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Flirting with Faith

Flirting with Faith

Spiritual Growth Archives

Does the Protestant Work Ethic Hold Up in the 21st Century

posted by Joan Ball

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 […]

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Does the Protestant Work Ethic Hold Up in the 21st Century?

posted by Joan Ball

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 […]

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Holy Saturday: Thoughts on Sacrifice

posted by Joan Ball

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 […]

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Maundy Thursday: Inspirational Holy Week Stories for an Extraordinary Season…

posted by Joan Ball

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 […]

An Ordinary Holy Week Primer for an Extraordinary Season…

posted by Joan Ball

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 […]

I Don’t Care About Heaven or Hell…

posted by Joan Ball

I don’t care about heaven or hell. There, I said it. As I’ve watched the flood of blog posts, Tweets, television interviews and articles about Rob Bell’s new book Love Wins: A Book about Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every […]

Are We on the Road to Legalizing Incest?: The Rise and Fall of Taboos in a Changing Society

posted by Joan Ball

Columbia University Professor David Epstein was arrested last week and charged with having “consensual” sexual relationship with his 24-year-old daughter. Epstein’s lawyer, Matthew Galluzzo, tells ABCNews.com:  “Academically, we are obviously all morally opposed to incest and rightfully so. At the same […]

Coming out of the Christian Closet: Guest Post by Author Becky Garrison

posted by Joan Ball

GRAPHIC: http://asbojesus.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/934/ ©Jon Birch Coming out of the Christian Closet By Becky Garrison As part of my ongoing pilgrimage to chat up the themes I raise in my book Jesus Died for This?, I’ve begun to connect with an increasing […]

Can We Apologize in the Name of “Hateful” Christians? Should We?

posted by Joan Ball

A Twitter friend I met in California posted the following Tweet that got me thinking… The conversation that followed went like this… What do you think?  Can one person apologize for another? Should we?  

What is World Evangelism?: Notes from the Lausanne Congress, Cape Town South Africa

posted by Joan Ball

More than 4200 Christians from across the globe will spend the next week and a half discussing the future of evangelicalism as part of the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelism in Cape Town, South Africa. You can follow the […]

Reflections on the Chilean Miner Rescue: Guest Post from Pastor Bruce Barnard

posted by Joan Ball

“Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.” Philippians 2:3 (The Message) No one has missed the headline story this week – 33 Chilean miners are […]

Write Your “Six-Word Journey” at Killing the Buddha…

posted by Joan Ball

Can you boil down your spiritual journey to just six words?  The writers at Killing the Buddha thing so and have collected some beautiful and thought-provoking “six-word spiritual memoirs” in the comments section of their post titled Six Word Journey.  If […]

Secularist Sam Harris Suggests that Moral Truth Exists…But Not in Faith

posted by Joan Ball

In this TED clip, author, secularist and CEO of Project Reason, Sam Harris discusses the relationship between science and morality, arguing that questions of good, evil, right and wrong can be observed and answered by science. He argues that matters […]

Run For Congo Women: One Person Can Make a Difference

posted by Joan Ball

Yesterday I wrote about my feelings of helplessness related to the widespread rape, mutilation and destruction of women in the Congo at the hands of both rebel and government forces. While I would have loved to offer some some answers, […]

I am Ungrateful…

posted by Joan Ball

I woke this morning thinking about an 80 year old woman in the Congo named Anna Mburano. Her story and that of 200 other women who were brutally gang raped for four days by 200 men who swarmed their small […]

The Will to Survive: Written and Performed by Teenage Cancer Fighter Megan McNeil

posted by Joan Ball

Teenager and aspiring singer/songwriter Megan McNeil has been battling an aggressive cancer since she was 16 years old. She wrote this moving and well-perfomed song, The Will to Survive, to raise awareness and money to battle childhood cancer. The song […]

Christopher Hitchens and Anderson Cooper Discuss Death, God and Boredom

posted by Joan Ball

Fascinating interview with atheist author Christopher Hitchens…

Ministry Wisdom from Grammy-winner Lauryn Hill?

posted by Joan Ball

A friend (aka band psychotherapist Rockshrink) posted the following quote from Grammy-winner and former Fugee Lauryn Hill who is discussing why she left the music industry. It reminded me of how many people in church ministry, especially those who walk away, […]

Christopher Hitchens Diagnosed with Cancer: Suspends Book Tour for Chemotherapy

posted by Joan Ball

New Atheist pundit and writer Christopher Hitchens has reportedly suspended his book tour for the recently released Hitch 22: A Memoir in order to undergo chemotherapy for cancer in his esophagus. The 61 year old gave up smoking in 2008. […]

82 Year-Old Teacher Lands Three Book Deal: It’s Never Too Late to Follow Your Dreams

posted by Joan Ball

I came across the following on the Writers Write blog.  82-Year-Old Teacher Lands Three Book Deal The BBC reports that 82-year-old teacher Myrrha Stanford-Smith has landed a three-book deal after writing her first novel. The trilogy is a fictional account of William […]

Parenting Style Has Little to Do With Kids Trying Alcohol but Lots to Do With Problem Drinking

posted by Joan Ball

Parenting style has little to do with whether or not your child tries alcohol but much to do with whether or not they become a problem drinker – this according to Brigham Young University research reported by Science Daily. According to […]

World Cup 2010 Referees: Is the Certainty of Instant Replay Better than the Drama of Humanity?

posted by Joan Ball

I’ve been watching a lot of soccer this week. I’ve also been thinking a lot about “truth” and what is “right” and how we communicate with one another in light of the sometimes contentious comments on my last post, “There […]

Lausanne Blogger Network: There Is No God: Understanding the “Unbeliever”…

posted by Joan Ball

This is the first in a series of short pieces I’ll be posting on as part of the Lausanne Blogger Network, a group of Christian communicators from throughout the world who will be raising questions and discussing issues related to the […]

Obama “Whose Ass to Kick” for Gulf Oil Spill

posted by Joan Ball

Defensiveness + bravado = ?

