Selected posts from around our network of affiliated bloggers
A friend of mine recently posed this question on Facebook: Junior high girls braiding each other’s hair in church: appropriate or not? Considering this friend has never been a junior-high girl nor parented a junior-high girl, the question seemed sincere and did not bother me. What did bother me, however, was the frequency with which one particular word kept popping up in the comments: distracting.
For months, at the urging of my spiritual director, I have been praying to find my heart’s desire, to find that thing (not a person—I have those) that inspires me, energizes me; my flow. But you pray for something long enough, and the prayer goes unanswered, and eventually you stop praying for the thing.
There’s more than a year to go before the presidential election, and, already, I am weary of the campaign. When I can manage simply to view the candidates as performers, some talented and others not so much, and hear their speeches as scripts in an over-the-top television series, the political news is entertaining.
Not a day that goes by that I don’t wonder if I chose the wrong profession. Friends who went to graduate school for disciplines other than theology—law, business, or medicine—pull in six figures; their lifestyles make me a bit envious. I heard a story on the radio recently of a CEO who makes $13,000 an hour (not, it turns out, an unusual CEO pay rate) and my first thought was, “I’m young … I could still do that.”
I stared at the headline for a while in mute silence: “Austrian police say up to 50 migrants’ bodies found in truck.” It’s the kind of headline that you read and think, “Whatever awful realities will unfold underneath those words, they surely shouldn’t be nicely filed there on the side bar of a website, right underneath news of Celine Dion returning to perform in Las Vegas or Apple’s latest “media event” or the latest round of lies promises being served up by politicians on the election trail today. They shouldn’t be nicely filed anywhere. But there they are.
In my much younger years, I remember having heated arguments with my parents about money—but not the kind of arguments you might expect. My parents tried to train us to have good money sense, which included talking about how we would spend our money. In my rebellious years, I didn't think I should give money to charity. I had an attitude that might be typical: "I earned it; why should I give it to charity? What did they do to deserve any of my money?" We may have been the only family talking about the idea of tithing as we ate our family meals.
Fifty years ago on Thanksgiving Day, a group of friends shared a festive meal in a former Episcopal church in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. First constructed in 1829 as St. James Chapel, then enlarged and renamed as Trinity Church in 1866, the white wooden structure, with pointed Gothic windows, steeply pitched roof and tall attached tower displays the Platonic ideal of a New England church, the transcendent anchor of so many Northeastern towns. But its congregation had dwindled over the years. In 1964 it was deconsecrated and sold to Alice and Ray Brock, who put a bedroom in the tower and made it their home.