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Still True, All the Way Through

  The other night I sat in a meeting with five other church elders and my head pastor, listening to him share the hard realities of leading our church. As he spoke to us, I recognized (again) the gift of being lead by a person who is attentively listening to God’s spirit. Thirty years in ministry, and he is ...

The Ashes and the Being Made Whole

I published this piece two years ago at A Deeper Story, but I've never shared its entirety over here. Today is Ash Wednesday: let's think about wholeness, okay? I had planned to worship beside my husband on Ash Wednesday. For the almost-decade of our marriage, we have never once been to my favorite service of the year ...

The Tightly Stitched Gathering of God

“Payton,” I say, “I was baptized when I was seven, too.” In my memories I don’t see myself—the permed blonde frizz on my head, the teeth too big for my skinny face, the courage I must have held to have chosen such a thing at such an age.What I remember is the room of believers who loved me, who sat in ...

Advent Church: Celebrating St. Nicholas

On December 6th when my anxious nature woke me early, demanding I scrub the bathroom, order my nieces and nephews their presents from Amazon, and address my Christmas cards, I rebelled. Instead, I let my kids dress themselves in sweats, put some coffee in the pot, and opened the front door to a few friends and their ...

When pastors fail

  I’m not new to stories of pastors who fail massively, publicly, sexually. Those of us who have been in the church long enough know the pain of watching a leader we love crash into the void of sexual failure. Recently news reached me that another pastor, this time a childhood friend, had made a devastating ...

Deacons and Elders and Me

In the church of my childhood they were all called deacons. The men who met once a month to lead the work of the church. Some managed the finances. Some oversaw the care of widows and the poor. They prayed for the pastor. They knew the struggles and the joys of the church. Only the godly men. And so, I was proud my dad ...

An Invitation to Make Vows, Imperfectly

    This past Sunday I was ordained an elder in my church. Though it’s the first time I’ve mentioned it here, the process of becoming an elder has been a year in the making. I’ve been training and praying about this decision since last September. I could talk about what led me to this point: how ...