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Flirting with Faith

Flirting with Faith

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Beyond Charity: Eradicating Extreme Poverty With Dignity

posted by Joan Ball

In the 1980’s, long before Bono’s “One” Initiative and the UN Millenium Development Goals brought extreme poverty into worldwide focus, 25 year old Jacqueline Novogratz left a cushy Wall Street banking job and stepped onto a plane to Kigali, Rwanda […]

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Am I The Only One Who Dropped the Ball on Lent?

posted by Joan Ball

I kicked off my first Lent with great enthusiasm and expectation. I wasn’t sure exactly what it was that I expected, but I imagined it would be difficult to spend 40 days stretching the boundaries of comfort and routine to […]

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He is Risen? What’s the Story with Easter?

posted by Joan Ball

He is Risen. Those three words are showing up everywhere today. Before heading out to church and back to back feasts with family, (not sure if it is traditional, but I’m already full thinking about all of the food on […]

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Jesus Is Dead…Now What?

posted by Joan Ball

You open your eyes slowly, turning from your side to your back and struggling to focus exhausted eyes on the exposed rafters of the roof above you. “Was it a dream?” you ask the air, as you shift mind and […]

Faced Uncertainty, Persevered and Learned From It? Students Would Love to Hear Your Story

posted by Joan Ball

Several of my students have asked me what kind of answers I received to my most recent post, Wanted: Wisdom for Soon-To-Be College Grads Facing an Uncertain Future. While they have been portrayed in the media as overly entitled trophy kids raised […]

Wanted: Wisdom for Soon-To-Be College Grads Facing an Uncertain Future…

posted by Joan Ball

Less than 50 days until graduation and my undergraduate college students are starting to get a little nervous. Some know where they are going when they leave school – graduate school or a job offer on the heels of an […]

Palm Sunday: Would You Do It?

posted by Joan Ball

Have you ever wondered if you would do it? If – with full knowledge that you would be betrayed and denied by your friends; stripped of everything you own; beaten and taunted; and, finally, put to death in a brutal […]

The Relational Life: Snapshots from Part 2 of ‘So Beautiful’ by Leonard Sweet

posted by Joan Ball

The second part of Leonard Sweet‘s new book, So Beautiful: Divine Design for Life and the Church, focuses on the “R” in what Sweet calls the “MRI” manifestation of faith (where “M” is Missional, “R” is Relational and “I” is Incarnational. Click […]

The Missional Life: Snapshots from Part 1 of ‘So Beautiful’ by Leonard Sweet

posted by Joan Ball

Len Sweet‘s new book, So Beautiful: Divine Design for Life and the Church, is ripe with wisdom about what it means to live a faith that transcends attractional, colonial models. Introducing what he calls a “So Beautiful” or MRI manifestation […]

I’m Glad I Didn’t Go to Church As a Kid.

posted by Joan Ball

I didn’t go to church as a kid. In fact, I didn’t believe in God until I was in my 30s. I can only speculate about what might have been better in my life had I grown up in church. Maybe […]

What Books Influenced Your Spiritual Formation Most?

posted by Joan Ball

I came across a blog post today that posed a simple question, What Books Influenced Your Christian Formation the Most? A number of thoughtful comments followed with lists of writers, some of whom I had read or heard of and others new […]

Exponential Change 2: Blaming Technology for Bad Behavior

posted by Joan Ball

Woke up this morning still thinking about the impact on human beings of living through a time of Exponential Change.  I’m not referring to the masses. I have a difficult enough time figuring out where I fit in the world without […]

Exponential Change: What Does it Mean For You?

posted by Joan Ball

Atheism, Faith and Defining the Unfathomable

posted by Joan Ball

Leonard, Philly, Albert and Greta have really gotten me thinking about faith, fear and how we interact with and perceive one another in light of our different viewpoints on God (faith or no).  If you are coming to the conversation […]

Is Conversion Possible?

posted by Joan Ball

In his comment on yesterday’s “I Was Never a Real Atheist” post, Nick commented: “While I agree that the ‘Geek Squad guy’ was mistaken in his assumption that you were never an atheist, it’s also the case that many former […]

I Was Never a ‘Real’ Atheist…

posted by Joan Ball

That’s what the Geek Squad guy at Best Buy told me, anyway. It was a little over a year ago, and I was at the counter with my husband Martin’s laptop, hoping that his difficulty connecting to our wireless network […]

