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The Contradictions of Christmas

Posted by Melanie, December 24, 2014

Advent is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is a version of the Latin word adventus, meaning "coming". Here we are, another Advent, we are just two days away from celebrating the birth of Jesus, the reason for the season as we sometimes hear it referred to. In life we go from being the children who are the recipients of much of the fuss and preparation to being the ones who do the preparing.

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The Light Shines, Even in the Darkness

Posted by Heather, December 17, 2014

The news today is full of sadness. A massacre at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan. A veteran likely suffering from PTSD is suspected of killing several current and ex-family members north of Philadelphia. The aftermath of the hostage standoff in Sydney, Australia. Continued protests and prayer vigils that call for an examination of how America's criminal justice system works for, yet also fails, its citizens. And those are just the headlines of the day.

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A Little Advent Music

Posted by Jason, December 10, 2014

One of the many musical highlights for me each Advent is when I get the opportunity to play the three chorale preludes that Johann Sebastian Bach composed based on the tune Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (the tune that we know to Savior of the nations, come! Hymn #54 in The Hymnal 1982).

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Marriage and the Movies

Posted by Ann, December 3, 2014

Yesterday my husband and I saw the movie, The Theory of Everything. It is based on Jane Hawking’s book about her marriage to the physics genius, Stephen Hawking. Stephen is diagnosed with ALS in college and given two years to live, and they decide to marry anyway.  She then commits herself to enabling his life (which has lasted 50 more years) and work. They have three children together. The acting in the film is beyond glorious and little is sugar coated about the disintegration of his physical capabilities or the weight of it on her and their family. It is a beautiful and honest picture of a mature marriage, including their ability to let one another go as life proceeds.

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Praying, Listening, Hearing, and being open to the Journey

Posted by Heather, November 26, 2014

I’ve known the Very Rev. Mike Kinman, currently the dean of Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, for six years now and knew of him before that when he was a college chaplain. I have followed the work he has done with other clergy in the St. Louis area since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri this past August. Here is one of the four things he asked in particular of his clergy colleagues last week:

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Whisper Words of Wisdom

Posted by Pierce, November 19, 2014

For some time I have had the grace of a transition process leading to retirement. It has been fortifying and healing. There is so much to be thankful for. I love the New Zealand Prayer Book prayer at nightfall:

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Dear Pierce

Posted by Jason, November 12, 2014

Dear Pierce,

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Beware of the manipulation of fear!

Posted by Ann, November 5, 2014

Someone posted a funny picture on Facebook last week of a sincere man looking at the camera. The caption says: “I just need to see a few more political ads before I can make my decision.” And then underneath it says: “This never happened.” No matter what side you’re on, I feel it safe to say that we are all grateful that election day brings an end to the political ads which are voluminous, misleading, and often a gross manipulation of fear.

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Of casseroles and care

Posted by Heather, October 29, 2014

My family and especially my mother-in-law have been the recipients of care in these past few weeks. With my father-in-law’s rapid decline across this month and his death last week, she and we have received representations of care and love in the form of cards, calls, casseroles and soups, flowers, plants, and hugs. For a church community, these are expressions of care for another member of the congregational family, as well as a way of living out biblical calls to care for the orphan and the widow. The person or people receiving the care are invited to be vulnerable in a good way – to be open to receiving the offered care.

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What's your path?

Posted by Pierce, October 22, 2014

I recently read an interview with English filmmaker and actor David Suchet. He spoke about growing up without religion but, to his surprise, became a Christian in 1986 at the age of 40 after reading Romans 8 in a hotel Bible. He later produced a documentary on St. Paul for the BBC. This is what he had to say about his conversion: “I‘ve always felt there must be something better than what we have here. And that certainly, for me, has never been found in a humanistic philosophy. I’m not impressed with us as human beings, with what we’re doing to the planet and each other.  We’re a pretty cruel animal.”

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