GUEST POST: Lost in the Grocery Aisle by Laurie Russell

posted by Joan Ball

I came across this post by Laurie Russell of Russell Media last week and thought I’d share. Lost in the Grocery Aisle by Laurie Russell (posted with permission) I dread going to the grocery store. It seems each time I […]

Ted Haggard Starts New Church…

posted by Joan Ball

The first time I ever saw Ted Haggard was in a documentary. He was joking with a few evangelical boys about how great sex in the Christian marriage bed can be. Martin and I looked at each other, made a […]

Nobody’s Perfect, But We Are Responsible: Jim Joyce, Armando Galarraga, British Petroleum and Me

posted by Joan Ball

Veteran Major League umpire Jim Joyce blew a call at first, costing Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game. No one, including Joyce, is debating that the runner he called safe at first was actually thrown out.  A distraught Joyce apologized […]

Lady Gaga Discusses Her Religious Faith with Larry King…

posted by Joan Ball

Al and Tipper Gore Separating After 40 Years: Can Anyone Sustain Marriage for a Lifetime?

posted by Joan Ball

“Al and Tipper Gore Separating After 40 Years of Marriage.”  The headline is here, there and everywhere accompanied by pictures or short videos of the much discussed (and rather awkward) kiss at the Democratic Convention in 2000. Pundits and insiders […]

Author’s Plan for Social Media by Chris Brogan: Does Intention Matter?

posted by Joan Ball

Author, marketer and social-media guru Chris Brogan posted a great list of suggestions for authors interested in raising awareness of themselves and their work via social media. It is comprehensive and, as one who have connected with many wonderful people […]

Doing the Right Thing Because it’s Right: Have We Lost the Impulse?

posted by Joan Ball

“When did it become accepted that actions that are right and moral – like paying employees a decent wage – have to be explained away and justified?  When did we accept the notion that people should be moral in their […]

Elena Kagan and the Implications of a Supreme Court Devoid of Protestant Christians…

posted by Joan Ball

In today’s USA Today Faith and Reason column, Cathy Lynn Grossman discusses President Obama’s nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. If Kagan’s nomination is accepted, Grossman points out, there will be six Catholic justices, three Jewish […]

Measuring Creativity: Why do we have so little tolerance for mystery and wonder?

posted by Joan Ball

In a recent interview for a position in the highly competitive NBC page program, one of my students was asked for a list of five things he could do with a pencil. I had him share the encounter with the […]

Creativity, Community and Connecting: Who are the Beautiful Losers in Your Life?

posted by Joan Ball

Who are the “Beautiful Losers” in your life? Beautiful Losers film trailer from beautifullosersfilm on Vimeo.

Flirting with Faith Excerpt: Chapter 1

posted by Joan Ball

Chapter 1: Struck Thirty-seven is way too young to be having a heart attack, I thought, resting my hand on my chest and struggling to catch my breath. I’m sure it’s nothing. But somewhere deep inside I knew I was lying […]

What’s With Our Online Response to the Times Square Bomb Scare, Tennessee Flooding, Louisiana Oil Spill and other Bad News?

posted by Joan Ball

Twitter is pretty grim tonight. Breaking news about the evacuation of Times Square due to what appears to be a car bomb, floods in Tennessee with the potential for more inclement weather and a major oil spill in the Gulf […]

Is There Power in Positive Thinking and the Law of Attraction?

posted by Joan Ball

Check out an interesting take on positive thinking and the law of attraction. Love to hear what you think…

Is Lying Wrong?

posted by Joan Ball

Is lying wrong?  How about cheating?  Stealing? My 1970s/80s upbringing was clear. While moral dilemmas like a person stealing food for a hungry child or a guest politely telling someone that dinner tastes great when the chicken is dry may have […]

The “Bystander Effect” and What it Says About Us…

posted by Joan Ball

I came across and chilling and insightful post by a young blogger named Liz Bernard who writes brilliantly at Portrait of a Dreamer. She discussed her reaction to this story about a man who stepped in when a woman was […]

How Devout Can/Should Children Be?

posted by Joan Ball

I watched this video from I Am Second (a movement that is described as one that is “meant to inspire people of all kinds to live for God and for others”) with mixed emotions. On the one hand, this young actress appears to have a […]

Cease Striving (Be Still) and Know That I am God…

posted by Joan Ball

Love it when I get this part of Psalm 46:10 stuck in my head like a mantra. “Cease striving and know that I am God….Be still and know that I am God.” Reminds me how little control I have over […]

Preach It Crystal Bowersox…

posted by Joan Ball

Flirting with Faith Author Video…or “This is All Starting to Feel a Little to Real”

posted by Joan Ball

So, here it is. The author video shot and edited by Simon and Schuster for my book Flirting with Faith: My Journey from Atheism to a Faith-Filled Life. I have to admit that there is something about watching myself tell the […]

Atheist Richard Dawkins Seeks to Have Pope Arrested Over Child Abuse Scandal

posted by Joan Ball

Reuters reported this weekend that lawyers for British author and atheist campaigner Richard Dawkins will try to have Pope Benedict arrested to face questions over the Catholic church’s child abuse scandal when he arrives in Britain for his first papal […]

Kindness, Empathy, Love, Selflessness, Peace, Joy…Is There an App for That?

posted by Joan Ball

If you are a teacher, a preacher, a marketer, a businessperson or anyone else interested in connecting with people who will be coming of age in the next 10-20 years you might want to watch this 2 1/2 year old […]

Meet Angela: She Spends Her Days In Church and Her Nights Living Under a Bridge

posted by Joan Ball

InvisiblePeople.tv documents the lives and stories of the homeless in America. The following parable from their website provides some context for their efforts… On the street I saw a small girl cold and shivering in a thin dress, with little […]

Personal Freedom vs Health Economics: Which Will Win Out?

posted by Joan Ball

I’ve been watching closely as “sin taxes” on alcohol, cigarettes and even tanning beds have been discussed and implemented in the name of public health and balanced budgets. I’ve heard dissenting voices – mostly from the political opponents of those […]

Anne Rice on Loving Our Enemies (or Those Who Just Drive Us Nuts)

posted by Joan Ball

I love Anne Rice’s take on loving those who repel us. The author of the Vampire Chronicles and some lesser known fantasy erotica, Rice’s return to Catholicism in recent years has resulted in a spiritual memoir and some faith-oriented novels […]

Lent, Holy Week and Memories of My Parents…

posted by Joan Ball

I am not one to commemorate things. I forget birthdays and anniversaries (including my own). I have no cloth-covered boxes full of trinkets that jog my memory about precious moments from days gone by. The pictures of family and friends that I do […]

Seeking Tales of Transformation: Beliefnet Stories of Renewal Contest

posted by Joan Ball

Are you an aspiring writer with a story to tell about a life transformation? If so, Beliefnet would like to hear it. Whether prompted by a spiritual event, the birth of a child, overcoming addiction, surviving and illness or any […]

