Ash Wednesday Is The First Day of Easter

From my Ash Wednesday sermon, February 18, 2015 I want to say that Lent is the Extreme Sports Season of the church year. It’s when each one of us has the chance to test our spiritual mettle and try some truly dangerous feats. For instance, to not eat meat on Fridays for six weeks? I […]

A Talk With The Mayor

This week, I went to Mayor Roger Claar’s annual talk with the Bolingbrook Christian Clergy Association. It’s a nice tradition – it gives clergy a chance to have face time with him and ask questions, and he tells us a lot of interesting stuff about what’s happening in the Village. He’s actually a terrific speaker, and quite funny. […]

Tiny Homes, Hopes, and Dreams

My sister-in-law, Laurie, has introduced me to a show called Tiny House Hunting. We watch and gawk at the crazy people and the spaces for sale out there. There’s quite a variety: yurts, converted silos, dirt bag construction (ok, it’s really called “Earthbag”), houses on wheels, and a few that qualify as what my SIL calls “crap-holes.” There are […]

What Happened On A Snow Blown Sunday

This morning, the five+ inches of snow on our street still hadn’t been plowed. This wasn’t a surprise. There are so many little subdivision streets and lanes out here that residential areas are almost never plowed until the snow comes to a full and complete stop. But I hate to cancel Sunday Eucharist. Communion is at the center […]

At The Hospital, Doing Nothing

When I sit with someone in a hospital, office, funeral home, or coffee shop, it can look and feel like doing nothing. Mostly, you sit. You listen. There are no magical things we are told in seminary or by the Holy Spirit to say or explain to people. There is small talk. There is prayer, out […]

The Beauty of Empty Spaces

We took our Christmas decorations down on Sunday. I love the lights, I love hanging all our Christmas cards up in the kitchen bay window, I love the smell of the tree. But then I love putting it all away because we’re left with what, in contrast, feels like radically open space. Plain and simple. I can’t pretend my […]

The Vicar’s First Book

I’ve been away from blogging more than I would like this month, in part because I’ve been finishing a book manuscript. Hooray! I want to fill you in a bit on what I’m working on, since it’s taken me away from doing much writing here. The backstory: last summer, Westminster John Knox offered me a contract for […]

Lessons I Have Learned About Christmas Caroling

The last few years, a small group of folks at St. Benedict sign up to go caroling to our elder members, who are some of the most fun and winsome people in my congregation. Some are homebound and some are not. Some sing along with us and some just listen. It’s a fun Advent tradition. Here are some practical and humorous […]

How to read my posts this fall…

Dear Readers: I’m leaving on sabbatical this Sunday afternoon! If you want to come along for my adventures via  “Stranger, Guest, Pilgrim,” my sabbatical blog (I plan to post every Sunday) you can get updates if you: 1. keep following me on Facebook (you can follow me even without being “Friends”) 2. use the brown button on the left column […]

The Silo of Poetic Despair

I took these photos a few days ago, meaning to write about a silo down the street from our church. It’s surrounded on four sides: by warehouses, a Lutheran church, an empty lot, and a busy street. The property used to be a nursery (started by the family that used to farm the land?) but the property is now […]