All Means All?

I'm sitting on a rocking chair overlooking lake Coeur d'Alene at Lutherhaven. The air is crisp and quiet with a sprinkle of birdsong and the sporadic rush of wind through pine. I am here for the Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Total Inclusion Symposium, representing Luther Heights Bible Camp as a board member. When you hear the phrase total inclusion what do you imagine? Do you nod, "Yes, Of course." and move on? Do you feel suspicions rise or irritation at some association the phrase…

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Invitation to Being the Body of Christ

Hope Lutheran Church, Eagle Saturday, October 22, 2022 10:00 AM - Noon Hope invites all Treasure Valley Cluster Congregations for a morning of discerning what it means to BE the Body of Christ in this time.Leave our morning together with a clearer sense of how we can respond faithfully to God’s call to mission in our community and the world, individually and collectively as the Body of Christ.Dr. Craig L. Nessan, William D. Streng Professor for the Education and Renewal of the Church and…

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God’s Best Work

One of my heroes—both in writing and for her spiritual wisdom— is a woman by the name of Pat Schneider. Recently I wrote a profile about Pat for the online magazine Literary Mama. During this past week of Lent we were looking at what it means to be in community with people on the margins. Pat Schneider knew something about being on the margins. She grew up desperately poor and spent part of her childhood in an orphanage. If it weren’t for a few…

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Part of the Family

Recently my husband and I bought a new bed. This was unplanned because we were quite happy with our old bed—a full size—which we had had since early in our marriage, almost 30 years. The reason for our new bed purchase is our small Schnauzer mix, a dog we adopted from a rescue organization in southern Idaho. Fauzie (pronounced Fozzy) was found wandering on a farm road in Burley. His coat was so long it covered his eyes, and he had developed vision…

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The Gift of Encouragement

The first Sunday in Advent is associated with hope. The Bible readings focus on the prophesies of Jesus’ birth, on the coming of the Messiah, which were great sources of hope for the people of Israel for centuries as they waited and watched for God’s coming. But I’m not going to write about hope on this first Sunday of Advent. I’m going to write about its close relative, encouragement.Hope has gotten a lot of air time during the pandemic and for good reason.…

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A Cure for Heaviness

I feel heavy. My husband feels heavy, too. Not physically heavy, though there is some of that, but emotionally heavy. It feels a little like wearing one of those lead aprons they make you put on before you get your teeth x-rayed. I think I know where it comes from. A consequence of feeling anxious and fearful is that we become so focused on ourselves, we lose the ability to look beyond our own circumstances and see how we might help others. We—I—lose…

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An Act of Hope

We lived in Connecticut and our apartment complex was surrounded by oak and maple trees. The red and orange colors of the leaves were spectacular in the fall. Our home in Maryland had oak, sycamore, and maple trees. We also had an apple tree with pretty white blossoms in the spring. My favorite bushes in our yard in Maryland were the lilac bushes. Their fragrance in the spring filled the yard and surrounding area. I loved to cut bunches of lilacs and bring…

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