Talk with the Preacher


This post was written in January, 2006.  The second grader referenced below is now an eleventh grader.  But I still think his art is cute.  Just for a little contextual reference I’d like to tell you that I clearly remember hot controversy the fall I entered kindergarten. The parents were talking in hushed tones, I remember, about “busing” but it didn’t mean much to me–all I knew was that this very cool new… Read More

So, here’s an experience I had over Christmas, along with a bit of pontificating about whether church can be a place to ask hard questions.  Check it out.

Caution: reading this might make you want to throw up.  Me?  I feel much better now. Monday: no rest for the weary (why do Mondays come after Sundays?) . . . This is Sam’s (age 10) early day so we’re leaving the house at 7:25 . . . but there’s drama with the dog-sick, sick, sick-lots to clean up and no opening at the vet until noon. Mark stays home with said… Read More

Turns out that my very own offspring, who has a tendency to do everything exactly like the idol he currently adores–his father–might also be just a little like me.  He loves to write, so this fifth grade assignment–to spend the weekend writing a story about someone who overcame a hardship–felt like playtime to him.  That’s my boy! (Reprinted here with no edits by permission.) Overcoming the Local Boys By Samuel Butler Hi… Read More

There has, perhaps, not been a weekend in recent memory when it rained so hard for so long at such a continuous pace.  It would stand to reason, then, that this weekend would be the weekend our family chose to go camping.  My last experience camping in a tent (which was 17 years ago to be exact) caused such trauma that I can still remember exactly how miserable I was.  Thank goodness… Read More

One week until school starts. Children about to kill each other or get killed by their mother. Cries of “I’m BOOOOOOOORED” echoing through the house. Time for the Olympics. At our house this week that meant spending a whole morning in an assigned wing of the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery; choosing a piece of art; researching said art and artist; creating a report that followed an assigned rubric; making an oral presentation to… Read More


I gave up the dream of my children bragging about me on the playground long ago. When I decided to go to seminary I already knew what it felt like when your parent is the preacher because when I was in high school I was a friend of the pastor’s daughter.  She would beg us to please NEVER mention in public what her Dad did for a living.  Like, she cried about… Read More

I’ve been thinking about confession lately. Lent, as you know, is almost upon us. This year at Calvary we’re spending a few weeks learning how to confess-the value of sharing our challenges, fears, failures with others and mostly, with God . . . as a blessed way of unburdening our heavy, heavy souls. To help us do that together in Sunday worship I’ve been on the prowl for creative ways to experience… Read More

I thought she was joking when she told me she was a “motivated beginner” but there it was in black and white on the elementary school Christmas Band Concert program: Jingle Bells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Motivated Beginners I’d listened to Jingle Bells, of course, over and over and over (and over)… Read More

This is the way I heard it: Our friend Carol was standing at the counter in her kitchen rolling out cookie dough for the hundreds of sugar cookies she’s baking for our church Christmas craft fair. Candy canes and stars, Christmas trees and angels-they quickly spread out over the counter as pan after pan came out of the oven. The word in the kitchen was: you can have ONE since the rest… Read More