How Did I Get Here?: A Talking Heads Moment at SXSW

posted by Joan Ball

I am sitting here at a coffee shop in Austin an hour before I am scheduled to check in at the green room for my South by Southwest presentation having a Talking Heads moment.  You may find yourself living in […]

Church of Facebook Author Jesse Rice In Search of Benefactors: Is the American Church Ready for This?

posted by Joan Ball

My friends Jesse and Katie Rice have a call on their lives. They are convinced in the tradition of old-school Jesus-followers that they are to follow this call forward with or without the certainty of a particular job or method […]

Flirting With Faith Endorsements: Kind Words About My First Book

posted by Joan Ball

Flirting with Faith: My Spiritual Journey From Atheism to a Faith-Filled Life, is set to release on May 11, 2010. Over the coming weeks I will be posting some excerpts, a sample chapter or two and sharing the latest about […]

Americans Want More News Reporting on Religious and Spiritual Issues According to New Pew Study…

posted by Joan Ball

A recent Pew Research Forum study titled “Understanding the Participatory News Customer“, shows that many Americans view religion and spirituality is an underreported area in the news. According to the report: “41% of Americans say there is not enough coverage […]

Gospel Singer and Author Alvin Slaughter Kicks off 30-Days to “Reinvent Your Life”

posted by Joan Ball

If you’ve never heard of Alvin Slaughter, today might be a good day to connect with this world-renowned gospel artist and his friends as some fun, devoted and enthusiastic people spend the next 30 days working together to shake some […]

Poetry, Facebook and Wondering What it Means to Live a Little…

posted by Joan Ball

If you have never denied your want, how do you know how hunger feels? If you have never given up,how do you learn to receive? If you have never sat with emptiness,out of what do you fashion your hope? These […]

Victorian Sex Education: A Long Road From Here to Snookie…

posted by Joan Ball

My friend Andrea posted this on Facebook. As I read it and consider this image of female sexuality against the very different yet equally challenging images young women receive today via television, the Internet and other sources, I can’t help […]

My Husband Martin’s Take on Our Decision to Give Up the Right to Be Right for Lent

posted by Joan Ball

Allow me to introduce my husband Martin. He is an artist, a musician and a student of graphic design. He is also the other half of my endeavor to give up the right to be right for lent. Rather than […]

Renee Johnson Blog Tour: New Daily Devotional for Young Adults Now Available

posted by Joan Ball

New author Renee Johnson and I have communicated through social networks and by telephone. She is at once enthusiastic and complex in her pursuit of her passion for writing and speaking and her desire to understand the challenges of balancing […]

Patience, Tolerance and Lent: Giving Up the Right to be Right

posted by Joan Ball

So last year was the first time I tried to practice lent. I wish I could say it was a wonderful and spiritually enlightening experience, but I have to admit that I failed not once, but twice to stick to […]

What if the Money Spent on This Year’s Superbowl Went to Helping People?

posted by Joan Ball

As people across the nation prepare to spend this evening eating, drinking and consuming millions of dollars in television advertisements before, during and after the Super Bowl, this story of a family in Atlanta offers a contrasting view of how […]

True Confessions: (Finally) Coming Clean on My Dirty Little Secret…

posted by Joan Ball

Got home from the hospital last night following an unexpected three day stay that included lots of tests and a few odd physical episodes of unknown origin that quacked like seizures but didn’t quite walk like them. I will spare […]

Can You Reach Your Goals by Doing Less?

posted by Joan Ball

I was asked in an interview last week, what was my favorite Bible verse. While it seemed like an odd question to me, like asking for my favorite musical chord or favorite ingredient in a cake, I did the right […]

Glimmer of Hope In Haiti…

posted by Joan Ball

Found this shot on my friend Jesse Rice’s blog, depicting a little boy being rescued from the rubble in Haiti after being trapped for 8 days. The joy on his face and the face of these rescuers is a glimmer […]

Another Strong Earthquake Hits Haiti…Lord Have Mercy

posted by Joan Ball

Much has been written about where God has or has not been in the days following the devastating 7.0 earthquake in Haiti. This morning it was reported that another quake, this one a 6.1 on the Richter scale, shook the […]

Former Sudanese Child Soldier Emmanual Jal Tells His Story

posted by Joan Ball

Emmanual Jal was a child soldier in Sudan who escaped to Ethiopia in an excruciating months-long journey across the desert, came to faith when he faced the dilemma of whether or not to eat his friend to survive, and is […]

Pat Robertson, Martin Luther King, Jr. and What it Means to Love Our Enemies

posted by Joan Ball

I never imagined that I would (finally) find my response to Pat Robertson’s controversial (and unfortunate) statement on the earthquake in Haiti in my reflection on the life and writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Having spent the week […]

To the Woman in the Rubble: Blogger Shelia Mullican Helps Personify News from Haiti

posted by Joan Ball

TO THE WOMAN IN THE RUBBLE by Shelia Mullican, Blogger at Anam Cara  I am unable to escape your eyes.  Frightened.  Imploring.  I wonder…what had this day been like for you? Were you on your way to the market?  Were you working […]

Thoughts and Soul Searching on Haiti…

posted by Joan Ball

I’ve done more reading than writing about the earthquake in Haiti today. Dozens of news articles and blog posts unpacking what is happening on the ground, how many millions of people have been impacted, where donations can be sent and […]

Congratulations Chris Wiles!

posted by Joan Ball

I am pleased to announce that reader Chris Wiles is the winner of the Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places book giveaway. Chris’ name was chosen at random from the group of people who commented on each of the four […]

Robin Hood Morality: From Abbie Hoffman to the Mortgage Crisis

posted by Joan Ball

In 1971, Abbie Hoffman urged Baby Boomers, then in their teens and 20s, to Steal This Book as a call to arms for “the Robin Hoods of Santa Barbara Forest to steal from the robber barons who own the castles of capitalism.”  According to […]

When a Boulder Becomes a Pebble: Last Chance to Win a Copy of Stone Crossings

posted by Joan Ball

This is the last of four reflections on L.L. Barkat’s fantastic book Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places. Comment on each of the four posts between now and 6:00 p.m. this evening and your name will be included in a random […]

Reflections on Beverly Cleary and Stone Crossings: Book Giveaway Day 3

posted by Joan Ball

This is the third of four reflections on L.L. Barkat’s fantastic book Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places that will run here daily until Sunday, January 10. Comment on each of the four posts between now and 6:00 p.m. Sunday and […]

Your Life is Perfect: Stone Crossings Book Giveaway Day 2

posted by Joan Ball

This is the second of four reflections on L.L. Barkat’s fantastic book Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places that will run here daily until Sunday, January 10. Comment on each of the four posts between now and 6:00 p.m. Sunday and […]

Win a Copy of L.L. Barkat’s Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places!

posted by Joan Ball

This is the first of four reflections on L.L. Barkat’s fantastic book Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places that will run here daily until Sunday, January 10. Comment on each of the four posts between now and 6:00 p.m. […]

Brit Hume Tells Tiger Woods: Turn from Buddhism to Christianity

posted by Joan Ball

Thoughts?

