Reimagining the Cross

Reimagining the Cross

 

I was invited to preach on Palm Sunday as a part of our “Wise Voices” series at Grace. On the second Sunday of each month we’ve been hearing from a member of our congregation about their faith journey and what that might have to teach the rest of us in our journeys. In my sermon I share a bit of my own story, as well as my journey of understanding Christ’s work on the cross. I hope it encourages you to think about your own view of the cross and challenges you to be invited up into the story of what God is doing today.

 

Lenten Reflections: The Cross and the Lynching Tree

Lenten Reflections: The Cross and the Lynching Tree

For seven months I was a mother to a beautiful boy with the most gorgeous curly hair and dark skin. We brought him home from the hospital on my daughter Dani’s birthday and for weeks she proudly proclaimed that she “got a brother for her birthday!” While I had parented three daughters (two biological, one foster) this was my first experience with a little boy and I polled my mom friends for advice. They all told me our bond would be different, that there was something different to a mother/son relationship. I scoffed. He was so tiny. We were his “in between” family, not his permanent one. I would love him like I loved all my children.

I should have listened to my friends. There really was something different to our bond. He was my happiest baby, with the biggest grin on the block. When daycare workers and visit supervisors would gush and coo, I would smile knowing he saved his best smiles for me. He charmed everyone he met and I was so proud to be his mom. And while I haven’t mothered him in over three years, this sweet boy still has a piece of my mother heart, and probably always will.

I think of his face as our country wakes to the issues of systemic racism. I think of his face as I hear the stories of mothers having to teach their sons to be extra careful around police officers. I think of his face when I see marchers hit the street proclaiming BLACK LIVES MATTER. I think of his face every time I encourage someone to recognize their own privilege, and to humbly share a bit of it to raise someone else up. I want this country to be a different place for all black young men but in particular I want this country to be a different place for my black boy.

But we have a lot of work to do. We have a lot to atone for. There are many things about our history as a country and as a people that we need to honestly confront. It is hard work to look upon the violence and injustice we have perpetrated.

This is the invitation of Lent—to do the hard work of repentance….

This post was submitted for my church’s seasonal blog: Lenten Muse. You can read the rest of it here.

Just For Fun – Two Truths & A Lie

Just For Fun – Two Truths & A Lie

me circa 1989

I thought it would be fun from time-to-time to use this space to tell you a bit about myself. And I’d REALLY LOVE you to join in and share about yourself in the comments. It encourages me to know who is stopping by this little internet space of mine.

So today, how about a little Two Truths and a Lie? We played this a while ago at Teen MOPS, so I’ve already got my statements ready to go. Leave a comment and let me know which one you think isn’t true about me.

  1. In high school I played on the varsity volleyball team, despite my short stature.
  2. We had a jukebox when I was a kid and it was so fun to have friends over and feed quarters into it.
  3. I worked as a barista in college, even though I detest coffee.

So, which is the lie? Comment below and leave me two truths and a lie to guess about you!

Scenes from an Egalitarian Marriage: Christmas Ornament

Scenes from an Egalitarian Marriage: Christmas Ornament

We may read a lot about complementarian versus egaliatarian marriages in theory, but what does an egalitarian marriage look like in practice? That’s the purpose of this series: a glimpse of how roles based on giftedness and not gender, how mutual submission and genuine partnership can look in the midst of a real-life relationship-ours. 

 

Each year since we started dating Darin and I exchange Christmas ornaments. We try to get something that is significant for the year we have just had. This year when I unwrapped the ornament I was so touched at his thoughtfulness. But then when he told me more about why he had made it, I really started to cry. I am so grateful to do life with this guy and I’m thankful he agreed to my request to share the story behind this ornament.  These are his words. 

The last few years have been a thrill ride for Deanna and me as we follow God into uncharted territory in our individual and shared faiths. We have been challenged, changed, and grown at a break-neck pace through the experiences of the last 4ish years. That journey is partially chronicled throughout Deanna’s posts, so I won’t get into it here.

Since she started at Portland Seminary, Deanna has continued the hard work of challenging so many things we took for granted before this current leg of our journey began. The ideas about God, the Church, and what it means to be a part of this big, messy body that Deanna brings to the table in any given week are staggering, amazing, and often dumbfounding. Often I have to ask her to slow down and define the last 3-12 words she used. But the ideas are incredible. The way God is weaving this knowledge into the ways that God has been recently leading us both together and individually feels providential.

It is thrilling.

So when it came time for our annual ornament exchange at Christmas, I knew I had to acknowledge the multitude of ways that Deanna’s work and study have enriched and directed our lives.

One of the historical figures that Deanna spent some time studying last semester is a German nun named Hildegard of Bingen. This woman faithfully served God, often took direct inspiration and direction from God, and served faithfully in a myriad of ways as a result. She also had a faithful friend named Volmar who helped to collect and communicate Hildegard’s visions.

For the entire semester, Deanna had an old drawing depicting the two of them which hung by her desk. Often of late I feel much like Volmar, peering through the window and just trying to keep up as Deanna brings the font of inspiration and pure missional gold that flows from Heaven, through her, into our home and family. So I took that photo and transferred it onto a thin piece of cedar, then added this quote on the reverse side:

You see, the ways that God has been working and moving in our family are ones that put our family perspective and practice more and more at odds with the direction of our world, especially the direction of our dear home, America. While America seeks stuff, we look for relationships. While the military expands and bombs pile high, we seek to embrace the peace of Christ in our life, and not just in an internal, “I’ve got peace like a river,” kind of way. While everything around us seems to trend toward shipwreck, you all should see the way that Deanna stands, resolute, and confident, challenging those powers and principalities to bring it on.

