Prayer: WTF? An Invitation.

Prayer: WTF? An Invitation.

Dear, Jesus. 

Hey, God.

Oh, great king of kings and Lord of Lords, creator of heavens and earth, all powerful and mighty God.

Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret. 

What is prayer? I mean, really. What is it? Is it a monologue or a dialogue? Is it a dumping ground for our complaints, requests, wishes, laments? Is it just another task on the burdensome spiritual to-do list?

How does prayer work? Does it change God or me? Is it like a genie in a bottle sort of thing? Is it formulaic – like do I need to confess every bad thing I’ve ever done before God will listen? “Hey, God, I’m really sorry I stole that piece of bazooka joe in the summer of ’89.”

Why is it so inconsistent? Why do some prayers get answered an others don’t? Why does one prayer get answered in a flash while others seem to require years of persistence? Why don’t I feel close to God when I pray and those around me seem to have the code to the secret holy of holies society?

Prayer is one of those bizarre things that raises more questions than it does answers. From Sunday school felt-boards to academic lectures, we learn a plethora of ideas concerning prayer. In effort to contain the unruly collection of ideas, I put together a list of lessons on prayer. A list that I’ve astutely titled, Brianna’s Top 3 Lessons on Prayer. Ready? Ok. Starting with #3:

3.) When you pray, go into a closet and shut the door and pray to your Father who is unseen. (Matthew 6:6)

Wait, so does that mean I’m literally to go into a closet? But which closet? My coat closet? My storage closet? My wardrobe closet? Does it matter? And how can I pray to a Father figure that is unseen and feels so far away?

2.) When you pray, have Faith and do not doubt. (James 1:6)

What does this mean, exactly? Is the some kind of Thomas the Train motto? I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. I can do this, I have enough faith. I don’t doubt (except sometimes I do, what happens now?).

1.) Don’t give up! Keep praying until the Fruit comes. (Luke 18:1-8)

How long is long enough? Do smaller requests require less persistence than larger ones? What happens if, after years of persistence, I see no juicy fruit growing on my twiggy Charlie Brown tree of prayer?

Thanks for the lessons. I totally understand now. NOT! (Once a 90’s child, always a 90’s child.)

The Sunday school felt-board lessons were a good starting point. And the adult Sunday education classes provided some additional insight. But many of us are still wrought in utter confusion. In our spiritual haze we mutter, Where’s the Father? Where’s the Faith? Where’s the Fruit? Prayer, WTF? It’s just so confusing! Guess I’m gonna eat some worms.

Ok. Maybe we don’t need to get our shovel and bucket just yet. I’ve got a hunch there’s more to prayer than we’ve previously experienced. In the next few weeks we’ll be exploring this curiouser adventure of prayer. We’ll unpack scripture, watch some videos, and lean into the wisdom of some of my favorite travelers. So don’t eat those worms just yet, my friend. Instead, I invite you to send in some of your curiosities on prayer. What questions do you have? Together let’s get to know the Father, stretch our muscles of Faith and sample some Fruit along the way.


-Featured Image: “Prayer 2” by Angu Walters


Theology at the Movies: Mary Poppins

Theology at the Movies: Mary Poppins

When is the last time that you let yourself dream? I’m not talking about the calculated dreams that require zero risk, zero courage and zero adventure. Those aren’t dreams. Not real ones anyway. I want to know, when is the last time you allowed yourself to unleash a vision for your life that was so bold, offensively unapologetic, whimsical and bursting with Kingdom adventure?

Why don’t we let ourselves dream?

What are we so afraid of?

We are told, at far too early of an age if you ask me, to put away childish things. Dreaming is simply make-believe, they say. So instead we join Willie and Waylon and sing out our calculations, “Mamas don’t let your babies be cowboys. Make them be doctors and lawyers and such.”

Instead of dreaming we create plans.

We structure the life right out of our life.

But I think God invites us to something far more magical than our puny structured 10-year plan. And if you ask me, we really don’t need to put away childish things at all. Maybe, just maybe, what we need is to learn from the kiddos! They are wildly more open to dreaming AND doing than we old curmudgeons could ever be. Our dreams are stuffed in the attic collecting dust while the children are animating their dreams with grass-stained jeans and skinned knees.