Cafeteria Faith…

posted by Joan Ball

I read a blog post yesterday in which a woman referred to herself as a “cafeteria Catholic.” I’d never heard the term, which she said was a derogatory description for people who pick and choose to follow parts of her […]

New Year. New Decade. Now What?

posted by Joan Ball

I’ve been reading a lot of blog posts, newspaper articles and email newsletters written by people who seem to have a handle of their intentions are for 2010. Whether listed under the heading of resolutions, goals, guiding principles or dreams […]

Pepsi Giving Away Up to $1.3 Million a Month to Folks Like You Who Want to Do Good In 2010

posted by Joan Ball

Have you ever thought you might get a great project off the ground in your community — “if you only had the money?” Well the Pepsi Refresh Project is giving away millions of dollars in grants in 2010 to individuals, […]

Managing Christmas Expectations: The Line Between Merry and Bah-Humbug

posted by Joan Ball

What makes for a Merry Christmas?  Receiving the perfect gift?  Setting an HGTV-ready table?  Parents doing just the right things with/for their kids?  Kids expressing just the right amount of gratitude to their parents?  What makes for a Bah-humbug Christmas? […]

Random Acts of Kindness Make Great Christmas Gifts…

posted by Joan Ball

Just found myself on the receiving end of a random act of kindness.  A big one.  A meaningful one.  An unexpected act of grace that will free me up and allow me to get some much needed rest.  Forget the […]

On the 10th Day of Community: Anne Jackson

posted by Joan Ball

I don’t pretend to know Anne Jackson. Sure, I know she is a writer and a speaker and that she has worked in churches. I know that she has a relatively popular blog called Flowerdust.net, a published book called Mad […]

12 Days of Community: Win a Trip with NY Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof

posted by Joan Ball

Have you ever wanted to know what it would be like to be an investigative journalist – traveling to the furthest and most dangerous regions of the world to give a voice to the voiceless by reporting on harrowing stories […]

12 Days of Community: L.L. Barkat

posted by Joan Ball

High Calling Blogs managing editor L.L. Barkat turns online promotion on its head this holiday season with her newest innovation – 12 Days of Community. The premise? Spend the next week and a half shining light on the work of others in […]

Love Thy Neighbor is not a Piece of Advice, It’s a Command: Preach It Bono

posted by Joan Ball

A New Twist on Christmas Shopping? Check Out the Advent Conspiracy

posted by Joan Ball

Advent Conspiracy – Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

What comes to mind when you think of an Evangelical Christian from Texas?

posted by Joan Ball

Matt Chandler is a 35 year-old pastor of a church with three large campuses in and around Dallas, TX. He’s been there for seven years and has overseen the growth of the church from hundreds to thousands of members during […]

Determined: One Image, One Word Meditation from Spencer Burke

posted by Joan Ball

MONOTATION – one image, one word – Visual meditations to create space for personal reflection. Created by Spencer Burke. http://MONOTATION.com – Some images are available for personal use on a variety of products athttp://www.zazzle.com/MONOTATION*

Nothing Like a Visit to the ER to Shake Loose a Little Gratitude…

posted by Joan Ball

I had a little trouble writing a gratitude list in a post last week. It’s not that I was feeling particularly ungrateful – just a little tired and a little blah as the days moved toward Thanksgiving. The holiday passed easily. […]

Black Friday Treat: My New Favorite Christmas Song by Katie Rice…

posted by Joan Ball

I met singer/songwriter Katie Rice about a month ago at a weekend retreat. The moment we greeted one another in the great room of the house we shared with a dozen or so fellow wanderers I sensed something in her […]

Gratitude List…

posted by Joan Ball

While we don’t need to wait for Thanksgiving to write a gratitude list, it’s not a bad time to reflect and say thank you. Here are some of the things I have to be grateful for today… My husband and […]

Rest…

posted by Joan Ball

I am not great at resting.  Even when I have the time (which is rare) I find myself either filling my rest time with activity or retreating completely (i.e. a day or two at Holy Cross monastery) in order to […]

Living Christian: Are We Geniuses in the Art of Living?

posted by Joan Ball

“What does it mean to live a Christian life?  A simple question that has been asked and answered in countless books and sermons. The faithful and those that would call them to task wrestle with it and set out with […]

Living Christian: Do Christians Really Help Others?

posted by Joan Ball

Woke this morning thinking about the scripture that says the early Christians liquidated all they had and used it to serve God and one another.  44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they […]

How Would Jesus Respond to the Charter for Compassion?: John Barry Weighs In

posted by Joan Ball

This is the second in a series of guest posts from Christian scholars and thinkers regarding what Jesus might have made of the Charter for Compassion developed in response to religious scholar and TED Prize winner Karen Armstrong’s wish to […]

Monotation: One Image, One Word Meditation from Spencer Burke

posted by Joan Ball

Here’s another Monotation from Spencer Burke, founder of the Ooze.com, and creator of these visual meditations with a single associated word meant to create space for personal reflection.  Tired and on deadline for my book today, this one helped me remember that, while circumstances […]

How Would Jesus Respond to the Charter for Compassion?: Phyllis Tickle Weighs In

posted by Joan Ball

When religious scholar and author Karen Armstrong accepted the TED prize in February, 2008, she, like other recipients of the prize, shared a wish for the betterment of society. The former Roman Catholic nun who refers to herself as a […]

Mountain Advance Phase One: Fail

posted by Joan Ball

I am writing from a crowded Terminal A at Washington/Dulles Airport. The fact that I am here at all is a mini-miracle since my 9:25 a.m. flight out of Newark, N.J. was actually a 9:25 a.m. flight out of LaGuardia […]

Monotation: One Image, One Word Meditation from Spencer Burke

posted by Joan Ball

I love this idea. A visual mediation with a single associated word meant to create space for personal reflection. The Polaroid Camera frame adds to the charm of what creator Spencer Burke, founder of the Ooze.com, calls a Monotation. He posts […]

C.S. Lewis on Devils…

posted by Joan Ball

There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves […]

