or Leadership Skills

Fellow saints and sinners have left some interesting comments during the last few days!  Someone with the online name of “Roodness” writes the following in response to my “Coffee with Jesus” lampoon of manliness pastor and cage fighter Mark Driscoll’s […]

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 […]

Mary Magdalene’s Tears: A Homiletics of Remaining

If you’ve been wondering why FSS has been a bit catatonic in the last couple of days, it’s because I’ve been writing a final paper for my women’s theology class- about how to preach to those whose lives have been […]

Letter to the Editor and Correction Re: “Women Body Builders” Article

Rev. Dr. Amy Richter, who was the inspiration of my post two days ago, writes the following in response: Dear Kristina! Thank you so much! I am so honored–and inspired–on your beautiful riff on building the body of the church. […]

Women Body Builders: Why The Church Needs More of Them

What few of her parishioners know, or are only now beginning to discover, is that on one Sunday morning eight years ago Rev. Dr. Amy Richter of St. Anne’s Parish in Annapolis, Maryland took second in the Wisconsin State Fair’s […]

Desperate Housewife or God’s Dreamer? Station 5

Finally, the sermon that many of you helped me write in encouraging the use of “appropriate” humor even on the darkest day of the church calendar.  Today’s Good Friday service at Mount Zion A.M.E. will be a series of  meditations […]

“I’d Like to Talk to You About Cheeses”

It’s been a full week here for Fellowship of Saints and Sinners, so I wanted to take a short breather to reflect on some of the things we’ve been talking about,  and then offer a brief glimpse of what we […]

The Tragedy of Abortion

My husband warned me not to bring this issue up, because it’s one of those topics that makes people squirm and in some cases scream at each other.  But, I was often one of those kids growing up who would […]

Good Friday Humor: Bad Taste, or a Witness to the Resurrection?

I’ve been asked to preach at a Good Friday service that lifts up the voices of the various women in the events surrounding Jesus’ death. I got the call yesterday asking if I would preach- apparently the woman originally slated […]

The Only Begotten Son: Jesus Epithets Continued

“No one has ever seen God; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, has declared him.” John 1:18 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him […]

“Serenity Now!”: Managing Anxiety

My two-year-old has discovered how to crawl through the ladder rungs of the bunk bed she shares with her brother.  She likes to demonstrate her new-found talent after a drawn-out bedtime routine of bath, books, prayers and hugs.  Until recently […]

“Terminator and Jesus”

This video, which came out some years back, lends some humor to all the Internet buzz around “masculine” versus “feminine” Christianity.  I stumbled on it thanks to David Lumley, who posted it on friend Michael Frost’s FB page.  (Thanks, David!) […]

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 […]

“The Lamb of God”: Jesus Epithets Continued

“Look!, [John the Baptist] said.  “There’s God’s lamb!  He’s the one who takes away the world’s sin!” -John 1:29 “God is angry with us every day,” someone exclaimed to me the other day. And if truth be told, there was […]

“The Making of a Girl”

This video is an intimate look at the systemic nature of the commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking of women and girls.  The woman in the video who is narrating the story is herself a survivor of sexual exploitation, and […]

Marriage as “Process” or “End” or Both? More Reflections.

Apparently my reflections on Lauren Winner and her latest book have generated interest if not controversy about the nature of marriage as a storybook conclusion to the hopes and dreams of single people. In light of this, a few thoughts, […]

6 Ways to “Shush” Insecurity, Via Mechthild of Magdeburg

If there were anyone who knew about insecurity or a sense of not “measuring up,” it would be the thirteenth century, “stealth theologian” Mechthild de Magdeburg: she wrote as a woman in a largely male-dominated world of letters; she did […]

Move Over, “Cosmo.”

  “Love me passionately, love me often, and love me long.”  The appeal might grace the cover of Cosmopolitan.  The one, big exception?  That it is addressed to God…in the thirteenth century…by a “virginal” nun named Mechthild de Magdeburg. These days […]

From Marital Sex Guru to Chastened Ex-Wife: Why I Prefer the New Lauren Winner

While she doesn’t need or want my sympathy, I feel sorry for popular evangelical writer Lauren Winner. Only several years back we were reading her ambitious project to “change how Christians have sex.”  Now we are reading about her divorce. […]

“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 […]

“The Concept of Woman”

In light of yesterday’s spirited discussion on Facebook around women’s leadership issues, sparked by Michael Frost’s re-posting of Mars Hill teaching pastor Mark Driscoll’s very controversial radio interview, I wanted to recommend a wonderful not-so-little (1,100 pages in fact) tome […]

“Coffee with Jesus”: Jesus Sits Down with Mark Driscoll

Laughter is the best tonic for my and my husband’s anger this morning after reading Mark Driscoll’s latest series of blatantly chauvinistic remarks- (if there is a fine line between chauvinism and misogyny, I’m not sure where it is)- about […]

Rachel Held-Evans on “Real Marriage” and Why She’s Right

Mark Driscoll, the founding and preaching pastor of Seattle’s Mars Hill Church, apparently has a new book out titled Real Marriage:  The Truth About Sex, Friendship and Life Together.  I was introduced to Driscoll’s book by a friend (Rachel Held-Evans) […]

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, […]

The Minister and 1,000 Nudes

My next-door neighbor, in addition to being a photographer, is a fire dancer: she gets paid to perform well-choreographed tricks with hot flames while wearing sexy outfits.  Yesterday several other parents and I were at her house to celebrate her […]

