• Engage

    Unexpectedly Beautiful

    The temple mount towered in the background. The Gate called Beautiful cast a shadow on a man’s weathered face. Friends carried him to the gate every day, and he spent his hours pining for alms. He eked out an existence by playing on others’ piety. There was nothing beautiful about this man’s life or the religion practiced within the walls that stood behind him. The temple excluded the needy from its entrance because of their infirmities. The place that should have brought spiritual healing only gave handouts. So he never expected to find salvation outside the temple gate. As the hour of prayer approached, the man continued his plea for…

  • Engage

    A Christian Response to Ebola

    I want to tell you a story—about St. Catherine.  But let me preface my remarks by saying that the Bible calls every believer a “holy one,” or a “saint.” And because all are “set apart” and not just a select few, the Reformers—with their emphasis on the priesthood of all believers—sought to minimize the clergy/laity divide. So ever since the Protestant Reformation, which swept across Europe in the sixteenth century, those of us who inherited their legacy have tended to downplay canonized saints and their days. Sure, we know about St. Patrick and St. Nicholas and St. Valentine’s Days, and perhaps the Feast of Stephen (thanks to Good King W.),…

  • Emma Rose
    Engage

    The Beauty of Breathing

    Yesterday our recently rescued Westie Emma Rose spent most of the day panting, wheezing, and gagging. Today she dozes by my chair as I write this, nuzzled against my leg. Bad days and good days. Three weeks ago, the vet diagnosed her with pulmonary fibrosis after a 4 am trip to the animal emergency room where she ended up in a dog-sized oxygen chamber with an IV.  We left down-hearted about her terminal prognosis, and wondering if vet insurance is a good idea. Five months ago, when we saved Emma Rose from a puppy mill, we had no idea we would enjoy so few days with her or that she…

  • Engage

    A Touching Story

    I called her “The Bloody Woman in Mark 5” for the longest time. I can think back to my childhood and remember hearing about her in Sunday school. I can even recall when my mind made the connection that her suffering involved bleeding — the vaginal kind. I grossed out and groaned in horror when I realized she suffered for twelve years. Whenever I read about her today, I still cringe. And I continue to feel sad when I see that she did all she could to make it better…instead it only got worse. Others rejected her since a bleeding woman was considered “unclean.” The last time I read about…