Wild Goose Presentation


I was terrified last Friday morning that no one was going to be attending my presentation on A Christian's Guide to Atheists. I was presenting at the same time as Frank Schaeffer and Philip Yancey. It was over lunch. It was separated from the rest of the bulk of the festival. Incredibly, the venue was full and I had a really amazing crowd. I got a little bit excited that people showed up, so my presentation was about 5 minutes short of what I had practiced, but we had a really lively Q & A session after, so it worked out. And because technology exists, I have a recording of my presentation and of the Q & A session after. The sound quality isn't perfect because it was recorded out of the air and we didn't have a mic for the people in the audience, but I made sure to repeat the … [Read more...]

When God Became Mother


The first time I heard God called “Mother,” I didn’t know how to react. I was in junior high and was attending a Good Friday youth breakfast. We were in the upstairs at a local UMC church fellowship hall, about fifty youth from various churches meeting together once a year to remember the sacrifice of the cross and eat scrambled eggs and bacon. One of the men who was going to be  doing the presentation was leading us in the prayer for our food, and when he opened his prayer, he prayed to “Father-Mother God.” I don’t remember a single thing that he said after that because the shock of hearing God referred to as a woman so offended my Lutheran (LCMS) sensibilities that I couldn’t even begin to process the rest of the prayer. God had been revealed in the flesh as Jesus, a man. God was … [Read more...]

Guest Post for Rachel Held Evans

On Mondays, Rachel usually blogs about something related to sexuality. I am honored today to share with you a rework of the speech that I gave on Friday at Wild Goose about friendship and sexuality, which is kind of a rework of this series of posts about friendship and attraction. We often talk out of both sides of our mouths. We encourage intimacy, but at the same time, we talk about guarding our hearts. Intimacy requires that we let our guard down, and yet, when it comes to friendship that might include any kind of attraction, we build walls to protect us. But we often don’t talk about just what those walls end up cutting us off from. As we are based more on fear, rather than on love, we cut ourselves off from the kind of intimacy that allows us to really rejoice with those who rejoice … [Read more...]

The Clash and Blend of Unity by Rich Chaffins


A few months ago, Rich posted, "Harmony is a gorgeous, needed thing, whether you're speaking of music, or people, or life." I thought that was fantastic and asked him if he'd like to expand on that with a few more words here on my blog. I'm thankful for the harmony that Rich adds to my life and I'm so honored to share his words with you here today. Also, be sure to click and listen to the sound files in the piece - they will help illustrate Rich's points more clearly. ++++++ Root. Perfect fifth. And….repeat. When I first got interested in playing guitar, I was 13. I had seen the hair metal bands on TV before, and loved it. But one day, something just clicked, and I knew I had to pick up a guitar. And this was what I played, because it’s what I could play: root/fifth. Commonly … [Read more...]

Christian Parenting When Only One Parent Is Christian


I'm posting today over at A Deeper Family about parenting in a mixed faith home. We also did all of the things that we were supposed to do as Christian parents. We took them to church. We stood in front of our congregations and promised to raise them in the Christian faith. We did AWANA and VBS. We took the Christian parenting class. Then things changed. Jason is no longer a believer. It took us a while to talk to the kids about this change, but at this point, they all know. And while it was one thing to ask the kids to continue to attend church when Jason was in school and working nights and was just “too tired” to go, it’s quite another thing to ask this of them when it’s not something that both of their parents do. As a result, our kids have been attending church much less regularly. … [Read more...]

Why I Want You To Cry For Me


When I die, I hope people cry for me. I know you're not supposed to say that. I don't know if I've ever gone to a funeral or memorial service where someone didn't say, "So and so doesn't want you to cry for them." Or "We should be rejoicing today instead of mourning." And it's kind of silly, because I also don't know if I've ever attended a funeral or memorial service where no one cried. We are not good at grief. And I think Christians are kind of the worst at it. Because most Christians believe in some kind of after-life, there is a strong tendency to simply look at this life - this wild, gorgeous, messy, intricate life - as a kind of gas station stop. Compared to eternity, what is 80 years? A drip, a molecule, an atom. So no grief necessary, we have eternity. I understand … [Read more...]

Stuff I’ve Been Reading

Stuff I've Been Reading graphic

  Hello, dear friends! I hope that you are having a lovely weekend. Things are pretty awesome here. I spent last night with Dan Brennan, author of Sacred Unions, Sacred Passions, and his friend Jennifer Ould. It was a fantastic time, even if I did take my Chicago friends out for pizza…in West Virginia. I'm grateful for so many of the friends that I've made through blogging and I can't wait to met some of you later this week at Wild Goose! Now, on to this week's favorites! This morning, my dear friend Preston is being confirmed into the Anglican church. I love his thoughts about this event. I appreciated this post by Zack Hunt about false teachers. I really appreciate his take on this tricky conversation about people in the Christian faith who have vastly different … [Read more...]

When You Don’t Fit In At Church

square peg round hole

On Sunday mornings, I wake up early, kiss my still sleeping husband good-bye, and drive nearly an hour to my church in one of the more rural parts of West Virginia. I park my van, covered in HRC and Obama and Strong Bad bumper stickers in a sea of conservative pickup trucks. I wear an Arrested Development t-shirt among a throng of Christian t-shirts. I should not fit in. According to a number of demographics, I am nothing like a lot of these people. It would be all too easy for me to focus on our differences. There are plenty, and if I'm being perfectly honest, some of them matter to me. I care about things like LGBT equality and access to birth control. I'm pretty iffy about hell. I'm far more likely to reach for John 3:17 as a life verse instead of John 3:16. And yet this is my … [Read more...]

Drinking the Ice Wine


Today I'm guest posting for my friend Andi Cumbo. She's on vacation this week and I'm helping her fill out her space by talking about success. Kind of. I have a bottle of ice wine that I bought when I was in Moldova this January that I still haven’t opened. I thought about opening it when I finished my proposal and sent it out to query agents. And I thought about it again when I finally signed with the agent that I’d been courting for a year. But I waited because I haven’t signed a contract with a publisher yet. Or maybe I should wait until the book earns back its advance. Or maybe I should wait until I sign for a second book. Or until I get to do a TED Talk. Some days I wonder if I’m ever going to be able to open it. I'd love it if you'd head over to her place to read the rest. And be … [Read more...]

Stuff I’ve Been Reading

Stuff I've Been Reading graphic

Happy Sunday! Here are some posts for you to read and think about as you round out your weekend. I'm so looking forward to Addie Zierman's book coming out this fall. She has a new blog design and revealed the title of her book this week. Be sure to check it out! Speaking of books that I'm looking forward to, Sarah Bessey wrote a piece about feminism this week that, once again, reminded me why she's one of the people who I look to up to when thinking about Big Issues. If Jesus Feminist is anything like this post, I am going to devour that book. Boob poetry. (This really is quite lovely and if you've been married for a while, you should definitely read it.) I loved this post by Sonny Lemmons about solidarity in asking questions. If you somehow missed A.J. Jacobs's book The Know … [Read more...]