What’s Next
On a Sunday morning one January in 2013, the central marketplace in Burundi exploded into flames. By the day’s end the hub of the local economy melted, ending the livelihood of too many. Dozens of mothers waited at the front gate of our little bank the following morning. They cried, lamenting their loss and fearing their future without inventory or income. My husband opened the gate and mourned with them. It was a day when only lament seemed appropriate. Claude…
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we start at a loss
I am at a loss. In the aftermath of the U.S. election I see the national terrain differently. I see people differently. The veneer is gone. I can’t unsee what’s been revealed. I made time to lament for seven days. Black was all I saw, all I felt, and so all I wore. The grief felt appropriate and yet premature. I retreated to the words of Isaiah, as I often do. (The book of Isaiah is called The Fifth Gospel…
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When We Lament
The days following the American election plunged me into lament. Everything around me was in grayscale; everything in me was melancholy. Yet full-scale lament was premature because the worst hadn’t happened yet. What I witnessed on election night was the first fracture in the wall, not the total crumbling of the city that Daughter Zion mourned in Lamentations. So I tempered my own lament—somewhat. I allowed myself seven days to feel the sadness. Then I was determined to pay attention…
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advent four | kings & children
This Advent as I read through Isaiah I notice the children most of all. Isaiah 7 There is a child. It is the son of Isaiah and his name is Remnant. He walks alongside his father as a sign to an anxious king on the cusp of battle. The ruler is under pressure, the neighbors to the north advancing and Jerusalem under threat. He is too preoccupied with the pending conflict to notice the child by Isaiah’s side, I suppose.…
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advent three | a prisoner will lead us
I sat in the conference room at the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. I came to learn about justice – knowing I’d need to confront injustice on the way. How do you prepare for a pummeled heart? I listened to Anthony Ray Hinton tell us what happened to him at the hands of our justice system. As a young man he was arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. He spent 30…
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Green Hope | advent two
Isaiah 9 Isaiah watches as the world around him crumbles. “How long, O Lord?” he cries out. Until it all is laid waste, is the short answer. The poetry is more descriptive. Until the cities, houses, and land are uninhabited. Until exile and emptiness mark the landscape. Until a mere tenth remain the destruction will continue. It will leave only a burnt out stump of a city. But while the stump smolders the prophet stokes hope. He says that buried…
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insistant hope | advent one
Sometimes Advent comes like an invitation. This year Advent arrives as a discipline that must be obeyed. I strike the match and light the first candle. “Hope!” it insists.   I turn to Isaiah, the prophet who most challenges and comforts me. I listen to what he says. He tells of a crumbling city. The weight of injustice, not glory, presses upon Jerusalem. He looks around and sees institutions breaking down, the economy gripped by rampant corruption and compassion for…
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Remember When You Were Aliens
My inheritance is a mixed bag. I am one woman’s biological daughter and another woman’s adopted child. I am a descendant of the Mexican families who populated California and also the Irish who suffered a great potato famine once. My age reveals that I am more Latina than I thought given my penchant for icons and lighting vigil candles when I pray. I even have a statue of Mother Mary in my living room. I am also more Catholic than…
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12 Kinds of Confession
Today I am exploring confession as witnessed across Scripture from Genesis to the Gospels. This post is part of SheLoves Magazine's month of conversation around this theme.   "I must confess in unison with the congregation that I have sinned—by what I have done and what I have failed to do. This is the ancient tradition handed down to me like a family recipe, the catechism that gives me words to say what I would otherwise resist saying. I must…
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Devotions Out of Egypt
This week my friends at Red Letter Christians invited me to offer their Wake Up! morning devotions. These are designed to be quick reflections to start your day thinking and practicing the words of Scripture. I decided to share all five reflections on the theme of subversive strength, as demonstrated by the women in Exodus. These women engaged in the liberation enterprise, showing what it is to be #ExodusStrong. Pharaoh never saw the women as a threat to his empire…
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