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“Church after the rain,” Frankfurt, Germany

The Importance of Doing Nothing

By Uncategorized 2 Comments

One of our family’s best-ever vacations was a trip to Alaska, a gift from my father-in-law three years ago, after I finished my oral examinations. Thanks to the generosity of friends, our family just returned from spending a few days at Galveston Beach with them. A cup of java with water in view soothes my soul better than a month of Sundays. What about you? How do you relax? I blog monthly at the Geek Ambassador site, and my latest contribution addresses our need for rest:  Most geeks I know, despite the stereotype that science and math nerds think only in abstract precepts, have an artsy side. We detect patterns others miss like peanuts triggering migraines. We create stuff like Velcro. And we think outside the table the box lies on. Yet if we work too hard, laboring through the weekends and refusing to take that trip to the Grand Canyon, we lose our creative edge….

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End Police Violence

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Sick of it? Me, too. I’m pro-life. That means I don’t believe in murder. Not of babies, not of black men, and not of police officers. We can speak out. We can pray. We can disciple people for life change. And there’s stuff we can do on a civil level as well.  

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Complementarians on Women in Ministry: Diverse Images

By Gender & Faith, Marriage, Women 2 Comments

My Engage post this week:  I read recently that when boards of directors have both male and female representation, they make better decisions. Doesn’t that sound consistent with Genesis 1:28? Not to everybody. Especially not those at the conservative end of the complementarian camp (and it is a very wide camp with a lot of difference inside). The word “complementarian” gets underlined in red in a Word doc, because it’s a word people made up. And they did so to emphasize that men and women are complementary. Some say “egalitarians [hereafter E’s] believe men and women have no gender differences and that complementarians [hereafter C’s] believe in the beautiful design of God for gender differences.” But honestly? That’s baloney. In terms of their view of the existence of gender differences, both camps believe men and women are complementary. The actual contrast between E’s and C’s and their view of gender…

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Mark Your Calendar

By Books No Comments

The great theologian N. T. Wright is coming to Dallas this fall, and you’re invited to a free event. SMU-Perkins is hosting him for “Simply Wright” on the SMU campus November 15–17, and they’ve extended the invitation to friends in the community. Dr. Wright is professor of NT and Early Christianity at University of St. Andrews, as well as being a prolific author and a retired Anglican bishop. The topic is related to his book, Simply Good News: Why the Gospel is News and What Makes it Good. Go to to sign up as well as receive discussion materials. The three public evening lectures, Nov 15–17, begin at 7:30 and will take place in this order: 15th in McFarlin Auditorium, 16th and 17th at Highland Park United Methodist Church.

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The Only Child: #Doesn’tPlayWellWithOthers & Other Myths

By Infertility, Life In The Body No Comments

My post yesterday at  Jairus’s daughter. John Updike. Condoleezza Rice. Cary Grant. Chelsea Clinton. My grandmother. And my mother. Do you think “most selfish people in the world” when you hear these names and labels? Neither do I. But they were or are all only children. And the stereotype of only children is that they refuse to share, act spoiled, and hog the biggest bowl of ice cream. Fortunately, this caricature of only kids as brats with tiaras or ponies on the back forty has changed somewhat in the past four decades, in part because more people have “onlies.” Whereas 10 percent of American families had an only child in 1976, by 2014 that number had doubled. Some place the percentage as high as twenty-three. And in New York City, like other urban centers, the number is closer to 30 percent. Mothers with master’s degrees have more only children than…

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Learn to Learn

By Arts, Books No Comments

I’m now a regular blogger for Geek Embassy. Here’s my latest post, Learn to Learn:  Not the “I love you” song but this most often got stuck in my head. “I love you, you love me….” These lyrics played in my head for years as I worked with one of my clients, the then music producer for Barney and Friends. (Please don’t hold this against me.) I served both as his publicist and as the “studio mom” who booked kid singers for rehearsals and entertained them during breaks. And if I discovered one thing during that gig, it was this: I needed to revise my stereotypical view of home-schooled kids. Maybe some youngsters end up socially inept due to lack of interpersonal contact from learning at home, but I sure didn’t meet any of them. No, I met kids who could commit to acting and singing and creating because they had…

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Can Any Good Thing Come Out of Nazareth?

