While I waited for my hair appointment, I chatted with two women over the magazines. They mentioned they were sisters, so I said, "How nice to make your hair a family affair." "It is nice, but it's not for a nice reason. Our mother died the other day." I felt surprised at this, and glanced at … [Read more...] about A Conversation with Strangers at the Hair Salon
When I was in seminary I was taught: Small churches are tough. You can't beat them to death with a stick! I believed that truism, and repeated it to others. Now I have fresh experience that allows me to see the backside of that truism, which is also true: Small churches are fragile. So far in my … [Read more...] about The Body of Christ is Both Tough & Fragile
For the last few Sundays I've filled the pulpit for a small church that has lost its critical mass. Attendance has dwindled to a faithful few, all of whom are running out of energy. Not a happy situation. Still, when I enter the church building, I feel a sense of welcome and warmth from the folks … [Read more...] about A Peculiar Energy, Even as the Congregation Dies
I was walking through an unfamiliar residential neighborhood to get some exercise, going at a good clip when I was brought to a sudden halt because the sidewalk disappeared. A certain establishment had not installed sidewalks along its considerable property line. The name of the establishment? … [Read more...] about Signs vs. Sidewalk: Which Speaks Louder?
I submit that there are two kinds of ministers: ministers who've been hurt by the church, and ministers who haven't been hurt by the church, yet. I suppose you could apply this bifurcation to any group of persons. There are two kinds of spouses: those who have disappointed their mate, and those … [Read more...] about Two Kinds of Ministers
Hospitality is important to me. I grew up in a home where it was common to have guests for dinner, even though we were a family of seven without a formal dining room. Simply getting everyone around the table could be a squeeze, but I don't remember a person ever complaining. We were happy to sit … [Read more...] about Superhost!
A recent article in the NYT, Learning to Love Criticism, discusses a Fortune.com study of performance reviews, which shows that women are criticized more severely, and in more personal ways, than are men. In other words: It's not our imagination! I am familiar with the dynamic described. As a … [Read more...] about Praise or Blame, All the Same: Handling Criticism
I'm a Presbyterian pastor who often talks about hospitality. Last spring my husband and I took the practice of hospitality to a new level when we became Air Bnb hosts. Many people are curious about the experience of hosting. Why would we want to open up our home to complete strangers? I'll readily … [Read more...] about Hospitality: What the Church Can Learn from Air Bnb
The conflict in Gaza occupies hearts and minds right now. I know you're praying for peace. But how else can a faith leader respond? So often we feel forced to choose a side. Are you pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian? The topic always seems to boil down to this question which (reasonably enough) results … [Read more...] about 9 Things Pastors Can Do Besides Pray for Gaza
I wrote this in 2014 but, unfortunately, it's all still true, so I'll repost it, even though I haven't updated the links with more up-to-date examples of women's lower pay rates and the legislating of women's wombs. You'll have to forgive me if I'm cranky about Mother's Day. Once again the world … [Read more...] about Momma Don’t Want No Stinkin’ Card
I love Bodypump. But January is a tough month to love my gym. All these newly-inspired resolution-making types show up to give Bodypump a try. They bang into me as they set up their bench top and risers. They encroach on my space. They don’t know proper weight selection. It makes me cranky. … [Read more...] about Bodypump & the Body of Christ