A Prayer in Search of a Plan

based on Ephesians 1:3-14

Faithful God, so often we read or hear about your plan for us or for the world but wonder at what it could possibly be. We see around us the ways those who make up your creation injure one another physically, emotionally, or spiritually and ask what sort of plan could be in the midst of it. Or we wake up to a new day to face questions in our own lives—how we will make it, how we will cope, how we will be with those whose views or practices are hurtful or difficult, how we will manage those problems that seem to have no easy answers—and again we ask what sort of plan is behind it all.

Through Jesus, you show that you have not made plans to do active harm to us, but you do plan to never leave or forsake us. You instead plan to draw your embrace ever closer around us in times of struggle and uncertainty, to lead us onward through thorny paths and to help us see new light and new life through our tears, to claim us every day as your own and grant us the courage…

Five Hard Truths About Being an Author

As regular readers know by now, I just released my second book into the world, Wonder and Whiskey: Insights on Faith from the Music of Dave Matthews Band. My third, Prayer in Motion: Connecting with God in Fidgety Times, is due out later this summer. All this means that I totally know all that being an author entails, right?

Not really. I feel like I'm flying by the seat of my pants every single day with this stuff. I learned some things after Coffeehouse Contemplative came out that I've been able to apply to Wonder and Whiskey's release, but I still don't think I've even scraped the tip of the iceberg when it comes to being an author.

Let me be clear: I know how to write a book. I can do that part. In fact, I'd call that the easiest part. It's everything that comes after that I've found more difficult. And I've learned some hard truths about the reality of authorship that others aspiring to publish a book should know going in.

Please understand th…

Looking for a Scapegoat

A few years ago, my pastoral colleagues passed around a picture on social media of a person crying with the caption, “When I was a kid, I thought everyone in the church got along.” Identifying the source of the conflict in a church can be tricky, because what people are really upset about isn’t necessarily what they say they’re upset about. Have you ever witnessed or been a part of a church argument that, after the fact, seemed strange? Fights over not having enough tablecloths to use during a dinner. What the pastor wears on Sunday morning. A stain on the youth room carpet. Seemingly small conflicts have real potential to divide a congregation, but may also not really be what the people involved are upset about. One of my favorite sayings in ministry is, “this is not about that.” That is, whatever the presenting issue is (such as a complaint about tablecloths), is really about something else that won’t be as apparent (worries over finances that have resulted in no tablecloths). People deci…

Book Review: Outside the Lines by Mihee Kim-Kort

Queerness transgresses boundaries and allows us to simply be, without label or category, specifically around gender and sexuality, Queer is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant. It is particular and expansive. It's less definitive; it does not point to you or me and say, "You are queer,," but instead makes a wide-open space for all people to find footing in relation to one another and their own lives. - Mihee Kim-Kort, Outside the Lines

Like many who perhaps are of a certain generation and older, "queer" was not something that you wanted to be called. It was used as a playground insult at my elementary school; an insult rooted in homophobia meant to sting the person at whom it was hurled. Whether one actually identified as LGBTQ or not, kids (particularly boys) tried their best to avoid being called queer.

As a derogatory term, of course, the word has been used in much more harmful ways at those who do identify in non-hetero terms. It is a labe…

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