Formations 12.9.2018: From the Wasteland

For this second Sunday of Advent, I’ll admit that part of my preference for this season is religious cover for my Scrooge-like demeanor. It persists most of the year, but November and December throw it into particular relief. Needless to say, this year I’ve surprised myself and have willfully listened to Christmas music before Thanksgiving.

The Potter’s Wheel is Still Turning

God told Jeremiah to go the potter’s house because, through the work of the potter, God would reveal his message to Jeremiah. The prophet watched as the potter worked at the wheel, purposefully shaping the clay with a beautiful and useful end in mind. But, as the potter worked, something went wrong.

Formations 02.26.2017: Meeting the Author

Once in a great while, you hear or read a simple sentence that changes everything. For me, one of those sentences came long ago in a sermon preached by my college pastor. “There is a difference,” he said, “between reading the Bible and meeting the Author.”

Formations 08.21.2016: Complaining Together

In March, I listened to a Tiny Desk Concert while working on my thesis. I wasn’t paying attention to it until I heard the first line: “I wish I could write songs about anything other than death.”

Formations 11.01.2015: Fragile Things

Think about strong, permanent things. What are they made of? How big are they? I think of stone structures that stand for centuries. When we want to build something that lasts forever, we consider materials even stronger than stone and wood.

Uniform 08.09.2015: A Choice to Be Just

In the 1984 film Mass Appeal, the older priest is a “Don’t rock the boat” sort while the younger man fervently believes that the boat really needs to be rocked–if not sunk.

Crossroads: Clay in the Potter’s Hands – Jeremiah

Have you ever tried to make something out of clay? I remember when I was in elementary school, we were given an art assignment to make a piece of pottery out of a lump of clay.

Uniform 09.28.2014: The Gift of Restoration

When my paternal grandmother, “Mom,” was a young girl, her father left the family. He stayed in touch, but he was no longer a part of her life. As a child hearing this story, I imagined what it was like for Mom not to know her daddy.

Uniform 09.21.2014: Acting with Hope

When this week’s text begins, things look pretty bleak for Jeremiah and the people of Judah. Jeremiah finds himself imprisoned by King Zedekiah, who is distressed by Jeremiah’s message of coming destruction.

Uniform 09.14.2014: A New Covenant

In the 1960s when it was just beginning, my favorite television show faced a crisis: the actor playing its title character felt the effects of age and illness. The show’s creators had a problem: if they let the actor go, they’d have to kill off his character. And without him, how could the show continue?

Uniform 09.07.2014: Rebuilding

When my great-great grandparents settled in Middle Tennessee, they found a farm in the small community of Mona and built a house for their family. Robert and Ella Barrett spent many happy years in that farmhouse with their fourteen children.

Crossroads: When You Feel Like You’re Too Young to Do Anything- Josiah

“You’re too young.” “You’ll be able to do this when you’re older.” Sound familiar? Chances are you’ve heard this before, and perhaps have even said this to your children. It seems like most of our lives as children are spent impatiently waiting to grow up.

Uniform 04.13.2014: The Leader We Need

Beauty shop gossip is a well-established tradition, at least for women. You go to get your hair trimmed or colored or washed, and you sit there listening to the hairdressers and their clients discuss religion, politics, relationships, kids—basically any topic that comes up. You might add a point or two from time to time.

Uniform 04.06.2014: Caring for Sacred Space

Like many people, I can get pretty sentimental about buildings. When an old, unused gym on my college campus was torn down to make way for green space, I was saddened that people would no longer get to see the tiny gym where the Mercer Bears played basketball for many years.