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This coming Sunday belongs to Mary, the mother of Jesus, the peasant girl, the God-bearer.  Mary’s partnership with God is what makes Advent possible.  In this, she is a model for all of us.  The angel comes, at some unexpected time, and gives an invitation into risk, the unknown, sacrifice, the holy burden of bringing forth life.

I have a friend, an American I met in Egypt, who has traveled all over the world.  He takes pictures and writes stories, and he’s good enough to make a living at it.  I remember him saying at some point: Whenever I feel despair I remember that I am...

Why do we enjoy some things and not others?  I don’t know.  Why do I enjoy building things, playing strategy games, and washing dishes, but don’t particularly enjoy planning out a garden, craft-making, or cooking? 

Why do I enjoy listening to others play guitar but struggle to find enjoyment in playing my own?  If I enjoyed it more, I might enjoy getting better, thus adding to the enjoyment. 

I imagine it’s a combination of conditioning, genetics, and…cultivated capacity – or something like that.  I’ve been thinking about that last one more and more during the pandemic.  With...

I recently finished the book Caring for Souls in a Neoliberal Age by Bruce Rogers-Vaughn.  It is aimed specifically at pastors and others in caring professions, but I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in exploring the ways that neoliberal capitalism negatively affects our social, interpersonal, and psychological health and (more importantly) what we can do to reverse those troubling trends.  

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Being the big kids on campus, a select group of 4th graders at JC Sommer Elementary are entrusted to be “Fourth Grade Ambassadors.” It is a program in which this group has the opportunity – nay, responsibility - to serve the younger kids at school in various ways: By welcoming them to school each day, helping them get to the right places, and just basically being a guide for the Kindergarteners - 3rd graders.

A couple of weeks ago, I was taking out our recycling and found a typed note in our mudroom. It was written by my son, Isaac:
“I matter because I am a Fourth Grade...

I am a “neo-Luddite,” have general reservations about each new “e-thing.”  I get unhappy facing a computer change.  My PC at home is 11 years old; I’ve never learned how to use a fingerswipe pad; and I’m unsure how a “tablet” differs from a “laptop” – but I’ve been told I’ll have one soon and learn to use it).

On Friday, March 13, preparing computer files at work for the promised connectivity on my home machine the next Monday, the first day of “working from home,” I gamely accepted that I could and would learn that and keep working.  And it...

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