christian culture

when the gospel goes missing

in a drawer, tucked away like a shirt, is the gospel. black and white beads on a thin string.  my daughter made it in a sunday school class.  its simplicity stole my heart. i put it away. reaching for a swimming suit i would see […]

closing papers and the letter of the law

“sign here and initial here.” there are many papers to be signed.  we are buying a house, we are selling a house.  the closer across the table has a wide smile and glasses halfway down her nose. “this paper just says that if there are […]

jesus died for you and other sentences that don’t mean anything

“i’ve heard so many teachings on why he had to die, but it never seems to stick in my head.” i’m looking out at the frozen neighborhood. sentences can freeze and crack, too. the meaning they once held is nowhere to be found. they are […]

and the shepherd is the gate

we’re sitting in a mexican restaurant and one of us or the other says it. “we sound hurt.” when the words of a person who’s been hurt by the church and the sentences coming out of your mouth match up it can be awkward. but […]

accepting jesus: not as simple as once believed

i’m setting up chairs for bible club. joshua and i teach children’s church once a month at the little detroit body we’ve been calling home on sunday mornings.  the sun is flooding in through second story windows and i’m feeling humbled. i tried to plant […]

what myra said

when i met myra i was in full-on church recruiting mode. she was a neighbor. perfect. i got along really well with her. perfect. her live in boyfriend was an asshole and we could hear him yell at her before he slammed out of the […]

call for songs of loudest praise

“why do christians sing when they are together?  the reason is, quite simply, because in singing together it is possible for them to speak and pray the same word at the same time; in other words, because they can unite in the word.” ~ dietrich bonhoeffer […]

gender roles in my own backyard

we’re eating lunch at a plastic picnic table.  my knees barely fit underneath.  we’re mere feet away from the trampoline and the swing set. this is how young it starts. my son.  my beautiful boy.  this kind-hearted, contagious, leader of a boy.  he is a […]

thoughts about faith and writing

i may regret this later, but i’ve never been so grateful. god is generous. i have work to do.  real work.  real service.  a way to love my neighbor as myself. and it doesn’t have to be a church building that you can walk into […]

when lent gets in the way

lent is a little tough for me. it can seem like a further cementing of the basic misunderstanding of god’s heart for relationship. that misunderstanding goes like this: if you give up the things you really like and settle for a life where you’re always wishing […]