• Christian Living,  Christian Teaching,  Family,  God,  Jesus Christ,  Kingdom,  Love

    Not Peace, but a Sword

    Growing up Christian meant toddling into the idea that Jesus is a friend, that God so loved the world, that we are brothers and sisters and children of one Creator. I never had the chance to wonder about humanity’s worth or our place in the universe. We were here to be loved and to love. Christianity, like a mother, brought me into the world and she raised me in what she believed was true. But along with that idea came a lot of weird shit. There was a period I only wore long skirts and could not listen to any music with a drum beat without begging for forgiveness. What…

  • God,  Grief,  Jesus Christ,  Kingdom,  life,  Love

    Now

    Often beside a cluttered kitchen, overlooking a disaster of a living room, my family sits down to eat dinner (usually later than I’d like to admit). At the table next to a lamp we have a little chalkboard on which I write quotes I want to remember, things I want us to see everyday. Lately we have been memorizing this passage from the Talmud while we eat Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. We say “enormity” round and wide. We say “NOW” loud and…

  • death,  God,  Grief,  life,  Love

    Blowing Out the Candle

    So the lights go out. And whatever was said before it or during it, you can’t escape that the lights are off and the candles are warm. Every year we go to that Lutheran sanctuary – with the steps Mom was confirmed on, the cobbled aisle she walked down as a bride, the altar where they sprinkled water on my head in holy hope. We all pile into cars and minivans and occupy a pew or two to sing the hymns, speak the liturgies. We listen to the message about gifts or a virgin birth or good tidings and then we do the most honest, beautiful thing we could do: we…

  • death,  God,  Grief,  life

    Evil, Chaos, and Seashells

    I don’t remember what brought us there. I don’t remember if we’d had a fight or something had happened to her at work or something else, but I remember arriving to seagulls and salty air and watching her make her way across the sand. Usually the beach was recreational: we brought blankets and snacks and sand toys and tanning oil (don’t judge). This time was different. No beach bag, just us and a purpose. Mom had business here. My memory is imperfect, but what’s in here is her teaching me, showing me her way, introducing her ritual. She got out a journal and sat in the sand and told me,…

  • Cancer,  death,  Family,  God,  Grief,  Worship

    When Those Songs Play

    There is a station on my Pandora account – I named it “My Nest” – which I have thumbed up and thumbed down to perfection. Just about every song is deeply meaningful to me because this station has played through 2 unique pregnancies and their furiously lovely births, a dying dog, 3 moving days, the cancer news from California, all the breath-holding and fervent praying, and now it plays over my mourning. When my mom had surgery to remove the tumor we still thought could be some sort of sinus infection, the music and lyrics matched every atom of my limbo. Peace and anxiety swirled around and up to a God…

  • Family,  Friends,  God,  life,  Love

    It’s not a secret: I have been doubting, squinting, cocking my head at all the things I thought I knew. I have been wrestling with… whatever the hell we wrestle with in existential crises – which is the question here, this time: it is what, not why, nor how. What. I have doubted God’s kindness. I’ve doubted God’s provision, God’s fairness, God’s predisposition. I’ve doubted God’s intentions, God’s story, God’s plan. And now I have doubted God’s being as I’ve always understood it. But do you know what I never stopped believing in? What I haven’t doubted (yet) for even one second? Love. I believe in Love. I believe it matters how we treat each other,…

  • Christian Living,  God,  Jesus Christ,  life,  Love

    Then Jesus

    This year I elected to go to a Good Friday service because this year I am struggling with the faith thing, with the Christian thing, with the God thing. I thought that maybe going to a service intended to bring everybody to the verge of depression would fit me better than the Sunday mornings I’ve struggled to connect with for a while. I’m not sure exactly what I wanted to find there, but something in me pulled me to that service. This is my tribe, this is where I come from. In my searching for answers to all the Whys and the WTFs I keep finding that I can only start…