The Driftwood Artist

You can’t miss his gallery shack.  It overlooks the ocean on a stretch of coastal highway near St. Petersburg, Florida.  His driftwood sculptures are perched in front:  an ensemble of rotted tree branches, old fish nets, rusty pieces of metal- […]

Resurrection at Wendy’s

“Thank you for resurrecting me,” she stammered, a crooked smile breaking out across her face.  “Merry Christmas.” A moment of lucidity.  Then she was back in her own world, her eyes beholding some distant shoreline, her mutterings only understandable to […]

Make Love Not War: A Christmas Story

I promised you a Christmas story.  This one is a Christmas story in several unique ways.  It’s a story about God’s grace not as a distant ideal but as an embodied, tangible, very personal encounter. And it’s a story about […]

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 […]

The Minister and The Little, Black Dress

Much has been written about ministry and sex, sexuality, gender and, of most immediate and grave importance here, what to wear when you find yourself young, female and in ordained ministry.  The question has been so well-traversed that it can […]

Can I Get a Witness?

If there were any doubt that women were preachers before the twentieth century, this should put it to rest once and for all.  The ninth-century nun, Kassia, was probably the most famous in a line of women preachers who put […]

A Thanksgiving for Emmy

We were sitting across from one another in the monastery dining hall, eating our lunch in silence per the rule.  We hadn’t met yet. “Would you like to come to my party?,” she blurted out.  Loudly. Heads turned. “I’ll think about […]

Stylito Heels: Weird Jesus Sayings Continued

“Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a […]

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 […]

Bare, Naked Power: Weird Jesus Sayings Continued

“Do not resist an evildoer.  But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well, and if anyone forces you to […]

Politically Incorrect Jesus: Weird Sayings Continued

“You always have the poor with you, don’t you?  But you won’t always have me.”  Matthew 26:11 It’s a good thing Jesus isn’t running for office, because if he were, he’d probably lose. Can you imagine a political leader saying […]

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 […]

Weird Jesus Sayings Continued…

 Yes, I haven’t forgotten.  After a brief hiatus we’re continuing our exploration of the weird  things Jesus said.  And, there are plenty of them.  We’ve only scraped the surface in our big  dig. Thus far we’ve asked the questions that […]

Reclaiming Two Bad Words

The other day Anne Graham Lotz spoke with NPR about her journey as a woman who has faced resistance in her vocation. The preacher, author and daughter of the famous evangelist, Billy Graham, says she is privileged to wear the […]

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). […]

Damaris Who?

Her name was Damaris.  Ever wondered about her?  She appears in the form of an afterthought, (one of Luke’s “oh, by the way” comments), as one of the “few” who believed upon hearing Paul’s speech in the Areopagus (Acts 17:22-34).  Some biblical […]

Beyond the Genesis Curse: Lessons from Childbirth

Tucked away in the apostle Paul’s first letter to Timothy (1 Timothy 2:15) is the strange declaration that “women will be saved through childbirth.”  The New Revised Standard translation puts it this way:  “Yet [she, the woman] will be saved through childbearing, […]

Was Jesus Racist? Weird Sayings Continued…

“A Canaanite woman from [Tyre and Sidon] came out and shouted,  ‘Have pity on me, son of David!  My daughter is demon-possessed!  She’s  in a bad way!’  Jesus, however, said nothing at all to her.  His disciples came up.  ‘Please […]

What Would It Look Like for “Church” to Matter?

It is not every day that you hear a story that touches something deep inside of you.  That gives you a taste for “church” that matters. Not “church” as just another social obligation or Sunday morning engagement, but “church” when it […]

Read My Stole: One Minister Applies a Diplomat’s “Feminist Subversions”

 How is this for a riveting opener? I recently went to an exhibit at the Carter Center  displaying former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s jewelry.  Not just any  jewelry, but pins.  And, it really does get more interesting. Apparently, Albright, […]

Previous Posts

3 Quasi-Spiritual Lessons from the Ashley Madison Scandal
For those of us saints and sinners who even remotely have been following last week’s Ashley Madison scandal, I can think of at least three lessons it offers (and you may have more, in which case feel free to leave them below): 1. Chances ...

posted 6:14:59pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

John Oliver vs. Televangelists and Their "Big Seed" Prosperity Gospel
If you've not seen it, you must: John Oliver on "Last Week Tonight" offered the most brilliantly funny rebuke of televangelists and the prosperity gospel I've seen to date. Oliver doesn't mince words, including the four-letter ones, in blasting ...

posted 2:21:12am Aug. 18, 2015 | read full post »

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 turning small boys into child ...

posted 5:54:37pm Aug. 14, 2015 | read full post »

Mustard Seed Faith and a Mustard Seed Kingdom of God, Via Mary Oliver
Last ...

posted 1:47:32pm Aug. 12, 2015 | read full post »

A Beloved Lion, The Dentist Who Trophy-Hunted Him, and the Power of Shame
[caption id="attachment_5637" align="alignleft" width="300"] 13-year-old Cecil was the beloved resident of Hwange National Park, where earlier this July he was baited and killed for fun by Walter Palmer, DDS. The GPS collar Cecil was wearing ...

posted 2:54:27pm Jul. 29, 2015 | read full post »

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