When is the last time your jeans were stained green with grass?

When was the last time you wore a kool-aid mustache?

Kids are some of our best teachers because they are the ones who see beyond that which is to what could be. Kids are the ones who take an ordinary baseball card and tape it to the spokes of their bike to turn it into a motorcycle. They’re the ones who see a pile of blankets and can transform it into a blanket-fort. Where we see trees as good for oxygen, kids see them as castle tower limbs upon which to climb. When invited by Jesus to the adventure of following the leader, kids are sprinting to the front of the line. But when we adults are invited to the very same adventure, we ask a bunch of really important questions like how much is it going to cost me? where are we going? who’s going? when will we return?  Or we simply postpone the entire idea with a lazy, “maybe later”.

I think we’re in desperate need of a jolly holiday. And who’s a better holiday partner than Mary Poppins herself?!

One of my favorite scenes in this film perfectly communicates this idea of dreaming and doing. I’ll set it up for you a bit..

Mary is the nanny to Michael and Jane and she takes them out for an afternoon in park. Whilst at the park they run into Bert, a longtime friend of Mary, who is busy detailing colored chalk scenes of adventure on the sidewalks of the park. Michael and Jane curiously ask about the drawings and Bert invites them to dream of a place they’d like to go. But it doesn’t just end with dreaming. With a little help from Mary, they jump right into their sidewalk chalk daydreams and supercalifragilitisticexpialidotiousally live them out. Dreaming is great, but to animate them you actually have to jump in. And it looks a little something like this…

So I ask you again, dear friend, when is the last time you let yourself dream? What is the sidewalk chalk scene of your life that is beckoning you to jump in? If you’re waiting for permission to play in the land of make-believe, here it is! Jesus wants to set you out on adventure and I know you want to go. Grab a piece of sidewalk chalk and blow off the cobwebs that are blanketing your hopes. The world needs you, your creativity, your dreams and your whimsy. Let yourself enjoy the jolly holiday!


Note: If you’re interested in hearing this post in sermon-style, check out my sermon, “Dreamers & Doers” by following this link:








Theology at the Movies: Blood Diamond

Theology at the Movies: Blood Diamond

I was in first grade and I wanted my hair done in pig-tail braids. That particular day I was wearing my brand new Mickey Mouse suspenders and they demanded pig-tail braids. It was going to be the best day of school ever.

My three other sisters were hogging our small bathroom, time was short before the school bus would pull up to our yellow rambler and mom was frantically trying to get us all out the door. Bless mothers of small elementary age children. They’re angels sent from heaven with a capacity for mayhem that would make gladiators cry like babies.

As the chaos ensued I sat quietly on the floor by the bathroom door, hoping mom would just get the hint that I needed my hair braided. Before she caught on to my subtleties the bus was honking at the end of our driveway. My sisters flew out the door and mom was nudging me along behind them. With crocodile tears welling in my eyes I said, “But I wanted pig-tail braids!” With righteous frustration, mom tossed my hair in a pony and that was the end of it.

I hated when mom got crabby. I know, I know. everyone gets crabby, impatient, frustrated. We’ve all totally lost our shit from time to time. It’s life. But I was a 6 years old kid and on that day, in my little brain, I internalized my mom’s frustration and my first false identity was formed. I thought, if I’m perfect, then mom will never get impatient.

And so, perfectionism was born.

We all have stories of false identities. At far too early of an age we learn these identities so thoroughly and carefully that sometimes we think they’re actually true to who we are.  I’m Brianna and I’m a perfectionist.

What does your false identity tell you? Don’t be afraid, we’ve all got them. Far better to own it than continue the charade is what I say. Under our masks we’re just a promenade of failures, screw-ups, drop-outs, addicts, too much, not enough, worthless, cheater, liar, deceiver…

But then one day, in the midst of the noise of our masquerade ball we hear the sound of something different. This something is unfamiliar and yet familiar. It’s like a voice, one that is so far yet so real we cannot help but turn our ears in hopes of making out the words of the whisperer. As we turn we begin to hear it more clearly.

Can you hear it? Do you know what it is? Dare I say it’s the greatest longing of every human heart.