Lost Generation? Maybe, Maybe Not.

posted by Joan Ball

Story Time: The King and the Peasant

posted by Joan Ball

God decided to become visible to a king and a peasant and sent an angel to inform them of the blessed event.  ‘O King,’ the angel announced. ‘God has deigned to be revealed to you in whatever manner you wish. […]

Thought for the Day: Rainer Maria Rilke

posted by Joan Ball

“Oh my heart feels like a spring, and next to it lies my old deep sullen well. Let it. I’m not drawing from it these days.”- Rilke

An Irish Blessing

posted by Joan Ball

Author Unknown   I wish you not a path devoid of clouds,Nor a life on a bed or roses.Nor, that you might never need regret,Nor that you should never feel pain. No, this is not my wish for you. My […]

Who Is Jesus?

posted by Joan Ball

One of the things that I love most about this blog is wide variety of people from different faith and life perspectives it tends to attract. Christians (Catholic and Protestant), Jews, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics and the deconverted swing by to […]

The Most Excellent Way (Part 2)

posted by Joan Ball

In Part 1 I’m learning that I am a day late and a dollar short when it comes to accepting (and, by association sharing) God’s love. I’m chewing on 1 Corinthians 13…particularly 1 Corinthians 13:4 and beyond…to get a taste of what […]

The Most Excellent Way (Part 1)

posted by Joan Ball

I go to a Benedictine Monastery for a 24-hour silent retreat with the express purpose of listening. No agenda. No ‘what’s my purpose?’ or ‘what’s my next step?’ This was not my first visit to Holy Cross, but it was […]

The Art of Listening…

posted by Joan Ball

I can’t help but love an organization whose stated mission is to “honor and celebrate one another’s lives through listening.” StoryCorps is a not-for-profit that sets up listening booths all over the country (maybe the world now) and helps people to […]

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb…

posted by Joan Ball

My son Ian turns 11 on March 24. He has been telling me since March 1, when we had a small blizzard here in New York, that March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. Looking out […]

Can Seemingly Bad Things Work Out For The Good?

posted by Joan Ball

I was listening to a podcast yesterday. An interesting discussion about faith and the arts hosted by the International Arts Movement in New York. While the content of the interview was fascinating, it was a question from the audience that […]

Who Does Jesus Think I Am?

posted by Joan Ball

Last week I christened this blog and briefly introduced myself with a post titled, “Who Do I Think I Am?” This morning I woke with another question on my mind that was prompted by a book I recently read called […]

Grief is Sneaky

posted by Joan Ball

I had my hair done last night. One step closer to returning my blonde hair to its original state after misguided attempt to go brown – chocolate brown – left me looking like I was wearing a bad wig. My […]

Women and Men United to End Violence Against Women: International Women’s Day

posted by Joan Ball

Did you know that Monday, March 8 is International Women’s Day?  I didn’t, until I received the following email notification from the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), an organization I follow that promotes communication as a means for social […]

When Helping Becomes Cheating – or Worse…

posted by Joan Ball

Adele shared the following anecdote in response to my last post, Cheating is Not Okay: Or is It? Having someone else write your paper does you no good. If the teacher would be unreasonable and not offer an extension, then […]

Cheating is Not Okay: Or is It?

posted by Joan Ball

“What is the situation with regard to cheating on this campus,” I asked some of my undergraduate students in class this morning.  I was trying to decide how to handle a makeup test and find that students are surprisingly willing […]

Have I Told You Yet That I’m Not Sure if I’m a Christian?

posted by Joan Ball

“Have I told you yet that I’m not sure if I’m a Christian?” writes Andrea in the comments on my post about my first Lent. “I vacillate and ponder and struggle every day with my spirituality.” Sharing that she is […]

My First Lent: Thanks to Twitter and the Monks

posted by Joan Ball

Lent is one of those Christian traditions that everyone seems to know about, Christian or not. I remember encountering Lent in my school days through the kids who’d show up with dirt on their heads complaining that they couldn’t eat […]

Who Do I Think I Am?

posted by Joan Ball

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Joan Ball and I’m the newest blogger on the Christianity channel at Beliefnet. As I sit here on my living room couch considering the best way to kick off this new adventure, […]

