On Sunday, Oct 30, the saints at Vienna Presbyterian Church hosted an author event called Vicious Rape, Unstoppable Redemption. I am so grateful to everyone who put their heart and soul into this event, especially Sue Hamblen, the Director of Missions, and Sally Mitchell, the Bookstore Manager, and … [Read more...] about Vicious Rape, Unstoppable Redemption
Last week a pastor friend hosted a book event for RUINED. Her approach: "Since the subject is so hard we should make sure it's fun." She arranged to have the event in the back room of a local tapas restaurant and advertised it as a happy hour. In the minutes before the event began, as she and I … [Read more...] about Exercising Self-Care After Sexual Assault
Ever since the tape of Donald Trump and Billy Bush surfaced on Oct 7, the media has been saturated with news about sexual assault. Like many other women, I have often felt jangled during the past ten days. But I have also felt a strange elation. At last we’re talking openly about the prevalence of … [Read more...] about A Strange Elation
I chose not to disguise the identity of my college in my memoir, so I was curious as to how the Calvin College community would react. In 1983 I intentionally stepped out of the (Dutch) Christian Reformed world and entered a different one. My new tent was Presbyterian, and it was bigger. I got … [Read more...] about Re-engaging the World that Shaped Me
The title of this post is a quote from Brian Doyle, editor of Portland Magazine. I heard him speak at Festival of Faith & Writing in April 2012. I wrote down this comment because it struck me as expansive enough to fit memoir-writing and memoir-reading: A story is a country where we can both … [Read more...] about “A Story Is a Country Where We Can Both Stand For A While”
As many of you may already know, my 90 year old father passed away on Father's Day. He was elderly, but relatively healthy. His final illness spanned only 10 days. This summer has been a precious time -- time outside of time -- as I stay with my mother and we all get used to living without … [Read more...] about Why Write a Memoir?
By now you have no doubt read the details of Brock Allen Turner's rape conviction at Stanford, including the letter his victim wrote. It's a powerful letter, and I hope you'll read it. I took special note of a couple of sentences: “You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my … [Read more...] about “The Damage is Done, No One Can Undo It.”
I picked a fight with my husband on Sunday. We were in the car, driving somewhere we’d never been before, a situation that makes easy pickings for a fight. Wrong turns. Missed exits. A married fight is hardly news, but for us it’s not typical. My own angry words exhausted me. For days I was out of … [Read more...] about Fighting with Evil: Road Edition
I feel like I'm seeing stars! Kirkus gave my memoir a starred review and I'm thrilled. The review gives a synopsis of the book, calling it a "perfectly balanced volume" and a "consistently riveting book." It ends with these kind words: "Forthright, compassionate, and expertly crafted—everything … [Read more...] about Kirkus Review — Starred!
I’m a woman and have spent a good portion of my career occupying pulpits. In some circles a preaching woman is seen as a problem. Now comes a book that normalizes my life: "There's a Woman in the Pulpit." What a gift! I’ve always wanted to feel normal. There’s a Woman in the Pulpit: Christian … [Read more...] about I’ve Always Wanted to Be Normal
Why do church leaders so rarely talk about sex? Did Mark Driscoll ruin the subject for all preachers? Most churches ignore Valentine's Day, except for a nod during Children's Time -- use those red paper hearts, maybe, or some candy -- but then back to business because Valentines Day is … [Read more...] about 50 Shades of Preaching
Clergywomen face unique challenges. Today's "Ask the Matriarch" column at RevGalBlogPals addresses a question about enforcing boundaries with a person who is hurting: Dear Matriarchs, What’s a gal chaplain to do? I work in hospice and I try hard to be professional and do my job well. What does … [Read more...] about Is He Hitting On Me? A Clergywoman & Bereaved Guy