“Shame: Hope & Healing in the Church”

Creating Safe Space, Offering Hope & Effective Response

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Anniversary of Ordination

This weekend I’m celebrating my anniversary of ordination, a significant date that goes unremarked by anyone but myself. On a whim I searched through a few old photos, and thought I’d share this one with you.

In this photo I’m wearing a stole that my mother (left) and my aunt (right) embroidered for my graduation from seminary. The picture was snapped at our house in Minneapolis right after the May 1989 graduation. (Geeky Trivia: Guess whose framed portrait is watching over the proceedings from behind.)

I was especially surprised by the gift of the stole since the ordination of women was a controversial subject in my world. I wasn’t entirely sure that my mother and aunt approved. Actually, I don’t think they were sure either. Perhaps they stitched their way into approval with that stole.

Don’t I look young? I was so excited to have finished seminary and be on the cusp of everything wonderful! I was pregnant in this picture. Clara, our second daughter, was born in December and by the following fall, we moved to upstate New York for my first call. I was ordained in Penfield, NY on October 14, 1990, a ceremony I muse about here as a Kodak moment.

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God’s Sister

One Year Update re My Sister Susan's Kidney Donation

This is a guest post by my sister, the Rev. Susan Joy Huizenga, who donated her kidney to Buddi on September 12, 2016. Related posts are archived here.

Photo Credit: Dan Davis Photography, Grand Rapids, MI

I visited my new sister Buddi yesterday. We enjoyed ourselves. Her grandson, Samar, 18 months old, acts as if he likes me. Buddi says “He loves you. He senses our connection.”

A year ago Buddi and I were just beginning to bond after dual major surgeries that dramatically changed both our lives. I donated my left kidney to her, and Buddi went from a dreary existence on dialysis to the picture of health you see here. The exposed scars on her arm are from dialysis. (more…)

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The Role of Outrage in the Christian Life

A Call to Prayer & Action for Las Vegas

When I talk to groups about my memoir, one of the topics I address is the role of outrage in the Christian life. After I was raped at gunpoint I was nearly crippled by fear, terror, and fury. The world I lived in seemed outrageous to me. It’s not surprising that most Christians shy away from experiencing, or expressing, outrage and other strong emotions. After all, these emotions are painful to experience and dangerous to express. (more…)

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Join Me at Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI!

Thursday, September 28, 7:00

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Can You Go Home Again?

I Will Be Discovering One Answer

Everyone has to leave home eventually (although I do know one fella who never did, he just outlived his parents!). Perhaps what differs is the manner in which we leave.

What was it like when you left home? Did you launch happily, feeling supported and connected, or did you burn rubber on your way out? In my case, an unfortunate event — or yes, a series of them — catapulted me into the ether and sent me into free-fall.

Perhaps some of you have a story similar to mine — you found yourself loving Jesus, but not the church that introduced you to him, and you had to escape. (more…)

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Congregations, Maximize Your ROI

if you love your pastor, send her away!

As I’m putting together a Holy land pilgrimage for next March, so many pastors have told me they would love to go but simply can’t afford it. I understand the reality of finances. Pastors are not highly paid (which is an understatement). Most of them do the work with a great deal of love and drive, but very little fiscal reward.

Unfortunately, when churches refuse to help their pastors go on pilgrimage, they are overlooking a great return on their investment. There are significant benefits when a church sends their pastor to the Holy Land. I wrote about my own pilgrimage experience for EerdWord in 2012, and the article is still timely: When a Pastor Becomes a Pilgrim.

In terms of investment, think of it this way — (more…)

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My review of “When the English Fall”

I was pleased to review a debut novel for the Presbyterian Outlook. The author, David Williams, is a colleague — the pastor who succeeded me at Poolesville Presbyterian Church. Do you like 1) Amish fiction and/or 2) dystopian fiction? If so, this is a must read!

Reading the News Without Caffeine

When Heart Palpitations Make Sense

I come from a long line of coffee-drinkers. My parents drank coffee with every meal and frequently in between. At age 16 I started drinking it too, following my mother’s advice to forego any sweetener. Coffee-drinking is a lifetime activity so its best to fend off those spoons-full of sugar.

For decades the earthy aroma and flavor of coffee has provided my life a smell-track and taste-track. The activity of brewing and drinking coffee has provided a rhythm — as a waitress pouring at breakfast restaurants, as a pastor sipping at kitchen tables, as a writer with a cup perpetually cooling beside me. (more…)

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