It took me awhile to process the first half of 2018. But here it is, including journey highlights, a feature essay on life in the mud, top book picks, wisdom learned, and queries to think about. See it all in the online magazine The Still: Spring 2018
“Ministers, I came to realize, are of necessity those familiar with the strange and who open themselves to the God-bearing power of strangeness itself.”
Robert C. Dykstra in Images of Pastoral Care 
Who is Robert Dykstra?
Professor. Pastoral Theologian. Editor of one of the primary textbooks in my pastoral care class last semester. His book compiles the ideas of key contributors to and concepts of the field of pastoral theology.
Why This Person:
Because he said something that gets truer by the moment.
Why this quote:
I don’t know what I expected seminary to be. I was just so happy to finally be here. But I didn’t expect this. And it just gets stranger by the moment, in the most break-me-open-in-a-good-but-devastatingly-challenging-kind-of-way. The work is so much more than biblical studies, theology, history, and practice. But somehow in the study of all these things and interactions with peers in the same strange world, seminary turns what you thought you knew about yourself and the world upside down. In the process of trying to right side it, you find that maybe who you are and how you fit in the world is different than what you thought or expected. This is so strange. Stranger still, God is wrapped up in all this strangeness. And there is power in that.
 Dykstra, Robert C., ed. Images of Pastoral Care (Chalice Press, 2005), 74.
Most people wouldn’t suspect it about me. I swear. A lot. And not just the occasional shit or damn-it, but fully nuked F-bombs.
I’m not proud of the fact that I was called into the pre-school principal’s office because of my son’s mimicry.
Yet neither am I concerned enough not to keep liking the Scary Mommy posts that humorously justify swearing in front of your kids.
And then I saw video footage of the interactions between racist Nazis and human and civil rights activists in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.
Like the rivulets of sweat dripping down the faces of onlookers, barely bridled emotion coursed through tensed muscles and prickled nerves to attention. Angry shouts erupted. Voices hurled F-bombs on their counterparts.
But fuck was not enough. Anxious hands gripped weapons, fists and bodies grappled each other with the force fuck lacked.
This word is hollow, incapable of bearing the weight of history, fear, and emotion that drowns the deepest recesses of our souls and collective humanity. It mocks the gravity of the situation.
Fuck is not the word we need right now. It is not a word that will break down the walls, statues, and laws that keep justice from rolling like waters across this land.
And just like that I’m a changed mom, choosing my words carefully. Cautious now, in emotional situations, to use words that expose the core and convey the depth of the issues at hand. Not because of some tinny moral imperative not to swear. But in hopes that when justice is at stake, my kids will be able to speak truth to power. Loudly. Boldly. With the force of real change.