It’s the sound of our name. Our true name. Called to us by the one from whom we were created.

The transformation of self that occurs when we hear the sound of our true identity is a powerful gift. It’s a gift offered to all of us and it’s ours if we wish to receive it.

This is where our movie clip comes in. Now, there are a plethora of theological conversations wrapped up in the film Blood Diamond. We could discuss war, violence, injustice, the diamond business. But I chose to discuss identity. Why? Well, this clip will say all that needs to be said. Check it out…

Gorgeous, right?

Friend, what masks are you wearing? You look pretty tired from wearing them so long. Mind if I help you take them off? I need help too. Together, let’s turn our ears to the one who calls us by name.

Bob Goff is one of my favorite human beings on the planet. You should really get to know him. On identity he says this, “Don’t let other people decide who you are.” Isn’t that refreshing? He also goes on to say, “Don’t let your past push you around anymore. We’re new creations.” Gold. Pure gold, I tell you.

I think this clip from Blood Diamond demonstrates the power of hearing our true identity. Young Dia Vandy was kidnapped from his home at a young age by rebel forces and brainwashed into becoming a hardened child soldier. Dia was forced to take on a false identity. Once known as a beloved member of the Mende tribe, he came to believe he was a murderer. Only by the voice of his father reminding him of his name is Dia liberated from his false identity back into his true self.

Dear reader, you’ve got a big life to live! Don’t let your past push you around anymore. This life needs your true self. Come, let us encourage one another to listen to the familiar whisper of our name. You are loved. You are enough. You are a new creation. You are made new. You are liberated. Join the epic adventure that can only be lived out with unveiled faces!

Day of the Girl + Theology at the Movies

Day of the Girl + Theology at the Movies

Today, I am celebrating. Truth is, I celebrate something most every day – a perfect cup of dark roast, an epic lecture, a shared story, a great hair day or hitting nothing but green lights. When we live life fully engaged there’s always reason to celebrate.

But today I’m celebrating International #dayofthegirl.

What is #dayofthegirl, you ask? Glad you asked because I didn’t know either until I read through my twitter feed on this October 11 day. Day of the Girl is, as they articulate, “a youth-led movement fighting for gender justice and youth rights.”

O hell yes, Day of the Girl. Fist bump.

I am a woman in theology, an auntie to loads of nieces, a professor to some outrageously valiant female students and a perpetual dreamer with hopes ranging from birthing/adopting babes – to writing a book – to climbing mountains – to engaging a gaggle of kiddos via Love Does –  to making a giant farmhouse table around which countless friends can gather – to encouraging and empowering women around the globe.

How could I not give a shout out to Day of the Girl?! It’s a courageous act to stand up against the beast of patriarchy.

And when I say beast, I’m not dipping my toes in the pool of hyperbole (although I am rather fond of said toe-dipping). Curious about this insidious system? Here are some ways in which the beast raises its ugly head…

Patriarchy declared women are only capable of fully imaging God when married to a man. Patriarchy demanded women be silent and ask only clarifying questions. Under the oppression of patriarchy the value of women is directly related to the size of her bust, waist and hips, to whether or not she can birth children, bake, clean and dynamically serve in the bedroom. Patriarchy points its crooked finger and accuses, your dress is too short, your jeans are too tight, you’re too emotional to lead, you’re too quite, you’re too loud, you wear too much make-up, your hair is distracting, you’re not guarding your brother’s heart, you belong in the kitchen not in the pulpit, you can teach but you can’t preach, you’re too vulnerable, you emasculate men, you’re too sensitive, you asked for it.

O hell no, patriarchy. We women are raising our drooping hands and strengthening our weak knees, as the author of Hebrews so eloquently puts it (did you know, patriarchy, that many scholars posit Priscilla as the author? Hands raised. Knees strong. Boom, baby).

So. no. Not today. I’ve got sisters, nieces, students and future daughters to fight for.

I have zero interest in burning my bras or shoving men to the side. We need our brothers from other mothers because together we re-present the Kingdom more faithfully. But the prophet in me has got to highlight the fact that for generations we haven’t been allowed to stand side-by-side. Because of that, I am crazy interested in helping equalize the communion table that Jesus came to establish. (Besides, my bras are too pretty to burn.)

