Blessed Unassurance

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I used to know things. I mean really know them. As a child, I knew dads got ready for work while kids watched The Lone Ranger at 6:00am. I knew moms always bought girls new outfits for picture day. I knew homework would be returned with a star and a smiley face from the teacher.

I also had a solid grasp on marriage and parenting, but that was way before I had a husband and kids.

Then, as an adult, there were other things I became so sure about: Continue reading

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When the Pew is Just Too Hard

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At the Call to Worship, I stood and sighed.

The calendar was on its last page and I was on my last leg, tired from holiday prep, tired from my work, and honestly, too tired for church.

Don’t get me wrong… I love my job. I love ministry. I love my church. But there are times when the pew is just too hard.

Continue reading

In the Company of Cast and Crew

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Theologian Stanley Hauerwas argues that to truly learn a story, we must act it out.

In my experience, Hauerwas is spot-on, but I’d like to apply his theory a step further. I believe the real, most-important learning comes not only from the acting out, but in the company of the actors.

Every Christmas at pageant time, the kids act and I direct, but it’s the company that changes us. The kids come to that first rehearsal either struggling against or showing off their part. They come clutching their scripts and focused on their own small scene.

No, we can’t have the shepherds use a GPS to find the manger. No, you can’t ask Joseph if he made a reservation. No, the Angel of the Lord can’t wear a gun and holster…

The irony isn’t lost on me that I’m the one who must lead them. Continue reading

If I Had a Hammer

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All he wanted to do was hammer something.

Eli* wasn’t a regular church-goer and wasn’t sure how to find the book of Galatians in his Bible, but he heard there might be an opportunity to build things, so he signed up.

“When are we going to build stuff?” he asked as we settled in for our group devotion.

“Soon,” I said, but I wasn’t sure. Not at all. We were barely 24 hours into the youth-group service trip when I realized things were out of our control. Our group was randomly split up at lunch, placed in prayer groups with people we didn’t know, and assigned to various work-sites without our consent. Clearly, we weren’t in charge.  Continue reading

GNO: Jamie Afshari’s Favorite Things

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I’m Jamie Afshari and still girlishly giggle when I say that because it’s a new- to- me last name as of September 2. My husband Jahan and I live in Tower Grove and love city living. I work at Central Presbyterian Church and love serving the women there. I was fortunate to get my Master of Divinity two years ago from Covenant seminary and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of plumbing the depths of God’s love. As a Chicago transplant I am thrilled to say that St Louis is right; Baseball is pretty great in October. Who knew? 😉 Continue reading

Half-Mast

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One of my favorite parts of my morning walk is when I pass by our local library just before it opens. If my timing’s right, two staffers come outside just as I pass and I get to watch their reverent ritual of hoisting our flag for another day. It’s cool to watch, and I’m enough of a geek for it to put a little spring in my step.

Last week, I was a little behind schedule, but I rounded the library corner just in time to see  Continue reading

Reaching for More

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A new determination faithfully arrives every year, sometime between Christmas and January 1. Just when the clutter starts to get to me and the chaotic schedule grinds on my nerves.

I’ve got a system and prefer to do it alone: pitching, rearranging, and packing away. The physical work feels good after too many family movies and long meals. The solitude feels even better.

But this year, my work became symbolic of a bigger mess… Continue reading