Long ago, in the quiet of our mothers’ wombs, the snow began to fall. Blood and water and food came into our bodies and nourished us. Endorphins washed over us, along with surges of cortisol and adrenaline. An invisible womb of emotion surrounded us, too, an atmosphere of fear or bitterness or rage. We breathed that air, and the snow fell.
Do you ever find yourself thinking, “I really want to dig into scripture, but I just don’t know where to start”? Did that one poem from Isaiah give you goosebumps, but then when you tried to read more of the whole book, you got lost and unmotivated? If you answered “no,” well then good for you! But if you answered “yes,” you are in good company, and Russ Ramsey might be able to help you.
Racial diversity is important to me, not only as a member of the body of Christ but also as a mother through adoption, for I have been given the incredible privilege of raising five beautiful children of color. All of them different. All of them fellow members of the Church. Yet, for my family, finding a church (or even a ministry) that represented us, all of us, has proven to be difficult for too many years. I longed for community as it will be in eternity.
Last week the students in my Writing Close to the Earth online class read George Orwell’s classic essay, “Politics and the English Language.” In it, Orwell makes the case that vague, abstract, usually Latinate language is an important tool in the dishonest politician’s tool-belt.
For weeks now, my laziness has gotten the better of me and I’ve been filling my body with what would be considered less wholesome choices—Cheetos, Dr. Pepper, and more McFlurries than I’d care to admit. I heat cans of soup, packet ramen, and a litany of “just add water” meals. I open paper and plastic and pressed foil to find the amalgamated products inside.
WARNING: Spoilers of certain films and stories follow.
So tonight is Halloween, or maybe for some of you, time for a church “Harvest Festival.” It’s essentially the same thing. Your kids will eat a year’s worth of candy in one night (unless, of course, you’re one of those boring parents who hands out apples and juice boxes), and everyone will dress up, just as long as there are no bloody Scream masks or witch costumes. Whatever your tradition is on the night of October 31st, the dark, spooky themes of horror films are inescapable this time of year.
Last week one of the dearest saints of our era stepped into the Long Hello. Eugene Peterson, a pastor, teacher, theologian, and writer died after a long illness. Here’s the story from Christianity Today. It draws on a beautiful account by the Peterson family, which reads, in part:
It was an idle conversation with an old friend in ministry, essentially. We both spend a fair amount of time at our desks and so we chat most days, mainly about triviality and absurdity. It keeps me going on the days when I don’t actually speak to a soul for hours on end, and I like to think it does him good, too.
[Editor’s note: This year at Hutchmoot, John Cal not only fed us with delicious food; he nourished us with beautiful stories, providing context for each meal and what it meant to him. What follows is the last of his speeches, given on Saturday, October 6th—you can read his first one by clicking here and his second one by clicking here. Enjoy.]
I grew up next door to a family with a willow tree with a swing in their backyard, a family who allowed me to be as one of their own for summer days on end. For years and years, I was as much an O’Connor as their own daughters and son. The two girls, Erin and Cara, were younger than me by a few grades and so I sometimes took a surprising role as leader in our tiny tribe, a space I didn’t often fill as a little girl with a quiet voice and a tender spirit.
[Editor’s note: This year at Hutchmoot, John Cal not only fed us with delicious food; he nourished us with beautiful stories, providing context for each meal and what it meant to him. What follows is the second of his three speeches, given two weeks ago today—we posted his first one last week and will be posting the last one next week. Enjoy.]
[Editor’s note: This year at Hutchmoot, John Cal not only fed us with delicious food; he nourished us with beautiful stories, providing context for each meal and what it meant to him. What follows is the first of his speeches, given a week ago today—we will be posting the others, one by one, over the next couple weeks. Enjoy.]