Women’s Preaching Workshop & Cohort

Women’s Preaching Workshop & Cohort

$25 Includes workshop, lunch, and ongoing mentoring.

To apply: fill out this short application and submit a short (3-5 minute) video. Share a portion of a sermon or talk you’ve recorded, or a short devotion you would share with a group of Christian leaders. DUE JANUARY 31st!

Limited to 18 participants.

Questions? Email me!

And here’s a little video where I share some more of the heart behind this event:

The LIE that is Racism

The LIE that is Racism

Photo by Jerónimo Bernot on Unsplash

I am a white woman in the United States who has spent the last few years becoming painfully aware of my own racism. I wish I could go back and apologize for all the idiotic things I have said and done that centered whiteness and white culture. I am trying to do better. I am still stumbling.

But I know that it is on me to teach my children to see the world differently. And so yesterday, on Martin Luther King Jr. day, we sat down as a family to watch a few educational videos about Jim Crow laws and the Reverend himself.

And I asked the girls a simple question: “What lie did the white people believe about black people?”

My youngest spoke up: “That they were bad!”

“Yes, that they were bad. But a lie even bigger than that. A lie that went back to slave times. These slaveholders had to tell a lie to make slavery OK in their hearts, when their hearts probably told them it wasn’t. So they told a lie that black people were lesser people. In fact, when the government needed to count how many people lived in an area, a black man was considered 3/5ths of a white man.”

I watched my girls’ eyes get big. They couldn’t imagine one human being counted as 3/5ths of another.

“And that lie told the slave owners that black people who were less than they were, were also less smart, less worthy, less dignified…less everything.

“They told that lie to themselves until they believed it. And they told that lie to their children and their children believed it. And they told that lie to their children and their children and laws and systems and governments were built on that lie. It is a lie called racism. The lie of racism simply says one race of people is less than another – one race of people is better than another. It is a lie that has such far reaching consequences, we are still dealing with it today – many people still believe this lie.” (Darin joined in here to talk about the Charlottesville protests. But there are many examples you could offer.)

And I needed to be even more honest, “See, here’s the thing: even though your mom and dad know it is a lie that black people are less, sometimes even we fall for it. We have to work hard to unlearn this lie because it is hiding in so many places we don’t know about, or can’t see. And we have to unlearn it by teaching you that it is a lie. And it is a lie – because we know the truth. All people are equal.”

 

We had lots more conversations about lots more topics during our learning time together yesterday, but this is the conversation we need to keep having over and over. We need to teach our children to teach their children to teach their children the TRUTH. This is the only way to take away the power of the lie.

 

Brave Mary Sermon

Brave Mary Sermon

 

I was invited to pulpit fill for a friend last month and the night before I posted this on Facebook:

I also posted something similar in a “Preach like a Girl” facebook group I’m a part of.

There were lots of comments from people asking to see this sermon. Unfortunately, this church doesn’t record their preachers. But then one woman stopped me after church and asked me for my sermon notes, wanting to share them with her daughter. And that pushed me over the edge in trying to figure out a way to share more broadly.

So last week I popped down to the basement and preached to my phone camera. I’m not at my best when I’m not interacting with people, but at least you get some content.

The text is Luke 1:26-45, 2:8-19. I don’t read it while I preach as in this church they read the text earlier in the service so I prepped my sermon accordingly.

Where might God be calling you to be BRAVE in 2019?

 

My favorite books of 2018

My favorite books of 2018

Books I read for seminary:

Speaking of Sin – Barbara Brown Taylor

We don’t talk about sin a lot at my church, but this book challenged me to think of sin not as threatening, but hopeful. When we name our sins we can actually pursue real repentance and restoration of relationships.

The Story Factor – Annette Simmons

I got to read this for my advanced preaching class and it just reminded me once again at the power of story. I plan to re-read when school is done as there are so many good tips and tricks for anyone who wants to motivate others.

Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission – Amy Simpson

EVERY church pastor, staff person, volunteer, board member, and lay leader should read this book. Amy shares her own story as well stories from other families, in a challenge to the church to better care for those who suffer from mental illness and the people who love them.

Through the Eyes of Women: Insights for Pastoral Care – edited by Jeanne Stevenson Moessner

I didn’t read all of this book, but the chapters I read were top-notch and incredibly insightful. In fact, I forwarded a few of them on to my Pastoral Ministry professor for us to read next semester. The more time I spend in the church, the more I realize resources are generally written towards men with an assumption that women work/feel the same. But this book offers some really helpful insights into the lives and hearts of women, and pastors who want to care for them well would do well to pick it up.