Extreme Faith (and Extreme Skepticism) as Excess?

posted by Joan Ball

A frequent visitor on the blog – a vocal skeptic who has made clear a rather biting disdain for religion and the faithful – left the following comment on a post a few days ago. These thoughts on excess, standards for skepticism […]

Lest My Spiritually Interested Friends and I Begin to Take Ourselves Too Seriously…

posted by Joan Ball

Time Travel…

posted by Joan Ball

I was thinking about time today. How we spend it. What we do with it.  How we set priorities.  Got me wondering… 1) If you could travel anywhere in the world at any time in history where would you go?  […]

Good Without God?: Atheist Advertising Campaign on NYC Subways Causes a Stir

posted by Joan Ball

There is much ado in some circles about a month-long advertising campaign scheduled to begin Monday. The “atheist ad”, as the Huffington Post, Associated Press and others tag it poses the question: “A million New Yorkers are good without God, are you?” The campaign, […]

Aging, Humility and Perspective: A Dose of Reality From An Honest 13 Year Old

posted by Joan Ball

My 13 year old niece posted the following note about “life going by so quick” on her Facebook status and I couldn’t resist responding. Check out her reply and you’ll understand why this 43 year-old titled the post age, humility […]

Must We Sacrifice Everything for Success?: Sorry Chris Brogan, I’m Not Buying It…

posted by Joan Ball

Chris Brogan is a thought leader in social media circles. I, like many other people interested in connecting through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Ning, etc., receive updates and nuggets of online community wisdom from him in my email inbox once a […]

“We Christians are a Bunch of Scheming Swindlers.” Pretty Harsh, Mr. Kierkegaard.

posted by Joan Ball

Picked up this quote from Soren Kierkegaard on my friend Peter Walker’s blog today. For me, it dovetails with yesterday’s question regarding the point at which believing may or may not become poor judgement. Kierkegaard writes: “The matter is quite simple. The […]

At What Point Does Believing in God Become Poor Judgement?

posted by Joan Ball

A friend and I had a Facebook dialog yesterday that was precipitated by a news story about a couple whose 11 year-old daughter died of a curable diabetic condition while they and a group of people chose to pray rather than […]

More Than 32,000 Americans Lost to Suicide Every Year

posted by Joan Ball

Depression, hopelessness, anxiety, self-harming behavior and suicide – growing problems that are frequently hushed in our schools, families, workplaces and churches. Why is it that the plight of some of the most needy and troubled people in our society, the […]

Which Book Cover Do You Like Better?

posted by Joan Ball

There’s Something About Mary…and Free Books

posted by Joan Ball

I don’t know what to make of the Virgin Mary. People of various Christian traditions have such widely divergent viewpoints on her role in both the early church and worship today that it is easy to become confused. I’ve been […]

Who Are You? What Are You Passionate About?

posted by Joan Ball

I submitted one of the simplest and most interesting applications I’ve ever encountered today.     It consisted of two simple, yet thought-provoking questions with a 125-word limit on the answers. The first: Who are you? The second: If you […]

Atonement…

posted by Joan Ball

Today is Yom Kippur, the culmination of the high holy days that extend from the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, to the day of atonement, Yom Kippur.   I never thought much about these holidays beyond days off in public […]

More Thoughts on Success…and Failure: Alain de Botton at TED

posted by Joan Ball

Justice is impossible to achieve, consumption is more about needing love than wanting stuff and a society without some kind of transcendent focus (i.e. God, gods, nature, etc.) leaves its citizens with little choice but to make themselves the God […]

The Secret to My Success…and Satisfaction

posted by Joan Ball

I came up for air this morning after a week of juggling final book edits, beginning a new semester of teaching, attempting to get ahead of my studies, and trying to get into the groove of a new school year […]

They Don’t Make Them Like This Anymore: Rest in Peace Patrick Swayze

posted by Joan Ball

Dirty dancing final Patrick Swayze Uploaded by laetitoumi – Watch more music videos, in HD!

September 11…

posted by Joan Ball

In this StoryCorps recording, retired New York City firefighter John Vigiano Sr. remembers his sons, John Jr., a firefighter, and Joe, a policeman (photo below), both of whom died at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. I do not […]

Obama and Health Insurance…

posted by Joan Ball

I’ll admit it. I don’t know enough about health insurance or the complexities of the US budget to know whether or not the Obama healthcare proposal is feasible. Based solely on the he-said, she-said of television pundits and little in-depth […]

Prepared Remarks of President Obama Back to School Event: You Decide…

posted by Joan Ball

Prepared Remarks of President Barack ObamaBack to School Event via Whitehouse Arlington, VirginiaSeptember 8, 2009 The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all […]

Calm Within the Storm and Keeping Our Priorities Straight: Is it Possible?

posted by Joan Ball

If you’re anything like me you have more on your plate than there are hours in the day. I’m not complaining, mind you. My to-do list is filled with things I love to do – teaching great kids at a […]

Letting Go: We Cry “My Hut! My Hut!” as the Castle Awaits Our Arrival

posted by Joan Ball

“Letting go is a painful prcess filled with both grief and coming alive at the same time. One part of us clings to the old familiar and fractured portions of ourself as the new emerging unfamiliar nature of our true […]

Snippets From “The Stone” by Sara: Age 12

posted by Joan Ball

I asked L.L. Barkat, author of Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in the Hard and Hidden Places when it was that she’d become a writer. She answered with a typically simple, yet thoughtful response, “I don’t know…was it when I wrote, illustrated and […]

The Devil You Know…

posted by Joan Ball

The following comment from kenneth on yesterday’s post, Why Is It So Hard to Let Go of Our Shortcomings?, provides an interesting take on the question of letting go. What do you think of his assertion that we would prefer […]

Why is It So Hard to Let Go of Our Shortcomings?

posted by Joan Ball

Whether pursued through therapy, recovery or spiritual endeavors, sustained transformational change of heart, mind and life is difficult to achieve. Who hasn’t made and broken a commitment to get more organized, stop smoking, quit drinking, work more, work less, stop […]

Move Over Joe Camel: The Pole Dance Doll is Marketing to a Little Girl Near You…

posted by Joan Ball

The question of societal morality has long centered around the question of age. “What happens in Vegas…” and “to each his own” arguments normally assume (whether true in reality or not) that the “what” is happening is among consenting adults. […]

Who’s the Saddest Person You Know?

posted by Joan Ball

With just days between now and back-to-school, its time to play catch up on a long list of have-to-dos and want-to-dos that were either lost or buried in the shuffle over the course of a very busy summer. Of course […]

