“Church after the rain,” Frankfurt, Germany

Interview with a Charlotte Pastor/Author

By | Arts, Beauty, Justice, Life In The Body, Writing | No Comments

I’m happy to have as my guest today pastor/author Winn Collier, whose writing I love. His latest project is an epistolary novel—that is, a story told through the medium of letters written by one or more of the characters. It’s titled Love Big, Be Well: Letters to a Small-Town Church.

SG: Did you have in mind any specific congregations as you wrote?

Winn: I carried all the people and churches I’ve been part of my entire life. And of course, All Souls Charlottesville, the people I serve now, is so interwoven with my life that they are always with me.

SG: Charlottesville has been at the epicenter of America’s culture wars in recent months. How has your church continued to be a voice of hope in the midst of such toxic events?

Winn: The Klan rally in July, then the Alt-right rally in August, were horrific. I’ve never …

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Buy a Shirt/Help a Family Adopt

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If you know the Glahn family, you know our “son” Carlos and his wife Karla. They are in the process of adopting a little boy from China. And they are raising funds by selling adoption t-shirts. The styles include a long sleeved and a baseball raglan in addition to a typical t-shirt.

Our grandson-in-love is 9 months old, and they have named him Asher (Gen. 30:13). They expect to travel in five to six months, though Carlos is praying for a miracle of January travel.

Their adoption agency has asked them to get the remainder of their funds in order. Because or their friends’ generosity and spreading the word, they have sufficient funds to cover their final agency fees. But what they lack are  in-country adoption costs and travel expenses.

The agency has stated that a good estimate of in-country + travel costs is $15,500. (This estimate includes official …

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“No Greater Love” film headed your way?

By | Arts, Beauty, Life In The Body | No Comments

I attended the Boston Film Festival in September 2015, where No Greater Love won Best Documentary. A beloved former student, Chaplain Roberts, its creator, is standing on the end next to me.

NO GREATER LOVE—the first theatrical documentary filmed and directed by an active-duty soldier—brings to vivid life the battles of the “No Slack” Battalion of the famed 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan. And the battles he shows us didn’t just happen in the field. They continue after soldiers return home.

One of the coolest parts about this for me is that its writer and that active-duty soldier/producer was one of my writing students.

Friday, Nov. 10, for Veterans Day weekend, his multiple-award-winning NO GREATER LOVE premieres in select cities nationwide. NO GREATER LOVE, after one round of cuts, is still a contender for Documentary Feature in the 2017 Academy Award®.

You can bring this excellent film to a …

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#MeToo: Just Another Trend?

By | Gender & Faith, Justice, Life In The Body, Women | No Comments

My post for October 24 on the Engage blog at bible.org:

A lot of people think it all started on October 5, 2017, when the New York Times first broke the story accusing Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment. Actually, as far as I know, the real first “Me Too” movement started a decade ago by the African-American activist Tarana Burke. And ten years from now, we’ll probably still need one.

But about the recent one… Ten days after the NYT story hit, actress Alyssa Milano tweeted, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”

Soon, the #MeToo hashtag took over social media. Twitter alone had more than 500,00 uses. But Facebook had 12 million. Twelve. Million.

I almost didn’t put the following post on Facebook. But I mustered the courage to hit “return”:  “So many have been groped,

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My thoughts on history, Las Vegas, and Texas evangelical women

By | Women | No Comments

An organization for women called IF:Gathering, the brainchild of Jennie Allen, offers lots of resources, primarily for a Millennial audience. I’ve been filming some short commentary for their series on Church History with my colleague Glenn Kreider. And here’s one that ran this week:

AD2 W3D1 – The Crusades Commence from IF : Equip on Vimeo.

Also,  an article on how to minister in the wake of violence in Las Vegas and the string of natural disasters, ran on the Pastor Resources site as well as on KCBI radio’s blog.

Then I got quoted in what I thought was going to be an article about Texas evangelical women, but it ended up really focused on Jenn Hatmaker for Texas Monthly magazine.

And KCBI-Dallas radio station interviewed me for an on-air audio segment about suffering in the wake of the Las Vegas tragedy. It aired October 3 and was edited …

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Help Yourself to Mental Health

By | Life In The Body | 2 Comments

Carrying a lot of stress? There are lots of ways you can help yourself cope.

Tell yourself the truth. Treat yourself with the same grace you would extend to others. If you make an error, instead of berating yourself, replace, “I’m an idiot,” with “Oops. I took a wrong turn.”

Confess. Quit living with guilt. Acknowledge sin to God and apologize to people you’ve wronged. Make appropriate reparations.

Care for your body. Take walks, jog, hit the gym. Physical health and aerobic exercise have a direct effect on mental health.

Snack on veggies. Good nutrition affects physical health and outlook, too. So replace chips and sour cream dip with crackers and hummus.

Sleep. Get to bed on time and transition off technology well before you need to be falling asleep.

Get regular check-ups. See a doctor for hormone and mood checks and to monitor health conditions.

Live in community. …

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“All Saints” Film Spotlights Church of 12 That Aided 65 Refugees

By | Arts, Justice | No Comments

By Michael Foust
When sixty-five refugees from Southeast Asia started attending Michael Spurlock’s tiny church in Smyrna, Tenn., about a decade ago, he welcomed them, even though the struggling congregation was on the verge of closing its doors.

Still, a question lingered in his mind: If the church of only twelve members couldn’t pay its own bills, how could it meet the needs of others? The answer, he says, came from heaven.

Spurlock was walking through a large field owned by the church one day when he sensed God telling him, “I’ve given you land, and I have sent you farmers from the other side of the world. Get to work.”

The solution seemed simple enough. The Karen refugees who fled Myanmar (Burma) had extensive experience in agriculture, and Spurlock’s congregation—All Saints Episcopal Church—had plenty of property. It even was adjacent to a creek. Church members and the Karen people …

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On the Nightstand/In My Kindle
Silence, by Shusaku Endo; Silence and Beauty, by Makoto Fujimura; The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature, by C. S. Lewis; The Image of God in an Image Driven Age, ed. by Beth Felker Jones and Jeffrey W. Barbeau; Wearing God: Clothing, Laughter, Fire, and Other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God, by Lauren Winner.

I post on the Engage blog for women in leadership at Bible.org every other Tuesday.