By Justice, Life In The Body No Comments

My column on refugees/immigration ran in DTS Magazine recently:  Standing in Nazareth’s Basilica of the Annunciation, I gazed up at mosaics from all over the world. These works depicted the Virgin Mary with Jesus, and in each case Jesus bore the ethnic identity of the predominate group in the gifting country. That is, the art from Ecuador showed Jesus as Ecuadorian; the work from China, as Chinese; and the one from Thailand, as Thai. The baby Jesus from Slovenia even had red hair. The mosaics’ creators made these localized images to remind viewers that Jesus is “one of us”—which he is. Yet so many artists have depicted Jesus as white for so long with such far-reaching influence that many think of Jesus as white, even if unconsciously. Taking the Blinders Off There’s nothing inherently wrong with localized depictions of our Savior. Yet they can blind us to the reality that…

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My latest novel: Lethal Harvest Remix

By Bioethics, Books, Justice No Comments

Sixteen years ago, a couple of wannabe novelists saw stem cell research on the horizon and launched our first narrative that explored the ethical side of such complex medical issues. Completely apart from our planning, the book launch happened the same week leaders at the Human Genome Project announced they had a rough draft of the human genome. And that announcement thrust our subject into the headlines, so books flew off the shelves. The characters in our story used landlines. And they could receive email only when using desktop computers. No smartphones, no texting. And acting according to what is now outdated medical procedure. So this month, Lethal Harvest re-released with a makeover. In the 15+ years since we wrote the story, I’ve grown as a writer and spinner of yarns. So when Kregel asked for an update, I jumped at the chance to improve on the dialogue, characterization, and general storyline—while, of course, updating the tech. My beloved coauthor passed suddenly three years ago, so the…

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My Latest Book: A Short History of Ephesus

By Books, Women No Comments

The city of Ephesus had great significance in the ancient world from its beginnings in the eighth century BC through the fall of Rome. Books of scripture were written to people in this city and from people residing there, as well. Cleopatra and Mark Antony killed off her sister here. And the temple of the Ephesian Artemis here was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The apostle Paul left after an uproar in Ephesus having to do with idols and money. And Shakespeare later made the city his setting for “A Comedy of Errors.” (Ironically, Ephesus’s history reads more like a tragedy than a comedy, considering that its inhabitants consistently sided with the losers.) For all these reasons I chose “The city of Ephesus from 100 BCE to CE 100” as one of my PhD examination fields. And having done all that research, I wanted to make accessible my summary of the…

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Hillary’s Not the Only Woman to Make History

By Women, Writing 2 Comments

Want a summer read that’s part adventure story, part biography, part introduction to biblical manuscripts, part historical drama, and part faith journey? If yes, check out Janet Soskice’s The Sisters of Sinai. The main characters are identical twins Agnes and Margaret Smith of Scotland. Their travels lead, among other places, to St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai. There Agnes discovered one of the oldest manuscripts of the Gospels ever found. The sisters’ staunch Presbyterian father, widowed shortly after their births in 1843, raised his girls as one might raise boys in the Victorian era—educated, physically active, and engaged in the life of the mind. And he kept a promise that whenever his daughters learned a language, he would take them to where that language was spoken. Because the twins loved to travel, early on they mastered French, German, Spanish, and Italian. Their deep interest in the Bible and its languages…

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What Are You Worth?

By Books, Gender & Faith, Women No Comments

Today I’m delighted to feature a guest post from my friend Mary DeMuth, who has a new book out: I’ve been thinking a lot about my childhood lately. I saw a Netflix show where drug abuse was rampant, and I had to shield my eyes. I simply couldn’t see people snorting and drinking and shooting up. It brought back memories of my early life where my life was anything but safe. I was five, then. And the adults around me had parties. They would get stoned and unsafe. I would try to hide in my room, but the only route to the bathroom was through my bedroom, so they would parade through on unsteady legs, eyes red, hands flailing to keep balance. I turned my head to the wall, trying to escape into the well made between my twin bed and the wall. I fit like a snake into that…

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Sampling of Book Titles Inspired by Bible Verses

By Arts, Books, Writing One Comment

My dissertation supervisor told me that the Bible and Shakespeare were the two most-used sources for book titles. How many of these biblical phrases do you recognize? Absalom, Absalom!                William Faulkner        2 Samuel 19:4 An Acceptable Time               Madeleine L’Engle      Psalms 66:13 A Time to Kill                         John Grisham            Ecclesiastes 3:3 Behold the Man                      Michael Moorcock       John 19:5 Butter In a Lordly Dish            Agatha Christie        Judges 5:25 I Sat Down and Wept             Elizabeth Smart          Psalm 137:1 Clouds of Witness                   Dorothy L. Sayers        Hebrews 12:1 Consider the Lilies                  Iain Crichton Smith    Matthew 6:28 East of Eden                            John Steinbeck            Genesis 4:16 Fear and Trembling              Søren Kierkegaard    Philippians 2:12 The Golden Bowl                    Henry James      …

