Selected posts from around our network of affiliated bloggers
Four times I’ve been pregnant during Advent. The first time. The second time. The third time. Now the fourth time. Four times I’ve teared up at all the hymns about waiting for a child. Four times I’ve connected with the stories of annunciation and visitation in a tender and touching way.
I was sitting in a hospital room one morning with a dear old saint whose last few years have involved being shuffled from home to home, to the hospital and back again, and whose next destination is unclear. At one point, this person looked at me with a mixture of sadness, resignation, and nearly defeated longing and said, “I’m a person with no address.”
Radicalization is the buzzword of the day. 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.
This Sunday we get . . . John the Baptist. Again? Really? Isn't it time for an angel to make an appearance? I'm tired of having John the Baptist call me a viper.
40,000 human skulls. They haunt me. Several weeks ago, I was in Europe, celebrating 25 years of marriage and visiting the towns along the Danube River. It was a wonderful trip—yet what I can’t get out of my mind is the sight of 40,000 neatly stacked human skulls, in the Sedlac Ossuary in Kutna Hora, a small town in the Czech Republic.
I think I'm getting a tiny taste of what it must feel like to be a typical Muslim at a typical mosque when people twist Islam to justify their hate or violence. It happens when I hear someone like Jerry Falwell Jr. encouraging Liberty University students to get concealed-carry permits so they would be able to "end those Muslims before they walked in."
A few weeks ago I was invited to breakfast with a few other pastors from my community. It was an ecumenical group, although no one said the word ecumenical. I was invited by one of the parents at my congregation's pre-school, a Catholic who loves our school and thinks it is awesome. He has been the instigator of a community "Faith Fest" for the last few years.
Every time there is a mass shooting, I imagine myself as a victim. Perhaps you've done the same. What would it feel like to be in the classroom ... the clinic ... at the Christmas party ... going about your daily life, only to see someone suddenly coming toward you with weapons? What would you do—what would you say—if the weapon were pointed at you? What does it feel like to have a bullet enter your body, to watch your blood pour out? To think, to know you will die? Is it macabre that I imagine this?
I caught myself getting overwhelmed one night. I’d been distracting myself from my stress all day long—running from meeting to meeting, answering emails, sending e-mails, moving from one uncompleted task on my desk to the next. When I finally got home and needed to focus on my children, though, I no longer had the energy to distract myself. So the stress I had successfully avoided all day slowly began to unravel itself and take over. The power of emotion is extraordinary.