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FeaturedMemoir

Cane and Able: A Retrospective Leading Me Somewhere

My work with RCA Disability Concerns has forced me to wrestle in deeper ways with ableism—the subtle, pervasive bias evident in attitudes, actions, or systems that consider a person with a disability as defective, broken, and “less than.” When I was hired in 2009 to launch this new RCA ministry, I resisted emphasizing the church's many ableist practices because it seemed too difficult to start there. But as I’ve observed and repeatedly experienced ableist practices and systems over more than…
April 25, 2022
FeaturedMemoir

An Autobiography of Call

This year marks thirty years since I received that early vision of God’s calling on my life. Paying attention to the various details around my experiences has led to a celebratory incarnational theology. It is a privilege and honor to live amongst and serve the nations God has placed me with here in Hannover. It has enabled a continued reliance upon, and a relationship with, the God who called me so long ago. It is a relationship that is situated…
Gretchen Schoon Tanis
February 7, 2022
FeaturedMemoir

The Holy Bits

Like many pastors I spent too much of my time being a program director for children, youth, college students, singles, families, older adults, recovering divorced people, and all the other niche groups in the life of any church. That’s a fine thing to do, or it can be, but I wish I had spent less of my time being that person. I wish I had spent less of my time as a manager and a therapist and a community activist.…
January 10, 2022
EducationFeaturedMemoir

The Quality of Mercy

Mrs. Goehring—may she rest in peace--knew nothing of what that jock in the back of the class was discovering in words she’d assigned us from Portia’s courtroom speech; but that morning in sophomore English, the schoolmarm won a game she didn’t really know I was playing. The ball games are long gone, but the lines of that speech showed up on my screen and then in a haze of memory just a day or two ago.
November 8, 2021
ChurchFeaturedMemoir

Discerning the Body

How are we to discern the body of Christ? Like my friends in that teeming church full of different voices, different beliefs, I want to be generous, to be open to transcendent mystery, to be a co-traveler. I want to listen for those words of grace, perhaps even speak them one day.
November 1, 2021
FeaturedMemoirTheology

Lavender and Bread: Grief, Art, and Eucharist

My son, who only knows cameras to look like i-Phones, was silenced by the discovery of his grandfather’s camera. He ran his fingers over each button until his curiosity was satisfied enough to move onto another. And then he hit the button that released the back panel of the camera, the place where 35 mm film was once stretched and loaded like a canvas awaiting its artist. My sister and I smiled at his sheer delight in this mysterious contraption.…
October 25, 2021
FeaturedMemoir

Cosmic Companionship

If we practice slowing down and paying attention—if we truly take the Sabbath to heart—we will find that wild geese and herons and burning bushes are everywhere. The world is always offering itself to our imagination!
August 30, 2021
EssaysFeaturedMemoir

Ben’s Quad Aflame (Notes on Shame)

I’ve only been hunting once. It was, on the whole, a memorable experience for all of the right reasons: a handful of days in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with a few cherished family members, chief among them my grandfather, who was nearing the end of his hunting days; eating lots of junk food; sharing stories in the evenings; ripping through forest paths on my uncle’s four-wheel ATVs (“quads”); being “forced” to wear bunny ears at the restaurant for opening day’s dinner…
May 31, 2021