Notes From My Phone: Is God Just?

I should start a whole blog series called "Notes from my phone" because that's where most of these ideas have started. (Although a friend of a friend already beat me to the punch.) I've toyed around with the idea of posting some of my notes under a "Devil's Advocate" moniker, but that's not entirely what they're about. Mostly, I've been avoiding blogging recently because even outside of college I feel the pressure to write well/be perfectly articulate, and I just don't have the energy for that on this space that's supposed to be a refuge and release for me and for others who may be just like me. The joy of writing has been snuffed out by the need to perform. 
So as a practice of overcoming fear--and also just because I am genuinely curious and fascinated about this topic and others that I've typed into my phone but haven't been brave enough to share with the world--I'm going to put it out there in the hope and belief that…

Two Fridays in August

Hey friends!

I have been hesitant to share an update on my life, because it involves a job, and a job (for me) has always involved a mixture of pride and identity and an unhealthy fixation on money, and announcing that on social media just adds a dangerous new spin on all of those things--all wrapped up in the fact that it’s a ministry position and I want to be sure I’m doing it for the right reasons and not just so that I “look cool” or whatever.

That said, I also think it’s a bit disingenuous to not share about what God has been doing in my life and in the lives of others through me. In light of all the things I’ve been learning about grace the last few years, it seems a bit weird not to share what is perhaps the biggest example of grace that I’ve experienced in this whole process.

And it begins with a story.

One Friday morning in August I was sitting at my office desk stuffing envelopes and researching cheap plane tickets in my downtime. I had just come to terms with the idea that I…

And Christians Cheered the Way

It's a twisted view of forgiveness if we think it has to involve punishment. 
Actions have consequences, sure. Reparations must be made. 
But our imagination is weak if we can think of no restorative forms of justice. Our love is weak if it must rely on vengeance to make things right. Our forgiveness is weak if it only takes place in witnessing the destruction of others. 
I wonder what our views about love and forgiveness teach us about how we think about God?
I'm watching The Handmaid's Tale right now and I love it. It's brutal and dark and in many ways obviously unrealistic. But as a cautionary parable or metaphor, it shows us how easily religious doctrine can be distorted and misinterpreted in terrible ways that cause great pain to a lot of people. And if such errors can happen in this world, who's to say that we can't make similar mistakes in ours? 
Just like Darren Aronofsky's controversial Noah film, I'm fascinated by the way the storytellers pre…

Room for Elephants

Recently, Nadia Bolz Weber shared an article written by my friend Connor about deconstruction. And today I came across a comment about deconstruction while I was stalking a Facebook post by a friend of a friend (as one does on the Am I the only one? Alright.)

10 years ago--even 5 years ago--deconstruction meant something different than it does now. Back then (when cell phones still had hinges) it seemed like a perfect phrase for what I was going through. Like everyone, I had a boat, a house of cards, that I grew up within and was very familiar with. Not a "bubble", per se, but an entire personal framework and foundation for viewing and understanding the world around me. You could almost think of it as my identity; it was the way I interacted with the world, the container in which I held my conception of reality. It was comfortable in my little house, and I had a place to store every single thought or idea.

But then slowly I started encountering things that di…

The Engines of the Universe

Grace:(n) : The free and unmerited favor of God

Can we talk about grace for a second? I feel like this has been the year that this concept has been thrown wide open for me, and it’s absolutely blowing me away.

Grace isn’t conditional. That might seem obvious, because it’s in the very definition of the term, but somehow it’s sneaked into our doctrinal understandings that we somehow have to earn it. As if there was something we could do to make ourselves worthy of God’s goodness and love and compassion (and even more insidiously, as if we were UNworthy of it in the first place).

(Yes, sin exists. Yes, we are capable of great evil. I’m not denying that. Anyone who looks at humans can tell that we are clearly broken in the ways we perpetuate pain and chaos in the world. But the story of creation doesn’t begin in chapter 3 of Genesis; it begins in chapters 1 and 2, where God creates women and men in His own image and calls them good. No matter how much mud and filth we roll around in, there …

Concrete and Water

They said,
As a child,
That if you held your eyes crossed too long
They'd stay that way

(But that never happened.)

So I wonder

As an adult,
Do I feel like my future is
Wet cement
About to dry?

I wrote this poem at work today, approximately 3 hours before I put in my resignation.

I turn 27 in a week. I know 27 isn't 30, and 30 isn't 50, and 50 isn't really that old, but somehow it feels like my life is just flying by. And it feels as if somehow, in the past few years of merely pursuing the next paycheck, I've missed the life I was made for. Somehow, at 27, I'm still waiting for my real life to start.

So I’m choosing to start it now.

More to come soon :)


Why I Can't Work in a Church

That’s a provocative title, so maybe I’ll come up with something else to call it by the time I’m finished writing. (Here’s hoping)

Here’s the deal. I work at a desk job where I do nothing but stuff envelopes all day (and don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for it in so many ways; it’s teaching me a thing or three about grace, and I’ve already made more in 5 months than I’ve ever been paid in an entire year, so that's cool), but my point is, it’s not exactly what I want to be doing. I have a lot of time to listen to podcasts and reflect on my life and the deeper questions and issues therein, though. And in the process, I’ve discovered a few things about myself and my decisions and the shape my life has taken.

So naturally I’m going to talk about it on the internet.

First, (and these are in no particular order), I’ve noticed that it’s really, really hard to teach the way of Jesus inside a church. Here’s why: people who go to church already think they know everything. Most of them (or us,…