Flirting with Faith is Hitting the Road…

posted by Joan Ball

It’s official. My humble little blog has captured the attention of the kind folks at Beliefnet.com and they’ve asked if I would like to join their team of daily bloggers. So, beginning Sunday, March 1, Flirting with Faith will be […]

On Being Cool Redux…

posted by Joan Ball

Not sure why, but starting 2009 with a repost from Sept 13, 2008 just felt like the right thing to do on this snowy day in New York.  Happy New Year to all… I don’t think I am remotely cool […]

Shout Out to the Hurting at Christmastime

posted by Joan Ball

Tonight is Christmas Eve and I find myself facing the first Christmas in recent memory, maybe ever, that I wish was over before it began. I’m not bah humbug, nor am I falling apart sad. I am just not feeling […]

On The Great Emergence and Chasing the Wind

posted by Joan Ball

I’ve been trying to write a follow-up blog post about my trip to The Great Emergence event in Memphis since I returned to New York last week.  This should have been a no-brainer, really.  The event was well produced in […]

Hope for Unity Across Generations

posted by Joan Ball

My sister in law, a long time and devout Christian believer who I used to (not so lovingly) refer to as “The Baptinista” in my atheist days, sent me a link this morning. She knows I am here in Memphis […]

Am I an Emerging Emergent? Maybe I’ll Find Out in Memphis

posted by Joan Ball

I leave tomorrow morning for The Great Emergence, a two day event in Memphis hosted by Phyllis Tickle and organized by Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt.  The release of Mrs. Tickle’s book of the same name is the premise for […]

Why Do You Write?

posted by Joan Ball

I’ve been thinking about Caroline’s Ferdinandsen’s post on ConversantLife.com called A Case for a Little Spiritual Quarantine. One line in particular has haunted me since I read it.  Caroline writes, “my Christian faith has suffered from my chronic reading, interfacing, and […]

Creative Discipline…an Oxymoron?

posted by Joan Ball

I have never been one to set writing goals.  In fact, despite the fact that many creative and prolific writers swear by them, there is something about having to write a certain number of pages or for a certain number of hours […]

Calling All Writers…

posted by Joan Ball

  After more than four years of drafting, bumbling, abandoning projects and starting new ones I am thrilled to share that a large publishing house has agreed to take on my first book. It is a personal narrative called (surprise, […]

Ever Been Hurt by Christians or the Church?

posted by Joan Ball

There is a trend among some Christians that I would like to bounce off you. Some churches, having heard and acknowledged that the capital-c Church has done many “unChristian” things over the centuries (and today), have taken to apologizing for […]

The Goldilocks of Christianity…

posted by Joan Ball

I’m not giving up on the Church…  Despite some unfortunate evidence to the contrary, I believe that the church can be a place where broken and hurting people of all stripes can go to find Jesus shared and reflected in […]

Stages of Grief…

posted by Joan Ball

Both of my parents died six months ago. It was April.  My mom from cancer that she’d been battling for a couple of years. My father from a stroke that took him in 5 days.  He went first.  Twenty—or was […]

Money isn’t everything…Part 1

posted by Joan Ball

I find myself in the exciting, yet precarious position of having everything I ever wanted…except for money. I have a fantastic marriage to a talented artist and musician who is, hands down, my best friend.  I have three healthy and mostly […]

On Being Cool…

posted by Joan Ball

Repost from Sept 13, 2008.  Happy New Year all… I don’t think I am remotely cool enough to roll with the new Christians. I’m forty-two and I sometimes watch mindless television. I wear pointy high heels and makeup and I […]

God is Real…

posted by Joan Ball

I started to write a follow-up to the “Am I the ‘Not the Religious Type’ Type” post in an attempt to share, as promised, my experience at the first (first annual?) Center City Summit: Where Faith and Secular Culture Meet […]

Am I the “Not the Religious Type” Type?

posted by Joan Ball

I’m travelling from New York to Cambridge, MA (home of Harvard U) on Sunday evening to attend the Center City Summit: Where Faith and Secular Culture Meet. The event is billed as: A first-of-its-kind event where you can connect with […]

Los Miercoles malos para escribo…

posted by Joan Ball

Yo decido escribir en Espanol todos los Miercoles a mis Miercoles en Espanol. Hablo con suceso para quatro semanas, pero excribo solamente un tiempo. Es muy dificil, especialmente los frasas. Tengo muchas palabras, pero las frasas son diferente. Mi esposo […]

