such strange things.

I don’t know if you have heard, but the well-loved collaborative blog A Deeper Story is closing its doors next month. Some of the contributing writers are re-releasing their Deeper Story pieces in their own spaces, and I am joining them. I began writing for DS in the spring of 2013, and loved every bit of it — especially the opportunity to connect with the brilliant, fierce, and kind writers there. Many thanks to Nish for putting her dream out in the world. 

This post was originally published on Deeper Story on May 23, 2013. 

Hail thee, festival day!

Blessed day to be hallowed forever;
Day when the Holy Ghost

Shone in the world full of grace.

The song that ushered us in to Easter upon the first alleluia-shout leads me through the park, over a bridge, to the riverside. We, the parish, gather here, outdoors today. Today we’ve traded stained glass for leaves, a full choir for one or two shaky speakers. It’s Pentecost, when things get wild.

Well, at least, our Episcopal version of it—with folding chairs to sit in and folding walkers set aside, with vestments, with bulletins, and a Table set for Body and Blood. We’re gathered in the shade and the wind is in the trees the whole time we sing and speak and stand and sit.  I’m trying to think of that Lauren Winner quote about how only Jesus could get us together to do such strange things.

Today, though, it’s the Holy Spirit who comes with fire, who descends like the wind of creation. Today, we plan to read the Gospel simultaneously aloud, in different languages, though no tongues dance above our heads.

It’s lovely and odd when the time comes, with a handful of myriad tongues loose with scripture, disparate paces making swells and lulls with an underlying hum, just like the cicadas that will take this place by force in the heat of the coming months.

When the last language stops speaking and we’ve bookended our reading with the bolded proclamation, Praise to you, Lord Christ, I look down to realize that I’ve been clenching the edge of the picnic table the entire time, the grooves leaving marks of anxiety in my fingers. The mixed and hurried murmuring in the crowd, though spoken from a page, stopped my heart with the forgotten familiarity of the old days with phrases forced, to conjure the gift, of rally-cries, of tears streaming for healing, healing, healing in strange sounds in a land with no interpreters, the healing that never came or at least, we couldn’t see. Those were the days when falling out in the Spirit felt a lot like being pushed down by a human hand, and Tongues turned into just another pretty way to sing. The Holy Ghost became a prop to push our own agendas, that otherworldly Prayer Language another way to add our own footnotes.

I haven’t had to look back, not really, in a number of years, but here I am, enveloped by such strange sounds. And as soon as I feel smothered by them, I wonder if I’ve tamed God.

But then I steal a glance at the Table prepared in this version of wilderness by the river—I think of the Creator ordering chaos, of Christ walking and dying with us only to rise again, of the Companion and Comforter of the Holy Spirit. God does such strange things with Body and Blood, with Water and Flame, and it all still seems pretty wild to me.

I pray for my tongue to be afire with it all.

Not Just Bread, Not Just Wine.

I don’t know if you have heard, but the well-loved collaborative blog A Deeper Story is closing its doors next month. Some of the contributing writers are re-releasing their Deeper Story pieces in their own spaces, and I am joining them. I began writing for DS in the spring of 2013, and loved every bit of it — especially the opportunity to connect with the brilliant, fierce, and kind writers there. Many thanks to Nish for putting her dream out in the world. 

This post was originally published on Deeper Story on April 24, 2013. I’m resisting the urge to offer caveat now, after three semesters at divinity school.



It was a few years ago now that we three were gathered with red wine bought in a hurry and cheap water crackers to carry snooty cheese. Back then, the guys brought the stories and I simply gathered them into myself, knit line by line into something I could wrap myself in for a long time to come. We were in somewhat disparate spiritual spaces then, but located here each week by a fire, by wine, by strands of Gospel-truth nonetheless stringing us together. We spun sacrament and wondered at holy judgment and marveled at the created order telling the same Story over and over again. This night as we talked, I reached over the cheese and absentmindedly broke a cracker in two.

Suddenly before me, it was as the Host, held high above the altar, split down the middle, Body broken for me and for many, wine and Blood to follow. I nearly gasped and stole a glance around the table, wondering if my companions had noticed the small transformation, but in our communion they were busy offering Grace and the fact that Christ was among us didn’t need pointing out.

I ate the pieces and took a sip of wine with an Amen upon my heart, and it was the first time in a long time that I felt like I was coming back to Shore.


            it’s just a building, honey.

