by Juniper Klatt
Wednesdays are my Sabbath days. This is a rhythm that learned from my family, that we would practice together. The day of the week changed with the seasons, and sometimes it was just a half day, or a few hours, but we would set aside time to rest. The guiding principle for this day that my parents passed on to me is this: do what brings life.
Today, Wednesdays are an oasis in the middle of my week. I don’t do any work, and the people in my life know that I spend the day resting. Some weeks I come to Sabbath broken and tired, in need of a good night’s sleep and a day in bed. Other days, I arrive energized and have time and peace to create and process. I try not to make too many rules for myself, and abandon the lie of constant productivity.
by Daniel Lee
My bike led me home. Physically. Spiritually. Emotionally. It was Sunday, September 4, 2011. The forecast called for rain.
I pedaled north from my house just outside of Indianapolis. Subdivisions gave way to scattered homes, woods, fields. About 12 miles into my ride, the rain started.
I approached a small white church on a knoll, a spot I’d ridden by hundreds of times before and since – Hinkle Creek Friends Church. A little porch with an overhang offered escape from the downpour. I sat on the steps and listened. Just the other side of the door, a man played an acoustic guitar and sang a folk song. His soothing music blended with the sound of raindrops hitting the trees. He had no idea I was his audience. An unexpected sense of peace and comfort – what I could best describe as a nearness to God – swept over me. I felt tears, and I knew I needed to share this experience.
by Keegan Osinski
Anyone who claims to be a pacifist, or at least to practice an ethic of nonviolence, has been challenged about its application. It’s not practical, people say, it’s not realistic.
The challenge is especially common during times of imminent or ongoing war. To combat evil or rescue the powerless non-violently is impossible, they say. But I think there’s something deeply true and promising about impossibility.
by Eric Muhr
Lightening our load of possessions brings a lightness of spirit, even freedom.
Not so many years ago, a friend of mine left for California on an early spring morning. He was working there for the summer. He was supposed to have everything packed up and ready to go by 6:30 that morning. Of course, he put it off until the last minute. Of course, his alarm clock didn’t go off. And he wasn’t able to finish his laundry. And he didn’t have room for even half the stuff he wanted to take.
by Charity Sandstrom
Sometimes I have a bad day. I know, amazing, but true. It doesn’t even have to be a big deal, like flood, fire, or famine, to get me feeling off-kilter. Sometimes it is a passion I have that doesn’t seem to be shared. Sometimes it is injustice. Sometimes I just feel tired, and sad, and frustrated.
And I’m learning that this is ok.
I fall into that category of people who cope by stuffing emotions deep down inside. Truthfully, emotions are powerful and sometimes that power feels dangerous. Letting emotions out can seem like a lack of control or a loss of the ability to process through things logically. Coping mechanisms are great for life or death situations, but most of my life doesn’t take place on a literal battlefield.
by Mike Huber
In the Old City of Jerusalem, the streets are too narrow for cars. The streets stay narrow so they can squeeze through stone archways. Neighbors who live across the street from each other can look up and see the awnings above their doorways almost touch. Sometimes, a narrow street will become a staircase. The stone steps have probably forgotten most of what they once knew about right angles.
On a rainy day in November, I went for a walk down these ancient streets. The rain revealed shallow gutters in the street, and downspouts that I’d never noticed on sunnier days.
by Katie Comfort
Last February I took a trip called Sankofa.
It's essentially a multi-day road trip with stops scheduled intermittently so we can keep our brains on overdrive and stretch our legs. The point of Sankofa is to reconsider how we talk and process race. It's a conversation that is ongoing, and the trip helps it get started.
Each year looks different depending on the group of students who participate. Last year we stopped on a plantation, at the location of the Mike Brown Shooting, and at an old Underground Railroad house. Historically the trip has been focused on white-on-black racism, as that narrative is hardly taught and greatly misunderstood. But the trip last year boasted other minorities as well. Students of non-black ethnic backgrounds, of alternative sexual orientation, of non-evangelical religions, and of the mental health community all started raising their voices by the second day saying, "What about my pain?"
On Sankofa I learned that when we become afraid of scarcity, things get ugly.
by Eric Muhr
I stumbled across these words awhile ago:
“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find, in each person’s life, sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”
And I wonder if Longfellow had it right.
by Drew Elizarde-Miller
One of the banes of growing up in a small private school while playing sports with boys from bigger public schools was tryouts’ day, where, usually, the only people I knew by name were my parents. This past year has been kind of like that. Lots of newness. I moved, I started a new job, I got married. With all of the change, I resorted a lot to the narratives I learned growing up, and all year long, I felt like a rookie at tryouts.
In a recent interview, one of the newest members of my hometown Portland Trail Blazers, Mason Plumlee, reveals how rookies are treated in the NBA, and it reflects what rookies face in all professions.
by: Megan L. Anderson
Brought up by parents at opposite poles of the spectrum (my mother a temperance union officer and my father an amateur connoisseur) I’ve wrestled with conflicting ideas about alcohol’s place in the Christian lifestyle. With no definitive bible verse stating whether the consumption of alcohol is right or wrong, we find ourselves sipping from different theological cups. I’ve seen believers turn defensive and hypercritical toward each other at the mere mention of alcohol, breaking into spats that rival the ugliest barroom brawls. But I’ve discovered that instead of outlining a code of judgment, God’s word uses the subject of alcohol to pop the cork on a discussion of how to live a Spirit-filled life.