The Church Isn’t Dying; It’s Being Reborn

Every once in a while, I speak here as a Christian to Christians about Christiany things, and I invite the rest of you to participate because you’re always welcome here and always encouraged to pull up a chair to this table. Now because this blog welcomes a wild and wide array of people from all backgrounds, some of you have no interest in this topic, and that’s OK. No sweat. I’ll be talking again soon about pooping my closet or being too sweary or teaching my children to vandalize things and generally upsetting polite society; things you can, in other words, be dismayed I say in public. Hang in there! I’ll be back to delight and/or offend you again soon. Right now it’s the Christians’ turn. ...  read more

The Importance and Meaning of Rainbows: An Essay by an 8-Year-Old Boy

Dear Friends,

I came home from work yesterday to this.

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My dog dyed rainbow.

Given the SCOTUS ruling yesterday that made same-sex marriage legal nationwide, I thought my kids might be celebrating. You know, being timely! And up to date on current events! I don’t know how I thought they would’ve picked up that news from playing Minecraft all day, but a mama can hope her babies pay attention to Supreme Court decisions while she’s at work, can’t she? Then it occurred to me that the last time the kids dyed the dog, it was to paint flames down his sides, and I didn’t assume they were celebrating arson. So I asked them why they did it. Why did they paint the dog to look like a rainbow? Other than the obvious, of course; that they had a) paint and b) a dog.  ...  read more

When Sad Comes

I’m just kind of done today.

Wrung out.

Depleted.

Emotionally spent.

Sad.

Face down on the figurative pavement, friends, and here to stay for a while. A few minutes. A few hours. A few days. It’s hard to tell. All I know is I’m not moving right now.

Charleston, yes. The shootings in Charleston hit me like a punch to the gut. Racism and violence does that to mamas in general, and to dads, and to people who seek to Love Our Neighbors as ourselves. It’s especially tender, I think, for those of us who are part of transracial families, made of members who have whole palettes of colors imprinted in our collective skin, because we know those people are our sons and our moms and our sisters and our friends. Living with and loving people of all colors does this, after all; breaks down barriers so that even we who are steeped in privilege are wounded when our neighbors bleed. ...  read more

How to Smell Like Mint

Listen. My children will be happy to tell you how I smell.

For the record, I don’t always smell bad. Sometimes they say I smell like skin or like the sun or like a campfire or like the bathtub, though that last one certainly isn’t always a good thing.

Most of the time, though, when my kids are pointing out how I smell, they use words like “puke” or “sweat” or “geez, Mom, did the dog roll on you?” and “yeah, Mom, did the dog roll on you after rolling in poop?” And then they giggle, but not one at a time. Nope, they giggle all together, because Maligning Mom is a sport for them; a team sport where they each know their positions and the importance of passing the ball and how to anticipate each other’s moves so they can score, man. So they’re precious little angels, is what I’m saying. My kids are DOLLS. ...  read more

UPDATED with Winners: Worst Contest Ever

Hey! You know how you go on vacation with your five kids, and one starts puking, and you’re all, “Dear Jesus, please, please, please let this be food poisoning or an anxiety attack or anything other than a bug that’s going to take us all down” and then Jesus forgets about that whole Wave a Magic Wand and Make Everything Better part of his contract, and a second kid starts puking and you’re all, “OH MY GOSH, JESUS, WE HAVE TALKED ABOUT THIS,” but Jesus is all, “It doesn’t matter how many time you TELL me to be a Magic Wand, Beth; still not my gig,” so you hold the bucket for Kid Number Two and rub his back and tell him All the Poor Babies and All the I’m So Sorrys and have a minor crisis of faith, because JESUS CHRIST, and then you remember that Jesus said to Love Each Other well, and didn’t give any cool bonus features with that command — not Love and You Will Be Loved, not Love and Then I’ll Wave My Magic Wand, not Love and Everything Will Fall Into Place, just Love Period — and you realize that’s exactly what you’re doing at 3:00am with Kid Number Two? You’re exhausted, and you’re in a hotel room, and you’re beginning to have wall-to-wall pukers, and your husband can sleep through anything, and you’re sure you’re coming down with the pukes because there’s nothing like the sound and smell of vomit to make you want to do it, too, but you manage be Love anyway? You know how THAT happens? ...  read more

AN UPDATE: 3 Reasons I Quit Loving the Sinner and Hating the Sin

In October 2013, I wrote an essay titled 3 Reasons I Quit Loving the Sinner and Hating the Sin. In it, I ask my fellow Christians to stop using that phrase. Because UGH. And ACK. And has there ever been a phrase less symbolic of a Jesus who welcomed outcasts to his table, and who discarded rules in favor of mercy every time? Has there ever been a phrase quite like ‘Love the Sinner and Hate the Sin,’ intended to express love, that falls so dramatically short of its goal? ...  read more

I Think I’m Doing Anti-Body-Shaming Wrong

Greg doesn’t like it when I tell him I can feel the baby kicking, and he totally refuses to put his hand on my belly so he can feel it, too.

We sit on the sticky couch late at night or we lay in bed with the kids’ cereal crumbs and cracker shrapnel, and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, the way these things usually happen, I feel the baby kicking, so I interrupt his show or his book or his game of phone solitaire, and I ask if he wants to feel the baby, too, but no. He never does. Not ever. ...  read more