A Place at the Table

Sometimes it’s easier to be a man. Your last name is not an issue. Wedding plans take care of themselves. Mechanics tell you the truth. You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is “just too icky.” Three pairs of shoes are more than enough. The same hairstyle lasts for years.

Caring for Country

Even standing in line at the National Archives is inspiring. The original Declaration of Independence is on the left: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness . . . . That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Celebrating the Found

Pacifier, binky, baby-plug. Whatever name you choose, there is no more desperate scene than a mother searching for this source of soothing as naptime approaches. A frazzled mom will turn the house upside down, frantically looking for this small, magical plug to stifle the shrill screams of her overly tired one-year-old.

Homeward Bound

“I want to go home” is not just the plaintive cry of kindergarten students on the first day of school; it is the longing of every person who pays attention to his or her heart. For some, nothing is better than going home.

Justice, Kindness, Humility

One morning in my eighth grade social studies class, the teacher said, “The world is one-third Christian, twenty percent Muslim, and thirteen percent Hindu.” We thought that was the goofiest thing we had ever heard. Where I grew up in Mississippi, there were four religions—Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and heathen.

Be a Poet for the New Year

Earlier this month many of us joined a gym, bought exercise clothes, and stocked the pantry with quinoa. We decided to de-clutter our lives once and for all. We planned to try Marie Kondo’s method of picking up every object we own and giving away whatever does not bring us joy.

Thanksgiving Supper

At 10:30 on Thanksgiving Day, I am standing in a long line waiting for a box of Thanksgiving. We are not in a restaurant, as you might expect, but in a nondescript building—a VFW hall, Rotary Club hall, or Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall.

Death and Life

We lose so many good people. When Jesus finally arrives at his friends’ home, Lazarus has been dead for four days.

An Invitation to Joy

If we relied on Mark, we would have to stretch to get a story worth a Christmas carol. Mark has no shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night, no Mary, no Joseph, no manger, no wise men, no Herod.

Beyond Church Chat

“Here’s the church and here’s the steeple, open the doors and see all the people.” Remember that preschool fingerplay? If it had cute hand motions to go with it, we might add an extra verse: “Here is the church, and here are the pews, and here are the holy words that we use.”

Youth Workers Living with Life’s Pressures

How do you view the stresses you experience as a youth worker? Do you cry when you hear the words “ski trip”? Do your youth ask if you had any fun when you were young?

Catching a Glimpse

The first Christmas comes and goes, and most people don’t notice. Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and a few others catch a glimpse of what is happening, but they’re just a handful.

Getting It All Together

Jesus’ boat lands on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee—no longer in Jewish territory. This is like landing in Cuba. Along the edge of the lake, tombs are cut into the mountain. The village graveyard is this land’s version of a mental institution.