Simple Thoughts on Self-Help, Faith and Economic Stimulus

posted by Joan Ball

I came across an NPR headline this morning that reads, “World Emerging From Deep Slump, But Can it Last?” The article points to economic indicators in Europe, Asia and the United States that hint at a possible end to the […]

The Fine Line Between Winding Down and Unraveling…

posted by Joan Ball

It shouldn’t have taken longer than a day or two to contemplate the driving pace I’ve been maintaining since January, slap myself on the hand for not putting into practice the balance lessons I’ve learned over the past 5 or […]

Is is Possible to Pursue our Passions and Live a Simple Life?

posted by Joan Ball

I slept until 10:30 this morning and (I”ll admit it) it is 11:30 and I am writing this from bed. Martin, who left at 7 a.m. to help his father with something, got back about an hour ago and is […]

You Know That Thing You Always Wanted to Do? You Can Actually Do It

posted by Joan Ball

Just finished the first class in my PhD program. Six credits down and 54 to go…ouch. Beginning new things, especially things with a long timetable or uncertain outcome, can sometimes feel so daunting that it seems more prudent not the […]

Living a Paradox and Avoiding Hypocricy: A Christian/Human Dilemma

posted by Joan Ball

Paradox: A statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth i.e. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my [Christ’s] power is made perfect in weakness.”Hypocrite: A person who pretends to have virtues, […]

Civil Disobedience and the Mortgage Crisis: An Idea Whose Time Has Come or Old Tactics in a New World?

posted by Joan Ball

I received this note on Facebook a few moments ago from Mark Van Steenwyk, member of and urban intentional community called Missio Dei and blogger/editor at Jesus Manifesto.  Made me wonder what, if any, place traditional civil disobedience has in a […]

God is Like My Mom, The Bag Lady: A Story by Pam Heatley

posted by Joan Ball

I came across this great story by Pam Heatley, Director of Ministry at Vision Community Church and blogger at Steel-Spined Soul. It made me think of my mother who, before she passed away a little over a year ago, was always one to […]

Good Advice: Is There Any Such Thing?

posted by Joan Ball

Amazed that it has been 10 years since this video, based upon an essay written by Chicago Tribune writer Mary Schmich, first came out. Shows how, even in our hyped up, fast-forward world, good advice is sometimes just good advice…

What’s In a Name?: Power, Respect and Earning Your Title

posted by Joan Ball

Came across a blog post this morning that got me thinking. The topic was the use of titles – in this case whether or not pastors should be referred to as, well…pastor. The author, Mike Foster of Deadly Viper, states: […]

Are You a Jesus Poser? Am I?

posted by Joan Ball

I spent this weekend in Connecticut with my husband Martin and our son, Ian. It was a short little jaunt, built around the Connecticon Anime Convention, a tribute to Japanese animation, comic arts and video games. This was our second […]

Post Secret Church Version: Permission to Speak Freely by Anne Jackson

posted by Joan Ball

I am a big fan of Post-Secret, an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard with sometimes funny, sometimes startling, sometimes heartbreaking results. That’s why I was thrilled to read […]

I Have No Idea What I Would Ask Jesus…

posted by Joan Ball

Okay, I’ll admit it. I posed a question to my 11 year old son Ian over dinner earlier this week that I cannot answer myself. I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t know it when I shared the […]

Every Single One of Us Has a Story to Tell: What’s Yours?

posted by Joan Ball

From Daniel Clowes not-yet-published graphic novel, Wilson, via the Speaking of Faith Observed blog. So tell me…what’s your story?

What Would You Ask Jesus?

posted by Joan Ball

My husband Martin, son Ian and friend Andrea sat tonight drinking coffee and discussing outlandish dreams. What power, ability or experience we would love to have if there were no limits. It was an impractical exercise that broke down like […]

An Artist’s Vision of the Sovereignty of God via The Jesus Manifesto

posted by Joan Ball

I came across the following comment written by mariakirby (screen name), in response to a post called “Summer Theology” on The Jesus Manifesto website. I don’t know mariakirby, but she paints such beautiful word pictures of her understanding of the […]

Who I Am and What I Have: Andrea’s Tattoo Story

posted by Joan Ball

I love it when great posts lead to equally great comments. Here’s another tattoo story written in response to Diane’s “Beautiful Tattoo” post yesterday… Who I Am and What I Have: Andrea’s Tattoo Story I also have a tattoo but […]

Growing Up “Ugly”: The Story of Diane’s Beautiful Tattoo

posted by Joan Ball

I “met” Diane first through her writing at the Burnside Writer’s Blog and later during a long and surprisingly deep chat on Facebook. I hope to meet her in person one day, but for now I am honored to share […]

Walter Cronkite and the Death of Trust

posted by Joan Ball

“Newsman Walter Cronkite, who died at the age of 92, was so thoroughly and uniquely linked with the word “trust” that it is tempting to say that the word should be buried with him. In the generation since he left […]

Fallibility is a Great Achievement…

posted by Joan Ball

A frequent commenter here on the blog who goes by the name Credis Dervish posted the following four lines across two comments yesterday in response to my Submit: The New S-Word post. Credis is a self-described anti-theist, a piece of […]

Submit: The New ‘S-Word’

posted by Joan Ball

So, I seem to have really stepped in it with my “What Does it Mean to be a Christian Woman” post on Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed blog earlier this week. It appears that my initial experience with the Bible and […]

GUEST POST: Dr. Suzan Johnson-Cook: Taking Care of our Physical and Spiritual Health

posted by Joan Ball

This is a guest posts from Dr. Suzan Johnson-Cook, Author, Speaker, Senior Pastor at the Bronx Christian Fellowship Church in New York and Founder of Wall Street Wednesdays, a mid-week service that has been held for more than a decade in the heart of […]

On Being a Christian Woman: Guest Post with Scot McKnight on Jesus Creed

posted by Joan Ball

Scot asked me to expand upon an email conversation we had last week regarding what it was like for me to approach the multitude of teachings regarding Christian womanhood for the first time as an adult convert to the faith. […]

The Nature of God and the Bible?

posted by Joan Ball

Came across the following thought-provoking definition of the nature of the Bible in an online text written by one of my professors.  “The Bible is the record of…Divine breakthroughs into human history. ‘God’s search for man,’ it is described, rather than […]

Bigger! Better! Faster! More!: On Art, Buzz and Selling Out

posted by Joan Ball

It is starting to really hit me. I wrote a book and it comes out in April. Sure, there are things to do between now and then, but the train is rolling and I am on it. The writing part […]

