During Holy Week, it's common for worship leaders to ask people to consider their place in the drama of Jesus' final days. To what extent do we betray him, deny him, insult him, crucify him? When do we, like the crowds, find ourselves gawking at suffering with prurient glee? When do we, like the thieves, alternately ridicule the truth, then believe in it? When do we, like the centurion, make our confession--though perhaps a moment too late?
Several years ago I taught a Sunday School class on the Saint John's Bible, a beautiful hand-calligraphed and illustrated version of the Bible that took several years and a whole team of artists to create. I showed the class a video about how the project came together, and the class was spellbound, as I knew they'd be. The illuminations make you want to lean into the scripture. The Saint John's Bible fosters awe and wonder toward the God who gives us not only the sacred story but also the artists who make it come alive.
Near the end of the video, the narrator shares the cost of this tremendous project.
After the anointing at Bethany, Judas asks why the fragrance wasn't sold and the money given to charity. A more apt question might be why Mary didn't use it on her brother Lazarus, dead just a few days before.
We’re hearing that the couple who killed 14 people San Bernardino were “radicalized” before they even met and married. Many are wondering what exactly makes someone become similarly radicalized. Others are anticipating that Donald Trump’s inflammatory proposals would not make us safer, but in fact give a great boost to ISIS’s effort to radicalize recruits to their cause.
I had a great time last weekend with the folks at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlotte. For their all-church retreat they chose the theme The Improvising God: A New Theology for an Imperfect World.
Three years after the publication of Sabbath in the Suburbs, I continue to speak to groups about our family’s experience of taking a day each week for rest and play (which looks very different now than it did during the year-long experiment, but that’s another post).
People who’ve read the book will notice that we didn’t spend the day doing “holy” activities.
They can’t pay you enough money to do a job you hate.
I have a lot of lasting memories of my grandfather—homegrown tomatoes, “Heart and Soul” duets on the piano—but that’s the primary piece of wisdom I remember him passing along to me. And it’s a good one.
I’m reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me right now. It’s a dissonant experience because the language in the book is exquisite, and the truth of it is tough and hard.
I’m also reading Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, about the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to northern cities such as Chicago, Cleveland, and Washington, D.C., in the early 20th century.
The Internet is awash with reactions to Caitlyn Jenner’s photos in Vanity Fair magazine. Some thoughtful stuff, and plenty that’s predictably … less than thoughtful. I write this post with some trepidation, because there’s still much for me to learn, and I hope those who have walked this road will offer correction with a generous spirit, for it’s in that spirit that I write this.
A couple of weeks ago I led a workshop at the Festival of Homiletics called The Word in a 140-Character World: Faithful Preaching in the Digital Age. It was a variation on the Spirituality in the Smartphone Age material I’ve been presenting for a while now.
I speak and write a lot about technology, and at the heart of much of my work is discernment.
I was bequeathed a few of my father’s writings, which are precious artifacts to me. Some were written for publication; others are more personal. One of the more personal ones dealt with a simple home improvement project that went wrong. In addition to feeling frustrated, my dad began hearing his own father’s voice in his head, berating him for not knowing how to do something so simple.
Last week was spring break, and I’d promised the kids that I’d take them to the local trampoline park. They love the place . . . though I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the National Association of Orthopedic Surgeons is a major shareholder.
For a few years I was what you might call tri-vocational: I pastored a church, I wrote books and spoke to groups and retreats, and I parented three elementary-age children along with my husband. Life was a wonderful crazy-quilt of scheduling: writing an article at the library down the street from the piano teacher, finishing a sermon in the bleachers at swim practice.
The other day our nine year old came home from school with a coin collection box for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. “Do you have any coins, Mommy?” she asked, and I sent her upstairs to raid the plastic jug on our dresser. The cardboard bank is now sitting on our kitchen table.
I’m a regular reader of Runner's World. Like most special-interest magazines, there’s a lot of repetition of ideas if you read long enough, but it’s excellent monthly motivation and entertainment for this unexpected hobby and lifestyle of mine.
As I drove home from breakfast with a church member recently, I caught the last 15 minutes of The Diane Rehm show on NPR. She and her panel were discussing the upcoming midterm elections. One of them shared a recent poll, in which only 15 percent of respondents said they were “closely following” the midterm elections. Among voters ages 18-29, that number is 5 percent.
The topic turned to voter turnout, especially among young people. How can we get young people to register and vote?