Monday, January 27, 2014


I used to pray Your Kingdom come;
praying in the four horsemen and earth
burned and consumed so that we could
rise, meet in the air and sit at the banquet
table of the great feast –

But I've learned that Jesus flipped his wrists
and snapped the tablecloth out from under
the feast, tied it around his neck super-hero
style and descended  to earth, bringing the
banquet with him -

Your Kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Daily bread broken and shared, baked from
wheat harvested from neglected soil and sat
on sparse tables so that it can fill the empty space
inside aching bodies desperate for the kingdom
of God to come


*Credit to Pastor Mark Tindall of Blue Route Vineyard church in Media, PA for the imagery of Jesus bringing the tablecloth to earth - from a sermon preached on 01/26/13. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Looking for a place to stand: When I say feminism.

I grew up being definitely not a feminist. I was a female, a lady, not a feminist. I went so far as to say I was against feminism.

If you asked me to define this feminism that I was against I would have told you something about feminists being people who rejected the honor of being a wife and mother who served her family. Who missed out on that blessing and joy. I would've told you that feminist was too stubborn to admit that it's nice to have doors opened for you or a person who didn't admit that she did have the same muscles as guys. Feminism was all about the rejection of the "maternal" in my mind and a selfish assertion that a woman could do it all by herself.

Maybe not, but I assume that if my post-high school and college life had gone as planned, I'd probably still have many of those same opinions. The plan was marriage, kids, PTA member, and church and community-volunteer extraordinaire.

I went to college because that's what people did in my town when they graduated high school. I studied teaching. I wasn't ever planning to teach. It was the back up degree, but I assumed I'd be a stay-at-home-mom. In college, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to let my boyfriend at the time be the "spiritual leader" and praying that I could love him well.  I graduated college, got a job while I "waited on the ring" and kind of thought life was going to be great.

Then it all fell apart. It had been crumbling before of course, but I was ignoring it, busily plastering over holes, hoping it would all hold together and turn into the pretty dream life that was all I ever wanted.

So, feeling pretty disillusioned about both men and God, my dream life was suddenly no where in the scope of possibility. I needed another life. I started figuring out what I wanted and what I cared about. I took the GRE. I contemplated grad schools. I moved across the country, and then moved cross-country again a few years later.  I clumsily fought my way to independence. I got a therapist. I did a lot of things on my own. I built community. I started grad school. I felt really confused, a lot. I started getting some clarity.

Somewhere in all of that one day I thought, "I think I'm a feminist now?"  And it stayed on my mind and one day I said, "Yes. Yes, I'm a feminist."

And what I mean now when I say feminist is that I am for women having a place in this world outside of being a wife and a mother (but that women who are wives and mothers should totally feel free to love and revel in that! It's still high on my "what I want to be" list)

I am for little girls knowing that they were allowed to dream other dreams so that a woman isn't just starting to get clarity on what in the world she wants to do with her life when she is 30.

I am for women knowing that "submit to each other" in relationships doesn't mean "be quiet and try not to cause problems because he is the leader."

 I am for women not feeling hopeless and alone when they show up at church without a husband or child.

 I am for women being able to speak truth boldly inside the walls of a church even if she's not married or even if she is talking to men.

I am for acknowledging the difference in the way women and girls are treated globally and the myriad of problems that causes.

I am for critiquing the beauty standards that women are placed under and rejecting the controlling, patriarchal natures of our the anxiety that plagues women as we fret and obsess over things only seen by the eye.

I am for lamenting the violence that is done to women as a result of the lies our cultures and religions and governments spout about our place and our personalities and our passions.

I am for critiquing the ways that the world minimizes the imago dei inside of my body and mind and spirit simply because I am labeled "female."

 I am for paying attention to Shiprah and Puah, Rizpah, Jehosheba, and the many other names of women in the Bible and for naming it a travesty that those names are not as familiar on our lips as the male names that join them in Scripture.

I guess mostly I am for me (in a self-confident, not egotistical, way) - - for saying that this life of mine is blessed and good and useful. That I can be an "older" single woman who isn't babysitting or working the church nursery or being a missionary and who is still following God's plan for her life. That I can be a single woman in seminary studying theology and that is good and right and beautiful.

And, so, I guess, all these many years later in my life I can say I am definitely not against feminism, not at all. I am a woman, a human, a feminist.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


It was an early December Sunday. I was coming off a marathon week of classes, papers, work, and a conference and had one more 10 page paper to knock out that night, so I stayed home from church. I had my books about theology and our bodies piled on my desk, post-it notes tabs sticking out at all angles. I knew the forecast said snow, so I pulled open the blinds and let light stream in as my fingers clickety-clacked over the keys and I tried to keep my passion for the subject in the boundaries of the assigned paper. Only stopping for brief pauses to sip coffee. Then a few pages in, I glanced out the window and saw the snow falling, a light dusting already on the ground.

I kept typing with renewed enthusiasm to finish so that I could enjoy my favorite part of winter. Philadelphia never had a good snowfall last year and I missed it.

A couple hours later one of my roommates made it back to the apartment with a couple of our Sunday night dinner guests in tow and we decided the thick blanket of white called for a snowball fight. We bundled up and headed out - pelting each other and the windows of neighbor friends who decided not to come outside. We fell backwards and made snow angels before heading back inside and drying off. Then, I was back to the paper.

I typed away until it was time for Sunday dinner. It was our Christmas party week. We served up plates full of food from everyone's offerings, then opened gifts while laughing and taking turns wearing a Santa hat.

And then once again I was back to my computer, to run one more edit and submit the paper, proud of the work I had done. Confident that the work I was doing on this topic was important and part of the reason I am on this earth.


A few years ago someone asked me, "What's your passion?"  and I had no idea how to answer them. It wasn't that I didn't have things that interested me, I just didn't know what my passion was - I din't know what it was that motivated me or lead me to do the things I did. So I started looking at my life and trying to figure out that answer.

I looked back on my adult life to that point and the things I had pursued, things that were common denominators no matter where my life was. It was things like, "I like cooking for people."  "I enjoy thinking deeply."  "I like to have people over to my home."  "All else being equal, aesthetics are important." "I want people to feel comfortable, welcomed, and thought-of."

And I started pursuing those things a little more. And that Sunday in December is kind of my answer to "What are you passionate about?" I'm passionate about friends and taking the time to enjoy the beauty of life. I am passionate about thinking about things that matter and engaging with them on deep levels - *specifically about talking about our bodies and our faith and how those things intersect for better or for worse. I'm passionate about communities and sharing meals and developing friendships and having people who show up at your house for snowball fights and warm soup.


*You can read an article I recently wrote on this topic.  "Wonderfully Made"  in PRISM Magazine - this is a digital issue of the magazine - so flip on through till you see the article. The article starts on page 38. Read the rest of the magazine too - I genuinely enjoy this magazine - great articles on a  holistic faith-based perspective on various issues in the world today.