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Could I do What They Do?

Recognizing this tendency to limit myself, I prayed, asking God to show me places I’d been holding back. I prayed for the courage I knew I’d need to respond in faith. Teresa says, “Fear distorts knowledge of self…And so I say, my friends, let us set our eyes on Christ…then self-knowledge will not make us timid or cowardly."
February 5, 2024

Can We Keep from Singing?

Resurrection is not only a belief; it is also a practice. We can resurrect spaces of mentoring, spaces of encouragement, spaces of self-care, spaces of leaning on one another as a church. We can learn important phrases like, “Pastor, how may I pray for you?” Elders can learn to say, “Pastor, you need to take a week off.” Jesus won’t abandon us when the pastor is gone and will still be Lord when the pastor returns. We can see to…
January 29, 2024

The Thing With Feathers

What came clear to me as I worked on this book is that as much as throughout my career I have held up theology as essential, there is so much bad theology out there about why traumatic events happen and what God is supposedly accomplishing through these events that I believe we’ve reached a tipping point where we just need to keep our mouths shut and simply love people instead of offering explanations for the unexplainable.
January 22, 2024

Promoting the thriving and belonging of nonbinary and gender diverse people in our communities and families

While there is a diversity of opinion across our theological circles, research on mental health, spirituality, and well-being can guide us toward promoting the thriving and belonging of the nonbinary and transgender people within our homes, school, and faith communities. I experience a deep joy and abiding peace when I imagine an inclusive kingdom with a wide table of welcome. I’ve had glimpses of this in the here and now, and these snippets provide me with a strong motivation to…
January 15, 2024

Our 19-7 Bridge

It’s a long way from a short bridge on the Illinois Waterway to contemplation about synodical decisions on sexuality. We all seek connections to God’s truth the best we can. For me, this story about a bridge helped me think about the complex tension between tradition and change. One hard truth is that we all have 19-7 bridges in our lives.
January 8, 2024

Angels in Brown Boxes

Angels were very real to ancient believers and very significant. As we shall see, they were the embodiments of the love of God, and they depicted how this love flowed from the heart of God and gave life to the world. The story of Jesus’ birth cannot be meaningfully told without them. But angels are not real to believers living in the 21st century.
December 18, 2023

Keeping the Home Fires Burning

Don later pointed out to the neighbors, who over the years annually thanked him for the spectacle, that this event had accomplished something quite significant in the annals of his family history. Perhaps the lesson learned is too obvious to mention. To this day, not one of his three children—now sensible and judicious adults—has ever tried to set a Christmas tree on fire, indoors or out.
December 11, 2023


We are not individuals placed in the world to seek our own pleasure but members of a community bound together in love, which finds one of its highest and fullest expressions in marriage and the family. In our intimate relationships, as in larger settings such as the church, we should show love and respect and live in mutual submission to each other.
December 4, 2023

The Reformation According to Janet

As Janet spoke, though, it came to me again that religion mangles the Gospel sometimes. It had, for example, taught both Janet’s and Chester’s parents a harsh script, and they had acted it out; it was Janet who bore the spiritual pain of that bad teaching.
November 27, 2023