Holy Hilarity: Somewhere Over the Rainbow

The conclusion to the flood story addresses a variety of topics, including what we eat and how we eat it, capital punishment, and the connection of all life on earth. It does not specifically address Big Macs, whether to execute by firing squad or electric chair, or the importance of talking to your plants.

Connections 01.07.2018: God’s Words, Our Words

The first words God speaks in the first words of the Bible are creative ones: “Let there be light.” “And,” the narrator reports, “there was light.” God speaks. Something happens. And so it goes through all the days of creation.

Crossroads: Look on the Bright Side

When I was in the 6th grade, there was a big argument at church. Everybody took sides and people weren’t very nice to each other. It got so bad that I didn’t have any friends and I came home from church crying every Sunday. It was a tough time in my life and I was very sad. We started going to another church, a church with warm, welcoming people.

Connections 07.30.2017: God Permits

The almost-comical family dysfunction continues in the story of Jacob’s dealings with his uncle Laban. As a woman in the twenty-first century, I sometimes try to add layers of modern interpretations to Bible stories. Let’s face it, if the incident in our text happened today, it would go differently.

Connections 07.23.2017: This Place

I saw the sign in a restaurant in a small Kentucky town: “There’s no place near this place like this place, so this must be the place.” If you wanted a decent meal in that area, it was indeed the place. Most of the time when I was in that town (and in that restaurant), I really didn’t want to be there.

Crossroads: Forgiving Others

When I was a teenager, my youth group planned a summer mission trip to Myrtle Beach. One of my best friends, John, was in our youth group, and we were both excited about the upcoming mission trip. John and I had roomed together on every church trip. We were great friends and enjoyed spending time together. As I arrived at the church to leave for the mission trip, I learned that John had decided to room with someone else.

Connections 07.16.2017: God Answers

The dysfunction in some biblical families can be comical. It’s almost like the characters are actually caricatures, drawn larger than life to evoke humor and even a little ridicule. But while these caricatures can make us laugh, more often than not they also make us uncomfortable.

Connections 07.09.2017: The Rube Goldberg Matchmaking Machine

Rube Goldberg, a University of California at Berkley-educated engineer, laid out sewer lines and water mains in San Francisco in the early years of the twentieth century. He was also a cartoonist whose work became nationally syndicated. He specialized in drawing machines that went through many convoluted steps to accomplish a simple task.

Connections 07.02.2017: God Provides

I work for the Jay’s HOPE Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Macon, Georgia, that serves children with cancer. We give meal certificates and gas cards to families who travel for treatment, take care packages and toys to children who are stuck in the hospital, provide a fun playroom where kids can stop by after visiting the chemo clinic…

Connections 06.25.2017: Birth Stories

An angel flew up to me and asked, “What circumstances would you like to be born into?” I said, “I’ve been watching those folks Champ and Sara Ruffin down there in Barnesville, Georgia. They’ve wanted a child for years. They’re hard-working folks. They’re good Baptists. I’d like to be born to them.”

Connections 06.18.2017: When God Comes to Visit…

Sometimes our questions don’t have clear answers, and for me, that is especially true of questions about the Bible. Some questions matter a great deal, and many more are merely the result of curiosity. The challenge is to figure out which questions matter and try to find the best answers to those.

Flame: Creation Story Circles

I get really excited by visual ways of telling stories, so I thought I’d make some for us to use. I chose to use cork and paper as we are trying to get away from plastic, if possible!

Connections 06.11.17: Creation Celebration

The Genesis reading in our lesson text, which is excerpted from the lectionary first reading (Gen 1:1-2:4a), does not mention the three persons of the Trinity. Even if we stretch our interpretive imaginations so that “God” refers to the Father and “a wind from God” (1:1) to the Holy Spirit, the text nowhere mentions the Son.

Formations 02.05.2017: Moving Day

The first time I moved away from home was fairly easy. Then again, I only moved about forty-five minutes away in order to attend college. I was back again for the summer, and for numerous weekends throughout the academic year. My second move was harder: about six hours away to attend seminary.

Formations 01.29.2017: God’s Covenant with Noah

Two friends and I, waiting for others to arrive, had walked down to the southeastern end of Tybee Island, where the mouth of Tybee Creek and the Atlantic met. The tide started to come back in, and for whatever reason, we set our things down and dug channels with our feet to connect the tidal pools and the incoming ocean.

Formations 10.02.2016: Remembering the Tithe

Being told to tithe reminds me of those magazine covers in the grocery store checkout telling me I should use less salt and run more. I know they’re good for me, but I also don’t do them.

Connections 01.03.2016: The Story of Love

I grew up on Disney princess movies, many of which had this plot: A girl lives with her father (or horrific stepmother) because her mother suffered some fatal accident or succumbed to sickness.

Abram, Sarai, and Pharaoh

The Genesis storyline takes a turn when famine strikes. Abram goes to Egypt to live as a resident alien. Before they reach the border crossing, Abram starts to worry.

Crossroads: Never Again

How many times have we said “never again?” I’ll never eat there again. I won’t eat THAT again. I’ll never lie again. I’ll never go there again. I’ll never stay there again. We tend to say “never again” a lot.

Formations 02.01.2015: Caring for Creation

You might think environmentalists and religious believers have little in common. Though that might have been true in the past, in recent years, more and more evangelical Christians have taken steps to do a better job as stewards of creation.

Crossroads: Being Creative

As a child, I loved making up songs. I’d make up the tune as well as the words and sing these songs to myself as I played. Occasionally I even wrote the words down.

Crossroads: When You Fight With Your Siblings – Jacob and Esau

My sister was born when I was 7. I’m pretty sure her first phrase was directed at me and was “you’re not my momma.” We have had a love/hate relationship ever since, as most siblings do.

Crossroads: When What God Tells You Seems Crazy – Sarah

I think that God loves the element of surprise. He loves to do unexpected and, at times, seemingly impossible things. And usually when God shares these things with us, the things He wants us to do, they seem crazy.

Crossroads: The Danger of Selfishness

One day in Sunday school, our teacher told us the following story. He said many years ago there was a family that consisted of a father, a mother, and two brothers. One day the parents brought the brothers into the family room, sat them down on the couch, and showed them two gifts on the coffee table.

Crossroads: The Danger of Jealousy

For my tenth birthday, I received a wonderful present. It was a wind-up toy of a daredevil (Evel Knievel) who jumped over cars and buses on his motorcycle. I was so excited about this new toy—it was great!

Formations 03.16.2014: Judgment and Grace

Noah, a movie starring Russell Crowe and based on the account of Noah’s flood in the book of Genesis, is scheduled to open on March 28. Like every other biblical movie ever made, it is likely to take liberties, both large and small, with the actual Scripture text. Some Christians will no doubt reject the movie on those grounds.

Coracles & Noah in the News

Could there be a link between the small boats we named our blog after and Noah’s Ark?