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 […]

The Suburban Life For Me

I’m going on sabbatical in two weeks (two weeks?!?). We’ll be visiting places like Rome, Jerusalem, and Seattle. It’s hard to promise that we won’t just stay in one of those places, right? Like, isn’t there an Episcopal Church in Rome? Do they have any openings? (Asking for a friend.) And the reason I feel […]

Two Sisters From Belarus

I met two Beguines last week. Beguines were lay sisters – they chose a life set apart for service and religious devotion but didn’t live in convents and didn’t make life vows. They were common in Europe in the Middle Ages, although the last one died just in 2013, in Belgium. Sister Elena and Sister […]

A Prayer Map

We have a prayer board in our church that hangs in the hallway near the bathrooms, where people can write the names of people they love and are concerned about. Then we put the names in the Sunday bulletin for a few weeks and we have a special prayer group that prays over the names […]

The Sabbatical

In mid-August, I’m going on sabbatical. St. Benedict, Adam, and I have been preparing for almost two years for this time. A team of lay leaders and I wrote and won a grant from the wonderful Lilly Foundation to pay for some exciting opportunities for me, Adam, and the congregation, including a priest who will lead worship […]