Flip turns have a mystique about them. Walk up to any pool and watch folks swimming laps. Your eyes will immediately go to the swimmers who do flip turns at the walls. It doesn’t matter if they are faster than the other swimmers, they will look fiercer because of the flip turn. Conversely, if, instead of doing flip turns, you saw Katie Ledecky or Michael Phelps sticking their heads up at the walls, gulping air, turning awkwardly half out of the water, then plunging back in for the next lap, they would seem significantly less fierce.
July 28, 2016
I’ve always liked the word fallow. I like the sound of it, the short “a” sound followed by the long “o” sound. I like that it’s almost follow, but not quite. Mostly, I appreciate its indication that when it looks as if nothing is happening, looks are probably deceiving. Rest is some of the deepest work to be done.
May 25, 2016
When, in my adult life, I first heard church folks start talking about “taking on” something for Lent rather than “giving up” something, I thought I would lose it. I don’t remember observing Ash Wednesday until high school or giving up something for Lent until college.
February 11, 2016
The beginnings of things are sometimes hard to discern as they are happening. Sometimes we experience that lightning bolt of recognition, a sudden, stark contrast between then and now, seeing in a stranger’s face the one we are beginning to love in that same moment. More often, we realize in the midst of things that they’ve already begun, something new seeping into the familiar terrain, changing the texture like steady gentle rain saturating dry ground. What was hard and dusty becomes damp and spongy, the moment of change imperceptible.
November 22, 2015
I was visiting a 90-something-year-old who had just asked how things were going. I admitted I had too much on my plate and felt overwhelmed by it at that moment. She said, “I can’t remember the last time I was overwhelmed.” I was annoyed and ungenerous in my heart.
December 18, 2014
The first day of our spring break trip I noticed how Christian-centric my Facebook feed is. Relaxing after the first achy work day, waiting for dinner, we’d only have one group conversation at...
September 19, 2014
People in my profession get asked to pray a lot. Many times, there isn’t even any asking going on—it’s simply assumed the pastor is the one who prays. When one of us pastor types goes off script and cheerfully offers for one of the other Christians in the group to have the honor, uncomfortable silence ensues. “Who feels called to offer a blessing for this meal?” Crickets. I can’t blame the non-pastor types.
September 3, 2014
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A few Sundays ago I preached in a church that has three different worship services in three different locations within the church. One is a moderately sized chapel, one is a voluminous fellowship hall with a stage at one end, and the last one is the original sanctuary of the old downtown church. The variations in space accompanied the differences in worship style. The one thing all three had in common was a clock easily seen from the pulpit.
July 29, 2014