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Expand the table

Expand the table

by Linda Post Bushkofsky— Women of the ELCA leaders were thinking about new models for ministry—models that could best serve the mission and purpose of Women of the ELCA in a changing world. Based on recommendations from an exploratory committee, the churchwide...

The grief puzzle

The grief puzzle

by Ron McCallum— For a year now, I’ve been thinking about grief. Not just my own grief, but collective grief from the pandemic, societal grief over unjust systems, and the grief of my relatives and friends. Grief is difficult. For my daughter-in-law, it came with the...

The Holy Spirit travels light

The Holy Spirit travels light

by Jennifer M. Ginn— I expect the luggage pickup and car rental at O’Hare Airport to be just as I remember it from long ago. I plan to retrieve my suitcase from the luggage carousel, take the elevator down to the rental car counter and pick up my car. Not anymore!...

Abide with me, alight on me

Abide with me, alight on me

by Catherine Malotky— God, it has been a very, very long couple of years. We have labored at life through contentious political conflict, a life-threatening pandemic, the trauma of watching George Floyd and many others extinguished before our eyes, and continuing...

Save a seed to save yourself

Save a seed to save yourself

by Venice R. Williams— It's that time of year when it feels like time is running out. So much remains in the ground, longing to be harvested. The collards and kale, standing strong and sturdy, can wait. Acorn squash and Harvest Moon pumpkins have stolen the spotlight...

Body, mind and spirit: Parish nurses provide care

Body, mind and spirit: Parish nurses provide care

by Anne E. Basye Deliver a baby in the middle of a winter night? No problem for Brenda Bauer. The only RN within 20 miles of Grenora, North Dakota, the deaconess-nurse was caring for the community from St. Olaf Lutheran Church, part of the three-point Grenora Lutheran...

Divinely claimed: Your baptism is a portal into the body of Christ

Divinely claimed: Your baptism is a portal into the body of Christ

by Denise Rector— I grew up in the denomination named for baptism, with altar calls and baptismal pools. I was baptized when I was old enough to contemplate the outward manifestations of the ritual, which will sound familiar to most Christians. The ritual included...

The fabric of the Holy Spirit

The fabric of the Holy Spirit

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott— Every year as Pentecost approaches, I see memes and essays about the nature of the Holy Spirit, about how we should be careful about inviting the Holy Spirit into our lives because we never know what we’re about to unleash. Some essay writers...

Doing dishes differently

Doing dishes differently

by Jennifer Ginn— During a visit to a parishioner in a rehabilitation facility, I heard someone say: “That dishwasher was 50 years old when it died!” That comment was followed by others’ differing takes on the pleasures of having an automatic dishwasher. One person...

Dear God, thank you for… Look! A bird!

Dear God, thank you for… Look! A bird!

by Anna Madsen— I am the world's lousiest pray-er. Never been good at it. I’ve gone to workshops, consulted with spiritual directors and even tried praying about it. Didn’t work. Partly, it’s because I get lost in thought during the actual prayer. Sometimes I go into...

Change is the breath of life

Change is the breath of life

by Elizabeth Hunter— Lately I've been thinking about an old Irish proverb: Change is the breath of life. I remember learning in grade school how a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly or moth. After hatching from a butterfly egg, the caterpillar eats and eats,...

Ananias all along

Ananias all along

by Julia Seymour— In Damascus there was a certain disciple named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, “Ananias!” He answered, “Yes, Lord.” The Lord instructed him, “Go to Judas’ house on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying....

On the knees, off the chest

On the knees, off the chest

by Heidi Haverkamp— I know a lot of church geeks who like this catchy Latin phrase: Lex orendi, lex credendi. In English, it’s less catchy: “What we pray is what we believe.” In other words, the way we pray (or worship) can speak more loudly about what we believe than...

Let it bee!

Let it bee!

by Venice Williams— "I really hope you shook out your hair before coming to the dinner table! Mom, you be bringing a whole ecosystem home in your locs,” one of my children would say. “We have to watch creatures emerge from your hair while we are trying to eat!”...

Why do we need leader guides?

Why do we need leader guides?

by Elizabeth Hunter— I am the one who reads the instructions at my house. You know the saying, “Measure twice, cut once”? As a teenager, I learned from both plywood and fabric what happens when one takes up saw or scissors without measuring carefully enough. When I...

Letters and the Gospel

Letters and the Gospel

by Heidi Haverkamp— My mother taught me to be to be a letter writer. She and her mother, my grandmother, wrote letters back and forth to their relatives in Norway for decades. Mom was a great believer in sending thank you notes, birthday notes and when you knew...

What do you need today?

What do you need today?

by Cara Strickland— As a preteen I got a magazine in the mail called Brio. It was basically a Christian answer to Seventeen and Teen Vogue. I remember very little about that publication’s content (although I always read it cover to cover), except for one article. It...

I don’t have a prayer!

I don’t have a prayer!

by Libby Howe Should all Christian leaders be  awesome pray-ers? What makes for an “awesome pray-er” anyway? Who gets to say? Praying aloud with others is not for everyone, just as preaching a sermon or teaching a Sunday school class is not something everyone is...