Category Archives: Lord in Your Mercy

Remember Love

On Sunday afternoon, Zoe and I stopped at a pop up boutique in our town. Before we were even out of the car, she spotted something she just had to have. Once she’d brought it home and showed it off to her dad, she seemed to forget about it.

On Wednesday morning, I remembered. I went downstairs and I took the something out of its bag and I put it on her dresser:


Right now, there are many people in our country who do not feel safe. Who are hurting and worried and heartbroken and afraid. If that is where you are: I see you. I’m with you. I love you. If that is not where you are: please know that it’s where your neighbors are. And know that I love you, too.

Here is what I know in my bones: Continue reading


Filed under Lord in Your Mercy

Calmed into Quietness

It is an anxious time at First Lutheran Church. We are preparing to say goodbye to my colleague, who has served so faithfully and so well in this place for twenty-one years. This is how it is to be a pastor–you love the people given to your care, but you know that eventually, God will call you to love the people somewhere else. We trust that this is good for all God’s people–the ones who are saying goodbye to a beloved pastor and the ones who are preparing to welcome a new one. But, still: a time of anxiety, of wondering and worrying and change.

It is an anxious time outside the church, too. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this 2016 election season has brought all kinds of ugly out in the open. It’s hard to keep listening to the news.

Film star Helen Twelvetrees, Rutland Gates, Bellevue Hill, Sydney, early 1936 / photograph by Sam Hood

Then there are all the private anxieties we struggle with every day. Continue reading

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Filed under Lord in Your Mercy, Ministry Matters

Don’t Let the Light Go Out

On Saturday, they found Jacob.

If you live in Minnesota, or if you lived in Minnesota during the past 27 years, you know what I’m talking about. Jacob Wetterling was eleven years old in 1989, when he, his brother, and a friend were biking down a country road. A masked man with a gun stopped them and took Jacob. Basically the nightmare scenario for any parent or caregiver of a child.

Jacob’s family never gave up. They never stopped searching; never stopped hoping. Every year on October 22nd, the day Jacob was taken, the Wetterlings encouraged people to leave their porch lights on. The light was a symbol of solidarity and hope. It lit the way home for Jacob and for other lost and missing children. The work of the Wetterlings and the foundation they started was not only for Jacob, but for all children. Because of the Wetterlings, sex offender registeries exist. Because of the Wetterlings, most missing children do find their way home.  Continue reading

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Filed under Lord in Your Mercy, Music!

Big Words

Check out the books Zoe chose for bedtime last night:


First, let’s take a moment to appreciate the variety:

1. A wonderfully weird William Steig. In which a pig meets a talking bone. Why? I don’t know. As the bone says, “I didn’t make the world.”

2. A beautiful and interactive book about mixing colors. From the author of Press Here. Just delightful.

3. A lovely biography of Martin Luther King, Junior. Truly, the pictures are gorgeous and the text is, too. A great introduction to the Civil Rights movement for young readers.  Continue reading

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Filed under Book Report, Lord in Your Mercy

Love and Defiance

Image taken from page 29 of 'Great African Travellers, from Bruce and Mungo Park to Livingstone and Stanley ... With ... illustrations'

It’s been another bad news week. It sure feels like a bad news world sometimes, doesn’t it?

When we hear about senseless violence, it’s hard to feel safe. Here is the passage that popped into my head this morning, from the third book of Mark Helprin’s beautiful Swan Lake trilogy. (Pro Tip: Read them immediately.) Continue reading

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Circumcise Our Hearts

As we made our way down a narrow road in an affluent suburb of Milwaukee–beach bound–the police SUV made its way down the road right behind us. We crept along, not quite sure we were on the right road, not quite sure why that police vehicle was on our tail. Is this a really polite suburban way of pulling us over? I wondered.

We made it to the park and pulled into a space in the lot. The police vehicle did two slow loops of the parking lot, then drove away, apparently just part of her patrol. The whole time, I felt uncomfortable and a little nervous. I also felt very aware that if I were black or brown instead of white, I would have felt a lot worse.


Last night I went to bed thinking about Anton Sterling. This morning I woke up and read about Philando Castile. Their names are added to the list of the many others who have died for no good reason. So many. Too many. I’d say, “Enough is enough,” but we passed that point long ago, and even one is too many, isn’t it? Continue reading

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Let It Ring

It’s not that I think I have anything new or amazing to say. No deep insights, no magic words.

In the face of senseless violence and devastating hate, what is there to say?

But we’ve got to say something. As powerless and helpless and angry and sad as we feel, we’ve got to say something, even if it’s just this prayer:

To my brothers and sisters who are lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and queer: You are loved. You are beautiful and precious children of God, made in God’s own image. Your country and your church have let you down and shoved you down too many times. We have failed you.

We have a gun problem in this country. We have a hate problem and a fear problem. I don’t know how to fix them. Sometimes I don’t know how or what to pray. Continue reading


Filed under Lord in Your Mercy, Ministry Matters