To my squad of sisters from near and far, listen up.

You have a place at the table and I’m here to cheer you on. Grab your plate and pile it high, honey.  Take a serving of wanderlust, work, academia, motherhood, laughter, love, passion, dreams, valor, courage, perseverance, wisdom, resiliency, strength, grace, beauty, fearlessness.

The communion table is big and God has invited you to feast.

May you receive the invitation with confidence.

Let that lionheart of yours roar.

C’mon, girls. Patriarchy, mistakes, insecurities, failure; all the stuff that is this wonderfully messy life has the potential to defeat you. I’ve known that all too well. But woman, you are stronger. I know you are. Let these Disney clips set a fire in your belly. Stand tall, speak up, walk on. You were born into a trajectory of triumph, joy, perseverance and overall bad-assery.


Theology at the Movies: Moana

Theology at the Movies: Moana

I used to have a really hard heart. The kind of heart that was rebellious, closed and obnoxiously self-protected. During this time I subconsciously abandoned all the things that I love. Things like romance, connectedness and being known. You know, the very things that are simultaneously the source of great joy and potential heartache. I also, for some odd reason or another, shut down all affections toward the more peculiar loves in my life – namely, Elvis, Disney movies, vintage romantic musicals and terribly cheesy songs. I bid farewell to all these jewels. Oh my prison of protection was strong, ya’ll. Horrifically strong.

But then the Spirit broke through my stoney self-protection and gave me this new, drippy heart of flesh. And with this new heart all my former loves came flooding in. Elvis sings to me on a daily basis and I hang out with The Man From Snowy River at least a dozen times during the Christmas season. I want all my people to be joined by the darling little app knowns as ‘Find Friends’ and what’s even crazier still, apparently I now wanna be a mama. (Warning! Use caution when you let the Spirit open you up. She’ll shock you with all these new desires you didn’t even think of. This PSA brought to you by the woman who regularly joked about tying her tubes.)

All this to say, I’m watching movies with different eyes and I’m seeing theology show up all over the place. So it only makes sense to create a thread of posts devoted to two things I love dearly: Theology and Movies.

First up on the watch list is Walt Disney’s, Moana. (PS, we’ll be hanging a bunch with Walt. And at the end of these posts I’ll lead a “Theology and Movies” trip to Disneyland… JK. But wouldn’t that be one of the happiest trips on earth?!)

The synopsis goes like this:

Daughter to the island chief, Moana is the only navigator courageous enough to voyage away from the island in valiant effort to restore the heart of the mother island, Te Fiti,  which was stolen ages ago by the demigod, Maui. Without her heart, Te Fiti’s island deteriorated into a hardened darkness, no longer empowered to bring forth the vibrant, verdant life she once generously provided.

On her epic adventure Moana finds Maui and demands he help her in restoring the heart of Te Fiti. As they sail toward the mother island challenges ensue and nearly entirely thwart their mission. But with a perseverance only legends speak of, Moana sets her gaze upon the task before her and sails on through the many odds stacked against her. With the power of knowing her inner strength alongside the desire to call forth Te Fiti’s true identity, Moana finally makes it to the mother island.

Unscathed by Te Fiti’s calloused exterior, Moana asks the ocean to allow Te Fiti to come forward. The sea is parted in two and Moana boldly walks toward Te Fiti, singing into being her truth, beauty and life.

Go grab the box of tissues and check this out:


I know your name.

They have stolen the heart from inside you.

But this does not define you. This is not who you are.

You know who you are.

Gah! I sob. Every. Single. Time. Undoubtedly my tears come unglued because this movie taps into so much of my own narrative. But I also think it touches on something much larger than this. You see, I believe this story of restoration is communal in nature. Every one of us has areas of our hearts that are calloused and closed. Deep wounds, lies of the enemy, insecurities, the voices of society, broken relationships… all of these experiences cause us to hide behind our little walls of self-protection.

And there is grace for this. Lots of grace.

