Two of my church members at home have a great garden, where they produce fruits and vegetables, and especially flowers. Many Sundays at the Richmond Mennonite Fellowship, we have flowers provided by Esther and Paul. And lots of times they’re in a very special vase. It’s brass, a little misshapen, and it’s made out of a bomb casing from Vietnam, where they lived doing community work during the Vietnam War. When I look at it, I think, “There it is, swords to plowshares.” What exactly does it mean to turn our swords into plowshares? It means taking the weapons of war and turning them intoRead More →

“There is a spirituality to every kind of theater, and what, I ask you, is more theatrical than a woman doing her best to work it? Costume, makeup, inhabiting a role so thoroughly you’re transformed by it—it’s all there. God’s loving acceptance is a come-as-you-are proposition, but it’s my secretly held belief that every time you step out in something a little flashy, a million glittery angels chorus a resounding “Yes!” Then you peel off the false lashes, get back into your jeans and boots or yoga pants and roll onward, refreshed and inpsired by the knowledge that somewhere between God and glamour, grace prevails.”Read More →

We met for lunch. We were there for only an hour, but it seemed like more. With the waves crashing, the sun bearing down, and the gentle breeze, it seemed almost like a week. When Shelley left yesterday, she said that she felt like she had been in Bali for a long time—much longer than the 26 days she spent here. Maybe it’s the relaxed pace of the life we’re living, maybe it’s being closer to the equator. Maybe it’s not having the daily stresses that mark our lives in the States. Whatever it is, I’ll take it. I sleep long and deep. I beginRead More →

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” — James Baldwin Some days, it’s hard to get out of the bed. Some days, life doesn’t seem like it will ever lighten up. Your burden won’t ever soften. Your load will never lessen.  And the fact that sometimes life is difficult is true no matter what your faith tradition or where you are in your life with God. The most faithful people have bad days, bad weeks, bad years, and even bad decades. Mother Teresa wrote to her spiritual director about her long night of the soul.Read More →

Ya’ll know I like a good americano, right? Espresso and hot water made frothy and good with half and half and raw sugar? You know that’s my own personal comfort food? And you know that I like Starbucks, right? Partly, it’s their consistency–any Starbucks you go to will probably give you a good (enough) americano. Most of them will give you an excellent one. And I also have a bit of loyalty to the old Bucky Star because they provided a recovery job to me after my last employment aggravation extravaganza. There’s a Starbucks here in Sanur, Bali. And one in Kuta. Andn probably oneRead More →