• Engage

    Beauty in the Waiting

    Gray skies. Still, stiff air. Walking for miles with no end in sight. Waiting.  If you had to describe waiting in your own life, how would it look? Hurried and determined by nature, to me waiting feels like a long walk with no clear direction. I step out the front door on a dreary day and go, uncertain of where I’m going or when I’ll arrive. I know the walk is good for me—strengthening muscles and teaching me to trust. But I struggle to enjoy the journey. And I hesitate to trust the One guiding me throughout the twists and turns. I run ahead. I take a break. I struggle…

  • The Rage Against God
    Impact

    Book Review: “The Rage Against God” by Peter Hitchens

    “In the names of reason, science, and liberty they [have] proved, rather effectively, that good societies need God to survive and that when you have murdered him, starved him, silenced him, denied him to the children, and erased his festivals and memory, you have a gap that cannot indefinitely be filled by any human, nor anything made by human hands…. [Yet] A new and intolerant utopianism seeks to drive the remaining traces of Christianity from Europe and North America. This time, it does so mainly in the cause of personal liberation, born in the 1960s cultural revolution, and now inflamed into special rage by any suggestion that the sexual urge…

  • Engage

    What CAN I Do?

    Many of us have experienced seasons of illness and injury––either our own or someone we love. Often these excruciating times of pain, fear, and doubt engulf us like a suffocating suffering. We wake up every morning in painful uncertainty and lay down each night in the same state. Daily we withstand a raging storm––everything circles around but nothing is clear. Movement requires pushing against unyielding barriers. We want to hope for complete healing. We want to throw off the heavy chains encasing us. We want to be released from physical and emotional burdens so we can regain strength and enjoy life again. But sometimes the hope we cling to feels…

  • Engage

    My Favorite Bedtime Story

    I took my first health care job in a pediatric facility over twenty years ago. The new job came with plenty of stress. They expected the doctors to use heavy sedative doses to get children to cooperate so they could crank out procedures and turn big profits.             On my last day at work before leaving for a planned vacation, I poured the properly measured sedative liquid for a child, and left it on the counter for the assistant to give to the patient. I came back into the room and saw the assistant pouring additional sedative liquid into the cup for my patient. I confronted her, reminded her she…

  • Engage

    Should your Women’s Ministry drop the self-esteem talk?

    Have you ever felt like women's ministries kind of have the same three topics on repeat? Women are tired of going to church and chanting "I am beautiful" while wearing Proverb 31 shirts and taking selfies in front of a pink backdrop. I get it…as a female minister who is addicted to church history and loves exegetical preaching, the narrative of women's ministry can stand to be a little less Fru-Fru. Yet before you consider deleting the topic of self-esteem and beauty altogether, I implore you- don't do it!  I am living proof that good theology does not do away with crippling insecurity. My in-depth understanding of the Imago-Dei (image…

  • Engage

    The Nearness of God

    With clothes dripping, shoes soggy, and wet hair plastered to my face, I moved forward. I had mud spattered all over my legs and the storm was rolling in with a furry. Still far from my apartment, I did what anyone in my situation would do: smile. You see, although I had slipped in a deep puddle, tracked through a muddy ravine, and gotten thoroughly drenched by the summer rain, I was wonderstruck. My nine-week old lab mix, Juliette, and I were having a glorious time exploring the great outdoors. And if you’ve ever owned a lab, you know that they’re happiest in water. So when we saw those pools…

  • Engage

    Fall Pastels, Ugly Runway Models and Mako Fujimura on the Fight for Beauty

    No woman I know wants to look unattractive. As the seasons change we’re in the stores looking for styles and colors that make us feel good. For many of us that means finding clothes that are new and trendy. (Fall pastels!) Or comfortable. (yoga pants for millions who never yoga) Or even beautiful, although beautiful is more elusive. Of all the places we might expect to find beauty, we’ve come to expect less and less of it at fashion shows. Or the pages of fashion mags. Watch the shows online or pick up a copy of Vogue magazine and I have rarely seen pictures of so many women who look like they…

  • Engage

    Art Saves Lives

    I just finished reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. The student who brought me the book also sent me a link to a transcript in which the author told about his 97-year-old cousin, Helen, a Polish Holocaust survivor: “She started telling me this story of how, in the ghetto, they were not allowed books. If you had a book … the Nazis could put a gun to your head and pull the trigger—books were forbidden. And she used to teach under the pretense of having a sewing class . . . a class of about twenty little girls, and they would come in for…

  • Engage

    This Daughter of Mine

    Sometimes life brings dark, lonely moments that seem endless. And just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does. Like a contraction during childbirth, you breathe through it, screaming every second of that moment for a glimpse of relief.   I’ve had many, many moments like that but nothing comes close to what I went through in 1997. In the midst of it all, a baby’s cry—God’s gift of mercy and grace in a living song.   This Daughter of Mine   Seventeen years ago today, God gave me a daughter.    This daughter of mine, I’m nothing like her, but in so many ways she’s just like…

  • Engage

    Has God’s definition of “bad words” evolved?

    When Ashley and I met for coffee, she told me her story, peppered with potty language and a few "swear" words.  Should I have confronted her with Colossians 3:8: But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips? What would you have done?         Over the last couple of decades I've observed the slow erosion of wholesome language, especially among younger Christians.  Not surprising in light of cultural disintegration, the crude soup in which we now swim. Ashley's way of expressing herself has been thoroughly influenced by that soup. But how should Christians respond? And should…