Books I read for fun:

Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan

Most of the books I “read” for personal pleasure this year I actually listened to as audio books. I need fiction in my life, but as a grad student it is really hard to find the time to read for pleasure. Audio books have been a real salvation for me. This book was such a delightful story and I fell in love with so many of the characters. I was thrilled to watch the delightful film this summer too, but the book just made me happy.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I grabbed this book off my shelf as we packed up for a spring break vacation and I am so glad I did. I loved sitting by the fire morning and evenings, and on the beach as my family built sandcastles, savoring this book. Quite a few years old, and with a new Netlflix movie that is pretty darn good, but if you haven’t read this one yet I urge you to pick it up.

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Always worth a re-read. Still as powerful as ever. I wanted a refresher given my oldest is in middle school now and I anticipate this text on a reading list any day now.

This is how it Always Is – Laurie Frankel

Powerful storytelling that opened my eyes to the experiences of families with trans kids. If you want your worldview expanded and believe in the power of story to do just that, pick up this book.

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness – Austin Channing Brown

Another eye-opening book for me, this time about race, America, and the evangelical church. I’d highly recommend this book.

 

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger – Rebecca Traister

This is the one book this year that I told all my girlfriends and my sister they needed to read ASAP. This book shook me and taught me so much. I listened to the audio version and have plans post-school to buy a hard copy and mark it all up. (Just between you and me, this book and a independent study last semester have planted a few seeds of writing my own book on the theology of women’s anger. We’ll see what happens…)

Educated: A Memoir – Tara Westover

This book was a bestseller this year for very good reasons. Memoir is one of my favorite genres, and I am fascinated by Mormon fundamentalism. Add to that a hardworking, strong-willed woman who finds a way to pursue education at Harvard and Cambridge and you have a serious winner.

Becoming – Michelle Obama

Somehow I got on the audiobook waitlist early enough that I got to listen to this book right as 2018 wrapped up. What a gift it was.

 

How about you? Did any of my books make your list? What were your favorite books of 2018? 

Prayer of Exchange

Prayer of Exchange

 

Lord,

We bring you our questions and our doubt. Show us your ways.

We bring you our grief and our weariness. Show us your new life.

We bring you our fear. Show us your compassion.

We bring you our gratitude. Show us your faithfulness.

Amen

 

Adapted from a prayer by Sam Wells and Abigail Kocher in “Shaping the Prayers of the People.” 
The Apology Jar

The Apology Jar

I’m sorry.

It’s a good phrase. It’s an important phrase. It’s something we teach our children to say when they need to acknowledge wrongdoing and work to restore a relationship. It’s something many adults need to get better at saying (and meaning) without qualifying with a “but” or an “if.” And that definitely includes me because I’m not very good at admitting when I’m wrong.

But I’m awfully good at saying I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I didn’t know that.

I’m sorry to bother you, but can I ask you a question?

I’m sorry, was that in your way?

And I’ve got a couple of amazing coworkers who are also really good at this kind of apologizing.

I’m sorry I forgot what I was saying.

I’m sorry, that story was really rambling.

Sorry, were you sitting here?

The experts tell us that while we may be innocently attempting to keep peace and avoid conflict, this kind of apologizing can not only damage our careers, but also our self-image. We do not need to apologize for a lack of knowledge, for taking up space, for opening our mouths. We do not need to apologize for existing! We do not need to use apologies as conversation “smoothers,” to cushion whatever blows might befall those around us. We do not need to apologize when a simple “thank you” or “excuse me” will due. We do not need to apologize when what we really need to do is stand firm in our convictions.

So I’ve been joking with my coworkers that I’m going to institute an “apology” jar around the office. Sort of like a swear jar, we’ll each have to put $1 in when we’re caught in an apology.

Or when, like happened a few weeks ago, our boss even asks for an unwarranted apology. My boss (who also happens to be my sweet husband, so that’s an interesting dynamic) was suggesting some phrasing for an email I was sending to his boss, and his wording included an apology. I did not feel the apology was warranted, so instead of saying “I’m sorry that I didn’t know X” I wrote, “I just learned X” and continued with the email. It wasn’t hard to turn that phrase and I was still polite and respectful in my email, without diminishing myself in the process.

And even if I can’t make the general public give me $1 for an unwarranted apology, I’m not going to accept them so easily anymore either. At the Evolving Faith conference I turned around to tell a new friend how much I enjoyed listening to her gorgeous voice sing harmonies in my ear that afternoon. Her response to my gratitude and compliment?! “I’m sorry,” along with a sheepish lowering of her head.

“Nope.” I laughed. “That’s not how this works. That is the wrong answer when someone gives you a compliment. The right answer is: thank you. Let’s try this again.”

