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The Most Important Thing

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The Most Important Thing

A self-cropped mop of curls hung around her face which was as red as anger and hurt can make it. The toe of her one-inch heel was missing a few of the plastic jewels that crusted the surface. When she stamped it onto the long-ago polished wooden floor, her fingers, still a little chubby with babyhood, were fisted, tight.

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Reason

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Reason

God gave us brains, and I am convinced that God intends for us to use them. From one perspective, humanity was blessed with reason to be able to carry God’s task of creation forward. Just as God calls us to be God’s hands and feet in service to others, God calls us to use our reason to co-create solutions and blessings for all those around us. We are more than simply caretakers—we are agents of God’s creative mercy and grace.

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The Doubter

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The Doubter

About fifteen years ago, I first heard about sustainable agriculture. Now, I come from a good, composting family. We had reusable shopping bags way before they were cool. But we never used the compost. We just didn’t throw food scraps in the trash. We threw them in the backyard. But in the world of sustainable agriculture, there are ways of doing things. There is tilth to consider. And biome—or was it biomass? And runoff.

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I Am a Lay Theologian

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I Am a Lay Theologian

Are you ready for a little grammar lesson? In the sentence "I am a lay theologian," there is a subject, I, and a predicate, am a lay theologian. The adjective lay modifies the predicate noun theologian not the subject I. And this feels important enough to risk your eyes glazing over with terrifying flashbacks of diagramming sentences.

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Under a Twilight Sky

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Under a Twilight Sky

In the mountains of Western North Carolina, the grass is growing again, the birds have returned, the carpenter bees are eating a perfect circle in the railing of my front porch. Spring has returned. The nights are soft and clear, and a certain yearning has returned to my heart. I love to wander under the twilight sky, deep into the evening—because, in the twilight, I can inhabit an edge.

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Why Do We Gather

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Why Do We Gather

The dishes have dried. The crumbs and snippets of yarn have been swept up. The sticky notes have been tabulated. National Gathering 2019 is a snapshot; taken, shared, and finished. In that moment, at that place, we were the Missional Wisdom Foundation, gathered.
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Faces

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Faces

As we have journeyed through lent together, we have only seen the backs of people’s heads in our images. Their faces have been left unseen by us. They have walked on away from us into the unknown, leaving us to ponder and ask, “Who are they? Where are they going? What are their names? What might it be like to see their face?”
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Named

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Named

There is something deep in the naming of a child. My husband and I have named five children, and not once did we do so lightly. We scoured baby-name books, made sure the middle names fit phonetically with the first names, screened favorite names for unfortunate meanings, and, even after all that, my hand shook as I wrote each new name down on the blue birth certificate form. After all, our names shape us.
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I Will Not

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I Will Not

This is week five. We are more than half way through our Lenten Journey, and I am hearing the rustling of plans.

Are you coming here for Easter? What should we eat? Do the kids have new outfits? Shoes? Easter baskets?

Easter isn't here yet, but it is close enough to be nudging its way in.

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Disjointed

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Disjointed

In the British science fiction show, Doctor Who, the Doctor is a Time Lord who can cheat death by a process called regeneration. He (and now she!) has been played by thirteen actors, allowing Doctor Who to be tv’s longest running sci fi program. With each new regeneration, the Doctor takes an episode to get reacquainted with the new body, new personality, and new preferences. Usually in the midst of a high stress, world-saving dilemma, while using that top-notch brain to devise a clever solution, the Doctor is in the midst of the chaos, figuring out who s/he is now.

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Wrestling Until

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Wrestling Until

To wrestle is to claim our place in God’s creation,
Because all of God’s creation wrestles...
The seed with the earth
The butterfly with the cocoon
The child with the parent

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Alone

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Alone

This past summer, I left my beloved community at the Bonhoeffer House to move to Wichita, Kansas. As I said goodbye to my friends and family to go to a new place, I noticed a recurring question rising up within me, “Will I be able to make any friends in this new place?” After years of having a strong community around me, I was afraid that I would be alone and lonely…Why is it that we are afraid of being alone?

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But She Did Not Recognize Him

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But She Did Not Recognize Him

A woman stood at the mouth of a cave. Any beauty her face would hold tomorrow had turned to gray, stern grief overnight. Her hair lay raggedly on her shoulders; her feet were dusty. She felt dry and limp—too exhausted to scrape together enough spirit to form tears, but, unbelievably, she could feel them soaking into the neck of her cloak.
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The Grace of...Silence

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The Grace of...Silence

As a contemplative myself, I am always interested when people talk about silence. For most, a time of silence is about withdrawal from the everyday world for a time of introspection. It is quite common for people to describe a time of silence wistfully, as if it were some unachievable goal. When I suggest getting up a little earlier, or going to bed a few minutes later, or setting an alarm during the day, people often smile and set the idea aside, unwilling to devote any time in their schedule for something as self-indulgent as a quiet time for themselves.

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The Grace of...Paying Attention

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The Grace of...Paying Attention

These days, everyone seems to say...
“Take care of yourself, your body, mind, and spirit.”

Everywhere I go, I seem to hear...
“It is necessary to know yourself and who you are.”

Gurus, counselors, and life coaches all seem to proclaim...
“Do what you need to do to take care of you”

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The Grace of...Knowing Your Context

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The Grace of...Knowing Your Context

I understand grace as an invitation toward something wonderful and a revelation of God’s loving action in our world. With this understanding, I see grace at work in my neighborhood. I have neighbors with gifts to share, and my neighborhood has resources and assets. Those treasures catch my attention and draw me toward an abundant life. Those treasures also reveal God’s action, as God has planted gifts in every single person.

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The Grace of...Empowerment

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The Grace of...Empowerment

Kryptonite is an alien mineral that has the property of depriving Superman of his power. It is a fluorescent green stone that is usually used against superman in a solid form, and the radiation from the crystalline rock causes sickness and ultimate weakness. One of the most difficult things about Kryptonite is its potency; however, because it is such a distinct mineral it is obvious when you encounter the substance.

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The Grace of...Community

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The Grace of...Community

Outside of The Foundry House, there is a wooden sign that indicates the building’s previous use on the campus of Crossnore School & Children’s Home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It designates the building as the William R. Brantley Retreat Center.

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...a wind from God swept over the waters...

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...a wind from God swept over the waters...

In his book, Returning from Camino, Alexander Shaia explains that the advertised destination of any given pilgrimage is not the end but the turning around point, and it is only through the long process of returning to walk the ways of the mundane and usual that the work of pilgrimage is brought to fruition.

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