The crazy thing about the grace that blankets our journey is that the power of grace itself does not allow us to remain in our lifeless state. Isn’t that insanely lovely?! Grace empowers us to do that which we cannot do on our own. God gives us community to support one another along the way. We need each other to call out the truth of who we really are, we all need Moana’s in our life and we all have the chance to be Moana for one another. And as we engage in this reciprocity of grace we become a band of love and light, singing songs of liberation from every false identity.

So go, gather your friends and kiddos around the tube. It’s the perfect fall day to cozy up with a blanket, hot cocoa and Moana. Let us sing without apology the truth of who we really are. You are loved. You are forgiven. You are a warrior. You are beautiful. You are more than enough. You are not your past. You are God’s beloved.

Cruciform Communion

Cruciform Communion

I grew up in a small town Baptist church and my grandparents were Lutheran. Later I went on to become a Calvinist of sorts then somewhere along the line, by way divine intervention I’m sure, I ended up in a faith family full of pacifist, neo-Anabaptist, open theist, rather peculiar Kingdom peeps. Needless to say my beliefs about communion have taken the shape of a Spiralgraph masterpiece. But I digress. Back to the story…

I wasn’t even old enough to understand the multiplication table, let alone abstract beliefs about communion. Are the crackers literally the body of Christ? Is there some extra dose of grace hidden at the bottom of the cup? Do we have to use bread and grape juice? Or can we commune with Coke and Pop Rocks – because you simply haven’t lived until you’ve tried Coke and Pop Rocks… Am I only to remember Jesus’ broken body and shed blood in the same way that I tried to remember the multiplication table? As far as my elementary brain was concerned, communion wasn’t meant for adults but for my cabbage patch dolls, since they were the only ones appropriately sized to drink from the tiny plastic cups.

To me, and probably to most kids, communion was simply a ritual. A thing we did from time to time in our Baptist church. A thing we most certainly did every time we visited my grandparents’ Lutheran church. And I heard rumors as a kid a thing you never did in a catholic church if you weren’t catholic. I didn’t understand why and I wasn’t about to find out either.

But discussing the particulars of the communion elements is not what I’m here to write about. Because, as Emmanuel Katongole points out in his book, Reconciling All Things,

God is not inviting us simply to affirm a list of abstract beliefs but rather to set out on adventure.

We’re not here because Jesus said, “Come. Hang out and discuss.” No, my friends, we’re here because Jesus said, “Come. Follow me.” To say yes to this invitation is to set out on the greatest adventure you’ll ever know. I’m calling this adventure, Cruciform Communion. And it begins and ends with Jesus.

We follow the way of Jesus.

We image the way of Jesus.

What Jesus did, we go and do likewise.

Over the years my ideas about communion have grown up a bit. I don’t find myself thinking so much about whether it was Luther or Calvin or Sally Jessy Raphael who had it right. These days I kind of think communion is actually an imaging of the cross-event. It is Cruciform Communion. Stick with me here, dear reader.

You see, if we want to get to know the life of Jesus the gospels are a pretty good place to tell us some stories. And one of the things that we see from each of the four gospels is Jesus telling the disciples, by way of Cruciform Communion, what is about to happen to him. In the story of Jesus sharing one last meal with his closest buds, Jesus does something remarkable. He TAKES bread. He BLESSES the bread. He BREAKS the bread. And he GIVES the bread.

From these accounts we can sum up Cruciform Communion in four simple words: Taken. Blessed. Broken. Given.*

Jesus didn’t just serve the meal. Jesus became the meal. Jesus himself was Taken, Blessed, Broken and Given.

Jesus laid down his life; he was broken and poured out for the sick, the hungry, the hopeless, the sinners… Indeed Jesus poured out his life for all because the Father, Son, Spirit shows no partiality. God shows no partiality!

Come one, come all. You are welcome at my table!

You who are sick, Come! You are well, Come!

You who are oppressed, Come! You who are oppressing, Come!

You who are slaves, come! You who enslave, Come!

You who are poor, rich, black, white, native, gay, straight, queer, barren, wounded, brokenhearted, mother, father, drunk, druggie, homeless, prostitute…


And this outrageous inclusivity is that which we are to re-present. Mercy.

This radical inclusivity, this symbolic ritual of this 4-Part Cruciform Communion was never meant to be a one-time dinner. Rather we are instructed to “Do this in remembrance of me.” (1 Cor. 12:27) The “do” in this instruction is an ongoing action. As in,  “keep on doing.”

