A Theology of Violence

We know the news is bleak, but it came closer to home this past week with the terror in Boston. It was just one week ago when two bombs detonated amidst bystanders at the Boston Marathon, killing three and wounding 170. Here in the U.S. we’ve come a little closer to identifying with what folks in Israel, Syria and in many other places around the globe experience every day: not knowing when the next bomb will interrupt life as we know it, when it will take the life of someone we love. Continue reading “A Theology of Violence”

Spring’s Honey

The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them your servant is warned…Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me.

Spring knocked on the door of my garage this past weekend. The sun, long barred by layers of packing tape, sprung into re-opened cardboard boxes, boxes that had been sealed and stacked from a move that happened over a year and a half ago. Its sudden light scattered silverfish. I pulled out clothes and kitchen wares, books and blankets. I held them up in the light to name them. In the light, they received new purposes; things to be cleaned and put to use again, or things to be discarded. In this spring cleaning, hidden things are being laid bare. The beginnings of order are leafing in my garage. Continue reading “Spring’s Honey”

Rachel Weeping

“A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted … because they are no more.”

Massacre of the Innocents (Peter Paul Rubens)

It is Advent, and we Christ-followers are celebrating Christmas. We have been singing carols of God’s deliverance, erecting beautifully painted replicas of Jesus’ nativity on mantels and in yards. But what we are really celebrating in Advent is the arrival of Creator God into the violent mess of a poisoned creation, all hope resting on someone as unlikely as a helpless, bastard baby born in the heart of the Middle East to a teenage girl of no popular consequence. The hope of the world would rest on a little Jewish infant wrapped in rags in the stinky stall of a barn, stuffed into a trough licked out by a cow or maybe a donkey who’d had their fill of supper in it. And it was because there was no other place to advent in, no other place that better resembled the stink and smell of naked creation. And so God came and made his dwelling in the slums of our world. Continue reading “Rachel Weeping”

Clearing the Creative Logjam

Ah, hello! It’s been a while. I’ve been distracted, but I’m feeling pulled back. Thanks to actor/writer/Lutheran Susan Isaacs for her post about how she cleared her creative logjam, I took a nice long walk today and reflected on all the questions she asked. So while I’m clearing my creative logjam, I highly recommend you visit her words as well as another friend’s timely post. A similar thread binds them. Happy Monday, friends.


Making Straight

Pictured left is my blue-eyed first born, my “trainer baby” (the one on whom I’d practice motherhood). I witnessed with awe and excitement every nuance of this kid’s growth, including the cutting of the first tooth. From the first one at 6 months to the many more that followed, those baby teeth erupted out of her sweet baby gums in neat rows of shiny white. Her smile was perfect. She was in first grade when she lost the first baby tooth. More followed suit, and as she grew, that little smile kept changing. Teeth came loose one by one, making room for new ones. Continue reading “Making Straight”

Enough of a Good Thing

Rain, rain, rain. Sometimes you can have enough of a good thing. It’s been raining for days. And though our state has desperately needed a good, long rain, the flash floods seem to be saying, “Enough!” Sometimes, like with the rain, I feel myself growing weary of myself. Even at my best moments, when I want my life to reflect God’s glory, I catch myself thinking about myself and how God might change me. I think of how I could be more winsome, more gregarious, more fun. And it gets a little like that feeling you’d have if you swallowed a spoonful of butter. You can have too much of a good thing, and too much self can easily turn into a flood whose current takes me places I’d rather not go. Continue reading “Enough of a Good Thing”

Night Slips Gently

The day’s events parade across the streets of my mind as sun slips behind trees; the day is coming to an end. On a ticket in the kitchen of the restaurant where I sit is my order for glazed salmon. I am wrapping up a day that has been spent mostly alone, away from home. I’m midway through my return home now, watching out the restaurant window as the curtain falls on a day I have fully savored. Continue reading “Night Slips Gently”

Real Hope

Two fighters dance in a boxing ring, their bright red gloves jabbing in rhythm with their feet.

It’s how I see Hope and Realism.

I don’t know if it’s right for me to put these two in a ring together, to make them duke it out. Maybe Hope and Realism are not competitors. Maybe they’re friends. Continue reading “Real Hope”

Letters in the Night

On the fumes of the night, I found a blog. And on the first hit, I was hooked. Sentences swung back and forth like a hypnotist’s watch. Time faded. And a blog I did devour. It was heaven, and I remembered something about good writing. A good writer makes me want to write. Her art is in letters, in making them into story. A good writer is not afraid to look bad to her audience. She doesn’t take herself too seriously. And she writes her life, however sad or comic or seemingly insignificant, through a lens of redemption and grace.

As I reflect on my favorite writers, the ones I most admire, the ones who most inspire me, I realize something else. The writer writes to fail just as much as to succeed. It is the risk she absorbs every time she sits to write. In writing she merges her pain with her bliss and welcomes her reader to a momentary world where he can make sense of his own. Oh, and we love her, love her so much we steal from her. We’ll take her thoughts and re-word them into the sentence of our own life until they become ours as much as they were ever hers. Continue reading “Letters in the Night”

The Evil Within

“I think now, looking back, we did not fight the enemy; we fought ourselves. The enemy was in us.” That’s how the film Platoon, a commentary on U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, ends in the words of protagonist Chris Taylor (played by Charlie Sheen). The words seem appropriate today as I read that little Wang Yue, the two-year-old injured in two horrible hit-and-runs in China has died. Continue reading “The Evil Within”