On a bench in our kitchen, visible from every part of the room, there is an old screw top jar decorated with a strip of fading wallpaper and some ribbon that was once glossy and smooth. We call it our memory jar. Throughout the year we fill it with scribbled memories of little moments that would easily be forgotten. Silly jokes. Spontaneous picnics. Thoughtful gestures. Each New Year’s Eve we put on a pot of tea and open the jar, taking it in turns to relive some of the memories from the year that has passed. There is always a lot of laughter, punctuated with shouts of That was so cute! and Oh, Yes! I had completely forgotten about that! and Let’s do that again this year!Read More ›
There is great freedom in recognizing your own brokenness. An awareness of our inability to impress God or earn his favor on our own terms leaves us utterly reliant on his undeserved, lavish, and extravagant grace.Read More ›
For a long time, I’ve been fascinated by the Jewish concept of haverim. While it has more than one meaning, a haverim often refers to a group of friends who study Scripture and then discuss it together, earnest in their desire to know it more deeply. It’s not a new idea but it is a rich one.
Almost twenty years ago, while I was at university, my parents decided to move back to the seaside village in Northern Ireland where I had spent the first twelve years of my life. We relocated several times during my teens and, for me, this latest move felt like a step backwards. I visited for their first Christmas “back home” with no intention of joining them on any permanent basis. On Christmas day a guy with ginger hair and a smile that was contagious gave the children’s talk in their new church. The response to his self-deprecating humor was evidence that he was not only well known but also well loved. Long story short, I ended up staying. Two years later we were married.
Two years ago at Hutchmoot, Doug McKelvey and I did a session on the importance of both anchors and grappling hooks in the life of a writer. For me, the topic was born out of a growing desire to understand why certain stories, music or art have impacted me more deeply than others, in many cases fundamentally shaping my own view of the world and my place within it. Read More ›
For my family, like so many others, 2016 was a year punctuated by loss and grief. It was a year of watching as people we loved fought heroic battles, some ending with partings we prayed would not come. Read More ›
A couple of years ago a friend introduced me to the resources available at the Bible Project. It may be that I am late to the party, however I have found myself turning to them increasingly often in recent months. If you are not familiar with the work of Timothy Mackie and Jonathan Collins, they describe themselves like this: Read More ›
What does it look like when writers, artists, poets, musicians and storytellers choose to use their gifts for the glory of God? Have you ever wondered why God chose to work into you a love of words? A vivid imagination? Read More ›
The church in Ephesus had a fascinating back-story. Made up of people from every social and cultural background imaginable, from those steeped in Old Testament law to others raised in a culture of ritual prostitution and sorcery, it was as diverse as any modern church. Read More ›
Last year in Nashville I bought some pumpkin and caramel scented candles. For the next few weeks our home was filled with a smell that, in my mind, will forever be associated with Hutchmoot. While I burned my candles mercilessly, my daughter saved a small one and Read More ›
To my beautiful daughters,
Last night in our church, surrounded by so many of the people we love, I watched you stand up Read More ›