But what, exactly, are we to do? Well, we are to re-present the Taken, Blessed, Broken, Given life of Jesus. We are to continuously make Christ’s sacrifice real, every single day to every single person by living out the Cruciform Communion. Just as Jesus didn’t serve the meal but became the meal. So too we become the meal. Now we are taken, we are blessed, we are broken, we are given.

We become the meal because of Jesus. I’m gonna give it you straight… Too often Christians stop short of the full meal. We take the first two courses but pass on the others. We want to gluttonously indulge in the blessing of our chosenness. But we turn our noses at being broken and given out for the sake of others. Discipleship ain’t no buffet, it’s a four course meal, baby. We are Taken. Blessed. Broken. Given. Because that is the way of the Cross. And because Jesus himself has commissioned us to be his ambassadors. Let me say that again, cause it’s kind of the pulse to the coming kingdom. God, through Christ, started this whole message of reconciliation. And then, as though Jesus had a temporary lapse of sanity, decided to pass the reconciliation baton to us. US. Broken, messy, proud, cynical, judgmental, yet gorgeously redeemed human beings. What a curiouser plan, Jesus.

“And God has committed us to the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making God’s appeal through us.” (2 Cor. 5:17-20)

Our gift as Christ’s ambassadors is, as Katongole points out, a “transformation into a new story that resists narrow boundaries and loyalties.”

This gift, this calling to be ambassadors and to be Cruciform Communion to all people, carries with it the intention to unseat other visions of God that don’t reflect the crucified Jesus.

(Your feathers are about to get some serious ruffling so listen close..)

This gift of reconciliation unseats the god of war, of violence, of partiality. This gift unseats the god of power, of nationalism, of materialism. This gift unseats racism, sexism, classism and any other ism that fails miserable to reflect the One New Humanity that was created through Christ. Can I puhleaze get an amen?!

Hold on, there’s more. This Cruciform Communion contains a two-fold effect.

When we come to the table we Remember and we are Re-Membered.

We remember that this, all of this, is God’s story. And we are not the creator of this story, but we are participants. As we come to the table we are Re-Membered together as one new humanity. As we come to the table this gift of reconciliation is passed around, constantly extending the hospitable invitation: “Come one, come all to Christ table. You are welcome here.”

At this table we are given a new story as one new humanity. We are given white robes in place of crimson stains. At this Cruciform Communion table we lay down our swords and pick up our plowshares. We lose our life so that we can find it. Where there is hate we love. Where there is violence we practice peace. Where there is oppression we bring liberation. Where there is judgment we extend mercy. Where there is unforgiveness we forgive. We lay aside all other allegiances except for that of the crucified Christ. Oh my friends, this is not our doing. For remember, this is God’s story. And we, we have the gift of participating in this story.

We are Christ ambassadors. We are to represent the life and message of Jesus in being Cruciform Communion for the sake of the world. May we, together, live lives that are Taken. Blessed. Broken. And so very generously Given.


*Taken, Blessed, Broken, Given was originally discussed in Henri Nouwen’s incredible work, The Life of the Beloved. A MUST read!

[NOTE] This blog post is the written sermon that I had the honor of sharing past weekend  at the ReKnew CrossVision Conference, hosted at my beloved faith community, Woodland Hills Church. The focus of the event was, in a nutshell, Cruciformity – that is, if we want to know God we look nowhere else than to the crucified Christ. It is the crucified Jesus that helps us make sense of the seemingly warrior God of the Old Testament. (If this nutshell summary left you wanting, check out the ReKnew website for more. Or if you’re feeling extra intrigued, pick up Greg Boyd’s book, Crucifixion of the Warrior God. It’s just a leisurely 1500 page read. NBD. Fineprint… if you choked at the very thought of reading 1500 pages, don’t sweat it! There’s another, more digestible version titled, CrossVision. I seriously encourage you to check it out. It’ll change your life.)



Where Does One Begin?

Where Does One Begin?