Guest Post from Dr. Suzan Johnson-Cook: Summer, Selah and Sabbatical

posted by Joan Ball

Summer is here in the US, a season many of us long for. I love being outdoors in warm weather, especially being from the east coast where we only get two very hot months. It’s the time when I plan […]

Michael Jackson: An Icon Representing What?

posted by Joan Ball

I’ve been thinking a lot about Michael Jackson. How can you help it? His life and death and music is all over the media. It has eclipsed news about Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Between Michael, Farrah, Ed, Billy and […]

Calling All Storytellers: The Witch and the Christian Part 2

posted by Joan Ball

This is the second part of a previous post where I introduced kenneth, a commenter on the blog whose spiritual journey has taken him from Catholicism to Paganism. Toward the end of his story, he makes a statement that I found […]

So, a Witch and Christian walk into this blog…Part 1

posted by Joan Ball

Internet communication on blogs, Facebook, Twitter and the like seem to receive either high praise or deep concern with regard to the future of interpersonal communication. On the one hand, there are those who text, Tweet and update their status […]

What Kind of Christian Are You?

posted by Joan Ball

Sitting on a black leather covered banquette in a funky basement performance space in the East Village last night while a group of passionate and talented writers read smart, often hilarious, stories about their bumbling, stumbling and wrangling toward faith, […]

What’s In Your Hands?: Guest Post from Dr. Sujay

posted by Joan Ball

A guest post from Dr. Suzan Johnson-Cook (Dr. Sujay) Last week we asked, “Whose Hands is it in?”  This week, I’d like to focus on “What’s in your hands?” Moses was an amazing figure in Biblical history. In fact, many […]

Michael Jackson: Prodigy? Monster? Does it Matter?

posted by Joan Ball

Michael Jackson was a cultural icon, an amazing talent, a child prodigy and, unfortunately, a person whose personal issues ran so deep that he spent many years hurting himself and others. I can only know what I read about this […]

Creativity, Love and Wisdom: A Poem by Talia Pittaluga at Age 9

posted by Joan Ball

Most people who frequent this blog know that both of my parents passed away last spring. They were young by today’s standards, 65 and 67. My mother was sick for some time and succumbed to kidney cancer in April. My […]

A Parable of Change, Growth and Turning Things Around

posted by Joan Ball

There Is a Hole in My Sidewalk: Autobiography in Five Short ChaptersBy Portia Nelson, sent to me by a good friend. Chapter OneI walk down the street.There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.I fall in.I am lost…I am helpless.It isn’t […]

GUEST POST: Dr. Suzan Johnson-Cook. Our Nation: Whose Hands is it In?

posted by Joan Ball

This is the first of seven weekly guest posts from Dr. Suzan Johnson-Cook, Author, Speaker, Senior Pastor at the Bronx Christian Fellowship Church in New York and Founder of Wall Street Wednesdays, a mid-week service that has been held for […]

What is That?: A Greek Parable for Father’s Day

posted by Joan Ball

 

Happy Father’s Day?

posted by Joan Ball

I’ve never been big on anniversary-type, annual celebrations. I always have to do the math to figure out how long I’ve been married (12 or 13 years) or how long I’ve been sober (one more year than married) and I […]

Good Times and Black Jesus…

posted by Joan Ball

I was 8 when this Good Times episode ran. Not sure if I saw it then, although the program was a family staple back in the days when we only got three network channels and PBS. It wasn’t until I […]

Have Random Acts of Kindness Become an Oddity?

posted by Joan Ball

Why is it that we are so surprised when people do wonderful, selfless, one-sided, things for us?   I’m talking about those times when we have a need – expressed or hidden – and someone senses it and fills it […]

Dr. Suzan Johnson-Cook Returns to D.C. for Mid-day Worship Project

posted by Joan Ball

Does Washington D.C. Need a Spiritual Stimulus Package? Reverend Dr. Suzan Johnson-Cook, the woman that the New York times described as “Billy Graham and Oprah rolled into one,” thinks so – and she is bringing it in the form of […]

It’s Never Too Late to be What You Might Have Been…

posted by Joan Ball

A George Eliot quote on a framed handprinted greeting card sits on the fireplace mantle in my living room. It reads: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” I thought of it when I saw this video. […]

Just Do It: Wisdom and Encouragement From Mother Teresa

posted by Joan Ball

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.Love them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do […]

Swine Flu (H1N1) Declared First Pandemic of 21st Century by WHO: Now What?

posted by Joan Ball

The Swine Flu (H1N1) moved through the US news cycle like Britney Spears or Paris Hilton. Much ado…and then nothing. Yet, schools still closed in New York and three people – a 2 year old, a teenager and a person […]

What is Faith?

posted by Joan Ball

I know, ridiculous question, right? I mean faith is…faith. It is belief in something unseen. It is…I don’t know…it’s…faith. There are some words that we use (and sometimes abuse) but rarely do we consider with intention what it is that […]

Some Truth is Not Relative: The Fine Line Between Support and Butting In

posted by Joan Ball

Truth gets a bad rap these days. The notion that something can be true rather than relative gets all wrapped up in our ethnic and cultural differences and ongoing power struggles about who has the right to tell whom what […]

The Inward-Outward Journey: I’ve Got a Long Way to Go

posted by Joan Ball

“I have never gone to sleep with a grievance against anyone. And, as far as I could, I have never let anyone go to sleep with a grievance against me.” -Abba Agathon, monk (4th/5th century)  Could you imagine?  Being so […]

Turning 43: Mid-life, No Crisis…

posted by Joan Ball

I have a birthday that stops people in their tracks. An elder Generation Xer, I was born on June 6, 1966. Yup. 6.6.66. People at motor vehicle and police officers stopping me for speeding (I have always had a lead […]

Getting Away from it All: How Do You Refresh and Renew?

posted by Joan Ball

My friend went camping alone yesterday. She and a 50 lb backpack hit the trail for the night so she could find some peace. I’m about to jump in the shower, have a quick coffee with Martin, then spend the […]

Monday Gratitude List…

posted by Joan Ball

I have a roof over my head, food to eat and money to pay (most of) my bills. My husband and I are best friends. All three of my kids are healthy and happy AT THE SAME TIME! I’ve found […]

Taking Steps to Fight the Sex Trade…

posted by Joan Ball

Brian Wurzell, a fellow blogger at ConversantLife.com, posted this interview with three young women who are going beyond change-the-world rhetoric and putting their money, time and energy where there mouths are to combat the international sex trade. Bethany Hoang, Jeannie […]