She says this for the dozenth time into the phone last week, as I’m squeezing a lime half into my drink, half into my eye. There’s a sting in both, and it comes out in my response. We’re talking about a church in town that’s as dim and flat as an abandoned grocery store, and I’m wondering offhand how anyone can choose to enter such darkness every week, searching for Light. I’m flippant, and I’m sure she can hear the eyeroll across the state between us. I snap something about agreeing to disagree, a line that doesn’t usually have a whole lot of actual grace in it.

I’ve learned over the past few years that often, the people closest to me somehow get “theology” from me in stuttering half-bites, and it has nothing to do with being a prophet in her hometown. It mostly has to do with me being an scatterbrained pain in the ass.

But here’s the truth behind the snap: when I hear the shrugging off of designating space and elements as sacred, as something more, something unravels in me. For me to know that mysteriously and irrationally, it’s not just bread, not just wine somehow help me to breathe in the Truth that He was not just another man, just back then.

Though every common bush is afire with God, there’s something about the discrete moments of Heaven meeting Earth  that moor me, that enable me to find the rest of the world to be charged with God’s grandeur. It is the Host at the altar that also makes my water cracker and cheap wine sacred, as well as every other meal. It is the waters of Baptism that carry healing in the rain. And for me, it is a nave that helps me to look up, always.

It is special, elevated moments in special spaces that pull all the ordinary ones out of haze into sharper focus.


I realize that this is not the case for everyone, that even with the mystery and metaphor, these things will appear stiff and disjointed for many. I realize I am in a privileged place to be able to make such distinctions. I do worry about evangelizing a Certain Way of doing these things more than Christ himself, and I know I’ve only walked my own footsteps. I don’t know if I’m arguing something here, not really, because I desperately believe the universal Church is brilliant mosaic and this is just one glass piece.

But the thing is that it was incarnational, sacramental sight that brought me back to the Incarnated Christ, and it is the Incarnation mysteriously known in sacred instances and embodied in the same kind of places that leads me back out again into the world, without end.

So I’ll probably keep showing you about this piece of tile I have, and keep telling you, clumsily, how beautiful it is, how it reflects Light.

On my best days, I hope we’ll glue ours together, finding more Image with every bit.

the same question [last month at Deeper Story].


[Sometimes, I forget to upload this space with my stuff from Deeper Story. In case you missed it, this was last month’s piece over there. Click here for more words!]


Later on I realized that the over there-ness of my thinking (among other things) does a lot of harm. Mostly it does harm to the people I brush skinwith every day– the people with the wrong skin color, who love the wrong people, who have the wrong job or the wrong body parts or the wrong home or the wrong….fill in the blank.

Over there is over here, friends.

But you can only be told that so much; we can only be taught so much.

Everyone needs their oh shit moment of realization.

I’ve had a few, keep having them.

But I won’t tell you, because you need your own.

Sometimes I think they are something only the Spirit can give.


Keep reading at Deeper Story.

It’s not you, it’s me. [or, I hate reading posts like this one, sorry.]

[if you don’t give a #@%& about Twitter, you can stop reading this right now.]

I will attempt to make this as short and sweet as possible, to be frank without over-sharing.

I am taking a break from Twitter, specifically, for a while, starting on Sept. 20th. (I have already slowly pulled away from blogging in this space and have pretty much stopped reading blogs given the onslaught that is graduate school.)

This is not (necessarily) because I think things are getting out of hand over there, or that it is a medium that is inherently broken or anything like that.

I love Twitter. I believe in it.

Yeah, I said it. Most of my in-person friends do not understand this part of my life, and I have grown tired of trying to explain it, but I can trace some really significant friendships to the forum, and I cannot express how much I have learned (especially in the last two years) from my timeline, not to mention that it is where I get much of my news (and I don’t think this is wrong). I think Twitter has the power to do good.

I just need to turn my attention away from an ever-refreshing external thought stream for a season, which could be one or two months, or this whole semester; I’m not sure yet.

I am taking time to explain this for two reasons:

1. There are people reading this right now whom I primarily interact with in that space–connections I would be sorry to lose. So, I am flagging my impending absence so you won’t forget me 😉 and to encourage you to add me as a friend on Facebook, send me an email, or drop me a line on Voxer.

2. If you are reading this and have been thinking of doing something similar, or adopting some other difficult method of mental de-cluttering, I hereby give you permission to do so– not out of any obligation, but only if you need it, out of kindness to yourself.

grace and retweets to you,