Starting a new blog is kind of a big deal. Not in the all-too-confident Ron Burgundy kind of way. No, this feels more like the first day of school. The first day of high school for that matter. You know what I mean – when you spend the entire night before school starts, thinking about what you’re going to wear, hyperventilating about the very real possibility of not finding your locker, and then when you do, potentially getting shoved into it by a ruthless upper class jock. Yeah… that’s how it feels with this first post on my new blog.

Except, I never really worried about finding or not finding my locker, nor was I ever scared of upper class punks. (I may have been slightly dramatic with that opening description.) Maybe writing this initial post doesn’t feel anything like the first day of high school after all.

The truth is, I feel quite cozy here. And I’m excited to share this space with you. Yet I find myself asking, Where do I begin???

I think I’ll start rather generically. Let us commence this confetti party with some vision casting.

FIRST…. I really hope for this to be a space where I can offer encouragement and you, dear reader, feel free to receive.

In my 20’s I was many things, not least of which a high school girls cross-country coach. I thrived in this role. Turns out, coaching is just what I do. I love (I mean, seriously love) encouraging people in whatever it is they’re about. I’m a huge fan of the peeps in my life. They’re doing insanely amazing things. Allow me to brag for one hot minute about the many precious “My’s” – My nieces are volleyball champs, musical geniuses, brainiacs, and side-splitting comedians. My nephews are farm boy studs, wildly imaginative, unruly and some of my favorite buddies. My mom and sisters are insanely creative in a plethora of ways. My dad(s) are heroic. My girlfriends are the most amazing women I know (we’re like Jem and the Holograms, but way cooler.).  My students, oh gosh. I’m so proud of them. I could go on and on. Cheering others along this grand adventure called life, well it’s just in my blood. And so, one part of the vision for this space is to extend encouragement. High-fives all around…

SECOND…I also envision this space to be a musing ground for theological curiosities.

I am a professor of theology, so matters of faith are always on my mind. I’d like to dialogue with you about eschatology. And when we do I’ll interact a bunch with Jurgen Moltmann. Because, well, it’s Moltmann. Then we’ll talk about the Kingdom and I’ll engage with Greg Boyd. Because, it’s GB and GB’s my theology Miyagi. And I’m sure we’ll discuss eco-ethics, pneumatology, mysticism, etc. and I’ll engage with the ladies. Because, well, the BASM (shorthand for Bad Ass Spiritual Mamas) have a pulse on spiritual matters in a different way than the desert fathers.

THIRD…We’ll also do some serious girl talk.

Because I’ve found over the years, that if you really want an experience with Jesus you go to the margins. And for far too long women have been on the outskirts of society. And yet, we persevere. Our battle in the margins has trained us as the guides. It was, after all, the women who first discovered that not even the grave could hold Jesus, and then went on to become the first to proclaim the resurrection. It was, after all, a woman who wasted costly perfume by anointing the feet of Jesus because she understood that Jesus was about to die. It was, after all, a woman who was brave enough to crawl through the crowds on hands and knees and boldly beg for healing. It was, after all, a woman who  rose to the adventure of discipleship during a time when such a vocation was reserved for men. It was, after all, a woman who courageously lived into the vulnerable state of being known and, from the place of being known she left her shame behind by racing into the town to preach about a man who knew everything about her. So, yeah, we’ll be doing some girl talkin’.

FOURTH… My hope is that I’ll be able to faithfully keep theory and praxis wed together.

When we talk theory, we’ll also talk praxis. When we talk about eschatology, we’ll dream about what this looks like in the day-to-day. When we talk about prayer, we’ll break down its Kingdom-Bringing power into bite size pieces. When we talk about atonement, we’ll spur one another on to live into the new creations that we already are. Theory and Praxis, baby. It’s the best combination since nachos and hot sauce. Or something like that anyway. We’ll talk theory and we’ll get practical.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST… I really hope to inspire you, dear reader, to choose whimsy. To dream big. To live courageously into this big beautiful life God has gifted to us. May we participate with hopeful hearts in the Kingdom that is ever coming to earth, just as it is in heaven.

This is my vision. A vision in process. We’ll see how it actually plays out. After 35 years of life I’ve concluded that my big dreams are often actualized quite differently than those which play so vividly in my heart.

I’m so glad you’re along to help guide this thing into all her whimsical glory.