Change of Heart…

posted by Joan Ball

I’ve spent the past week or so knee-deep in a very interesting dialog about “deconversion” that was spurred when a posting on this blog titled “Atheism Sells” caught the attention of the folks at de-conversion.com. I’ve enjoyed learning a little […]

Atheism sells…

posted by Joan Ball

Today is my one-month anniversary as a blogger. Before all of you early-adopter types start giggling, you can rest assured that I am well aware that I am behind the curve here. The impact of Web 2.0 on communication and […]

I was Never a “Real Atheist”…

posted by Joan Ball

That’s what the Geek Squad guy at Best Buy told me this morning, anyway. I was at the counter with Martin’s laptop, hoping that his difficulty connecting to our wireless network might have an easy (read cheap) fix. I had […]

Spanish Wednesdays

posted by Joan Ball

Today is the first day of a new project. I have felt for some time that I am supposed to be fluent in Spanish. It isn’t a huge stretch, really. My husband is from Uruguay and English is his second […]

Los Miercoles en Espanol

posted by Joan Ball

Yo hable un poquito Espanol. Pero yo pienso que yo nessesito aprender hablar, leer y escribir fluida en Espanol. Mi esposo, Martin, naces in Uruguay y hablas Espanol, entonces es mas facil para nosotros hablar en Ingles en la casa. […]

The Most Excellent Way…Part 2

posted by Joan Ball

In Part 1 I’m learning that I am a day late and a dollar short when it comes to accepting (and, by association sharing) God’s love. I’m chewing on 1 Corinthians 13…particularly 1 Corinthians 13:4 and beyond…to get a taste […]

The Most Excellent Way…Part 1

posted by Joan Ball

I go to a Benedictine Monastery for a 24-hour silent retreat with the express purpose of listening. No agenda. No ‘what’s my purpose?’ or ‘what’s my next step?’ This was not my first visit to Holy Cross, but it was […]

The Act of Listening…

posted by Joan Ball

I can’t help but love an organization whose stated mission is to “honor and celebrate one another’s lives through listening.” StoryCorps (www.storycorps.com) is a not-for-profit that sets up listening booths all over the country (maybe the world now) and helps […]

Getting Started…

posted by Joan Ball

Welcome to the maiden post of my new blog, Flirting with Faith. The title refers to my experience living 40+ years as a seeker, an atheist, a recovery-based agnostic and, more recently, as a very unlikely born-again Christian. I hope […]

Previous Posts

Does the Protestant Work Ethic Hold Up in the 21st Century
This was originally posted last year, but it's on my mind again today... Reading a "secular" textbook this morning about the roots of Americans' tendency to define themselves by the work they do and came across this: "Calvin's doctrine of predestination led his followers [to view] success in wor

posted 2:48:59pm Feb. 13, 2012 | read full post »

Does the Protestant Work Ethic Hold Up in the 21st Century?
This was originally posted last year, but it's on my mind again today... Reading a "secular" textbook this morning about the roots of Americans' tendency to define themselves by the work they do and came across this: "Calvin's doctrine of predestination led his followers [to view] success in wor

posted 12:57:29pm May. 25, 2011 | read full post »

Holy Saturday: Thoughts on Sacrifice
Woke this morning thinking about sacrifice and how infrequently most of us, myself included, actually sacrifice anything of true value to ourselves for God and others. Sure we give money to our favorite charities. But when is the last time we actually parted with money that would have gone to paying

posted 9:50:42am Apr. 23, 2011 | read full post »

Maundy Thursday: Inspirational Holy Week Stories for an Extraordinary Season...
Wondering about the meaning of Holy Week and Easter? A new friend and talented author, pastor, artist Dr. David McDonald, has created a helpful site called The Common Truth: Ordinary Stories for an Extraordinary Season that offers thought-provoking daily reflections and inspirational Easter season

posted 9:51:07am Apr. 21, 2011 | read full post »

An Ordinary Holy Week Primer for an Extraordinary Season...
Wondering about the meaning of Holy Week and Easter? A new friend and talented author, pastor, artist Dr. David McDonald, has created a helpful site called The Common Truth: Ordinary Stories for an Extraordinary Season that offers thought-provoking daily reflections on Palm Sunday, Fig Monday, Grea

posted 12:27:39am Apr. 19, 2011 | read full post »

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