And we did.

And this time she smiled, and said, “thank you” instead.

 

How about you? Are you an over-apologizer? Do you have tips or tricks for those of us trying to break this habit?

Evolving Faith Conversation

Evolving Faith Conversation

So last month Darin and I packed our bags, kissed our children goodbye, promised our undying affection to Gran who was looking after them, and flew across the country to attend the Evolving Faith Conference. Organized by two faith leaders we deeply admire, Sarah Bessey and Rachel Held Evans, the conference was a place for “doubters, dreamers, survivors, rebuilders, guides, and travelers – who know what it’s like to experience a shift in faith.” Darin and I were excited to hear from Sarah and Rachel and the amazing lineup of speakers they had put together, we were grateful for the chance to get away together after an incredibly challenging season of ministry, but we were really eager to be in a room of full of kindred spirits and maybe feel a little less alone.

gorgeous Montreat, tired travelers

As I posted quotes and pictures on social media my friends back home kept telling me how jealous they were that I was at this event, and how much they wanted me to share what I was learning. But there was so much going on in my own head, heart, and spirit – there were so many speakers and so many topics. How could I distill this conference into one blog post or a handful of twitter quotes?

As I pondered and prayed I wondered if there were more kindred spirits here in my own hometown than perhaps I knew. Maybe I wasn’t quite so alone here on this faith journey.

And so I posted on social media that I would be hosting a conversation on Evolving Faith. Thursday night at 8:30. Come and chat. Or come and listen. Just come.

And some people came.

And others messaged to tell me they had prior commitments but wished they could come.

So here is the hour-long conversation for those of you who wished you could have made it but weren’t able to. If you watch it, leave me a comment and let me know. What is something you heard that resonated with you heart? With your journey? (Note: There is one swear. Just a heads up.)

I promised my new friends I would post the names and social media for the conference speakers here, so scroll on down for that list. Here’s also a link to the Gospel Coalition article that I mentioned (and have a lot of issues with) in case you’re interested in reading that one.

But I’m honestly excited, blessed, and a bit intimidated that the women who joined me want these conversations to continue. They are definitely on their own evolving faith journeys, and they want to keep talking. So we’re going to keep talking.

In the coming days I’ll pick a topic and post it, along with a bit of “pre-work” like a blog post to read or podcast to listen to. Then we’ll come back together for a chat. We’ll take our topics from those of the conference: evolving faith and the personal journey, family dynamics, relationships, the bible, church, science, justice, politics, and the arts. I think we’ll be busy for a while.

As we continue I probably will not publicly post our conversations – just our pre-work and maybe some reflections of my own. But if you want to join us, or do join us regularly and miss a session, there’s always a possibility of viewing a conversation with a password I can email you.

I’m excited. I hope you’ll join me.

2018 Evolving Faith Speakers:

Audrey Assad (Singer/Songwriter/Speaker) Twitter, Instagram

Cindy Wang Brandt (Author/Speaker) Twitter

Austin Channing Brown (Author/Speaker) Twitter, Instagram
You should read her book I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness NOW.
Also, she gave probably the best sermon I’ve heard in my life at this conference. I hope they make a way for me to purchase it because I want every preacher I know to watch it. Her storytelling was powerful and her prophetic voice was unparalleled.

Jeff Chu (Journalist/Author/Seminarian) Twitter, Instagram

Katlin Curtice (Potawatomi Author/Speaker/Worship Leader) Twitter

Peter Enns (Professor, Eastern University) Twitter

Kathy Escobar (Author/Pastor, The Refuge, North Denver) Twitter

The Rev. Will Gafney, PH.D. (Assoc. Professor of Hebrew Bible, Episcopal Priest) Twitter, Instagram

Jen Hatmaker (Author/Speaker/Co-Founder of Legacy Collective) Twitter, Instagram

Cheryl Bridges Johns (Professor of Spiritual Renewal, Pentecostal Theological Seminary) Twitter

Jonathan Martin (Writer/Speaker) Twitter

Mike McHargue (Co-Founder, The Liturgists) Twitter, Instagram

Osheta Moore (Author/Pastor: Woodland Hills Church, St. Paul, MN) Twitter

A’driane Nieves (Artist) Instagram

Propaganda (Poet/Thought-Leader/Emcee) Twitter, Instagram

Sandra Marie Van Opstal (Author/Speaker/Pastor: Grace & Peace Church, Chicago, IL) Twitter, Instagram

Nish Weiseth (Author/Columnist/Podcaster) Twitter, Instagram

Audrey and Propaganda joining my lunch line