The Beginning of Empathy

It has been a terrible week for all of us in the U.S., to varying degrees. We couldn’t catch our collective breath before we had another public tragedy to grieve, and another, and another. I lamented on Twitter that in addition to sick days, our jobs should give us “crushing sadness for the state of our society” days, because I honestly felt such despair and powerlessness that it was hard to get out of bed. And I realized that I say that as someone speaking from a place of privilege. I wasn’t directly impacted by the murders I saw on the news this week, except that I try to practice empathy. It’s messy and I certainly haven’t mastered it, but I keep trying. What I’ve seen lately is a whole lot of people who seemingly have lost the ability or willingness to imagine the world from someone else’s perspective. Empathy is one of the tools God has given us to help in the hard work of loving our neighbors as ourselves. But it isn’t enough on its own. Imagining what someone else thinks and feels is fine, but God also gave us the gift of story. And if we want anything to change, I think it begins with simply listening.  Continue reading “The Beginning of Empathy”

Advertisements

An Epiphany Miracle (of Sorts)

FullSizeRender 2

We’re now two days away from the electronic release of Being Called Chaplain: How I Lost My Name and (Eventually) Found My Faith. In another post (which I am still trying to recover from the internet abyss), I explained how I ended up publishing with Harrelson Press and how smoothly everything was going, right up until the last minute. This is the rest of that story. My editor, Merianna, and I set a timeline for publication. We wanted to release the ebook in January and the print version in March. Merianna suggested Epiphany as a good and theologically interesting date for the ebook launch. She began formatting the book for 6×8 pages and quickly realized that, even after my initial edits, it was still way too long. Even when she changed to 6×9 formatting, we were looking at a book the length of a historical epic or late entry in the Harry Potter series — far too lengthy for the spiritual memoir genre for which we were aiming. Mere days before Epiphany, she emailed me the sad news that there was just no way we could print the complete book in this form. I was devastated. Continue reading “An Epiphany Miracle (of Sorts)”

Why We Still Need to Have This Conversation

modernmagnificat

This month marks the one-year anniversary of the release of The Modern Magnificat: Women Responding to the Call of God.  I’m proud to be one of the women who contributed a ministerial calling story to this collection edited by Jennifer Harris Dault.  I was discussing the book, and my calling, with a friend recently, as we were both reading Sarah Bessey’s new book, Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of WomenAn acquaintance walked by and overheard us.  “Another book about women?” he said laughingly.  “Didn’t you just go hear some other author talk about this same thing?”  He was referring to a convocation with Rachel Held Evans I attended in September, at which she discussed her book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood.  “That’s an important issue, I know.  But there are other things the church needs to focus on,” he said.  “Why do we need to keep having the same conversation?” Continue reading “Why We Still Need to Have This Conversation”

About the title, part 3: Lady

I’ve never been a big fan of the word “Lady.”  In my mind (having been raised in the American south), I picture ladies sipping tea on the front porch, quiet, genteel, not a hair out of place.  When I was growing up, all I heard about ladies was that they didn’t do whatever it was that I was doing.  A lady doesn’t run indoors.  A lady doesn’t slouch.  A lady doesn’t talk with her mouth full.  A lady doesn’t interrupt.  A lady doesn’t jump on the bed.  Being a lady sounded like no fun at all! Continue reading “About the title, part 3: Lady”