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See Noah’s Flood in Dallas

By Arts No Comments

Tonight the energetic Karina Canellakis, winner of the 2016 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, led a young cast of musicians, singers, and dancers, as well as an ensemble of professional musicians in a community-wide staging of the one-act opera, “Noye’s Fludde” (Noah’s Flood), by Benjamin Britten (1913–1976). And they plan to do so again tomorrow (Wednesday). Performers retell the story of Noah and the flood by mixing a little Dallas Symphony Orchestra with the First United Methodist Church Handbell Choir, the Dallas Recorder Society (yup, those instruments you learned to play in elementary school), various recorder clubs and church choirs, some Texas A & M Commerce buglers, and a cast  of professional musicians and singers. The sets were clever, the “water” ingenious, the dancing magical, and the kids dressed up like animals for the ark-y ark-y, adorbs. An added delight was when one, staying true to character, ran away and had to be caught. And I loved…

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Bono + Eugene Peterson on the Psalms

By Arts No Comments

My introduction to the rock star Bono came when I was working in downtown Dallas in the 1980s for a financial services company with offices that shared space with a large hotel chain. My friend’s hubby, Jim, was a huge Bono fan, and he spotted the singer and his cap-wearing friend entering through the hotel’s revolving doors. I was in the lobby talking with Jim and his wife when this happened, and he ran over to meet them. Finding them to be quite friendly, Jim came back and asked if I wanted him to introduce me. I said, “Naw.” Never heard of the guy. Seriously. I did that. My next encounter happened at the Grammy Awards ceremony in 1994. I was a publicist for the music producer for Barney and Friends, who was nominated for an award for an album that had gone double platinum. Bono, who accompanied Frank Sinatra that night, dropped so many f-bombs that my…

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Restore My Soul: A Coloring Book Devotional Journey

By Arts, Books, Writing One Comment

A couple years ago, my employer sent me to the Frankfurt Book Fair to spot trends. We want to prepare our students for what’s coming, not what’s been. Frankfurt is the largest book fair in the world, so I spent hours walking the aisles, talking to venders, and scoping out products. And I came home with a couple of coloring books for adults. I had never heard of such a thing! It was like paint by number only using colored pencils instead of paint—and without the numbers. I got to choose what colors I liked best. And sure enough, now they’re everywhere, these books. And my friend Ann-Margret Hovsepian has created a nice one especially for helping us think about what matters. She includes a devotional thought with a verse opposite each coloring page. And the pages are thick enough that I could use a small magic marker without having it bleed through. Even non-artists…

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Win a free copy of Risen

By Arts 2 Comments

RISEN is the epic biblical story of the resurrection, as told through the eyes of Clavius (Joseph Fiennes), a powerful Roman military tribune, and his aide, Lucius (Tom Felton). Rome has tasked them with solving the mystery about what happened to Jesus (Cliff Curtis) in the weeks following the crucifixion. Their mission: To disprove the rumors of Jesus’ rising from the dead and to prevent an uprising in Jerusalem. RISEN was reviewed on this blog at the time of its release. Now it’s out on DVD and in book form. I have two books and a Blu-ray DVD (includes deleted scenes) to give away free to people in the US. Either subscribe to this blog or leave a comment to be eligible for the drawings to be held next Friday, May 27, 2016. Or tweet this blog post and tag @sandraglahn to be added twice.

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Quiet Presence: Comfort Those Who Hurt

By Uncategorized One Comment

Yesterday two dear friends called with heartbreaking news—news that will change the course of their lives. And as a “word” person, I’m profoundly aware of how inadequate words are at such times. In fact, offering comfort can be as much about what we don’t say as what we do…. An obstetrician friend told me that during his first year of medical practice, he sat with a couple who lost a baby at twenty-three weeks. Feeling at a total loss for words, he sat in silence and wept with them. He felt surprised when they later thanked him profusely saying, “You said just the right words.” He wondered “What words? I didn’t say anything?” Then he realized…precisely! “The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence; not in silence, but restraint,” wrote poet Marianne Moore more than a century ago. Her words still ring true today. Silence keeps us from asking nosy…

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My Favorite Parenting Advice

By Life In The Body, Marriage, Women No Comments

My husband and I cut our chops in vocational ministry by serving teens and college students. So long before we brought home a baby of our own, we saw the kind of parent/child conflicts that can tear apart the strongest of families. Because we paid our way through grad school in part by “housesitting” in some homes that came with kids while parents traveled, we had a solid dose of parenting experience before we ever got started. There was the toddler who cried the entire weekend because he had separation anxiety. There was the daughter who took off to go camping with the boys’ baseball team. And I can’t forget the drug-using son who jumped out his second-story window, broke into his brother’s car, stole it, and took it four-wheeling in the river. The next morning, he swaggered up the front sidewalk as if nothing had happened. Other people’s kids…

