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Grace in Practice

Things We Cannot Say

Things We Cannot Say

There are things we cannot say. This is a fundamental truth about life. It is not a lesson we learn explicitly, but early in our childhoods we learn that some things are not to be spoken. Social pressure or the desire for social status cause us to keep our mouths shut. We learn that we […]

How Not To Raise a Daughter in Purity Culture (According to Sarah's Parents)

How Not To Raise a Daughter in Purity Culture (According to Sarah’s Parents)

One night in high school, my very Baptist boyfriend and I had plans to attend Black Light Night with the Baptist youth group at the local bowling alley. If you are unfamiliar with this ritual of youth, it involved a dark bowling alley, the neon glow of black lights, and loads of N’Sync. We decided […]

From the Bottom of a Well

From the Bottom of a Well

This reflection comes to us from Juliette Alvey. We are welcomed into God’s family kicking and screaming. How many baptisms have you witnessed where the baby or small child (not usually the adults, although you never know what’s going on on the inside) are doing just that—kicking and screaming. Why are all of these people […]

The Pity Party Is Canceled (At Least for Now)

The Pity Party Is Canceled (At Least for Now)

I am really good—dangerously good—at throwing pity parties. I can wallow with the best of them. And the past couple weeks have been the party to end all parties, mostly because God just refuses to go along with my plans. I’m not getting my way, and life isn’t going exactly as I think it should, […]

What Is Love?

What Is Love?

What is love? Love has no ego. Love and ego are antithetical. Diametrically opposed to one another. Foreign languages one to another. Ego equally has no love but is all pretense and self-preservation. This quote from Law and Gospel: A Theology for Sinners (and Saints) summarizes this well: We have a whole secondary self we put […]

The Peril of Good Things (from <i>Milkman</i>, Pt 2)

The Peril of Good Things (from Milkman, Pt 2)

I tried to…unravel the distortions, have her right mind restored to her. She said it was impossible, that it was perilous to focus on good things when there were bad things, all these bad things, she said, that could not be forgot. She said old dark things as well as new dark things had to […]

Grace Knows the Back Story

Grace Knows the Back Story

Big Ellis, a young farmer in Wendell Berry’s short story, “Down in the Valley Where the Green Grass Grows,” literally struggles to keep his pants up, due to his awkwardly proportioned body. His social graces are a little off as well, and this complicates his romantic exploits in the town of Port William. He did […]

A Place Called Family

A Place Called Family

This morning’s post was written by Andreas Thiel. The session began as it usually does: a group of residents in a long-term care facility had gathered in the chapel, for the weekly one-hour session, “Coffee with the Chaplain.” The room was comfortably full (which doesn’t take much, given the numbers of walkers and wheelchairs in […]

PZ's Podcast: Tip for a Happy Marriage & Surprise, Surprise

PZ’s Podcast: Tip for a Happy Marriage & Surprise, Surprise

EPISODE 264: Tip for a Happy Marriage Justin Hayward is a sort of archivist for romantic relationships. He is 72 and still going strong. Two ‘Live’ performances book-end this cast, which is intended as fresh therapy towards a happy marriage. Appeals to grace, forgiveness, and empathy in relating to this impossibly different person with whom […]

I Am Giving Up Boundaries in 2019

I Am Giving Up Boundaries in 2019

Typically, I abstain from any New Year’s resolutions. I hate diets and everything they stand for. I loathe the notion that December 31st is distinctly different from January 1st.  And “self betterment” always seems to end in a profound feeling of “self worse-er-ment” for me. But not this year. This year I have decided to […]

My First Encounter

My First Encounter

This reflection comes to us from Stacie Tchividjian. Whether you are a parent or a child, you know there is something special about celebrating the many milestones of children. Maybe you’ve planned birthdays, graduations, or a wedding. Maybe you have parents that celebrated your big and small days and attended every event you participated in, cheering […]

The Loss of Control

The Loss of Control

Grateful for this powerful reflection by Faith Perry. I wasn’t going to write about this—the scariest part of mental illness. But here it is: an ode to loss of control and how “the system” can contribute to a person’s newfound overwhelming helplessness. I am a nurse in an emergency room. Nighttime falls, and on cue, […]