Canary in a Coal Mine…

posted by Joan Ball

Woke up this morning with the chorus ‘Canary in a Coal Mine’ by the Police running through my head. (That’s Sting’s old band, for you young’uns.)  I couldn’t remember the verses. Just a continuous loop – canary in a coal […]

Who Do You Trust and Why Do You Trust Them?

posted by Joan Ball

I can’t stop thinking about trust. Who we trust, why we trust them and how behavior and decision-making is impacted by our answers to those questions.  It started with the Swine Flu. The CDC and World Health Organization were conducting […]

God Loves Me, But Not Her…

posted by Joan Ball

I came across the following exchange on Facebook… Status update: “I know God loves me, but how could God love **her**?” What do I do with that? Response… Admit that it is a good point. That unconditional love is ridiculous. […]

Memorial Day in New York: A Small Town Story…

posted by Joan Ball

My parents moved my three brothers, my sister and myself out of Brooklyn to a small town about 50 miles northwest of the City when I was in elementary school. It was a nervy move. They were in their 20s, […]

Hello, My Name is Joan and I Remember…

posted by Joan Ball

An old friend posted this short poem by Charles Bukowski on his Facebook page yesterday and it has been haunting me ever since. I am not sure what was going through his mind when he shared the link, but it recalled for […]

What Is One Thing You Plan to Do Today that Makes Your Heart Sing?

posted by Joan Ball

What do you love to do? Forget practicality. Forget whether you have the time or the money or the education or skills. Forget everything that is on your plate or what is possible. What is that thing that makes your […]

Some Teaching on Being Teachable…

posted by Joan Ball

More honest and transparent wisdom from reader/commenter/friend Andrea in response to On Being Teachable: This Dog Wants to Learn Some New Tricks… I was contemplating your question and looking at the ways in which I am teachable. I started to […]

On Being Teachable: This Dog Wants To Learn Some New Tricks

posted by Joan Ball

What is it that makes it so hard to remain teachable? Seems like the older I get the more prone I am to pick up a bias or embrace and absolute. This despite both knowing better and making a personal […]

Happy (Bad) Mother’s Day: A Message for the Rest of Us

posted by Joan Ball

Mother’s Day is upon us. I can’t tell you how many times I approached this Hallmark holiday with a sense of obligation. Both as a daughter and a mother, I frequently found myself feeling put upon as I attended a […]

What’s a Beatitude?

posted by Joan Ball

There are some terms that are thrown around by Christians who grew up in church as if the rest of us actually might know what they mean – yet, there are many people in and outside of the church that […]

Connecting Online…

posted by Joan Ball

I blog here at Beliefnet.com and at ConversantLife.com. On Twitter I’m @joanpball and I am one of several Joan Balls from New York on Facebook. I keep up with past students and professional business contacts on LinkedIn and have my eyes […]

Allow Me to Reintroduce the Christ: Poet Blair Wingo

posted by Joan Ball

A Crisis of Trust? What the Swine Flu Say About Us

posted by Joan Ball

The news and tracking of the swine flu has my old crisis communications juices flowing. In the 1990s I spent several years as the lead communicator for a nuclear power plant on the east coast. One of my primary responsibilities […]

The Swine Who Cried Wolf: How Mass Media and a Decade of Emergencies Has Desensitized a Nation

posted by Joan Ball

I don’t know whether or not Swine Flu, Mexican Flu, American Flu or whatever they decide to finally call it will elevate to pandemic proportions. I do not know if the death of the young boy in Texas reported this […]

Fear, Faith and Swine Flu: Learning to Live with Uncertainty

posted by Joan Ball

Lots of people are talking about, writing about and tracking the progress of the swine flu. The CDC, WHO and Department of Homeland Security are providing regular updates. Reporters, bloggers and Twitterers are providing lists of symptoms, prevention measures and, […]

Sage Advice on Grief and Mourning: Maybe Facebook Isn’t So Evil After All…

posted by Joan Ball

Much has been written about the dangers of social networking, including concern over Facebook as an addiction or a substitute for genuine face-to-face relationships with real people. Like any other tool, it holds the potential to do harm or good […]

Are You Addicted to Facebook? Take This Test and Find Out

posted by Joan Ball

I found this simple 15-question questionnaire linked to a CNN article on Facebook addiction. It was written by Paula Pile, a marriage and family therapist who practices in Greensboro, North Carolina. She states in the article that she’d had three […]

A Tribute to My Mother on the Anniversary of Her Death

posted by Joan Ball

My mother passed away one year ago today at age 65 a short three weeks after the death of my father who was 67. The following is a version of their story that I read at my mother’s funeral. I […]

Dr. Muhammad Yunus Brings Micro-finance to New York City

posted by Joan Ball

As organizations like Kiva, Acumen Fund and Grameen Bank become increasingly recognized for their efforts to use micro-finance and social business to help the poorest of the poor in developing nations to gain the credit they need to start small […]

Money, Greed, Envy and Gluttony are Cruel Masters…

posted by Joan Ball

Following up on a post titled, This I Believe: Money isn’t Everything, a faithful reader shared the following hard-hitting and thought-provoking wisdom. Thanks Andrea. Money is a cruel master, disguised as a bigger house, newer car, trendy clothes, impeccable lawn […]

This I Believe: Money Isn’t Everything…

posted by Joan Ball

I submitted an essay several months ago to a National Public Radio Program called This I Believe, an international project engaging people in writing, sharing, and discussing the core values that guide their daily lives. Browsing the archives is like a […]

Susan Boyle and the Eye of the Beholder

posted by Joan Ball

I am happy for Susan Boyle. I really am. A lifelong dream of singing in front of a large audience is realized and she rises to the challenge with a heartfelt delivery of a beautiful, challenging song. She is Cinderella, […]

What is it about Susan Boyle that Moves Us?

posted by Joan Ball

When I posted a link to a video of 47 year old Susan Boyle here yesterday under the simple heading, Are You Judgmental?, I had no idea that I was caught up in an online phenomenon that was about to catch the […]

Are You Judgmental?

posted by Joan Ball

Take a look at this and find out… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxPZh4AnWyk

Parable of a Parable: Philosopher Peter Rollins’ Spin on The Pearl of Great Price

posted by Joan Ball

I’d never heard of author and philosopher Peter Rollins when I met him at a conference in Memphis, Tennessee several months ago. In fact, we shared a couple of those “turn to your neighbor and discuss…” moments before I learned […]

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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