This is not to say that there aren’t hard times. Times when a Bonhoeffer quote about the Nazis feels just a little too close to our current situation. Times when the brokenness of this world nearly drags us down into despair. Times when we wonder how to raise our strong, smart, sweet daughters in a world that wants to kill their spirit or their hope.

But what is being built in Deanna, and in the rest of us through God’s work in her and in our family, is stronger than those dark things. So, in the midst of the shipwreck, she (and we alongside her) stands strong and brave. She is both the quiet student waiting on the Lord to bring divine inspiration and the resolute defender of the downtrodden and disenfranchised. Two sides of the same ornament, both printed on a fragile thin strip of beautiful cedar. And I’m blessed to be hanging from the same branch as her. I hope you feel that blessing too.

 

Want to know more about egalitarian marriage and how this model is fully Biblically supported? Click here.
Eschet Chayil: resources for women preachers, why women need to see women preaching, Project Deborah, and more.

Eschet Chayil: resources for women preachers, why women need to see women preaching, Project Deborah, and more.

In Hebrew eschet chayil translates roughly as “woman of valor” and is found in the opening lines of Proverbs 31. It is a blessing that Jewish women have used to cheer one another on for hundreds of years. This blog series is about highlighting women of valor you should know, or work supporting women you should cheer on. 

 

“Living Your Resurrectional Identity” 
“How do we be truly human as men and women? We need to see each other…honor and bless each other, one is more preferred than the other, both are preferred. Both are holy. Both are the face of God. Both are necessary for the mission of God. We have to talk to each other, hear each other’s stories and experiences.” I am blessed to have taken a class from Dr. Morse, a powerful and thoughtful woman, and was deeply encouraged by her words in this talk she gave at a Missio Alliance event “Being Truly Human.”

“Maybe a Senior Pastor:” Why Seeing Women in Ministry Matters
Leanne Friesen’s story here is back up by the research: young women need to see women in ministry. It matters that you are leading, preaching, baptizing, and serving communion. It matters that young women see other women pursuing their God-given callings. It opens up their own dreams and imaginations. Keep on sisters!

Project Deborah
YES YES YES to this! The Evangelical Covenant Church is encouraging its congregations to identify and raise up women leaders within their churches. Project Deborah encourages discipling women in each congregation, demonstrating that God has called and gifted women to serve in all facets of ministry, and directing women into opportunities to lead. I love that this denomination not only ordains women, but now is working to invest in a future generation of women leaders.

Resources for Women Preachers (by Women Preachers)
Junia Project is back with an excellent post full of resources for women preachers. Blogs, books, podcasts, and sermon archives are included. Bookmark this one for sure!

Christian Feminism Weekly Podcast
Ashley Easter and Charlie Olivia are young women leading the fight towards Christian Egalitarianism, towards true freedom. Join them as they chat with other leaders and share their own stories of being women in the church.

 

Sharing a story: Meeting God on The Mountain

Sharing a story: Meeting God on The Mountain

Doing something a little different today…

Thanks for hanging out with me! I’d love to hear from you. Leave me a comment about what resonated with you in my story, or how you feel about me telling a story in this video format.

And for fun, here is my friend Sasha’s blog.

Pictures I promised…

At the trailhead. Someone lost a cute grey shirt.

 

A well-maintained trail.

 

Lots of stopping and resting. I’m cool with that.

 

Spotted throughout the woods.

 

This is the one I have framed on my desk now.

 

Gorgeous views at the top.

 

A panorama version.

 

Eschet Chayil: women pastors are on the rise, disarming Paul, sharing stories bravely, and more.

Eschet Chayil: women pastors are on the rise, disarming Paul, sharing stories bravely, and more.

In Hebrew eschet chayil translates roughly as “woman of valor” and is found in the opening lines of Proverbs 31. It is a blessing that Jewish women have used to cheer one another on for hundreds of years. This blog series is about highlighting women of valor you should know, or work supporting women you should cheer on. 

 

Study: Female Pastors Are on the Rise, and So Are Our Impossible Expectations For Them
Such encouraging news! The Barna Group in its annual report notes a steady trend of increasing number of female pastors. Unfortuantely, women pastors also were more likely than their male counterparts to report that “congregants’ comments on their leadership were ‘critical,’ ‘judging,’ and ‘unhelpful.'” This is certainly a part of a larger cultural trend, and one in which the author of this piece says the Church is uniquely positioned to stand in contrast to.

Kate Wallace Nunneley on The Paulcast
Hear from The Junia Project co-founder Kate Wallace on her work with the Junia Project, Paul’s view of women in ministry, and why she supports women in church leadership.

Women in Church History: Footnoted and Forgotten?
Speaking of The Junia Project, this blog is full of great stuff that you should totally check out. For Women’s History Month they are highlighting the incredible deapth of women in our church history. Check it out.

Shame On/Shame Off – An Abortion Story
Be inspired by the bravery of Jada Schiessl in sharing her own story of living with the shame of a decision made at 16-years-old, and challenged in her call to the Church to do better when it comes to serving scared pregnant women.

How Learning About Feminine Metaphors for God Undermines Rape Culture
Susan Harrison reflects on the opportunity to expand our language for God to include the maternal, and what the unexpected outcomes might be.