Friday, November 13, 2015


or at least a happy little coincidence.

To what am I referring? For a long time now I've loved the Gospel according to Luke. Since taking New Testament Survey at Harding University many years ago and learning that Luke's gospel emphasized Jesus' relationship with the poor, the outcast, women, and children, I've taken special note.

Another thing that has drawn me to Luke are some of the unique passages which add depth and humanness to our Lord. One in particular I first encountered in the hymn, Tis Midnight and on Olive's Brow. Here's a bit I wrote about that several years ago. For other unique passages in Luke, look here.

In fact, I am so drawn to Luke's gospel that I have for almost a year now been teaching from it each Sunday. This is my second time to teach on Luke, though this time I've been able to go much slower and studied in greater detail. Sometime when teaching something for this long, there comes a weariness in the subject matter, but this hasn't happened for me. If anything, I am loving the author and his subject even more.

Other things that have caught my interest in the last 20 years or so are the works of N.T. Wright, Richard Hays, and Michael J. Gorman. They have led me to a better understanding of what the Gospel and salvation really mean, and how through God's revelation of himself to humanity as recorded in the Bible, (and found ultimately in his son, Jesus), he has brought and is bringing about the Kingdom of God.

The third aspect of this recounting is that I participate in a theological reading group a friend and I started. We're an ecumenical group and we're not limited to theological works, (We've had discussions of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Les Miserables, and The Light Princess.), though we approach all works theologically. 

This month, our reading group will  discuss Michael J. Gorman's, Inhabiting the Cruciform God: Kenosis, Justification, and Theosis in Paul's Narrative Soteriology. As I was doing a bit of research for the discussion, I came across a recent booklet he's written, titled, Peace in Paul and Luke.

Whatever you may want to call it, however it has come about, it is a happy little convergence.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

This Is So Me

Richard Beck, who grew up in the churches of Christ, as I did, shares his love for not just studying the Bible, but how he does it.

Here's my partial stack which I use to prepare for my study of the Gospel of Luke. It's part of living room layout for now.

There is something incredibly satisfying making connections and discovering what others have found, and how it all makes sense. I will be forever grateful to those who helped me appreciate this joy along the way.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


Sometimes when I think from where I've come in my spiritual walk, I'm amazed at how far I've traveled and wonder what took me so long to get to this place. I think this particularly when I examine the inconsistencies in belief I either ignored or didn't recognize. Then this question comes to me. How far do I still have to go?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

Here are a few of my favourite Christmas carols. May your Christmas day and season be blessed.

Sussex Carol

On Christmas night all Christians sing
To hear the news the angels bring
On Christmas night all Christians sing
To hear the news the angels bring
News of great joy, news of great mirth
News of our merciful King's birth

Then why should men on earth be so sad
Since our Redeemer made us glad
Then why should men on earth be so sad
Since our Redeemer made us glad
When from our sin He set us free
All for to gain our liberty

When sin departs before His grace
Then life and health come in its place
When sin departs before His grace
Then life and health come in its place
Angels and men with joy may sing
All for to see the newborn King

All out of darkness we have light
Which made the angels sing this night
All out of darkness we have light
Which made the angels sing this night
Glory to God and peace to men
Now and forever more, amen

English Traditional

Good King Wenceslas

I found the anime in this video quite charming.

Good King Wenceslas looked out
on the feast of Stephen,
when the snow lay round about,
deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shown the moon that night,
though the frost was cruel,
when a poor man came in sight,
gathering winter fuel.

Hither, page, and stand by me.
If thou know it telling:
yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?
Sire, he lives a good league hence,
underneath the mountain,
right against the forest fence
by Saint Agnes fountain.

Bring me flesh, and bring me wine.
Bring me pine logs hither.
Thou and I will see him dine
when we bear them thither.
Page and monarch, forth they went,
forth they went together
through the rude wind's wild lament
and the bitter weather.

Sire, the night is darker now,
and the wind blows stronger.
Fails my heart, I know not how -
I can go no longer.
Mark my footsteps my good page,
tread thou in them boldly:
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
freeze thy blood less coldly.

In his master's step he trod,
where the snow lay dented.
Heat was in the very sod
which the saint had printed.
Therefore, Christian men, be sure,
wealth or rank possessing,
ye who now will bless the poor
shall yourselves find blessing

Love Came Down at Christmas

Love came down at Christmas
Love all lovely, love divine
Love was born at Christmas
Star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead
Love incarnate, love divine
Worship we our Jesus
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token
Love shall be yours and love be mine
Love to God and to all men
Love for plea and gift and sign...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014


That's a loaded term in some circles, I know. For many years, evolution, along with creation and the origins of things was something that concerned me greatly. My first thoughts regarding such things came about in second grade. I'd obviously, either in school or television, learned about dinosaur fossils and couldn't reconcile that knowledge with the creation stories in Genesis. I searched in earnest in my teens and twenties, then came children and other theological issues, so I gave it a rest, not believing in a strict six day creation, but still trying to figure out what place scripture held and how to interpret them.