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Art Saves Lives

By Arts, Books, Justice, Writing No Comments

I just finished reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. The student who brought me the book to read also told me I must listen to an interview in Brainpickings with Gaiman. In it the author tells this story of his 97-year-old cousin, Helen, a Polish Holocaust survivor: “She started telling me this story of how, in the ghetto, they were not allowed books. If you had a book … the Nazis could put a gun to your head and pull the trigger—books were forbidden. And she used to teach under the pretense of having a sewing class… a class of about twenty little girls, and they would come in for about an hour a day, and she would teach them maths, she’d teach them Polish, she’d teach them grammar…. “One day, somebody slipped her a Polish translation of Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone with the…

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What is Intersex, and What Does the Bible Say about It?

By Gender & Faith, Life In The Body One Comment

We see the acronym LGBTIQA, and we might not even know what every letter stands for. To have conversations with people who self-identify in any of the represented categories, we need some basic language for communication:  The acronym LGBTIQA stands for: 1) “L” – lesbian 2) “G” – gay 3) “B” – bisexual 4) “T” – transgender 5) “I” – intersex 6) “Q” – queer/questioning 7) “A” – asexual people and allies (Notice “homosexual” is not on the list—many consider that word “Christianese.”) Recently, I have had conversations with Christian leaders who’ve told me, “I don’t even know what intersex is.” I also hear people quoting Genesis’s beautiful words, “Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created” (Gen. 5:2) as a prelude to insisting that the Bible teaches there is no spectrum, that everyone fits neatly into…

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Call a Friend, Watch a Sunset

By Beauty, Life In The Body 2 Comments

Years ago, I read that a firm experimenting with an electronic brain designed to translate English into Russian fed it the words: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The machine responded with a sentence in Russian which meant, a linguist reported, “The whisky is agreeable, but the meat is spoiled.” I just returned from taking thirteen students to the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids. And at the first workshop I attended, Makoto Fujimura (“Mako”), in introducing his new book, Silence and Beauty, told a story about something similar his father tried years ago. Having studied under the American linguist Noam Chomsky, Mako’s dad later introduced the great philosopher’s theories in Japan. At that time, scientists told Mako’s dad that within ten years they’d create technology that so closely resembled the human voice that no one would know the difference. But fast forward a few decades……

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Waste Not, Want Not

By Life In The Body No Comments

My Engage post for the week: Seven years ago, my family and I went to Africa for the first time, spending most of our hours with the Maasai in Kenya. At the end of a lovely day together, they killed a goat in our honor. One minute a cute little guy was roped to a post, and the next thing we knew, they had slit its neck. For the first time in her life our daughter, then twelve years old, realized that “pork” is meat from a pig, “beef” is meat from a cow, and calling something “chicken” means it is just that—literally, the corpse of a chicken. For the next nine months, she was a vegetarian. (I think we can credit bacon with her conversation back to being a carnivore.) Something that amazed me that night was that not one part of that animal went to waste. The greatest…

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No Religious Test for Refugees

By Justice, Uncategorized No Comments

While a few U.S. political leaders have called for banning resettlement of all Muslim refugees, leaders in the evangelical community affirm that refugees should not be rejected based on their religious identity. According to the January Evangelical Leaders Survey, 91 percent of respondents said the US should not bar entry to all refugees affiliated with certain religions. Evangelical leaders are not alone. According to a December 2015 CBS News poll, nearly six in ten Americans do not believe the US should temporarily bar Muslims from other countries from entering the United States, and two-thirds said such a ban would go against the founding principles of this country. Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), said “Religion should not be a litmus test for receiving aid. Most evangelical leaders believe compassion and security can and should go hand-in-hand.”

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Our Plans

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I voted yesterday—something women are still barred from doing in some countries. I might have felt underwhelmed by my options, but still, I got to vote. And I know it’ll mean I get called soon for jury duty. But that’s something else women sometimes still get barred from doing. So, bring it. This week my hubby and I head to a country in the Middle East where women still can’t vote. Our plan: to spend two nights there with friends. Then on to Africa for a couple weeks of ministry. That includes a few nights in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where my brother-in-law and his wife have been living since January, having recently relocated there to help disciple a wonderful and growing team of nationals. Never been to Ethiopia. Looking forward to it. Except…they said to bring mosquito repellant? From Addis Ababa, we head to Kenya via Nairobi to Mt. Elgon (not Mt. Elton, which…

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

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.

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