I don’t have to be sorry for being me.

pink-tulips

I (heart) pink tulips.

It’s cliche, but I gave up posting on social media for Lent. Blogging and “liking” things was permitted, but the Facebooking, tweeting, and Instagramming was out. I’d still consume and see what was happening, but I hit pause on posting. And I wasn’t going to tell people about it while I did it. One, I didn’t want to be all “look at me and my ‘holy’ Lenten disciplines.” I wanted to keep it on the down-low between God and I. Two, if I failed, I didn’t want it to be a big public thing. Continue reading

Hungry for mercy: thoughts on comparison, prayer, and Luke 18

clouds on Mauii

Fear settled in like the rain clouds this week. Not a torrential downpour, but a misty trickle that has me wanting to pull blankets over my head and hide. Like a scared dog, I want to tuck my tail and slink under the couch waiting for the threat of thunder to pass.

I want to hunker down and armor up, praying God will somehow vindicate me. I play the me vs the world game.

It’s bananas. It’s unhealthy. I know it.

And it still took me about twenty-four hours to find a bigger perspective while my feelings roamed all over the place and the lies weighed in heavier and heavier.

I consulted Jesus. What I wanted was vindication.

What I needed was grace. Continue reading

A feast for the beloved betrayers

bread and juice for communionEvery year in the week leading up to Easter, I read the stories of Jesus’ crucifixion in the Gospels. After so many readings, I know how the story ends.

Even so, I find myself wishing for an interruption in the story. I’m like Peter in Matthew 16 who wants to deny that suffering will happen to Jesus. I want Pilate to stand up to the religious leaders. I mutter to myself about the folks eager to get Jesus crucified, and somehow I pray each time they find some hidden capacity for grace and love over fear.

Resurrection — yes, please! But this crucifixion part, I struggle to look full on in the face. Continue reading

Fish Swimming All Together: Reflections on the Parable of the Fishing Net

When I was young, my parents shipped me off to Oklahoma every summer to visit both sets of my grandparents. Time spent with my paternal grandparents included fishing out of their boat dock —  long boring hours of silence in sweltering heat while I waited for my bobber to move. As soon as the bobber would move, I’d squeal and my grandpa would jump up to come to my side of the dock — trying not to lose his balance and fall into the lake. Meanwhile, I’d reel in my line to see what prize I’d caught. Continue reading

Love (not unquestioning obedience) is the goal

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Words are like rocks. We can build with them, or we can break things with them.

As I’ve said before, stories matter. And the stories shaping our perspectives on obedience and submission matter, too. These stories impact the way we communicate, and the baggage others carry with these words matters, too.

Reading news and social media the last few months, submission and obedience are trigger words for me — regardless of the position supported. Whether it is government or religion, I flinch. They are power words.

Too often, the act of obedience and submission dominates the conversation, while ignoring critical questions like obedience to whom and for what end. Continue reading

The more, the merrier.

Earlier this week I posted on the importance of stories for shaping the way we live. As an exercise in conscious storytelling, I’m sharing stories influencing my views on immigration, refugees and discipleship.

Essentially this post explores three questions:

  1. How do I understand myself as an American?
  2. How do I see refugees?
  3. What are the expectations of a disciple of Jesus?

As we explore together, my point is not converting you to my perspective, but the process of open and conscious storytelling. These stories frame the way I approach the world, and rather than having you agree or think I’m neat-o, I hope the stories encourage you to consider your own life, reactions, and core values.

Agreement is not required, but respect is. Continue reading