The faith tradition I grew up in basically revolved around the Bible and the doctrines that tradition had developed around it. It became a law book and proof text, so that is how I understood the Bible. I'm very grateful for the teaching I received, particularly in my Sunday school classes at the Blue Starr Church of Christ. Unfortunately, regarding the Bible as a law book meant missing really important things, such as Jesus and all he means. It's not that Jesus wasn't important, but he wasn't as important as having the right doctrines and understanding. That makes for a weak saviour, not an all powerful one. I realize now that the faith translated to me was a form of gnosticism. Certainly this wasn't intentional, but as with all things, we humans skew what is meant for good.

So now, at the older age I am, I have experienced the Christian life in communities of the Church of Christ, Episcopalian, Anglican, Lutheran, and now Church of the Brethren, and I've learned good things from them all. One might think I'm simply fickle, and there may be a bit to that, though in fact there have been times I've probably stayed too long in a faith community to ensure that wasn't part of my motivation. I actually have to experience a lot of pain to make so significant a move.

As is probably obvious, my views of both scripture and the church have changed, or to use the loaded term, evolved. It's been an incredible process and I imagine it will continue to be, though at times it has been quite painful and frightening. What I hope is to fiercely hold to what is true without belittling what I have reached past and without fearing what may come.  Peter Enns posted a meditation by Richard Rohr not long ago. In it he says:
You have to learn from each stage, and yet you can’t completely throw out previous stages, as most people unfortunately do. In fact, a fully mature person appropriately draws upon all earlier stages. “Transcend and include” is Ken Wilber’s clever aphorism here. Most people immensely overreact against their earlier stages of development, and earlier stages of history, instead of still honoring them and making use of them (e.g. liberal, educated Christians who would be humiliated to join in an enthusiastic “Jesus song” with their Evangelical brothers and sisters even though they would intellectually claim to believe in Jesus, or adults who can no longer play, or rational people who completely dismiss the good of the non-rational).
 The journey is continuing. In fact, my Sunday school class will be reading Scot McKnight's book, The Blue Parakeet, and a theological reading group I'm part of will be reading Peter Enn's new book, The Bible Tells Me So. It will be interesting to see where this may lead, especially now that I'm no longer afraid, (at least not much), because my faith is in the one faithful one, and not my own understanding of him.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


After over a year long sabbatical, I am returning to blogging. For a while, I thought I'd start fresh and create a new blog, but I've decided otherwise. Whether or not that was a good decision, we'll soon see! Some of my perspectives have changed and I'm sure that will come through in what I write and in the links I share, but isn't that to be expected?

I hope you will continue to enjoy this site if you have in the past. Welcome back. If you are new, I hope you will find ideas and thoughts of interest and worth. Welcome. Please use the comments section and keep the conversation going.


Friday, March 29, 2013

The Sacrificial God

Today is Good Friday, the day of the Christian year when our mind turns to the crucifixion. Not just any crucifixion, though. They were commonplace in ancient Rome and still are carried out in the Middle East today. This was the crucifixion of God. It is hard to fathom, but true. The God who created and delights in the universe and in the humans who bear his image, became one of us, part of his creation, to die. I've always wondered why it would take that. Couldn't there have been another way? I've heard various answers to that question since I was a little girl, but what I'm just beginning to understand is that our God is a life giving, sacrificial God. It is his nature, not an aberration.

If God is a god of sacrifice, then how should we, his image bearers live?

Kyrie Eleison. Christe Eleison. Kyrie Eleison.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Contra Dancing

One of the things I love about living in the area I do is the arts culture. In less than a hundred miles there are multiple art museums and festivals, a Shakespearean theatre, ballet companies, and music groups and festivals of all kinds. We are really quite blessed to be where we are.

One of the local events that David and I participate in is contra dancing. It has nothing to do with Nicaragua, nor is it a square dance. If you think of English line dances you see on BBC productions of Jane Austin novels, you can get a pretty close idea of what they're like, though it's less formal. If you'd rather, you can watch a video I've embedded of one of the dances last month at the local Roanoke contra dance. The contra dance community is very patient and happy to have newcomers. Every dance I've been to has a free workshop before the dance for beginners and the first few dances of the evening are a bit easier so that the newbies can get the hang of it.

If you live in the Roanoke area, then I'd encourage you to try it out. There are several venues, including Roanoke, Floyd, Blacksburg, and Lynchburg. There are also contra dances all over the U.S., so look them up in your area if you don't live nearby.

It is good fun!