Why We All Own Charlottesville

Why We All Own Charlottesville

I’m trying to find words for the images on my newsfeed of the mob of hate-shackled bullies darkening the streets of Charlottesville, VA, this weekend. Nauseating. Terrifying. Hellish. Infuriating. Convicting… Not because I’ve ever agreed with any of the poisonous, white supremacist garbage they stand for. But because the root of their sin and mine is the same. Pride. How many times have I elevated my humanity above someone else’s? How often do my actions show that I value myself over another person? Racism, at its core, is unchecked, profound, toddler style self-centeredness. Me. My kind. Us first. It simmers and spreads, dressed up as politics, tradition, culture, even religion. Its stench runs deep and wide in American society, but it isn’t until it marches...

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Heaven at the Edges

Heaven at the Edges

I’ve seen it I’ve seen Heaven poke its toe in under the curtain There where light meets water and waves dance glory I’ve seen it where the sun peeks round the fireline edge of a cloud Like a groom looking shyly for his bride I’ve seen it at the place where spring kisses winter to bloom And where green gives birth to cooling gold I’ve felt its silk in newborn skin And breathed its ache at the side of a grave Where flesh meets clay and the veil thins I’ve heard it catch in a throat as a sob becomes a laugh And it’s risen out of flames where ashes end and beauty takes flight Heaven’s horizon isn’t far off It’s here and here and here In familiar lines and creases At the tips of fingers and in the pulse and stretch of hearts It’s where we see And the seeing pulls us...

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Please Don’t Get Over It

Please Don’t Get Over It

We sat with our friends exactly two weeks after they buried their firstborn son. Baby Ollie’s bouncy seat was empty by my feet as we looked through pictures of his gorgeous almond eyes and rose petal lips, and his daddy told stories about the two days they were face to face with him. Ollie’s daddy talked and his mama smiled gently, and their faces looked changed from the last time we saw them. They’ll never be the same again. Time heals, yes. Life will continue and even be sweet again. They know this. But their eyes will always hold shadows that weren’t there before. As if they could be anything but different after laying a part of their hearts in the Indiana soil. There are things about this world that knock dents in the core of us. Broken, terrible things like...

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In All This, Grace

In All This, Grace

Our friends suddenly lost their beautiful baby boy this morning. Just two days old. Big, with lots of hair, they said. We were going to make the trip to Indiana to meet him next month. My eyes are red and swollen. I can only imagine what theirs are like. And somehow the sun still makes its trip across the sky and another day dawns and sets, and this is grace. Somehow a sweet young mama is still breathing, even though the breaths sometimes feel like fire, and her hand still finds her husband’s in the dark. And this is grace. There’s no way to understand why things went the way they did. But there’s freedom to ask, to yell it, to groan it. Why, Lord? Why? And this. This is grace. There’s grace in the night falling as the crickets sing their song announcing that...

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Why Words Can Be Cancer and “I Don’t Know” is Grace

Why Words Can Be Cancer and “I Don’t Know” is Grace

To be honest, I’ve been putting off writing this. It’s not a pretty one, and it doesn’t feel good, mostly because it dances all over my cringing toes. But here I go. I’m bringing out the big G word… Gossip. Like everything I write, this is coming out of things I’ve been wrestling through. There’s no finger-pointing here, friends. More like hands shaking and knees bending under the weight of a conviction too big to keep to myself. If there’s any sin the Church has made a pet of, it’s gossip. We minimize it and justify it, we dress it up as concerns or prayer requests, we acknowledge that it’s a problem and then talk about who does it most. We tag each other like cheap clothes at a second hand store and then wonder why people outside the Church don’t trust us. I...

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Words and The Word

Words and The Word

Words have stopped me in my tracks recently. Not specific words. Just the fact that humans use words. The ability to wrap sounds around thoughts and feelings and then to communicate complex concepts in a way that creates new thoughts and feelings in others is astonishing. There are few ways we more closely resemble the God who used words as His tools for creating the universe. Jesus, the Word made flesh, used His words to heal, to teach, to uncover truth, to love, to call out evil, to rescue, to comfort… I’m not sure how it works that Jesus is God’s Word with skin on, but I’m pretty sure it means something that should permanently change the way I see words. They are sacred. Which means using them in any way other than what God intended isn’t just unwise. It’s...

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Honey, I Shrunk the Missionary

Honey, I Shrunk the Missionary

Ok, missionary friends, let’s be honest here. We’ve all done it. We’ve all told those shocking stories, the ones with giant spiders and malaria and chicken foot soup. We’ve all shown the gripping pictures of the dark-eyed babies and the work-calloused hands and the colorful city streets. And we’ve all expected appropriate oohing and aahing from the audience. The stories and pictures aren’t a bad thing. It’s good to give our churches and friends a glimpse into a world they might not get to see otherwise. What trips us up is why we share these things. It doesn’t take long for missionary newbies to learn what we missionary oldbies know intuitively: it’s effective and exciting to talk about the different and exotic. We get a reaction from stories that are outside the...

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